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Sandwiches from Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio: Meatloaf and more

Meatloaf, Grilled Gruyere and Chocolate Cookies

By Tom Colicchio |

‘wichcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal – and a meal into a sandwich

I’ve done the math, and as it turns out, about 58 percent of the meals I’ve eaten in the course of my life have been sandwiches. Breakfast en route to work? Often a sandwich. Lunch without a lunch break? Invariably, a sandwich. And here’s a typical dinner, if you happen to be a cook in a restaurant: It’s 11p.m., you had your last snack at about 5p.m., you’ve been plating beautiful meals all evening (and no, you’re not jaded about them: they smell and look great), and you’re hungry. You grab two slices of bread, nab the odds-and-ends of the short ribs that were too uneven to be served to patrons, add a slice of cheese, round it out with a swipe of onion relish, and, standing up, enjoy your meal. It’s your on-the-fly, catch-as-catch-can, portable meal – a sandwich version of the same entr’es your patrons have enjoyed all evening. Such sandwiches not only fed me, they also gave me food for thought.

While working over the years as one of my sous-chefs, Sisha Ortúzar has become a trusted emissary, someone who understands my way of doing things so well that I bring him with me to open restaurants in other cities. Turns out Sisha had given the humble sandwich a lot of thought himself. We talked about it, and I could see his ideas dovetailed with my own: namely, that a sandwich should be a portable meal sourced and crafted with the same intention and excitement as we brought to the food in our restaurants.

Here are 3 recipes that turn the humble sandwich from standard to outstanding.


  • Gruyère with Caramelized Onions

    This is one of Tom’s favorites, one that showcases how a sandwich can be adapted from a meal. The meal here is French onion soup. Whereas in the soup the onion is the star, with the crouton and cheese to support it, in the sandwich we flip that: the onions serve as the relish. We end up with something rustic and homey, and yet something that, unlike soup, can be enjoyed while walking down the street.

    Get the Recipe »


  • Meatloaf with Cheddar, Bacon, and Tomato Relish

    While we provide a meatloaf recipe here, we know how particular people are about their meatloaf recipes, so feel free to use your own. The meatloaf is gently heated, absorbing all the flavor and moisture of the sauce. Now just layer on some aged Cheddar, bacon, if you like, and the tomato relish, and you have a hearty-sandwich – the ultimate comfort food.

    Get the Recipe »


  • Chocolate Cream’wich

    Two surprises set this cookie apart: The first is that the filling is made with a chocolate ganache as opposed to just a frosting. The cream and the chocolate melt together perfectly, yielding a satisfyingly smooth texture to the filling itself. In contrast to the creaminess is the second surprise: the cocoa nibs, little pieces of roasted cacao beans. These bits add a crunchy texture that is wholly and delightfully unexpected.

    Get the Recipe »

  • Recipe reprinted from the book ‘wichcraft by Tom Colicchio with Sisha Ortuzar. Copyright © 2009. Photographs Copyright © 2009 by Bill Bettencourt. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

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About Tom Colicchio

bctomcolicchio

Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio is the head judge on Top Chef and an avid lover of sandwiches. He received the 2000 James Beard Award for Best Chef in New York City and for best General Cookbook in 2001. His Craft restaurant family includes Craftbar, Craftsteak, and ' wichcraft sandwiches.

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One thought on “Sandwiches from Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio: Meatloaf and more

  1. Chris says:

    Well done ariclte that. I’ll make sure to use it wisely.

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