Tucson's Beyond Bread snagged second place in the sandwich segment of the first-ever World Food Championships last weekend in Las Vegas.
The popular bakery and sandwich shop took home a $4,000 prize, losing out on the $10,000 grand prize to Las Vegas chef Robert Butler. Butler, a chef at The Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, ended up winning the overall title and $50,000 grand prize.
Beyond Bread was represented by owner-baker Shelby Collier and cooks Matt Boling and Michael Schehl, who re-created the Tucson bakery and sandwich shop's popular Everything Reuben sandwich to advance to the final round of competition.
Collier, who founded Beyond Bread with his wife, Randie, in 1998, brought ingredients with him, including dough, which the trio proofed in a makeshift box and baked in a rudimentary oven set up early Saturday in front of Bally's casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Ten of the nearly 30 competitors in the sandwich segment advanced to the finals, where contestants had to create a randomly drawn sandwich. Collier said he got the last pick, ham and cheese.
Contestants could not use their own ingredients, and one of the objectives was to incorporate Grey Poupon mustard into the creation; the company was one of the contest sponsors.
Collier said his team quickly decided to play on the classic Monte Cristo sandwich - think French toast meets toasted ham and cheese sandwich. The team incorporated the mustard into the batter and into an onion and apple jam.
"We were thinking of the lively ways we could incorporate the mustard into the final product that (went beyond) just adding it on the meat or bread," Collier said.
"We're pretty excited. We're happy with second, (because) the competition was pretty tough," said Jane Overbey, Beyond Bread's outreach coordinator and Vegas point person.
Collier said the prize money will cover the restaurant's Las Vegas expenses.
Meanwhile, Boling's brother, former Tucson resident Daniel Boling, took second place in the chef competition of the World Food Championships. Daniel Boling is chef de cuisine for The Grill at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642.