The 2013 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown is underway and to celebrate, Wisconsin Cheese connected with Ally D’Antoni Phillips, creator of the 2012 winning recipe, The Bewitching, to find out what went on in her kitchen during the making of her masterpiece.
Q: Part of a great entry is an image that really conveys the deliciousness of the sandwich. What golden rules do you follow when capturing a recipe with your camera?
Ally: Pictures really are worth a gazillion words when you’re a foodie. I’ll share with you some of my trade secrets for capturing a great photo:
- Make it look natural. Too much staging isn’t real life. If there are a few crumbs after you’ve sliced the sandwich, leave them.
- Lighting is key. You have to have a lot of good light or you’re not going to see the beauty of the food.
- Composition. When considering elements to photograph alongside the sandwich, don’t “over” stage. For instance, would you really have an artificial flower placed on the plate when serving? Probably not. Many times I keep the plate simple, a neutral white, or show the food served in a cast-iron skillet. Then I create interest with a retro serving piece, antique silverware, a colorful napkin, etc.
Q: What constitutes a great grilled cheese recipe in your mind? Is it all about the cheese, the texture or the interesting additions?
Ally: For me, a great grilled cheese is about combining a few flavors, textures and colors, then letting each play on your palate. In the case of The Bewitching, there was a salty crunch of bacon, then a burst of juicy sweet flavor with the blackberries, a creamy warmth to the oozing cheese, a peppery subtlety of the arugula and a richness in the grilled, buttered bread. Each ingredient had its “moment,” and collectively this recipe became a culinary experience.
Q: What is your favorite way to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month?
Ally: I love celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month by exploring new cheeses and becoming best friends with the cheesemonger at my market for personalized tutorials on cheese!
The quintessential grilled cheese can go from just a sandwich to a chic masterpiece with some creativity, research, experimentation and flat out fun!
Put Ally’s tips to work and celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by entering The 2013 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown. Visit GrilledCheeseAcademy.com to submit your recipe.