UB CFA hosts day of mac and cheese
The Village Inn takes home first place and the ‘golden noodle’
The Kiss 98.5 “Mac Attack” was held Sunday at the Center for the Arts and dubbed, “the cheesiest day of the year.”
Vendors from the area brought their best mac and cheese in hopes of winning first place and leaving with the “golden noodle.”
There were 11 competitors in the competition, including Mooney’s, The Press Box and Protocol Restaurant. The event was held in CFA seating area, with vendors lining the walls serving small cups of mac and cheese to attendees. Those who attended the event were given a scorecard with a place to write their overall favorite mac and cheese – along with any vendor they would like to see at the event next year.
At the end, the winner of the first place golden noodle was The Village Inn won first place and took home the golden noodle. Lloyd’s Food Truck came in second and Cheesy Chicks Food Truck in third.
Mooney’s and Fat Bob’s Smokehouse won first and second place for “people’s choice.”
Adam Rosa was excited to get into the building and came all the way from Chicago.
“I just came here to try as many varieties of mac and cheese as possible,” Rosa said. “This is going to be so good.”
Stack Burger, a local burger place in West Seneca made an appearance with a spicy mac and cheese, called “Demon,” to offer to the crowd.
Anthony Giangrosso, executive chef of Stack Burger, thought the spice would bring him home the trophy.
“We decided to go bold with the flavors, with two different types of spicy peppers and eight spices,” Giangrosso said. “I think ours is the spiciest.”
Lloyd’s Taco Truck is a favorite in Buffalo and brought their own variation on mac and cheese.
Pat Fisher, the director of marketing and customer service, thought knowing how to cook in the taco truck helped them in the competition.
“Being agile and able to adapt to what we are given puts us ahead,” Fisher said. “There have been times we’ve dealt with blackouts and generators before, so we are definitely on our toes.”
But the food is the most important part, Fisher knew how they could stay ahead.
“We make everything from scratch,” he said. “From our chorizo sausage, to fresh garlic and cheddar cheese.”
Another well-known name was Fat Bob’s Smokehouse, offering pulled pork and coleslaw to put on the top of the mac and cheese.
“Our mac and cheese is well known around the city,” said Cory Watson, the catering director. “The Memphis Mac is a very popular menu item at our restaurant and I think people were expecting it to be here.”
But it wasn’t only restaurants and vendors in the running for the best mac and cheese. The Culinary Institute of Niagara Falls was there to compete.
Victoria Sperduti, a student at the Culinary Institute, was there to represent his school.
“We go to school for this,” Sperduti said. “I think that some of these other places don’t keep it as fresh as us. That is a big difference maker, the freshness of our ingredients.”
At the end of the event, the consumers were the real winners.
Christine Proulx and Justin Grzyb, downtown Buffalo residents, were at the event for the second year in a row.
“Flavor is the deciding factor for me,” Proulx said. “Buffalo Wild Wings and Famous Dave’s were good, but didn’t have enough flavor to be my favorite.”
Being creative and making sure the mac and cheese is flavorful is an important thing to keep in mind for the competition.
“Fat Bob’s was my favorite for sure,” Grzyb said. “There was just a lot of flavor all at once with the pulled pork and coleslaw.”
Evan Grisley is an editor for the features desk and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org