Stories / Interviews

Ask a Chef: What’s Your Favorite Sandwich?

JBF Editors

JBF Editors

August 27, 2014



While we were pondering the art of sandwichmaking, it seemed only natural to tap our All-Star Chefs—who will be traveling around the country as part of the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America culinary tour this fall—for their picks. Below, our top toques fill us in on their favorite sandwiches.


Grant Achatz (Chicago / October 17-18)
“A Potbelly sandwich works. I like the vegetarian with everything on it. It’s fresh, warm, delicious, and inexpensive.”

Daniel Boulud (NYC / October 10-11)
“My favorite is a Provençal pan bagnat. It’s focaccia-style bread with cucumbers, avocado, eggs, olive oil–poached tuna, tomatoes, lemon zest, basil, and olive oil, and then it’s pressed. With it I would drink rosé!”

Ludo Lefebvre (Boston / October 24-25)
“As a French chef, I think the croque monsieur is the king of sandwiches. It’s crispy, fatty, cheesy, and meaty; it’s just everything you want in a sandwich.”

Barbara Lynch (Atlanta / September 12-13)
“I love a good-ass B.L.T. It’s fatty and crunchy, with perfect ripe tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and a lot of mayo.”

Marc Murphy (Seattle / September 26-27)
“I’d have to choose a B.L.T. It has texture, flavor, protein—and who doesn’t like bacon?”

Patrick O’Connell (Dallas / September 26-27)
“Open-faced black truffle sandwiches on crusty peasant bread, with sweet butter and freshly chopped shallots. The sandwich is finished with a sprinkling of sea salt and garnished with fresh radishes. It brings back fond memories of happy times in France.”

Charles Phan (Washington, D.C. / October 17-18)
“My favorite is a meatball sandwich from a local market in Hôi An, a city in the middle of Vietnam. The bread is the most important part; it’s the vehicle.”

Paul Qui (San Francisco / October 24-25)
“I love a banh mi dac biet. It’s hard to beat when the bread is crispy on the crust with a slight chew. I also love all the textures of the meats from the gelatinous head cheese, the pork pâté and liver pâtés, extra-rich Vietnamese mayo, soy sauce, and butter, topped with crunchy pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cucumbers, jalapeños, and cilantro.”

Aarón Sánchez (Los Angeles / October 10-11)
“I love cemitas. The combination of the pork, cheese, and spices makes a perfect bite with a variety of textures. It also reminds me of my childhood! I like to visit Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which has a stand with awesome cemitas.”

Sherry Yard (Phoenix / September 12-13)
“As a native New Yorker, I’d have to pick the Rachel, which is a variation on the Reuben—but substituting pastrami for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. It’s to die for!”