‘Sandwich King’ Jeff Mauro on the Perfect Sandwich, Chicago Superiority, and ‘L&T’

Mauro is one of the hosts of Food Network’s popular ‘The Kitchen’

Mauro is a sandwich authority, as anyone who watched his show Sandwich King would know. 

Since winning season seven of Food Network Star in 2011, Chicago native Jeff Mauro has established himself as one of Food Network’s hottest properties, earning a Daytime Emmy nomination for his cooking show Sandwich King and co-hosting The Kitchen with Geoffrey Zakarian, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, and Marcela Valladolid. On top of all this, he’s also just launched his very own line of sauces, called Pork & Mindy’s. He’s also a certified authority on all things sandwich.

While working on our just-released ranking of the 35 best sandwich shops in America, we caught up with Mauro and had the chance to ask him some of our most pressing sandwich-related questions. Here’s what he had to say.

The Daily Meal: What, in your opinion, is the definition of the perfect sandwich?
Jeff Mauro:
Several things, starting with ratios. There must be proper meat-to-cheese-to-bread ratio. One element should not outshine the other. They must all work in harmony to showcase each unique flavor and texture. Also, don’t overdo it; keep it simple. Three to four ingredients, max.

What are the telltale signs of a great sandwich shop?
A line outside the door, or packed seats. Also, a limited menu selection. I find the less clutter on the menu, the better the food. 

What sets Chicago sandwich shops apart from the rest of the country?
In most neighborhoods, you can throw a rock and hit several Italian delis, beef stands, hot dog joints, and/or high-end, artisanal sandwich shops.  

Why do you think sandwiches have such a universal appeal?
Every culture and country has its own version. It’s the quintessential grab-and-go food, and it’s now enjoying a renaissance. 


In delis, many sandwich makers automatically assume that all customers want lettuce and tomatoes on their sandwich, while some people think that many a great sandwich has been ruined by the automatic addition of lettuce and tomato. Where do you stand on the subject? 
Lettuce and tomato has its place (mainly on a BLT or turkey club). There really are no set rules, and that’s the beauty of sandwich creation: The possibilities and combinations are endless! If your main protein warrants some lettuce and tomato, and it doesn’t detract from the bite-down, then by all means, put it on. But don’t just put it on because society says so, man.