Paso Robles’ own “Chefry Jeffry” and “MacDaddy” will make all stops on June 18 at Avila Beach Golf Resort to win this year’s Macaroni and Cheese Festival.
The festival’s perennial winners, now entering their ninth year after a two-year epidemic break, face stiff competition from two talented local chefs, including Goldland B at San Luis Obespo. BQ’s Joshua Loos is also included.
When Kraft released its macaroni and cheese dinner in 1937, Guy’s Comfort Food, with its roots in Italy, took over the American cuisine scene.
Sold for 19 cents in a box, elbow pasta mixed with processed cheese in a simple dish and fed to a family of four. Smithsonian Magazine annual sales increased from an initial 8 million to 50 million boxes during WWII, then became a comfortable holding pattern to 1 million boxes a day worldwide.
However, the craft is for children. Avila Beach Macaroni and Cheese Festival is for adults 21 and older. The dish is haute couture, and the chefs – from SLO and Santa Barbara counties – are famous.
“The Mack & Cheese Festival is one of my favorite food festivals on the Central Coast,” said Jeffrey Weissinger, owner, Pitt Master, and Jefferies Wine Country BBQ’s Somalier.
The restaurant in Paso Robles, Wiesinger’s downtown area, includes six signature macaroni and cheese dishes to complement its trademark wood-fired, scratch-filled dishes.
“Mac and cheese are truly the king of American casual food,” he said. “Although I must say it wasn’t one of the dishes I went to before the Mac and Cheese Festival started. I mean, even ‘bad’ Mac and cheese are still good, but it’s life-changing. It can be a wonderful experience when you try delicious, creative, chef-made mac and cheese. ”
Wiesinger has amassed an impressive collection of festive trophies, which has been in the top three every year since 2013, winning two first positions.
Running for his money is “McDaddy” or Greg Vanguard, who co-owns the project with his wife Kelly. The catering firm specializes in seasonal food with French and Italian techniques.
He attributes his numerous victories to one of the “secret ingredients” – Gold Bella Vitano of Sartori, Wisconsin.
“I like to make mac and cheese with this cheese,” he said. “It melts very well.”
It has not yet finalized this year’s entry, but “this traditional elbow will be market-based with macaroni, cream and cheese,” he said.
“What sets my Mac apart from others,” he added, “is that I make each batch to order – no cheese sauce or other shortcuts. That’s why it’s so addictive.
“It’s like eating baby mac and cheese out of the pan. When you make it. That’s the ticket.”
Weisner and Vanguard were both ousted in 2019 by Mama’s Meatball and Mistura owner and chef Nicola Allegrata, who will not be attending this year’s festival.
That means he’s ready to take the top spot, and Los of Goldland BBQ thinks he’s a strong contender.
As a base, “we use elbow macaroni and creamy sharp cheddar sauce,” Lucas said. “The pasta is perfectly cooked, and the sauce is silky and smooth.”
For the competition, Lucas is adding a triangular smoking tip with his home barbecue sauce and rig.
The Los Catering Company, which operates outside the San Luis Obespo kitchen terminal, specializes in Santa Maria style, red oak smoked barbecue, including prime beef trytip, natural pork ribs, linguica sausage, and range chicken.
However, its sides – including farm-style beans, potato salad, vinegar salad, and mac and cheese – stand out on their own.
“Sometimes when you eat a barbecue, the triangular tip can be good, the ribs can be good, but you go for them and they are a little less,” he explained.
This is not the case with Goldland, and he hopes the fairgoers will agree.
Wessinger, Vanguard, and Los will compete against two dozen chefs at this year’s festival, which is expected to attract about 2,000 guests, or taste testers.
As well as tasting the stuff, hosting the event are local radio personalities Adam Montel and Jeremy West, Up and Adam in the Morning and Cork Dorks on The Crush 92.5.
“Everyone is excited to go out, eat, drink and see each other’s smiling faces,” said Montiel, who has been hosting the festival since its inception. “We want to celebrate not only the place where we live, but the best of what we do here.
“We have world-class wine, beer, spirits and much more, as well as many local chefs who reach that level with their meals.
“Everybody involved in entertaining these talented chefs, letting their hair down and enjoying a relaxing meal on the beach with china, mac and cheese tops,” he said. Is a complete explosion. ”
In addition to sampling and voting at the festival’s best mac and cheese samples, guests will enjoy wine and cocktail tasting, games, live music, and the knowledge that their dollars have benefited local charities through AGM Community Partners. have been.
The nonprofit recently launched by American General Media based in Bakersfield – The Krush 92.5, Coast 104.5, KVEC, KZOZ, and K-Jug’s parent company, which has offices in San Luis Obespo and Santa Maria. ” It will use its resources to identify the needs and locations and help the community as well as other non-profit organizations that are already doing well locally, “Montel added. 3
Flavor writer Cherish Whyte enjoyed sampling – for charity! Visit it at [email protected]