Tips from the top

Whether it’s a chunky bacon buttie or a foie gras delicacy to impress your guests, these simple-to-make sarnies all have a touch of class

Versatility is one of the biggest assets of the sandwich; it can be perfect at any time of the day and for any kind of event.

Here six top chefs share the secrets of their perfect sandwich. 

Breakfast: The bacon buttie

by Fergus Henderson, chef/patron of St John, Smithfield Market in east London (

Bacon sandwiches were recently voted the most iconic symbol of British life in a T Mobile survey – and Fergus Henderson’s bacon buttie was named “the best bacon sandwich you’ll ever eat” by restaurant guide Hardens.


  • Thick streaky smoked bacon
  • White bread
  • Unsalted butter
  • Brown sauce
  1. Chargrill the bacon so the fat is crispy but not burnt.
  2. Toast the bread, spread with the butter and top with the bacon slices and brown sauce (or ketchup, if you prefer).

There’s a wonderful simplicity to a bacon sandwich, according to Henderson. “You need white squidgy bread and good flavoursome, thickly cut bacon otherwise there’s more bread than bacon,” he says.

“Toasting the bread gives the sandwich structure.”



Afternoon tea: the cucumber sandwich

by David Marshall, executive chef at The Athenaeum in London (

Named by the Tea Guild as 2012’s top spot in London for afternoon tea, The Athenaeum’s menu will always feature the quintessentially British cucumber sandwich.


  • Good quality white, herbed or pesto bread
  • Jersey unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Cucumber (cored, peeled and thinly sliced)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Leave the butter out in a cool area overnight to bring it to room temperature.
  2. Spread it as thinly as possible over the bread before adding a thin layer of cream cheese.
  3. Add layers of cucumber until the filling is the same thickness as one side of the bread, then season and serve.

Bread matters when it comes to the perfect cucumber sandwich, says Marshall. “It’s important it is light and not too thick. We use a light basil one, by putting  a bit of pesto through the dough,” he adds.

“The cream cheese gives a moistness and goes well with the cucumber. Always keep the sandwiches under a damp cloth. Only remove just before serving.”

Posh function: Foie gras burger

by Pascal Aussignac, chef/patron of Club Gascon, Smithfield Market in east London (

This classic hot sandwich wowed crowds at last year’s Taste of London event, selling 3,000 portions in four days and earning it the show’s title of “best dish”.


  • 25g cream cheese
  • 5g black truffle, grated
  • Dash of Armagnac
  • 10g cos lettuce, shredded
  • 50g raw foie gras, sliced
  • 5g pine kernels, roasted
  • Black pepper and Maldon sea salt
  • Brioche bun , lightly toasted
  1. Mix the cream cheese, truffle, salt, pepper and Armagnac in a bowl.
  2. Then mix together the shredded lettuce and the cream cheese mix.
  3. Pan-fry the foie gras (2 minutes each side) with the pine kernels, and season.
  4. Put the cream cheese and lettuce mix on the bottom of the brioche then top with foie gras and pine kernels mix and
  5. the brioche lid.

Aussignac says: “Foie gras is a very tender delicacy and it needs a mellow bread like brioche that’s not too harsh to eat.”

“Toasting the brioche adds just the right amount of crunch and its slight sweetness complements the foie gras, while the truffle and cream cheese prevent it becoming overly sweet.”

Supper: Naan roulade

By Atul Kocchar, chef/restaurateur, Benares, Mayfair, central London (

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 naan or chapatti
  • 2 tbsp tamarind chutney
  • For the filling:
  • 200g chicken/paneer tikka or grilled, shredded
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 80g pickled red cabbage
  • 20-30 seedless red grapes,halved
  • 1 head lettuce, torn
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp fine chopped ginger
  • ½ tsp toasted cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp red chilli flakes
  • Salt to taste

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp mint chutney
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients, then lightly mix with the filling.
  3. Spread the tamarind chutney evenly on the naans, add the filling and roll into a tight roulade.
  4. Cut each roulade into 4 and secure with a toothpick.
  5. Serve with some salad leaves and  mint chutney.

Kocchar says: “Growing up in India, this was a real ‘anytime meal’ and one of the most common sandwiches my parents would make. You can use any leftover mixture witha little spices, or tandoori paneer.”

Jubilee party or picnic: Lemon chicken sandwich

by Gary Rhodes, chef/patron of Rhodes W1 in central London (

Ingredients (makes 8-10 sandwiches):

  • 2 chicken crowns, rinsed and dried
  • Fresh white bread slices(crusts removed)
  • For the chicken stock: 35g chicken bouillon or stock cube
  • 4 litres water
  • 75ml lemon juice
  • Peeled zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, split lengthways

Lemon mayonnaise:

  • 150g mayonnaise
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 75ml double cream
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the stock ingredients and add the chicken, breast side down, cooking gently for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then drain.
  3. Remove the chicken skin, cut the breast meat into slices and season.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the lemon mayonnaise together.
  5. Spread the lemon mayonnaise on two slices of fresh white or granary bread.
  6. Add the chicken mix and top with the other slice.

Rhodes says: “This is a lighter take on  the traditional Coronation Chicken sandwich – the lemon mayonnaise and lemongrass in the stock gives the filling a fresh flavour with a Thai twist.”

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