GAYLE’S BEST EVER GRILLED CHEESE
Located at Farmer’s Markets and Festivals in Chicago
ABOUT GAYLE’S BEST EVER GRILLED CHEESE
Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese started at the Green City Market in 2011 at the Prairie Pure Cheese booth. I was selling cheese at the market and realized there was fresh baked bread next to me (Bennison’s Bakery from Evanston, IL) and fresh butter on the other side of the market (Nordic Creamery from Westby, WI) and I had the best cheese for melting, I thought maybe I should make grilled cheese. And so it began. I only use Prairie Pure Cheese from Belvidere, IL.
Let me tell you a little about how I came to be a cheese vendor at the market. I had a home based bookkeeping business and one of my clients was Brian J. Gerloff, DVM, PhD. Brian had a large animal veterinary practice in Northern Illinois and had noticed a dramatic decline in the number of dairy farms. He wanted to do something to help sustain at least one farm so he partnered up with one of his clients, Todd and Brenda Aves in Belvidere, IL, (100 year old dairy farm with 90 cows) and started Prairie Pure Cheese. When Brian sold his practice and no longer needed a bookkeeper he asked if I would like to be the sales rep, market vendor and delivery person for Prairie Pure Cheese. Since I had filled in at the market a few times for him (and absolutely loved it) I said sure. I was doing 2 markets at the time (3 days) and now do 4 markets (5 days). Not only has the cheese sustained the Aves’ farm they put up a new barn last fall and added cows to their herd. Grilled cheese with a purpose!
The first year I sold only the “Classic” which had Prairie Pure Butterkase cheese on it, fresh bread and fresh butter. I started to add toppings from market vendors the next summer like tomatoes from Mick Klug Farm, Dotson’s Farm and Iron Creek, arugula and jalapenos from Green Acres, Growing Home or Radical Root and Honey Crisp apples from Mick Klug Farm. I then added ham and pork sausage from Jake’s Country Meat and Basil Pesto from Kinnikinnick Farms. We also have fresh eggs on the breakfast sandwich from Meadow Haven or TJ’s.
The best part about delivering the cheese to the chefs at restaurants in Chicago is talking with them about toppings for the grilled cheese (amongst other things). I have several restaurants that make toppings for me and then I name the sandwiches after their restaurant.
Chef Derrick DeJaynes at Southport Grocery and Cafe makes several toppings for the grilled cheese. The “Southport” has Butterkase cheese and their Smoked Onion Marmalade (just won a Good Food Award). Southport also makes my Rhubarb Mustard, Spiced Cranberry Marmalade, Cranberry Mustard, Niagara Grape jelly, Red Pepper jelly, Habanero jelly, Tomato Tampanede, Tomato Preserves and my delicious Tomato Pesto soup. I usually have jars of the smoked onion marmalade to buy at the market but I would definitely pay them a visit to eat and shop for these locally sourced items.
The “Duke” is named after Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake, IL. They also buy Prairie Pure Cheese and they make the Beer Mustard I use.
The “Abreo” is named after Abreo in Rockford, IL. Also a Prairie Pure Cheese customer, they make the Bacon Onion Jam.
The sandwich selection varies depending on what is available from the market vendors. I also use Coop Sauce’s Poblano Mustard and Jalapeno or Habanero sauce; River Valley’s Heirloom Tomato Salsa; Bushel and Peck’s Asparagus Relish or Bread and Butter Pickles, just to name a few.
You can currently find Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese at the following locations:
Are you hosting an event that you would like Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese at? Give me a call 815-861-0012.
I participate every Thursday and Friday at “The Nosh at Block Thirty Seven” located in the mall at 108 N. State St. (Across from Daley Plaza) from 11-2.
Starting on May 3 you will find me every Saturday and Wednesday from 7-1 at the Green City Market located on Clark Street across from Hotel Lincoln in the park.
Starting May 18 you will find me every Sunday from 10-3 at the Logan Square Farmer’s market on Logan Blvd. just past Sacramento.
Gayle’s at Baconfest Chicago 2014: