Top News

And the Mac and Cheese Showdown winner is...


After a month of munching on mac and cheese for the Five Brothers Artisan Cheese Mac and Cheese Showdown, co-judge Jessica Kilfoy and I agree: Tavola does it best.

In November the Bring the Bread food blogger and I visited six St. John’s restaurants who participated in the challenge: Green Sleeves, Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth, Tavola, The Reluctant Chef, Wedgwood Café and Bivver/Oppidan. I was blown away by the creativity and talent displayed by the chefs, as were the local foodies who enjoyed the comfort food fight and weighed in with their votes.

In the end, Tavola won our hearts and tastebuds. And while many of the people who voted on the showdown’s Facebook page agreed with us (171), the poll’s winner was Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth with 206 votes. Greensleeves got 60 votes, The Reluctant Chef got 36, Wedgwood Café got 27, Oppidan got 12, and curiously, Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food (which wasn’t in the contest) got 3.

Let me tell you about the grub and how we rated them, in order of when we visited.

 

Green Sleeves

Chef Harry Brown

Yukon Gold gnocchi genovesa with Five Brothers blend, basil pesto, sausage and salami

Chef Brown is your man if you’re looking for comfort food. This cheesy, garlicky, meaty dish stuck well to my ribs. I only wish there had been more gnocchi.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 3 (Jessica)

Presentation: 2 (Louis); 2 (Jessica)

 

Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth

Chef Brian Piercey

Spicy Buffalo chicken in panko-crusted mac and cheese bites with spicy ketchup and apricot jam

This dish was beautiful inside and out. I was a little apprehensive about the mix of flavours, but the apricot married the ingredients together very well. I’m not surprised so many people voted for this one.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

Presentation: 5 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

 

Tavola

Chef Peter Ellsworth

Panko-crusted Avalon cheddar mac and cheese with smoked cod, savoury aioli and kimchi

Who knew kimchi would be so good on mac and cheese? Not me, but now I do. This magical dish was so creamy and delicious we both regretted splitting the meal instead of ordering one each. The presentation was impeccable. I’ll be back for more of Chef Ellsworth’s grub.

Taste: 5 (Louis); 5 (Jessica)

Presentation: 5 (Louis); 5 (Jessica)

 

The Reluctant Chef (Vinyl Room)

Chef Jay Schwartz

Truffled apple butter gnocchi with Avalon Cheddar, Bergy Bits curds and parmesan

I was a big fan of the texture of this gnocchi, and the bergy bits were a nice little surprise. The truffled apple butter gave the dish a little sweetness that made it feel like supper and dessert all at once. It’s worth noting that this was the only vegetarian option in the whole competition.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

Presentation: 2.5 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

 

Wedgwood Café

Chef Peter Wedgwood

Avalon Cheddar mac and cheese on a pretzel bun with roasted garlic, brown sugar and ginger-glazed ham, bergy bits and mushrooms, topped with popcorn White Fleet Queso Fresco

The flavour of the ham on this open-faced sandwich was the best part of the meal. I think the popcorn queso fresco was a great idea, and it would make a good pub starter with dipping sauce.

Taste: 2.5 (Louis); (Jessica)

Presentation: 3 (Louis); 2 (Jessica)

 

Oppidan/Bivver (Sheraton Hotel)

Chef Roary MacPherson

Mac and cheese with ham, collard greens, popcorn chicken and fried green tomatoes

The mac and cheese with ham was delicious and creamy, and I think it would have stood on its own without the other items. You could taste the butter, and that’s a good thing.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 3.5 (Jessica)

Presentation: 3 (Louis); 3 (Jessica)

 

Sadly, as far as I’m aware, these dishes were made special for the month of November only.

“It was really interesting to see the various talents and interpretations from each chef reflected in their dish,” Jessica says. “Tavola created a unique dish using ingredients uncommon for mac and cheese, but they worked together perfectly.”

Congratulations and thank you to Peter Ellsworth, Tavola, all the chefs and restaurants who took part and Five Brothers for making it happen. All that comfort food will keep me cosy through December.

