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Branford Mac & Cheese Fest at Stony Creek Brewery features 7 chefs

Jan 16, 2024

Gordon Chalue, owner of the Shoreline Food Truck, is photographed with his pulled pork with macaroni and cheese, left, and buffalo chicken with macaroni and cheese at Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli in Branford.

BRANFORD — Gordon Chalue is carrying on his family tradition of making homemade macaroni and cheese every single day.

"My friends used to come over and just want mac and cheese," he said. "They’d come over and my grandmother would make mac and cheese for everybody."

"We had mac and cheese every day," he said, referring to his childhood. "Whatever else we had went with it."

This tradition will be shared at the Stony Creek Brewery Mac & Cheese Fest, from noon to 6 p.m., Sunday, June 11, 5 Indian Neck Ave., Branford.

"It's one of those foods that everybody loves," said Dylan Lintern, vice president of business development for the Stony Creek Brewery.

"It's comfort food," he said. "It touches a lot of people's hearts, it's an easy food to like."

Seven food trucks are scheduled for the festival, including Bake, Bake, Hooray; Crispy Melty by Caseus; Get Stuffed Food Truck; Joey C's BBQ & Burger Food Truck; La Cucina; Naples Pizza Truck; and Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli.

All chefs will be serving up their own creations incorporating mac and cheese.

There is the creamy, cheesy casserole piled on top of a burger, heaped atop 18-hour, slow cooked pulled pork and steak tips or "you can just get plain mac and cheese," from Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli, Chalue said.

Chalue is the owner of Shoreline Prime Meats & Deli's food trucks and catering operation, in addition to being the chef for all the prepared food available at the Branford storefront.

He creates his signature dish with seven different cheeses and heavy cream, exactly the way his grandmother did. He never strays from the original recipe.

"Everybody loves it," he said. "Everybody in town, they come here and the first thing they ask is, "Do you have any of that mac and cheese?"

Would the chef share what varieties of cheeses make his popular dish so tasty?

"Not really," he quickly replied.

"It's really creamy and cheesy," he said. "I don't know how to explain it, it's just phenomenal. It's just good."

For those that gravitate towards sweets, there will be Sharie O’Buck's "riff on macaroni and cheese."

The Mascarpone Blueberry Dessert Pasta is "like a bread pudding with an Italian spin on it," said O’Buck.

Mascarpone cheese is a soft Italian cheese made with heavy cream.

"It's something we came up with to fit in with the festival," this baker said.

While it is not a typical item on the menu of her food truck, Bake, Bake, Hooray, it was not hard to create a dessert incorporating mac and cheese.

"Usually when I understand the profile I’m going after, it just kind of takes me a couple times," she said. "If I don't get it the first time, I’ll get it the second time."

With five children, O’Buck has plenty of taste testers on hand to assist her in the kitchen and they were available for this creation.

"They wanted it a tiny bit sweeter, so I tweaked it and now it's perfect," she said.

"I got triple thumbs up," she said, laughing.

How does she think mac and cheese aficionados will react to this take on their favorite food?

"I think they’re going to love it if you like good textures like that, a well-done pasta, which obviously is al dente, it's never mushy," she said.

"We understand flavor profiles very well," she said. "For cinnamon rolls we have 12 different versions, so we understand how to make a dessert like that with unconventional ingredients."

This is one of the unique offerings that Lintern is looking forward to trying.

"The idea of having a dessert mac and cheese in itself is what's appealing to me," he said.

"My brain never even went to the sweet side, it's stuck on the savory side," he said. "So, it kind of appeals to the sweet tooths out there and I think it's kind of a cool element to add to it (the festival)."

The brewery sits right on the Branford River, with a patio offering seating at 100 picnic tables and two decks, inviting festival attendees to sit, take in the view and enjoy the food and beverages.

"It's fun to sit there and watch people pull their boats up," said Lintern. "It's got a really great vibe and it feels like you’re right on the coastline of Connecticut." Chalue is excited to offer his tried-and-true mac and cheese to festival attendees.

"Let them be the judge of it," he said.

Yet, his opinion is his last word.

"It's awesome," he said. "It's creamy and it's so good."

O’Buck wholeheartedly endorses the festival.

"If I didn't have a truck with me that day, I’d walk to the brewery," the Branford resident said.

Stony Creek Brewery Mac & Cheese Fest takes place Sunday., June 11 from 12 – 6 p.m., 5 Indian Neck Ave., Branford; 203-433-4545; [email protected];; Facebook Stony Creek Beer; Instagram stonycreekbeer

Contact Sarah Page Kyrcz at [email protected]