I watched and listened while they created sandwich after sandwich but not like I made them. And as the saying goes, “I am the Chef the Chef is never wrong”. Enough was enough, I finally felt confident enough to speak up to one of my mentors. “That’s not the way I was taught to make a sandwich!”, I said. “Oh?” would be the retort. “Then you have been making them wrong all this time.” OK? Standard answer from any of them. I wasn’t considered a “CHEF”. I only had cooking credentials behind me.
Well, maybe I was, and maybe I wasn’t. All I knew is that my sandwiches were better looking, easier to hold, and had more flavor. AND they were made with the same ingredients that the chefs would make theirs out of.
The short of it is this, the ‘Sandwich’ forever had been the step child of the culinary world. The low brow of epicurean snobs. The simpleton of dishes. What’s fancy about a sandwich? Filling between two pieces of bread? That’s it? Anybody can do that! Take bologna and bread, everyone has had that at least once in their life. Now think this way, grill the bologna serve it on Texas toast, takes it to a whole new level.
To me my mission was, to elevate the sandwich from being a humble dish to something greater. To let others know the ‘Sandwich’ is a meal that could rival anything in LaRousse Gastronomic.
For that, I would hone my craft for years. I studied sandwiches from coast to coast. Each restaurant I worked for, each hotel, every book I read had something to do with sandwiches. Some sandwiches that were famous and some not. From the simple to the complex, open face, subs, wraps, Dagwoods, Reubens, Cubans, Double Deckers. I studied the types of bread, cheeses, sauces, what made the sandwiches special? All the time keeping in mind the tricks I was taught as a child in the deli to make a sandwich great.
Stacking the meats, cheeses, sauces, and vegetables, to how to cut and plate a sandwich, all of it. Combining the techniques from culinary school with that of old school delis I have a blended style of sandwich design that makes my type of sandwich unique. All that has bought me to receive all the accolades over the past several years, All the Best of issues, one of the top 12 sandwich shops in the state of Texas, the third best sandwich shop in America by Yahoo at one time. Compliments from some of the top chefs in Texas, 4.5 rating out of 5 from both Yelp and Trip advisor even higher on Google. Also, validation from a Master Chef that is currently the American Federation of Chef’s reigning champion.
It’s not enough to just make a sandwich. It’s the why you make the sandwich, where that sandwich came, who created that sandwich, and what is it composed of. All of that makes the sandwich a critical part of the culinary experience. That is why I do what I do. All Chefs have passion for some part of the Culinary experience. Mine just happens to be the sandwich.
Do what you can with this but in a nut shell, I am good, I am knowledgeable, I am a critic, I can create greatness out of the mundane. I’ll go toe to toe with the best. There are not many that can do any better than what I have learned over the past 50 plus years of sandwich making.