Kelly Neil

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Chef Andrew Farrells' Smoky Cauli-power Mac & Cheese

In celebration of Canada's love for cheese, the much-loved Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-off returned to Toronto on April 8. This year, four of the country's top chefs went head-to-head to create the best gourmet mac & cheese recipe, each adding a twist to Canada's favourite comfort food.

Anyone who lives in Halifax has heard of Andrew Farrell. He's the much celebrated chef of the award winning Barrington Street restaurant 2 Doors Down. Last year, Andrew's entry to The Grate Canadian Cheese Cook Off, Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese, took top prize, and for good reason too - creamy cheesy noodles with FOUR varieties of Dutchman's cheese plus a crunchy broccoli-kale-Brussels sprouts topping, I mean really, how could it not?

Andrew's entry this year, Smoky Cauli-power Mac & Cheese sounded just as delicious, and so, when Dairy Farmers of Canada contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in making Andrew's recipe, I was all like, 'HELL YEAH'. It's still cold and wintery here in Nova Scotia, so the combination of tender cauliflower, earthy mushrooms and three fabulous Maritime-made cheeses sounded perfect for a cool night's supper. And perfect it was - creamy pasta and sauce with Cow's Creamery Appletree Smoked Cheddar, and (one of my personal favourites), Blue Harbour's Halifax-made Gorgonzola-Dolce style Urban Blue, all topped off with baked-until-crispy cremini mushrooms, mini cauliflower florets and Cow's Creamery Extra Old Cheddar, this is comfort food at it's Canadian best.

For more information about Canadian cheese and The Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-off, please visit