And I’d be a jerk if I didn’t thank the excellent servers who made this challenge even better. Thank you.

 

lpower@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyLouis

In November the Bring the Bread food blogger and I visited six St. John’s restaurants who participated in the challenge: Green Sleeves, Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth, Tavola, The Reluctant Chef, Wedgwood Café and Bivver/Oppidan. I was blown away by the creativity and talent displayed by the chefs, as were the local foodies who enjoyed the comfort food fight and weighed in with their votes.

In the end, Tavola won our hearts and tastebuds. And while many of the people who voted on the showdown’s Facebook page agreed with us (171), the poll’s winner was Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth with 206 votes. Greensleeves got 60 votes, The Reluctant Chef got 36, Wedgwood Café got 27, Oppidan got 12, and curiously, Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food (which wasn’t in the contest) got 3.

Let me tell you about the grub and how we rated them, in order of when we visited.

 

Green Sleeves

Chef Harry Brown

Yukon Gold gnocchi genovesa with Five Brothers blend, basil pesto, sausage and salami

Chef Brown is your man if you’re looking for comfort food. This cheesy, garlicky, meaty dish stuck well to my ribs. I only wish there had been more gnocchi.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 3 (Jessica)

Presentation: 2 (Louis); 2 (Jessica)

 

Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth

Chef Brian Piercey

Spicy Buffalo chicken in panko-crusted mac and cheese bites with spicy ketchup and apricot jam

This dish was beautiful inside and out. I was a little apprehensive about the mix of flavours, but the apricot married the ingredients together very well. I’m not surprised so many people voted for this one.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

Presentation: 5 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

 

Tavola

Chef Peter Ellsworth

Panko-crusted Avalon cheddar mac and cheese with smoked cod, savoury aioli and kimchi

Who knew kimchi would be so good on mac and cheese? Not me, but now I do. This magical dish was so creamy and delicious we both regretted splitting the meal instead of ordering one each. The presentation was impeccable. I’ll be back for more of Chef Ellsworth’s grub.

Taste: 5 (Louis); 5 (Jessica)

Presentation: 5 (Louis); 5 (Jessica)

 

The Reluctant Chef (Vinyl Room)

Chef Jay Schwartz

Truffled apple butter gnocchi with Avalon Cheddar, Bergy Bits curds and parmesan

I was a big fan of the texture of this gnocchi, and the bergy bits were a nice little surprise. The truffled apple butter gave the dish a little sweetness that made it feel like supper and dessert all at once. It’s worth noting that this was the only vegetarian option in the whole competition.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

Presentation: 2.5 (Louis); 4 (Jessica)

 

Wedgwood Café

Chef Peter Wedgwood

Avalon Cheddar mac and cheese on a pretzel bun with roasted garlic, brown sugar and ginger-glazed ham, bergy bits and mushrooms, topped with popcorn White Fleet Queso Fresco

The flavour of the ham on this open-faced sandwich was the best part of the meal. I think the popcorn queso fresco was a great idea, and it would make a good pub starter with dipping sauce.

Taste: 2.5 (Louis); (Jessica)

Presentation: 3 (Louis); 2 (Jessica)

 

Oppidan/Bivver (Sheraton Hotel)

Chef Roary MacPherson

Mac and cheese with ham, collard greens, popcorn chicken and fried green tomatoes

The mac and cheese with ham was delicious and creamy, and I think it would have stood on its own without the other items. You could taste the butter, and that’s a good thing.

Taste: 4 (Louis); 3.5 (Jessica)

Presentation: 3 (Louis); 3 (Jessica)

 

Sadly, as far as I’m aware, these dishes were made special for the month of November only.

“It was really interesting to see the various talents and interpretations from each chef reflected in their dish,” Jessica says. “Tavola created a unique dish using ingredients uncommon for mac and cheese, but they worked together perfectly.”

Congratulations and thank you to Peter Ellsworth, Tavola, all the chefs and restaurants who took part and Five Brothers for making it happen. All that comfort food will keep me cosy through December.

And I’d be a jerk if I didn’t thank the excellent servers who made this challenge even better. Thank you.

 

lpower@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyLouis

Recent Stories