Slow Food Edmonton hosted their first comfort food Olympic event today. Hoping to conquer a new comfort food each year by having local participants engage in a friendly competition, the annual event kicked off with grilled cheese sandwiches. Being able to compete in classic or contemporary categories, participants were able to cook their sandwiches on some mighty nice looking equipment inside of Coast Wholesale Appliances.
The judges included Edmonton Journal Bistro writer Liane Faulder, Tony Le (Executive Chef, Lux Steakhouse), Fern Janzen from Paddy’s Cheese and Blair Lebsack (Executive Chef, Madison’s Grill). With an incalculable amount of calories in each dish, I couldn’t help notice some judges nibbling while others were eating (hard to give fair judgment when you aren’t all in I say). The competition was judged blind, with each competitor or team assigned a specific time to deliver their goods; as well, they were encouraged to make extra samples for the crowd.
My thoughts are mixed on the event. Bring informed that Edmonton’s Slow Food community is upwards of 100 people (one of the largest in Canada), they didn’t seem to be well represented. It seemed most of the spectators were friends and family, and I hope they branch out next year and really promote the event (I don’t know many people who would turn down delicious, fatty, and free grilled cheese sandwiches). The sandwiches were all over the board, from chocolate and goat cheese to potato bread and bacon. The visuals speak for themselves, but I felt sorry for many diners who looked as if they had just cracked open a bottle of Vaseline after handling the grease laden bread. But I’m going to stop writing, and start showing!
The best thing I ate all day…danish pickles, which were cool and refreshing. A wonderful rendition on the classic dill pickle side.
The best part of this event for me was just getting out into the community. Being able to take more of my twitter/internet conversations and turn them from words to faces is always a great thing. Of course, a day couldn’t go by without learning something new from Mr. Edmonton himself, Mack Male and it was fantastic as always to meet. All said and done, I’ll leave you with this fantastic image of a brioche grilled cheese by Nathan Box.