Sandwich Secrets with Chef Tom Colicchio

Top Chef and restauranteur Chef Tom Colicchio joins The Jim Brickman Show to share his sandwich secrets and challenging you to make “America’s Better Sandwich”

Jim Brickman – Renowned chef Tom Colicchio has judged more than 14 seasons of Top Chef, he’s opened multiple restaurants and now he’s made more sandwiches than anyone could count.  Now he’s challenging you to turn something simple into something unforgettable.  Now Chef Tom let’s get into specifics on sandwiches, how can we up our game a little bit?
Chef Tom Colicchio – So our approach to sandwiches is the same way you’d approach just regular recipes for a regular meal.  You start with the best ingredients possible they happen to just be sitting between two pieces of bread.  So yeah there’s no difference really, you just start with great ingredients and then obviously what’s on the outside is just as important as what’s on the inside.  For this tuna sandwich I have in front of me right now – it’s an updated tuna sandwich.  It starts with tuna but instead of mayonnaise and celery, we have some red onion, some capers, some black and green olives, a little bit of fresh oregano and we uh surround that with Arnold Premium Breads Oat Nut Bread.  It has great texture um and I love this bread because there’s no high fructose corn syrup, there’s no artificial flavors so it’s really naturally delicious.  So that’s that sandwich.

You at home can help give back just by making a sandwich and have a chance at winning $25,000.  Keep scrolling to find out how you can win

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Upgrade
Grilled White Cheddar with Pears, Walnut Pesto & Cranberry Mustard Recipe

Ingredients for Sandwich

  • 8 slices Arnold, Brownberry, Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread
  • 8 slices white cheddar cheese
  • 2 Bartlett pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • Walnut pesto (recipe below)
  • Cranberry mustard (recipe below)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Walnut Pesto

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients for Cranberry Mustard

  • 1 cup grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Cranberry Mustard Directions

  • Plump the cranberries by soaking in warm water for 30 minutes.  Drain and roughly chop.  Add grain mustard, stir together and refrigerate

Directions for Sandwich

  • On 4 slices of Country Buttermilk bread, spread the walnut pesto.  And one slice of cheese to each, then sliced pears, then the last piece of cheese.  Top with cranberry mustard and second slice of bread
  • In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Place sandwiches one at a time in skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes before flipping (check for color and temperature: cheese should be melted and bread golden).  If the bread is sticking, allow to cook slightly longer and it will unstick itself

Walnut Pesto Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until fragrant.  Transfer the walnuts to a food processor and roughly chop. Slowly add the oil and continue to process until you have a spreadable (but not too smooth) pesto; the walnuts release their own oils so be patient while adding oil.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for up to one week

Jim Brickman – We’re joined by Top Chef judge, Chef Tom Colicchio.  Chef Tom there’s a contest happening right now where we can help support Feeding America just by making a better sandwich.  Tell us about that
Chef Tom Colicchio – Sure!  So I’ve teamed up with Arnold, Brownberry, Oroweat for America’s Better Sandwich contest.  And if you have a favorite sandwich recipe you can submit a recipe and win up to $25,000 so that’s kind of really cool.  But also Arnold, Oroweat and Brownberry they have um also agreed to donate for every submission they’re going to donate a loaf of bread to Feeding America so that goes out to food banks all around the country.  So not only can you put some great dough in your pocket but you can help put some bread on the table for some families that uh are really struggling out there.
Jim Brickman – So the America’s Better Sandwich contest – where can we go for more info and learn how we can enter?
Chef Tom Colicchio – Yeah sure you can go to and on that site there’s a bunch of sandwich tips and recipes that I created for the contest and just keep in mind that all the submissions have to be in by September 15th.
Jim Brickman – And Chef Tom before you go can you give us one idea that you use to make your sandwich better?
Chef Tom Colicchio – Oh boy…it’s summer right now so tomato’s on my mind every single day.  I just started getting them from my garden so a big, fat slice of tomato is always helpful.  You know I also fish and so I love doing you know a grilled piece of fish maybe uh a big slice of tomato, and some olive oil.  You know I like spicy food and right now Calabrian chilis are something that I love.  Really spicy, I have this Calabrian chili relish that I use so a little bit of that on the bread as well and to me that’s a great sandwich

More on Chef Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio has been the head judge on every season of Bravo’s reality TV show “Top Chef” as well as the host for “Best New Restaurant.”.  He is the founder of ‘wichcraft, a New York City-founded sandwich shop with eight locations across the country, and

Chef Tom Colicchio

Photo Credit Jim Franco

Crafted Hospitality, whose family of restaurants includes Craft, Riverpark, Fowler & Wells,  Craftsteak, Beachcraft and Heritage

Steak. Colicchio has also received critical acclaim for Gramercy Tavern in New York City, where he formerly served as a co-owner and the executive chef, and  is the recipient of five James Beard Foundation Awards for his accomplishments as a chef, including the highly-coveted “Outstanding Chef” award (May 2015).

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