Where did your love of sandwiches begin?
At my Nan’s house, when we used to go and visit she used to make really well seasoned sandwiches with nice ham, cheese and strong mustard.
What defines a sandwich?
Anything between two slices of bread really, or it could be an open sandwich- the variety is endless. It’s a very hard category to define.
What’s your ultimate sandwich?
A really nice wholemeal bread, salted butter, good quality ham off the bone with Taylors Mustard and tomato, served fresh. Simpler things can be the best sometimes.
Do your creations have a distinctly British theme? (I read you created a tasty sounding beef wellington one)
Not always as I like to take inspiration from all over the world. I love Italian sandwiches with cured meats and cheeses or Scandinavian sandwiches with pickles, smoked fish and lots of different herbs. I just like experimenting with different flavours and textures. I think every country has its’ own sandwich, or flavours which can be incorporated into a sandwich. All you need is really fresh, good quality ingredients and you’re set.
What do you make of the humble vegemite sandwich?
I really like it as it’s easier to spread than marmite!
How do you think sandwiches reflect a nationality e.g Peanut Butter and Jam being American. What’s your go-to filling?
For an English sandwich the classic would be prawn mayonnaise, this is the highest selling sandwich in the UK, but personally I like a good egg and cress. The creamy egg and the peppery cress on wholemeal bread is a great combination.
Best sandwich you’ve ever eaten/created?
Best sandwich I’ve ever eaten is from a place called Fernandez and Wells in Soho and it’s a Montgomery Cheddar and thick cut Wiltshire ham with home-made piccalilli toasted on sourdough. I have this every time I go through Soho and it’s still the best! I must have had it 50 or 60 times! Good quality ingredients, that’s what makes it!
Toasted or plain?
It really depends o the filling and the mood. If you want something comforting then you’d get toasted but if you’re on the run and after something grab-and-go then fresh is the way.
Iceberg or rocket?
Rocket, because it’s very peppery and a good alternative to seasoning. I like the dark colour of the leaf, this provides a good visual for the sandwich.
Most unusual sandwich you’ve ever eaten?
Most unusual sandwich would be from Nordic Bakery, it’s an egg and blue cheese served on a little wholemeal flatbread. It wasn’t good, blue cheese and egg don’t go!
What do you think of the KFC double down?
I’ve never had it...
We’ve seen a rise in Pork Belly sandwiches in Sydney this year – what do you think the big sandwich trend will be for 2013?
I think it will continue to be pork belly and cheaper cuts of meat which have been braised or slow cooked and Asian Bahn Mi types of sandwiches with different layers, flavours and textures.
See Tom Allen at lunch!, Australia's first industry event tailored specifically to the food-to-go market. It will feature over 150 specialist suppliers, showcasing everything from food, beverages, packaging, cooking and hospitality equipment. It will be held at Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park on 6-7 August.