Bernard Ontita Omweri has been working at Artcaffe for a decade now and, in his role as the Executive Chef, knows a thing or two about sandwich making. Here he is with a few tips for us laymen and women, on how to make sure a sandwich reaches its full crunchy, crusty and absolutely delicious potential.
Let me tell you, sandwich making is an easy process but what most people get wrong is the choice of bread. A moist filling such as meatballs drenched in sauces necessarily requires a bread with a hard crust so that it doesn’t soak up all the juices and result in a soggy unappealing sponge. If using soft bread, then dry fillings work best”.
Having worked at Artcaffe for ten years now, I can say not many locals come here to order a sandwich. Truth is that the bulk of our sandwiches are most commonly consumed by other customers, whose culture and eating habits back in their own countries lead them to view sandwiches as full standalone meals. Here in Kenya, most of us were raised adding only spreads such as butter, margarine, jams and peanut butter on bread. As a result our sandwich making culture is close to non-existent. Kenyans tend to presume that sandwiches are little more than light snacks that cannot be taken as breakfast or lunch alone but might fill up a small stomach rumble in the middle of the day. However if, say, we introduced sandwiches whose fillings consist of more typical Kenyan-style dishes, like ‘nyama choma’ a ‘Choma Sandwich’ if you will, that would be a great way to introduce Kenyans to this filling snack.
When making a sandwich, there are a few things that you should never miss. First is the spread. Your choice of spread affects the flavour of the sandwich. Butter is most often a must while mustard and mayonnaise remain very popular ways to inject some moisture into the proceedings. If it’s zest you are after go for barbeque sauces or salsa, while pesto adds a delicious sweet and savoury aura to any dry meat our cheese sandwich. Choose your fillings trying to keep textures into account, and make sure your they cover the slice from edge to edge.
As told to Winnie Wangui
Photos: Peter Ndung’u and Brian Siambi