03.07.11 // Winning Recipe : 1st Place : Vermont Cheese Forest

The judges were thoroughly impressed with Boffo Cart’s maple-infused cheddar-focused version of mac and cheese. So much so they awarded it 1st place!! Try the recipe out for yourself and be 1st place to your friends and family at home! Continue reading for recipe…

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03.02.11 // Winning Recipes : People’s Choice Honorable Mention : The Crusty Vermonter

Team ¢#€€$€ (because my mac is money) revealed their cheesy little secret in the midst of being medaled: A key ingredient in their winning mac was, in fact, VELVEETA! What? Gasp.

Hey there’s nothing wrong with a little classic Americana to remind you of the good old days. It’s not like they dumped out a box of Hamburger Helper and called it a day. No! The Crusty Vermonter is a melange of carefully combined ingredients that you should pick up at the market ASAP! Why? So you can make this mac tonight! Duh. Continue reading for recipe…

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02.28.11 // Winning Recipes : People’s Choice : Smoked Up Mac

SF Delicious Chefs took home People’s Choice glory thanks to their creamy, smoky, spicy version of mac and cheese nestled in a crispy cheese cup. It’s the perfect party food and just as good as a comforting family meal, so quit reading already and get to cooking! Continue reading for recipe…

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02.23.11 // It was a Savory Haze of Carbs and Cheese: Remembering Return of the Mac

See all the photos from this event in our Flickr Set.

It was a sea of perfectly curated plates, delectable offerings, mac and cheese connoisseurs, and your favorite 90′s R&B jams. Return of the Mac Battle Royale w/ Cheese had no shortage of enthusiasm, pasta, or cheese.

There was bacon. There was spice. Some were crazy. Some were nice. All in all, it was truly a mac and cheese “experience.”

Per usual, our fierce competitors dolled up their macs, their stations, and their faces!

Over 250 eaters chomped their way through 16 different mac and cheese creations and stepped up to an utmost difficult task: voting for one–just ONE–favorite. It’s a cruel, cruel, world.

Our panel of expert judges chose their top 3 choices, but these tough decisions weren’t made without furrowed brows, intense debate, a couple breathers, and Lactase. All eaters cast their votes after tasting what SF’s most avid mac-makers had to offer.

And the winners…well, they won! Congrats to you, Return of the Mac winners! Many thanks to all 16 teams for bringing your bests! Respectful handshakes to our amazing expert judges! Big hugs to all the eaters for giving your six-pack abs over for a day of dairy-madness! There’s never enough thanks for our incredibly generous and wonderful sponsors!

See all the photos from this event in our Flickr Set.

Check out coverage by SF Weekly and Gordon Edgar!

See you all next time…

02.14.11 // Top Noodles: Return of the Mac Winners!

Here’s how it played out y’all:

People’s Choice: Team #12, SF Delicious Catering, Smoked Up Mac

People’s Choice Honorable Mention: Team #13, ¢#€€$€ (because my mac is money), The Crusty Vermonter

Judges’ 1st Place: Team #15, Boffo Cart, Vermont Cheese Forest

Judges’ 2nd Place: Team #6, Fowl Mouthed Ladies, Quack & Cheese

Judges’ 3rd Place: Team #2, Jazzy B’s Recipez, Pork Belly Mac

Photog’s Choice: Team #11, Gastronaut, Jedi MacTrixx

02.07.11 // Prizes Worth Cheesing About and the Sponsors from Whence They Came!

