is a way to make a spread, and Americans
like ‘jam’ or ‘marmalade’ words,” he says.
Smith chose Emmentaler because of its
nuttiness, sharpness and melting ability.
“Duck confit is overlooked as a meat for
sandwiches,” he adds. “It has a good meat
taste. It is very tender and easy to chew.”
• Marc Forgione, chef/partner at Marc Forgione, New York, menus a Marcelli soft pecorino, black pepper brioche, fig jam and micro arugula grilled cheese sandwich. • Candied bacon grilled cheese served on Pullman loaf with Colby Jack cheese is the creation of chef Brian Reyelt, Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar and Tasty Burger, Boston. • Executive chef Santosh Tiptur of Co Co. Sala, Washington, D.C., serves truffle- scented brioche and aged cheddar cheese, which arrives with roasted tomato GRILLED CHEESE AROUND THE COUNTRY soup and a cheese fritter drizzled with chipotle/chocolate/tomato cream sauce. • At RH Restaurant & Bar, West Hollywood, Calif., executive chef Sebastien Archambault layers housemade plum and fig chutney, prosciutto, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese atop locally made bread for his grilled cheese. • Chef Paul Olson, Mission Table, Traverse City, Mich., builds grilled cheese with sourdough, Taleggio, local Leelanau Cheese Co.’s Raclette, heirloom tomatoes, arugula and basil mayo.
At Salt Lake City’s Huntsman Cancer
Institute’s The Point restaurant, executive
chef Brandon Howard prepares grilled
cheese using foie gras, Piper’s Pyramid
goat cheese, dried apricots and rosemary
bread. First, he rehydrates sliced apricots
in balsamic vinegar. Then he combines
pâté de foie gras with unsalted butter.
He spreads that mixture across rosemary
bread, and tops with apricots and goat
cheese. “The sweetness of the balsamic
and apricots enhances the richness of
the foie gras and subtleness of the goat
cheese,” Howard says. “Rosemary provides
a fresh and earthy tone to the bread while
blending well with the goat cheese.”
To further dress up grilled cheese, Smith
suggests adding unusual pickles and
relishes, such as pickled cherries mixed
with diced raw fennel or pickled jalapeños
minced with capers and green olives.
The Tomato Head, Knoxville and Maryville,
Tenn., jazzes up grilled cheese with tomato
jam. Chef/owner Mahasti Vafaie ate tomato
jam that Maryville chef Robert Birkholz
made, and thought it would taste delicious
on grilled cheese. “The tomato jam is slightly
sweet, so it blends well with the slightly salty
taste of the cheese,” she says.
The jam is prepared with roasted Roma
tomatoes combined with balsamic
vinegar, light brown sugar and salt. Vafaie
assembles the sandwich with slices of
country loaf French bread, tomato jam,
Monterey Jack, smoked turkey and
Benton’s bacon strips.
Red-onion marmalade imparts a sweet/
sour balance to Eric Gruber’s nouvelle three-
cheese grilled cheese. “It cuts some of the fat
from the cheese and adds a crunchy texture,”
says Gruber, who is executive chef at Shore
Lodge in McCall, Idaho, a resort that operates
four restaurants on the premises.
When planning the sandwich, Gruber
looked for diversity in cheese flavors
and meltability. He chooses fontina for
its melting qualities and strong, pungent
flavor, manchego for its meltability and
great nutty flavor and Brie. “Brie’s the
strongest flavor of the bunch, and gives a
different texture with the rind,” he says.
For some chefs, it’s the surprise element
that makes their grilled cheese sandwiches
both memorable and adult-friendly. That’s
exactly what Barrie Lynn, The Cheese
Impresario, a cheese educator based in
Los Angeles, thought when she created
the Oohhh Sandwich, which showcases
Salemville Amish Blue cheese and peanut
brittle between La Brea Bakery’s country
white bread. She serves the sandwich with
a dollop of honeycomb. “It’s a sweet/savory
combination,” Lynn says. “At first, people
think this is a horrible idea. Then they taste
it. Then they crave more.”
Sean Currid, chef de cuisine at Cafe ZuZu
at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Ariz.,
Chef de cuisine Sean Currid’s truffle grilled
cheese delights guests at Cafe ZuZu.