In Los Angeles, food trucks are big business. There are food truck events all over the city most nights of the week, hosting a variety of trucks ranging from single-truck small businesses to chain restaurants on wheels.
One of the trucks I see often (probably because there are actually several of them) is The Grilled Cheese Truck. Their tagline is “Chef-driven Grilled Cheese,” which I appreciate for the wordplay, if for no other reason.
I like the Grilled Cheese Truck, in part because I REALLY like grilled cheese. I have fond memories of my grandfather making me grilled American cheese sandwiches on white bread (with chocolate milk to drink alongside), but the GCT offers something else entirely. You can get a basic grilled cheese, of course, but you can also get sandwiches with crazy names and even crazier ingredients. One of the most popular options, and my personal favorite, is the Cheesy Mac ‘N’ Rib (AKA: #fullyloaded).
This sandwich includes sharp cheddar, smoked bbq pork, mac and cheese, and caramelized onions. It’s also available with a “crust” of parmesan, parmesan and bacon, or jalapeño, because this is AMERICA.
Now, don’t get me wrong…the #fullyloaded sandwich is delicious. However, it doesn’t remind me at all of the grilled cheese in the movie Chef:
While Chef Carl Casper creates beautiful dishes with complex flavor profiles and innumerable ingredients throughout the movie, there is nothing I’d rather eat than this grilled cheese, made for his son, with crusts decidedly ON.
I think the appeal of this scene is that Carl (Jon Favreau) displays the same attention to detail and quality in his preparation of this incredibly simple dish as he does in the creation of artistically-plated cuisine.
The ingredients–three types of cheese, bread, butter, and a little oil–are carefully chosen, and the execution is flawless. The moment where he spreads a tiny bit of butter on a corner that hadn’t quite reached optimum golden crispness? Perfection.
I’m not a professionally trained chef, but I do love to cook, and when you think about it, Carl’s grilled cheese presents an incredible lesson for an aspiring home chef:
Choose quality ingredients. Prepare them with care. Share them with the people you love.