Gooey and ultra-rich, macaroni and cheese is one of America’s favorite comfort foods.
But what do you do when there are 30 different kinds to choose from in a huge room packed with hundreds of other food hounds?
“They bring a muffin tin,” says Stephen Greeley, executive sous chef at Angelo’s Tavolo at Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia.
On Saturday, at the eighth annual Mac-N-Cheese Bowl, a fundraiser for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, serious samplers will tote muffin trays to Siena College and load them with two-ounce tasting cups.
Angelo’s Tavolo is one of 30 restaurants setting up tasting stations in the Marcelle Athletic Complex, but Greeley won’t reveal what he’ll be serving.
“It’s going to be a surprise. They have to come and find out,” he says.
Mac and cheese is always on the menu at Katie O’Byrnes, another Schenectady-area restaurant, and you can order Buffalo chicken wing, lobster, Reuben, traditional and do-it-your way varieties.
“Mac and cheese is very popular,” says manager Kelly Cowell.
For the fundraiser, the chef will be making a special Braised Short Rib version, Cowell says.
This year, there are 11 new restaurants, and all 30 will be competing for first, second and third prizes in a contest where both adult and children cast the votes.
Last year’s winners — Druthers, Wolff’s Biergarten in Albany and Valente’s — are returning this year.
At the Bowl, a single admission ticket gets you one or more samples from any tasting station.
To manage the crowd and keep things moving, there are tasting sessions at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Most people are done with their sampling and ready to go home after an hour and a half, says Bethany Moxey, communications manager at the Food Bank. “But we don’t kick anyone out.”
Chef Greeley brings his kids to the event.
“They always have fun. It’s fun to put on a nice event and know the money is going to a good cause,” he says.
According to Moxey, last year’s event raised over $50,000 for the Food Bank.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with tasting sessions at 11 a.m. and 12:30
WHERE: Marcelle Athletic Complex, Siena College, 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville
HOW MUCH: $20 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12, kids under 5 free. Tickets are available at Price Chopper locations, at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York (afternoon tickets only) and at the door.
MORE INFO: www.regionalfoodbank.net, Facebook
Mac and cheese please
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