For the past decade, we’ve lived in an era of pumped-up burger cooks, who have done impossibly good—and not so good—things with ground beef and a bun. Now, finally, there’s news for everyone who has had more than enough burgers. It’s time to make way for the sandwich chefs and their incredible creations.
It’s not as if elite cooks haven’t made a sandwich before: Superchef Thomas Keller has launched some amazing ones at his nine-year-old Bouchon bakeries. But now, well-trained chefs are opening up dedicated sandwich places, where they make almost everything from scratch and redefine classic concepts. “I see a lot of chefs going to sandwiches,” says Roy Choi, an F&W Best New Chef 2010. He knows more than a little about culinary trends, having helped launch the food-truck craze a few years back with his Los Angeles-based Kogi BBQ Korean tacos. “The new sandwiches are extremely well-composed,” he says. “It’s the 2.0 of casual food becoming more complex.” After all, chefs have been curing their own meat for years; they just needed a place to put it besides a charcuterie plate.
- Simple Acts of Sandwich Genius
- Building a Better Sandwich
- Sandwich Suggestions for Roasts
- Andrew Zimmern’s Favorite Sandwiches
- Bread Winner
- Perfecting the Panini
- Skillet Sandwiches
- Panini Power
Likewise, many of these chefs have been experimenting with bread. At Bäco Mercat in L.A., for instance, Josef Centeno bakes a special flatbread he’s dubbed the “bäco,” using it as a base for sandwiches like his crispy panko-crusted fried shrimp with spicy cardamom. As a rule, chefs also like to play around with sauces, and sandwich experts are no exception. At the New York City-based No. 7 Sub shops, Tyler Kord makes an updated smoky French dressing that wouldn’t be out of place at an elegant restaurant; instead, it tops his grilled-asparagus hero. And that sandwich is cheaper than anything you’d find at a fancy place: just $9.