How a grilled cheese sandwich went epicurean – BBC News

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The Great American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

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The Great American Grilled Cheese Kitchen serves 16 forms of grilled cheese sandwich

For some people cheese can seem as addictive as chocolate, generally when it’s melted.

To accommodate these cravings for all things cheddar, brie and parmesan, a slew of restaurants have popped adult recently that thoroughness privately on offered cheese-based dishes.

But is it correct to run a association that relies so heavily on one form of food? And isn’t all this cheese-eating bad for a health?

When Nate Pollak motionless to set adult a business specialising in “gourmet” grilled cheese sandwiches, some people suspicion he was crazy.

The 34-year launched a Great American Grilled Cheese Kitchen with his partner, Heidi, during a tallness of a US retrogression in 2010.

Both had mislaid their bureau jobs and, in what many would cruise a unsure move, chose to put their life assets into a venture.

But 7 years on a preference is profitable off.

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The Great American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

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The grilled cheese sandwich is classical comfort food, yet is it bad for a health?

The camber have non-stop dual outlets in San Francisco, and sales are augmenting 7% any year during their flagship outlet, and 35% during a newer site.

They offer around 16 varieties of grilled cheese sandwich, trimming from a classical recipe to ones with imagination cheeses and initial fillings, such as hickory-smoked turkey, apricot-jalapeno penchant and lavender-basil pesto.

Mr Pollak now skeleton to authorization his code opposite a US. But isn’t he disturbed that his rather singular product operation competence one day go out of fashion?

“The grilled cheese sandwich is undying comfort food,” he says confidently. “It elicits memories of your childhood, and all that cheese is so deliciously gooey.

“I can still remember creation my initial when we was three, regulating a toaster oven in my house.”

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The Mac Factory

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The Mac Factory now has 3 outlets in London

The Grilled Cheese Kitchen is one of flourishing stand of businesses to have emerged in new years, catering for a adore for all things melted cheese.

While a best famous specialise in toasted sandwiches, others offer macaroni and cheese, Canadian poutine, or fondue, with all given to put their possess spin on these classical dishes.

It’s all partial of a “fast casual” dining trend that has swept a universe in new years, says Josh Benn, tellurian conduct of food and sell during Duff Phelps, a corporate-finance consultancy,

This sees quick food dishes being done with aloft peculiarity mixture and served in trendier venues targeting millennial consumers, he says.

“Most forms of quick food have been given a quick infrequent hold and we’ve seen billion dollar brands open up, such as Shake Shack for burgers and Chipotle for burritos,” says Mr Benn.

“Now we’re saying businesses focused on grilled cheese dishes expanding, and it’s turn a select food trend in a US and beyond.”

A British organisation embracing a trend is a Mac Factory, that specialises in macaroni and cheese, or “mac n cheese”, a classical baked plate of baked macaroni pasta in a cheese sauce.

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The Mac Factory

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The Mac Factory creates macaroni and cheese with a twist

The London-based sequence serves a possess uninformed takes on dish, adding chorizo sausage or caramelised onions for example.

Since it launched in 2014 a business has non-stop 3 outlets to accommodate demand, says owners Graham Bradbury.

“Cheese is entrance behind into fashion. Everything is melted-cheese this or melted-cheese that. Lots of companies are starting adult and it does feel utterly competitive.”

Mr Bradbury recognises a prohibited food trend when he sees one. According to investigate organisation Horizons, macaroni and cheese was 5 and a half times some-more expected to seem on grill menus in a 12 months to Feb 2016 than in 2010.

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Some of a cheese dishes in a spotlight have roots that go approach behind – and maybe worryingly for those portion them, they have tended to go in and out of conform over a years.

Take a Swiss plate fondue, a common pot of melted cheese into that groups of diners drop vegetables, charcuterie and bread. It is suspicion to have initial been done in 1699, and saw spells of recognition in a 20th century, including in a US in a 1960s where it was enjoyed during parties.

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Getty Images

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With Fondue, diners drop vegetables, charcuterie and bread into a common pot of melted cheese

But it fell out of foster in a 1980s when it was deemed passé and health-conscious consumers began to evade calorific dishes.

Recently yet retailers have been charity cook-at-home fondue sets, newspapers have been edition recipes, and some-more restaurants are charity a slimey dish.

London’s St Moritz, that has served fondue given 1974, claims to sell adult to 20,000 servings of fondue any year.

Boss Armin Loetscherm doesn’t seem endangered that it competence tumble out of conform again.

“I consider it will always have fans since of a community aspect, as people are pity and interacting with any other all a time.”

It’s a identical story with poutine, a French-Canadian plate invented in 1957, traditionally comprising French fries and uninformed cheese curds, lonesome with gravy.

It was typically usually found in Canada, where it is a inhabitant dish, yet currently restaurants from New York to London, and Paris to Melbourne offer it as well.

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Getty Images

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Poutine comprises French fries and cheese curds lonesome in gravy. Some varieties can enclose adult to 1,500 calories

While desired by fans, however, some varieties of poutine can enclose as many as 1,500 calories – usually 500 brief of a endorsed daily intake for a normal adult female. And other cheese-focused dishes can be likewise unhealthy.

“The fact that cheese is culturally partial of a Western and European diet doesn’t make it a healthy food,” says Dr Neal Barnard, author of The Cheese Trap, a book rarely vicious of a food stuff.

“It’s a heading source of jam-packed fats, and is compared with a aloft risk of removing heart illness and even Alzheimer’s.”

He also points out that cheese can be addictive, interjection to a high thoroughness of casein, a protein that can light your brain’s opioid receptors.

“And when a melted cheese has a smell that can be even some-more tempting,” says Dr Barnard.

Mr Benn believes we could see a recoil opposite cheese dishes as younger people once again welcome healthier diets and purify eating.

More worrying, he feels, is a bent for companies in this space to thoroughness usually on one form of dilettante dish.

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Getty Images

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Do we consider that we eat too most cheese?

“When we launch a one-menu object business, we have to be wakeful of cyclical trends,” Mr Benn says. “Some equipment can be streaky, like a lobster roll, or follow anniversary patterns.”

For now, it doesn’t demeanour like a ardour for cheese is waning. Britons eat around 27 grams of cheese per chairman per day, and other European countries mostly devour twice that amount. Americans are large fans too.

For this reason, Mr Pollak believes businesses like a Great American Grilled Cheese Kitchen will keep growing. He points to a success of sandwich bondage such as Tom + Chee and a Melt Shop that now camber a US.

“I strongly trust that a grilled cheese judgment could be as large as a Chipotle [which has some-more than 2,000 branches globally],” he says.

“The grilled cheese sandwich has withstood a exam of time, and grilled cheese concepts that have launched over a past 5-10 years are vital explanation of a concept’s longevity.”

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