That time I cooked 10 lbs of mac ‘n cheese and lived to tell about it…

Ok, so it really wasn’t that bad, BUT it was an interesting experience. I was asked to participate as a chef in a macaroni and cheese cook off…I was obviously all for doing it. Then I asked how much they recommended making and the answer was 10 lbs. WOAH.

Yeah yeah, all you caterers and master chefs out there- 10 lbs is no big deal. I get it. However, the most mac and cheese I have ever made is one pound, the standard size to fill a 13×9. I also do not have the proper equipment to make more than a few boxes of pasta at one time. In other words, it was a macaroni and cheese marathon there for a few hours:

Alternating pots of pasta making (only boiled over twice!)

While the pasta was cooking I realized I had a problem- I needed to start making the cheese sauce. Thus far I had successfully made seven or eight boxes of pasta, but the cheese needed to get going! So, I found as many bowls as I could and started transferring pasta:

I technically made "shells and cheese"

I then was able to use a pot to get the cheese sauce made. I went with a four cheese mix: NY cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, and smoked Gouda (why does auto-correct want these cheeses capitalized?). I was on a $75 budget for this, which I thought would be plenty. Enough cheese for 10 lbs of pasta gets expensive fast though! If I bought from the fancy cheese counter that I normally do I would have likely gone over. Instead, I bought store-brand shredded cheese (aside from the Gouda- that was fancy cheese counter stuff). I was on a tight time schedule, so I’m super happy I went with the pre-shredded:

The cheese sauce in the making! so.much.cheese

In the end, I was somehow able to pull off making 10 lbs of macaroni and cheese in three hours (which includes bake time! Thank you very much…). AND, guess who was the winner?!

Macaroni and cheese cook off champion! Complete with cheesy smile (photo: Myles Clendenin)

For those who may not be aware, that ^ is me! I went up against four other chefs, one of whom was a trained chef, and took home the gold. By that I mean pride, I didn’t actually win anything. IT WAS STILL AWESOME.

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  1. #1 by sj on March 31, 2012 - 2:38 PM

    Hee! I once made this much macaroni and cheese for a cook off at work and I was SO TIRED at the end of it all. I’m still not sure how I managed with the tiny kitchen we had at the time.

  2. #2 by Jackie on March 31, 2012 - 10:37 PM

    Awesome job Kayla! I expect nothing less than food domination from you. I bet it was delicious.

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