THE WINNER: Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese by Chef Jason Bangerter
Remember that Bryan Adams song? “Everything I do I do it for a Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese?” A real wedding fave.
First off–yes–there is a grilled cheese give-a-way at the bottom of this post. Second the Niagara Gold Crunch grilled cheese was unbelievable.
I spent this afternoon as a judge at The Dairy Farmer’s of Canada Grilled Cheese Cook-Off. (I know, does lunch get any better?) Four of Canada’s top chefs went head to head and each served two grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheese made from 100% milk (you’ve probably seen the little blue cow label on your cheese, it means that a cheese is made with all cow’s milk, no other additives–aside from salt and culture of course.)
Just wanted to give you a little brief of the menu and the chefs, so I’ll start with Chef Bangerter and move on from there.
Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of O&B ( Luma and Canteen), Toronto
CHEF JASON BANGERTER
Niagara Gold Crunch (The Winner)
Niagara Gold cheese, sour dough bread, prosciutto, baby arugula, with the bread brushed with mayo that had been flavoured with garlic, thyme and pepper before being grilled.
*this was also served with pickled grapes and a sparkling fresh grape juice that was the perfect compliment to the savoury sandwich. I hear it will be going on the menu….. (but here is the RECIPE if you want to DIY it)
Sweet Summer Night
This was the Chef’s dessert grilled cheese. It was made with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries with a some basil added in between the grilled brioche. It was served with aged balsamic vinegar.
Executive Chef Michael Howell, Tempest Restaurant, Nova Scotia (defending champion)
CHEF MICHAEL HOWELL
Yum, if you love crab dip, this is your man-wich from Chef Howell. The crab dip is made with cream cheese, marinated artichokes, fresh parsley and some hot sauce. There as also a hint of smokiness from smoked Gouda and real crabmeat–of course. Recipe here.
The Crabby Dipper
This was inspired by Chef Howell’s love of Southern Italy (he gives culinary tours of Italy, just FYI!) this sandwich was on olive bread and had Asiago cheese, pesto, tapenade and sundried tomato compote inside. All homemade of course and incredibly flavourful.
Chef Liana Robberecht, Calgary Petroleum Club holding her Stampede Centennial
CHEF LIANA ROBBERECHT
Chef Robberecht made this grilled ‘wich with pulled beef short ribs, provolone and blue cheese on sourdough–oh–and a bit of onion jam for some tangy sweetness. Must be eaten with fork and knife. (Or just a pile of napkins on hand).
Cherry Bomb Grilled Cheese
The Cherry Bomb
This baby came close second for me. It looked gorgeous on the plate (excuse my shoddy photo). The bright red, candied cherry tomatoes were bursting with flavour and gave the sandwich such a freshness married with Triple Cream Brie and then crunchy bacon (ok, my mouth started watering as I wrote that). Trust me, you want the recipe for for the candied-tomato vinaigrette.
Executive Chef Ned Bell, Yew Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver
CHEF NED BELL
This was a great concept, because the comfy, cozy grilled cheese we all want on a rainy day is just cheese melted and in this case served with a fruit chutney. Showcased the bread and the cheese (Courtenay Cheddar and Island Brie). And the presentation was, can I say, cute? Would Chef Bell kill me? I loved it.
The Ned “Bell Pepper” Sweet and Spicy
This little number was made on a country loaf with Hot Pepper Cheddar and Pacific Pepper Spicy Verdelait. The red bell pepper jam on the side made it, I think you’ll be wanting this recipe too.
Judges Elizabeth Baird and Rita DeMontis (talking and tweeting about the event)
And who were my fellow judges? Elizabeth Baird, Rita DeMontis and Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks which brings us to our free grilled cheese!
Judge Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks at Grilled Cheese Mission Control
HI EVERYONE–THE GRILLED CHEESE VOUCHERS ARE ALL SPOKEN FOR. Thanks for emailing, we’ll do another giveaway soon!
Kevin has generously donated a few sets of tickets for a free Original Grilled Cheese (so you can either bring someone or eat two sandwiches–it’s a toughie).
Cheesewerks (56 Bathurst St, Toronto) which also serves soups and mac and cheese, also offers some amazing sodas that are made in-house (and written up by Macleans magazine).
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “Grilled Cheese” and I’ll give them away, first come first serve!