World Food Championships & Moving Forward with Egg Salad

Toasted Egg Salad Roll with Candied Orange Habanero Bacon and Crispy Smoked Potato Strings

Toasted Egg Salad Roll with Candied Orange Habanero Bacon and Crispy Smoked Potato Strings

Like a pat on the back for a job well done once in a while I need a reminder from William he is here with me. When I cook he comes through, so I cook. This past week I was celebrating him at the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida. He and I along with my Comare* Lynn cooked up a few recipes including one bad-ass egg salad sandwich. More about that special sandwich later.

Lynn, my maid of honor and William's godmother is my sous chef. I have always referred to her in Italian as my “comare”. Here is more of a definition:

*Lynn, my maid of honor and William’s godmother is my sous chef. I have always referred to her in Italian as my “comare”. Here is more of a definition:
“Comare… women used this term… [to describe other women in their group] to honor a close bond of mutual assistance.”(Guglielmo, 2010). It was a woman who worked with other women while the men were in the fields, they relied on each other for support in Sicily in the early 1900’s.
When my son passed away, Lynn never left my side. I am so honored to have her cook with me and so our team name (as we both are suffering with hot flashes right now-lol): “Too Hot Comares”.

The World Food Championships (WFC) brought hundreds of professional chefs and home cooks from around the globe to compete in 9 categories for over $350,000.00 in prize money and bragging rights. IMG_7713Having played this game before and getting my butt whooped I never in my wildest dreams thought I could advance through the ranks in my qualifying category of “sandwiches”. Luckily, it’s never about winning or losing for me. I just like being in the mix, cooking to the best of my ability and hoping for a little extra icing on what is already a spectacular cake. Truly, this competition feels more like a family reunion than a cutthroat kitchen. To be passionate and endure in this hobby it has to be about friends first and competition second. Think about those athletes who only care about winning and how quickly they lose the love of the game. I never want that burn-out to happen to me.

good old days with my family

good old days with my family

Others strongly believe in me when it comes to food sport. My daughter Caitlin for one. She never stops believing I can win. She nudges me forward with her simple notes and texts, “You got this mom” or “I know you can do it mom”. Does she know how much her thoughtful, gentle touch means? Same with my husband. He is the perfect coach. His support and encouragement never waivers. He never acts surprised when I bring home a medal or a prize when usually I am picking myself up off the floor in disbelief. And then there is William…..

homemade focaccia filled with a candied orange walnut pesto, speck, fontina and roasted red peppers and arugula salad with cranberry balsamic

homemade focaccia filled with a candied orange walnut pesto, speck, fontina and roasted red peppers and arugula salad with cranberry balsamic…cooking from the heart always wins ❤

Like in sports the WFC is a tournament style competition. My first sandwich requiring the use of Kansas City Steaks ribeye was judged at #6. Next up is my signature sandwich inspired by my lunch dates with William at Aventura’s Italian deli in Waterbury. The judges liked it and launched me into the #4 position. What?  Hot damn! After two rounds of judging I am still in it. I made Top 10 and would be required to create an egg sandwich in the final round using American Humane Certified free range eggs from The Happy Egg Co.

Smokehouse Steak Sandwich

Smokehouse Steak Sandwich

Just one problem. I never believed I would make Top 10, so I never prepared any kind of elevated egg sandwich recipe before I left home for the event. Exhausted but exhilarated I had less than 24 hours to figure it out. Before I went to bed that night I had nothing. It was like recipe writer’s block. Lot’s of anxiety. This is going to be embarrassing.

my good luck charm

my good luck charm

…..and then there is William. Just before I turned out the light I held a good luck charm in my hand (thank you Patrice Hurd) and had a little chat with my boy. I closed my eyes and hoped for a little Will Keys intervention. He never disappoints me.

Toasted Egg Salad Roll with Candied Orange Habanero Bacon and Crispy Smoked Potato Strings

Toasted Egg Salad Roll with Candied Orange Habanero Bacon and Crispy Smoked Potato Strings

Guess who woke with a start and jumped out of bed at 3 am with a complete egg sandwich recipe in her head? Not just any egg sandwich, but one bad-ass egg sandwich that scored the second highest score of the Top 10. It shot me into a 3rd place finish, but more importantly it reminded me that William is always here helping me move forward. This is why I cook. This is why I love the competition. It’s putting my grief into a passion. What is your passion?

Too Hot Comares both placed in the Top 10

Too Hot Comares both placed in the Top 10

As always I owe a debt of gratitude to those who went above and beyond to support me at the WFC. Big thanks to Felipe Rivera and Jennifer Daskevich for rescuing me from a major bread snafu; to Amoroso’s Bakery for supplying the most delicious rolls; to Carlino’s for vacuum sealing the imported speck and to Suzy and Colette of Saucy Mama for seeing and believing in me and taking me on this whirlwind of a ride. I am so proud to be a part of your team.

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Toasted Egg Salad Roll with Candied Bacon & Crispy Potato Strings

12 large Happy Eggs

2-tablespoons Saucy Mama Orange Habanero Wing Sauce, divided

1-tablespoon water

1-tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Smoky Garlic mustard

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

½-cup diced Duda Farms Dandy Celery

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle

1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Backyard Brat Mustard

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1-teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 slices Wright Apple Wood Bacon, diced

1 russet potato or other frying potato, peeled and thin julienne

Canola oil for deep-frying

1 teaspoon smoked salt

6 (8-inch) whole grain sandwich rolls

½ cup clarified butter

1 bunch fresh arugula

Place eggs in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover the eggs. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let eggs stand in hot water for 16 to 18 minutes. Immediately remove eggs from hot water and plunge into an ice bath. When cool, peel eggs. Separate the yolks from the whites. Chop egg whites and reserve in a large bowl. Place yolks in the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Add wing sauce, water, vinegar and garlic mustard; pulse to blend. With Food processor running, slowly add olive oil, processing until mixture is smooth, stopping and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites. Add celery, dill, chives, pickle, whole grain mustard, zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to assemble sandwiches.

