It was pretty easy to tell that Chef Jonathan Sawyer won Stacked: A Sandwich Showcase. It wasn't a food competition, but his Mortadella Double Down, with its Milanese breaded cutlets of mortadella in place of bread, tasted spectacular. Moist and salty, with just the right amount of crunch from the breading. It was stuffed with cauliflower and olives, which gave it the feel of an inside-out mufffuletta.
The Main Event tent was decorated with booths of unfinished wood and corrugated steel with red and white checkered tablecloths. Centerpieces of succulents and flowing ivy sat on distressed white tables situated under patio umbrellas. An accordion player slowly walked through the room, giving the event a Parisian feel. A lounge erected in the middle of the room offered wicker sofas for comfortable sandwich snacking. It's a testament to the talent behind the Wine and Food Festival that its events are not only delicious, but also beautiful.
If the setting felt like Paris, it tasted like Italy. Chef Jimmy Bannos of Chicago's Purple Pig deliverd the Basta!, with prosciutto, scamorza cheese and pickled crimini. The bread was crispy, not chewy, and the combination of mushrooms and sun dried tomato gave the sandwich a delightful Mediterranean flavor. Osteria Mozza's Chef Nancy Silverton served The Autostrada, a grilled sammy of mortadella, coppa, dry salami and prosciutto. The classic combination was paired with a side of house made pickles that were surprisingly spicy on the finish.
The event also featured sandwiches from local chefs like Michael Scognamiglio of Bacco and Ted Dombrowski of Ted's Butcher Block. Vanilla Bean Pastry Co. was also there with the Panini Dolci, a dessert sandwich of mascapone, fig balsamic jam and candied prosciutto crisps.