Dave Does Sandwiches
By Maria Pilar Clark
Americans eat more than one billion sandwiches a year. Celebrity chef Dave Lieberman and the Grain Foods Foundation have teamed up to show eaters of all ages that the humble hero can be as simple as a tried-and-true PB&J or as fancy as a proscuitto-filled panini.
Dave Lieberman, one of The Food Network’s hottest young chefs, hosts “Good Deal” and “Eat This,” as well as the Web-based series “Dave Does” on FoodNetwork.com. Taking fresh, simple ingredients and transforming them into easy-to-make, amazingly affordable dishes is Lieberman’s forte, as is making his appetizing recipes accessible to channel-surfing home chefs across the nation.
As a private chef to various individual and corporate clients, Lieberman is living out a dream that’s rooted in his youth, when he learned to cook from his stay-at-home-dad. Moving on to work in restaurants in his hometown of Philadelphia, he carried his love of cooking and professional experience to Yale University, where the savvy student created a Connecticut-based public access cooking show called “Campus Cuisine,” which then inspired him to start his own campus catering service. After graduating in 2003, Lieberman moved to New York City to pursue a career as a private chef and to pen his first cookbook, “Young and Hungry.”
Since Lieberman’s American-style cuisine offers something for every palate, the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) has partnered with the celebrity chef to promote its America’s Healthy Sandwich Showdown, a competition seeking America’s healthiest, best-tasting sandwich right from sandwich-loving consumers.
The GFF notes that Americans eat more than one billion sandwiches every year, making it safe to say that the sandwich could well be our very own national eat.
“Classics like the Reuben and the revered ‘PB&J’ provide nutrition and comfort to millions of us everyday,” according to the Sandwich Showdown Web page at www.grainpower.org. “Sandwiches can be one of the healthiest, most convenient foods available for you and your family, and bread is the most important ingredient in making a healthy and delicious sandwich.”
Signature sandwich recipes can be entered online for a chance to win a trip to the Sandwich of Kent, England, home of the beloved sandwich’s original creator. Lieberman will choose the winner in conjunction with a panel of health and nutrition experts for the GFF.
Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery asked Lieberman to “dish” on what creative sandwich making is all about.
Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery: What are the latest trends that you’ve noticed in terms of sandwiches? Is it premium breads? High-end ingredients? Health-based eats?
Lieberman: Hearty yet simple sandwiches focused on the quality of ingredients. So, good bread and a couple of really good fillings [are key,] but those fillings better be darn good.
When making a great sandwich, I think about what type of bread best compliments the fillings and vice versa. If it’s a cheese, tomato and pesto sandwich, what’s going to make the sandwich great is picking the perfect bread — then sourcing great cheese and tomatoes and making a fresh killer pesto.
SF&WB: You promote fast, easy, tasty and reasonably affordable cooking on your shows and in your cookbook. That’s a pretty tall order. How can you apply your savvy cooking techniques to sandwich making?
Lieberman: Actually, it’s not a tall order at all because all of those things go hand-in-hand. This kind of food is based on simplicity and using really good but common ingredients. The best sandwiches are simple ones made from just a few really good ingredients, so it’s all a great fit!
SF&WB: How can home kitchen-counter chefs prepare sandwiches like a professional chef such as yourself?
Lieberman: Keep a few compound spreads or condiments around such as pestos and tapenades, and don’t skimp on the quality of the ingredients. [Also,] just keep the sandwiches simple. When it comes to preparing the sandwiches, get creative. Use a panini press, pass it under the broiler, bake it, etc.
SF&WB: Where do you find your inspiration and the ideas to create user-friendly recipes?
Lieberman: From good ingredients. I need to constantly create new ideas to keep myself excited and occupied.
SF&WB: What is your favorite kind of bread, and why?
Lieberman: Oat bread. It’s soft and a little bit cakey, but still wholesome.
SF&WB: What is your favorite type of sandwich?
Lieberman: A pressed panini with lots of melted cheese and some roasted meat.
Dave On ‘Today’
Chef Dave Lieberman promoted the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) Sandwich Showdown on NBC’s “Today” show in late August. According to the the GFF, chef Dave Lieberman hit all of the key messages, repeatedly crediting the GFF, driving viewers to www.grainpower.org and even mentioning National Bread Month, which is November. All in all, this placement reached 4,939,559 viewers. According to the GFF, the ad value was $1,565,297.
If you would like to view the “Today” show segment, visit www.grainpower.org.
Smorgasbord of Sandwich Stats
Sandwiches are a vital part of American cuisine. In fact, a great majority of U.S. adults — 99%, to be exact — eat sandwiches, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) and conducted by Harris Interactive.
The survey shows that nearly three-quarters (72%) of U.S. adults serve up sandwiches at least once a week, and one-third (33%) are most likely to pack a sandwich when traveling. The majority of people who eat sandwiches (82%) pointed to convenience as a determining factor, and about one-half (53%) claimed they ate sandwiches simply for the taste.
The sandwich has become a fixture on menus and in home kitchens across the country, but that wasn’t always the case. Sandwiches come to us from jolly old England, where the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, invented them in 1762. Legend has it that while gaming one night, the Earl was too busy to stop for a snack. Instead, he asked his chef to pile roast beef between two slices of bread so that one hand would be free to hold his cards. The concept caught on, and soon everyone in England and the American colonies was stacking them up.
Holes in One
Krispy Kreme is teeing off on a popular product: the doughnut hole. The Winston-Salem,N.C.-based retailer — best-known for its signature Hot Original Glazed — also is taking advantage of consumer demand for on-the-go eats by offering its doughnut holes in clear, re-sealable plastic cups that fit into car cup holders and help keep the bite-sized treats fresh. Customers can choose from Glazed Traditional Cake, Glazed Blueberry Cake and Glazed Chocolate Cake varieties. Such an idea is par for the course for Krispy Kreme, which has long offered its products in drive-thru’s across the country. Fore!