The generosity of our Sponsors is not unlike a never-ending macaroni necklace. They’ve really outdone themselves this time to make soon-to-be Return of the Mac winners happier than an elbow of macaroni with cheese on it! Take a gander at the fantastic prizes they’ll win…

People’s Choice:
$100 cash, 2 Passes to Mission Cheese‘s Private Grand Opening, $10 at Mission Cheese, Winning Recipe featured at The Bold Italic, $25 at Omnivore Books, Set of Cloverware Utensils c/o Alite Designs, $10 at Cowgirl Creamery, Macaroni & Cheese c/o Chronicle Books, Method Miracle Kit, Nouvelle Copper 2-Quart Covered Saucepan c/o Anolon, Classic 3.5-inch Paring Knife c/o Wusthof, Artisan Ribbon Grater c/o Microplane

People’s Choice Honorable Mention:
$50 at Bi-Rite, $10 at Mission Cheese, Set of Cloverware Utensils c/o Alite Designs, $10 at Cowgirl Creamery, Macaroni & Cheese c/o Chronicle Books, Method Miracle Kit, Nouvelle Copper 2-Quart Covered Saucepan c/o Anolon, Classic 3.5-inch Paring Knife c/o Wusthof, Artisan Ribbon Grater c/o Microplane

Judges’ 1st Place:
$100 cash, 1-Year Membership to 18 Reasons, $30 at Patxi’s Pizza, $10 at Mission Cheese, $10 at Cowgirl Creamery, Bear Can Picnic Carrier c/o Alite Designs, Set of Cloverware Utensils c/o Alite Designs, Macaroni & Cheese c/o Chronicle Books, Method Miracle Kit, Nouvelle Copper 3-Quart Covered Saucepan c/o Anolon, Classic 6-inch Cook’s Knife c/o Wusthof, Artisan Coarse Grater c/o Microplane

Judges’ 2nd Place:
$30 at Patxi’s Pizza, $10 at Mission Cheese, $10 at Cowgirl Creamery, Bear Can Picnic Carrier c/o Alite Designs, Set of Cloverware Utensils c/o Alite Designs, Macaroni & Cheese c/o Chronicle Books, Method Miracle Kit, Nouvelle Copper 3-Quart Covered Saucepan c/o Anolon, Classic 6-inch Cook’s Knife c/o Wusthof, Artisan Coarse Grater c/o Microplane

Judges’ 3rd Place:
$10 at Mission Cheese, $10 at Cowgirl Creamery, Bear Can Picnic Carrier c/o Alite Designs, Set of Cloverware Utensils c/o Alite Designs, Macaroni & Cheese c/o Chronicle Books, Method Miracle Kit, Nouvelle Copper 3-Quart Covered Saucepan c/o Anolon, Classic 6-inch Cook’s Knife c/o Wusthof, Artisan Coarse Grater c/o Microplane

Photog’s Choice:
$50 at Photojojo, $10 at Mission Cheese, Set of Cloverware Utensils c/o Alite Designs, Macaroni & Cheese c/o Chronicle Books, Method Miracle Kit, Nouvelle Copper 10-inch Skillet c/o Anolon, 4-Stage Universal Sharpener c/o Wusthof, Twist N Grate c/o Microplane

02.04.11 // An Impressive Panel of Cheese-Minded Experts

from left to right: Gordon Edgar, Heidi Gibson, and Tamara Palmer

Return of the Mac’s expert judges have cheese on the brain 24/7. They will scrutinize each entry’s use of the dairy delight along with the competency of noodle and add-in ingredient choices. Read on to learn more about our expert panel’s super legit street cred.

Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, and has been combining both of these infatuations as the main cheese buyer for Rainbow Grocery Cooperative since 1994. Edgar has been a judge at numerous national cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and has had a blog since 2002, which can be found at www.gordonzola.net. His cheese memoir, “Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge” was published by Chelsea Green in 2010.

Heidi Gibson is a seven-time National Grilled Cheese Invitational award winner and dreamt up the concept of a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant after numerous fans, rival grilled cheese chefs, sandwich judges, family, and friends encouraged her to do so. Her culinary creativity also stems from a scientific approach to sandwich-making as she holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering from MIT. As Commander-in-Cheese at THE AMERICAN Grilled Cheese Kitchen, Heidi creates creative grilled cheese sandwiches, housemade sodas, soups, and other delicious comfort treats for her menu.

