Gorgeous Grilled Cheese Inspired by Chef the film

The food:

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The story:

My new food-centric novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is now available, where books and ebooks are sold!

As part of my half-baked fun-filled campaign to promote it, I’m Writer-in-Residence this month at Open Book Toronto where there is an almost embarrassing amount of content on me: an interview that lists 12 things most people don’t know about me (or do they?), some book recommendations, and several blog posts about my writing life.

At the end of my launch week, I went to see the movie Chef, and was so taken by the food-porn-to-the-max grilled cheese sandwich made by the chef character in the movie for his 10-year-old son that I tried to recreate it in my kitchen the next day, with very tasty (if fattening) results that I blogged about over at Open Book Toronto.

After the end credits of the film, a short sequence shows famed L.A. chef Roy Choi, who was a producer and food consultant on the movie, instructing actor/writer/director Jon Favreau on how to make the grilled cheese sandwich. Or so I’m told, because I did not know this before I went to see the movie and didn’t stay in the theatre past the end credits! This, even though, I put in a past-the-end-credits type teaser, for fun, at the end of The Oakdale Dinner Club!

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Fevered internet sleuthing – one review mentioned which cheeses were used in the film sandwich, and that olive oil was a factor in the pan, random best grilled cheese recipes elsewhere suggested grating the cheeses for faster melting – led to my very own recipe for how to make a gorgeous grilled cheese sandwich in the manner of Chef the film, a movie I highly recommend if you like food, eating, and feel-good movies about food and eating.

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Gorgeous Grilled Cheese in the Manner of Chef the Film

Ingredients:
– 2 not too thick, not too thin slices of good quality, airy white bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta
– 1/2 cup to 1 cup – depending where you fit on the risk aversion/thrill-seeking continuum – of grated cheese, made up of 1 part Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 part extra old cheddar (white or orange) and 2 parts Swiss Gruyere
– generous amount of unsalted butter
– a drizzle of olive oil for the frying pan

Method:

– Butter generously one side of each slice of bread
– Heat small amount of olive oil in frying pan until hot and swirled over surface of pan
– Place one slice bread, buttered side down, in pan, turn heat down to medium
– Pile up grated cheeses on bread, as much as you can handle
– Place second slice of bread on top of cheese, buttered side up
– Cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until bottom slice is golden
– Flip sandwich over and cook until other side is golden
– Press down on the sandwich with a spatula if you wish to compress it a little
– If cheese is not melted when both sides of bread are golden, turn heat down to low and cover frying pan, let cook for another few minutes until cheese is melted to your satisfaction but top and bottom are still crunchy
– Slide sandwich out of pan onto cutting board and cut with big, sharp, impressive-looking chef’s knife
– Slide two halves of sandwich onto plate and arrange one on top of the other at an angle (see photo) to look more arty, appetizing and well, gorgeous
– If you’re me, gild this lily with a little sea salt sprinkled over top
– Eat while still hot, with or without your condiment of choice (chutney, ketchup)

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