In non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and bacon is browned and crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel and discard grease from the pan. Return bacon to pan. Over low heat, add remaining 1-tablespoon orange habanero sauce to bacon, stirring to coat the bacon. Set bacon aside in a single layer until ready to assemble sandwiches.

For crispy potato strings: Fry potato strings in 350F hot oil for 1 minute or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towel; sprinkle immediately with smoked salt.

Brush cut sides of rolls with butter. Place rolls, butter side down, in skillet over medium heat. Toast 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.

To assemble sandwiches: place a layer of arugula on bottom half of roll. Top with egg salad. Sprinkle with bacon and crispy potato strings. 

use a russet potato and pat dry with paper towels for extra crispy potato strings

use a russet potato and pat dry with paper towels for extra crispy potato strings

28 thoughts on “World Food Championships & Moving Forward with Egg Salad

  1. Congratulations on your 3rd place finish old friend! I laughed out loud at the thought that an egg salad sandwich could be “badass.”
    But this one seems so badass that I’m going to give it a try! 🙂 ❤

    • I kind of think I stood out in the crowd as it seemed all the other sandwiches included a fried or poached egg as the centerpiece. I was also the first sandwich to go to the judges, so all those came after me were judged against mine. I was lucky they liked it.

  2. I agree with your Bill…you winning is never a surprise. I agree with your Caitlin… those few words of encouragement most often make all of the difference in your confidence. I agree with your William…inspiration of the spiritual form gives you energy filled with the most important ingredient of all….Love.

  3. Congratulations, Mama! You never fail to amaze me. So proud of you. You rock! Everything looks delish!! Love you!

  4. Congratulations on all of your successful sandwiches! I told you, I never mind following in line behind you. You are such a talented cook and your wins are well deserved. I want to try your badass sandwich so I printed the recipe. Yum! Keep up the winning streak!

    • I prefer to think that we walk and compete side by side–we celebrate it all together no matter the final finish…plus you are living the dream cooking with your boy—-the best prize of all my talented friend

  5. Your contesting philosophy makes me proud to be your friend, your badass sandwich makes my mouth water, your come-from-the-heart stories give me goosebumps … and our connection makes me so, so happy. ❤

    • The best thing about these contests is meeting and making new friends, but you my friend are 1 in a million. Crossing paths with you has been life-changing. You have a generosity of heart like no other and I feel so lucky to know you. ❤

  6. So happy for you! Egg salad…who knew! 😊 You never know how these boys will inspire. Today I found Aidan’s copy of Bread and Jam for Francis while going through piles in the attic…A birthday gift and the first book he read cover to cover himself.
    Guess what I’m going to make in honor of Aidan’s birthday tomorrow? I decided it was a sign that I needed to make a “fancy” meal, as he called it, complete with homemade bread.
    Congrats on a fun and successful WFC.

    • I love that you are celebrating Aidan tomorrow with a fancy meal. He will be shining down and probably stirring a pot or two along with you.

      ….and I agree that egg salad was the dark horse in the race, but I never doubt the divine intervention (lol)

  7. It was a pleasure to meet you after all these years of “knowing” you online. What a blessing you have in the friendship that you and Lynn share, and I loved reading about it. Your attitude of friends first and competitors second is the only way to play this cooking game! Congratulations on your WFC accomplishments!

    • Great meeting you, too, Helen and being cooking neighbors. Thank you for being here and hope we see each other again in person.

  8. Congratulations on all of your success at the WFC! That sandwich looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing the experiences and recipes I look forward to attempting Sweet Williams Fancy Chocolate Chip cookies when my family visits for Christmas 🙂

  9. This was a really interesting blog post. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.

    The last few times I’ve been tailgating, I’ve served pork roll and American cheese on a bagel. But in the past I wouldn’t cook the bagel. Now I slather it with butter and put it face down on the grill to make the inside soft but crunchy. I see you are doing that with this recipe so I know its a good move, lol. A bunch more calories but more fat is more fun!

    • In a sandwich every ingredient counts. Very important to toast the bread–going the extra mile shows how much you love the food and those who are eating it.

  10. Oh Lisa I am so happy for you! You are an inspiration to many. Love reading your blog. Now I am in the mood for egg salad sandwich. Need to try this recipe. Love from one of your bunco sisters. Carol R.

  11. I love your story and can’t wait to try your recipe! Thank you for making my week at WFC so memorable and fun. I agree that friendships are more important than the competition. I laughed so much during that week and find myself still giggling about some of our moments! Thanks for sharing!🤗

    • We did have fun in between cooking, shopping, creating, sleeping…rinse and repeat…thank goodness we got in that pool at least once and I think we enjoyed at least one glass of wine—just saying’ So proud of your performance and learning how to poach eggs in olive oil ❤

  12. You’re in my heart forever now Lisa Keys!! It was a joy to spend time with you at the Blogger Conference and WFC this year! Your sandwich is bad ass, I wish I could have had a bite! xoxoxo

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