Tamara Palmer has the honor of being the resident judge at SF Food Wars. A writer and editor specializing in the edible and musical arts, she is the editor of NBC’s The Feast San Francisco, and the author of Country Fried Soul: Adventures in Dirty South Hip-Hop. You’ve also seen her words at SF Weekly and KQED’s Bay Area Bites. She’s looking forward to testing her tolerance for lactose.

01.20.11 // 16 Macs Attack Your Face: Official Teams & Dishes!

Some have pork. Some don’t.
Some are healthy. Some not so much.
A few shaped like balls, one in a cone made of bacon.
Fifteen are cheesy. One is vegan.
*ALL* will compete for the glory that is Return of the Mac Battle Royale w/ Cheese *VICTORY*!!!

16 macs + cheese = flavor train! Read on below for a preview of deliciousness to come…

Team # / Team Name / Mac Name / Mac Description

  1. Le Poney Mord / Balles de Gratin / “Breaded and baked mac & cheese balls with mushroom and red chili pepper.”
  2. JazzyB’z Recipez / Pork Belly Mac / “A rich and creamy mac & cheese prepared with three different cheeses (cheddar, fontal, and Gruyere) and Coleman Natural Hampshire Pork Belly, smoked and slow-roasted. Every bite throughout this mac & cheese is just cheesy goodness.”
  3. Moustache Mac / Sleazy Cheesy Bacon Mac / “Moustache Mac’s signature mac is crafted from an old family recipe that’s been pleasing crowds for generations. The sauce is a careful blend of cheddar, jack, and parmesan prepared with five locally sourced cheeses. Niman Ranch bacon brings it all together with unmistakable bacon goodness to compliment an already epic sauce experience.”
  4. Espion Nouilles / My Secret Noodle / “Do you desire to fit in with your Bordeaux wine, pastry lusting, francophile friends but haven’t been able to kick a nasty macaroni and cheese habit? Now you don’t have to. You can still enjoy brown butter and sage mixed up with a blend of italian cheeses, consorting with smoked pork, blanketing the macaroni you so desperately crave, all dressed up in an innocent savory puff. Shhhhh. Your noodle will be our secret.”
  5. The Dolly Parton’s / Red, White and Blue”grass” Mac / “The Dolly Parton’s will “bust” away your winter blues with a combination of roasted peppers, mushrooms, kale and both blue and white cheddar cheeses.”
  6. Fowl Mouthed Ladies / Quack & Cheese / “Duck confit, farmstead Gouda, and caramelized onions tossed in a creamy bechamel sauce and topped with fresh arugula.”
  7. Purveyors of Awesome / Piggy Cups of Cheesy Love / “Crispy prosciutto cups filled with mac and gruyere, made with a few leeks to make it seem ‘healthy’.”
  8. A Girl and Her Kitchen / The Gooey Goddess Mac Attack / “A classic, down home style mac elevated to decadent indulgence with a four cheese sauce spiked with bacon, beer and a secret dash of spices, baked off with a dusting of seasoned bread crumbs for a crunchy crust. So melty and creamy, it’s the gooiest bite you will ever have.”
  9. Edam and Weep / Laid Back Mac / “Shhh… Strictly confidential information includes homemade buttery croutons, a combination of rich, salty, creamy cheeses, pasta cooked perfectly and a little hint of… Something! Simple, local, homemade, irresistible goodness.”
  10. Bare Sugar Gets Spicy / Triple Heat Mac / “If you can’t stand the heat, get ya ass out the kitchen…We on a mission…so come along and try the hottest mac around, its baked till its bubbling and creamy, made with hot pepper jack, extra sharp cheddar, lots of garlic, and a secret spice blend…Are you ready?”
  11. Gastronaut / Jedi MacTrixx / “Mac and cheese ball with a house-cured bacon center, cheese mousse, bacon cone.”
  12. SF Delicious Catering / Smoked Up Mac / “Classic bechamel binds together our main ingredients, that’s right, macaroni and cheese! Fontina and Smoked Gouda for a creamy texture and smokey flavor, with a little spice from our jalapeno infused olive oil. Topped with diced fresh jalapenos and served in a crispy baked Asiago cup, with habanero infused olive oil on the side for those who like an extra kick.”
  13. ¢#€€$€ (because my mac is money) / The Crusty Vermonter / “Creamy cheese sauce of mostly extra sharp cheddar, apple, smoky pork products, and a touch of spice; baked with a crunchy topping, and accompanied by a little something pickled.”
  14. Debbie Does Dinner / Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese / ” Packed with protein, fiber, Vitamins A, C and E, this far from ordinary mac ‘n cheese is made with butternut squash puree, fontina cheese, local swiss chard, organic hazelnuts and multi-grain shells. Healthy, nutritious and delicious!”
  15. Boffo Cart / Vermont Cheese Forest / “Maple glazed pork lardon, with Vermont white cheddar, summer savory, and black pepper. Topped with maple sugar candied applewood smoked Bacon, super natural!”
  16. Jessie & DB / That Cheesy Stuff Will Kale Ya / ” Vegan mac & cheese with kale and other awesomeness like mushrooms and cashews.”

