Today (Sunday), I was one of three finalists that participated in the Gourmet Grilled Cheese competition at the Good Food and Drink Festival. The winning sandwich – The “Indo-Canadian Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Eh!” was mine – I WON! The event host was the incomparable Mairlyn Smith, Professional Home Economist and TV Celebrity, Second City Alumnus – and one of the people who inspired my love of cooking. She has a way of making everything she cooks look so easy to put together (you can catch her on Breakfast Television and City Line among other shows).
The three judges were Executive Chef Corbin Tomaszeski, Dinner Party Wars, Restaurant Makeover Food Network and HGTV Celebrity; The Big Cheese – Kevin Durkee, Chef/Owner Cheesewerks; and the lovely Irene Ngo, Assistant Food Editor Chatelaine Magazine, Cook, Baker and Cake Artist. Truly, I did sweat, but it was because I was standing so close to the Panini press (really). Thanks for allowing us to showcase our talents and recognizing the effort all of us put into our sandwiches.
Winning was a great thrill for me, it validates my reason for wanting to be a Chef. I’m very fortunate that my grilled cheese recipe will be featured in Chatelaine’s blog (I’ll keep you posted), and that the Big Cheese himself, Mr. Durkee will be featuring my sandwich at his restaurant Cheesewerks this weekend (April 13). Here’s the recipe – but you have to come to Cheesewerks this weekend (I’ll be there) to try the real thing. Special thanks to Amanda and her team, for keeping us on track and for sharing in our excitement every step of the way. As always – enjoy!
Ingredients (for 1 sandwich)
1 Bhattura – Indian style Flat Bread, could also use Naan
1 Medium Onion – sliced
2 tblsp Olive Oil
½ cup Goat Cheese at room temperature
3 slices Peameal Bacon
4 tblsps Maple Syrup (3 + 1)
Salt/Pepper to taste
½ tsp Dried Chili Flakes (or more)
Preheat the oven to 400f – grill setting or get out your Panini maker.
Cut the flat bread in half.
15 minutes – Caramelize the onions in the Olive Oil on medium heat – season with Salt, Pepper, Dried Chili Flakes.
Add 3 tblsps Maple Syrup to the Onions just before they are done – taste, season with salt/pepper and/or additional Maple Syrup if needed.
Cook the Peameal Bacon, set aside – make extra to allow for snacking purposes
Mix the Goat Cheese with the 1 tblsp Maple Syrup.
Spread the goat cheese on both sides of the flatbread.
Lay the peameal bacon on top of the goat cheese.
Add the maple caramelized onions and top with the other half of the flatbread.
Press down lightly – place on a baking sheet and put it on the middle rack of your oven.
Set the timer for 5 minutes – flip the bread over and grill a further 5 minutes – note ovens vary so keep an eye on the browning of the bread.
Cut into wedges, serve with Strawberries seriously, they compliment each other well.