Ahead of the fourth Mac and Cheese Festival this Saturday, the past winners have been talking about what a boon for business winning the title of best mac and cheese.
Last year’s defending champion, Countryside Grill, which you can find inside Brookside Market at the corner of Coffee and Hagemen roads in northwest Bakersfield, wowed crowds last year with it’s Chile Verde mac and cheese.
“You take Mac and cheese and Chile verde, and you can’t get better than that,” said Raj Brar, one of Countryside’s owners.
The Mac and Cheese starts at 2 p.m. at Cal State University Bakersfield’s Alumni Park and tickets at $50 and available by visiting themacandcheesefest.com. The event concludes at 6 p.m. There will be plenty of mac and cheese, local entertainment, including Mento Buru, and drinks, including craft beer.
Just some of the participants this year will be Cafe Med, Slice of Italy, and Murray Family Farms, which turned the 2015 competition on its head with a blueberry cheesecake mac and cheese dish that won the title that year.
Since winning the 2016 title, Brar said their catering requests for macaroni and cheese has taken off, and they’ve seen a big uptick in business.
“People will call in an take a tray to go,” Brar said. “It’s been absolutely wonderful.”
If there’s a frontrunner it has to be chef Meir Brown and Cafe Med, which won the first festival in 2014 and has finished second each of the last two years.
“Now we’ve got to reclaim that crown,” Brown said. “We’re going to throw everything at it.”
At Murray Family Farms you might expect they are going to pull something surprising again — like 2015.
“All of the fruit here we grow ourselves and we’re able to take that back into the mac and cheese, and really share that love from our family to yours,” said Javen Rader of Murray Family Farms.
A newcomer to the Mac and Cheese Fest is Slice of Italy, which has locations in downtown and northwest Bakersfield, and Ben Taylor said the restaurant has been experimenting with its recipe.
“We know our noodles well and we’ve got a great blend of things,” Taylor said.
You’re also going to want to visit our Facebook page dedicated to Mac and Cheese and if you can’t make the one in Bakersfield take a trip to Avila Beach on June 24 for another festival, where you may find some Bakersfield restaurants competing against some of the Central Coast’s finest restaurants.
Also here’s the rest of our videos previewing the 2017 Mac And Cheese Festival