01.13.11 // Return of the Mac…Battle Royale w/ Cheese 02/12/11


illustration by Ghostshrimp

***This event is 21+.

We’re getting back to basics, people. It’s time to resurrect SF Food Wars’ official inaugural food stuff: mac & cheese! Return of the Mac Battle Royale w/ Cheese will take place on February 12, 2011 at Public Works where 16 competitors will face off in a carbo-loaded, cheese-drenched contest to claim the ultimate glory that is an SF Food Wars victory.

This event will benefit the SF Food Bank!

Do you make the most killer mac & cheese in the Bay Area? Read on below for entry guidelines.

Can your palate point out the best of 16 versions of mac & cheese? If so, take note that a limited 200 tickets are $14 and go on sale Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 12PM noon on the dot! Public Works’ skillful bartenders will be slinging boozy and non-boozy refreshments throughout the event.

So are you ready to experience and vote for SF’s mac & cheese with the mostest? Read on below for ticketing info.

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***CLOSED***CALL FOR COMPETITORS!!!
Do you make mac & cheese to die for? Will your mac & cheese crush any other that stands in its way?

*Email us at with the following info to apply to compete: Your Name, Dish Name, Dish Description, Phone Number, Email Address

You must be prepared to make a lot of mac! Timeliness and enthusiasm are key because we will select our 16 competitors within just a few days due to the overwhelming amount of entries we receive.

***CLOSED***TICKET SEEKERS!!!
Tickets (limited to 200) are $14 and will go on sale on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 12PM noon! The “Get Tickets” button on this site, sffoodwars.com, will appear when they go on sale. Limit 4 tickets per ticket buyer.

Got questions? Check out our FAQ section or email us at .

11.11.10 // In Review: “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” Ultimate Potluck Cocktail Brunch w/ Amanda Hesser

Check out last Sunday’s happenings in the above slideshow! Our Ultimate Potluck Cocktail Brunch was a celebration of Amanda Hesser’s new classic-to-be, The Essential New York Times Cookbook. There was much eating, drinking, being merry, book-signing, Amanda-admiring, chef-observing, chit-chatting, and all-around fun-having!

Many thanks to Amanda Hesser, all of our incredible chefs and mixologists, CUESA, Craft Distillers, St. George Spirits, Omnivore Books, the SF Food Wars crew, and Katarina Jack.

Coverage and Links:

SF Food Wars’ Flickr Set

Bay Area Bites: “SF Food Wars: The Essential New York Times Cookbook Brunch”

Grub Street SF: “What You Missed at the Big Amanda Hesser/NYT Cookbook Party”

SF Weekly: “Scenes from SF Food Wars’ Ultimate Potluck”

Culinaut: A War Where Everyone Wins: SF Food Wars’ Essential New York Times Cookbook Ultimate Potluck”

Lick My Spoon: “SF Food Wars: The Essential New York Times Cookbook Brunch”