Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Chef Tyler Florence spoke my exact thoughts when he asked the crowd, “Who knew you could have so much fun between two slices of bread?” Part of the New York Food and Wine Festival this year, the Breville Ultimate Sandwich Showdown presented by Hellmann’s and hosted by Florence was a great way to spend my Sunday afternoon.
Hellmann’s invited me to the event and to taste-test my way through the sandwich booths (there were 12 restaurants competing for a $2,500 prize). I’ll admit, I’m not a professional recipe tester, but that day I decided to take my hand at dissecting these concoctions.
- Porchetta’s Italian slow-cooked pork loin and Mother in Law’s kimchee by Lauryn Chun: needed a condiment.
- Baohaus’ Dericious Cheeseteak and Chairman Bao: amazing, bread melts in mouth, nice use of sugar.
- Blue Ribbon’s Bone Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade Sandwich with cucumber salad: sweet and rich but too rich for a regular-size sandwich.
Attendees placed wooden tokens (pictured) into big (empty) Hellmann’s jars to choose the winner. Blue Ribbon received the most tokens and took home a giant $2,500 check presented by Florence at the end of the showdown.
However, despite all of the fancy sandwiches I tried, my favorite bite of the day came from my own creation. At Hellman’s “Make Your Own Sandwich” station I chose to put ham, cheese, lettuce and basil-pesto mayo on whole wheat bread. The result tasted part American, part Italian, and all amazing.
Aside from hosting the event, Florence also signed copies of his new book (out this week), Tyler Florence Family Meal: Bringing People Together Never Tasted Better. This book includes recipes he and his kids love to make together, like his 3-year-old son Hayden’s Special-Occasion Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes. Other family favorites include his Mother-in-Law’s salad recipe and Black-Eyed Peas with Stewed Tomatoes. Throughout the book Florence emphasizes the importance of eating seasonal, healthy, local, and together – concepts we should all strive to cook and eat by.