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The toastmasters

Peter Gilmore is reaching for Brie de Meaux and black winter truffles, Joseph Abboud is spreading Nutella and Ben Shewry’s making lasagne. Twenty-five chefs nominate their ultimate jaffle fillings.

There's only one thing better than a good sandwich and that's one that's been through a jaffle iron. Yes, the humble toastie, the jaffle, whatever you like to call it, may be simple in its execution - nothing more than bread, your choice of filling and a bit of butter, pressed down into a pillow of warm, melted, carby goodness - but that doesn't make it anything short of brilliant in our eyes. And we're not alone in our love for the jaffle: our nation's top chefs, too, hold a special place for it in their hearts.

Joel Valvasori-Pereza, Lalla Rookh, Perth, WA
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
I think the ravioli of spinach with ricotta and Montasio cheese would be an absolute disaster of a sandwich. I imagine the bread would get sodden from the walnut-and-fig butter sauce. Our pappardelle with sugo di carne would be a winner though, with a few slices of cheese.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My go-to jaffle is tinned spaghetti and cheese. Tinned spaghetti has no other culinary use except with toasted bread.
The ultimate jaffle?
Ultimate jaffle? This is inspired by my mate Matt Wilkinson and a sandwich he had on at Pope Joan: sopressa salami, buffalo mozzarella, pickled green tomatoes and basil. A wicked mix of salt and acid balanced with creamy cheese.

Nicky Riemer, Union Dining, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
One of our signature dishes is our roast suckling pig with apple soubise, which we only do on Friday and Saturday evenings. It's done simply - stuffed with sage, rosemary, garlic and oregano, then roasted. The juicy pieces of suckling pig flesh mixed with some apple soubise and the delectable crisp skin would make a very fine toasted sandwich or filling in a jaffle.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My go-to toasted sandwich would have to be sourdough bread with smoky ham off the bone with a nice bitey cheddar and lashings of relish or Dijon mustard. And I love butter on the outside of a toasted sandwich: I want a good toasted sandwich to be dripping down my hand.
The ultimate jaffle?
The ultimate jaffle for me would be thinly sliced roasted duck breast with foie gras parfait and golden raisin jam. I know, I know, it sounds like a heart attack; but trust me, with a glass of Sauternes, this is no humble jaffle.

Peter Gilmore, Quay, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
The snow egg would be a disaster, but the smoked and confit pig cheek with shiitake, scallops and Jerusalem artichokes could potentially be amazing.
What's your go-to jaffle?
When it comes to jaffles late at night, if I'm honest, it's just a good bit of cheese, such as some Comté.
The ultimate jaffle?
Brie de Meaux and shaved Australian black winter truffles.

Ben Shewry, Attica, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Our "simple dish of potato cooked in the earth it was grown in" as a toastie? It wouldn't be great. I'm not convinced that a hangi potato between bread is good. I know from personal experience that leftover roasted potatoes and chicken gravy with cheese in a toasted sandy is amazing.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Pyengana cheddar, diced onion, black pepper. I've been eating the old cheese and onion for at least 30 years.
The ultimate jaffle?
For me, lasagne. With extra parmesan.

Jeremy Strode, Bistrode CBD, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Corned Blackmore wagyu beef and horseradish would work really well.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Pyengana cheddar - that simple.
The ultimate jaffle?
Ham from Feather and Bone, Pyengana cheddar and truffled egg.

Daniel Southern, Comme, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Since I've been focusing on French food for the past couple of years, I'd say all the ingredients of cassoulet (pork belly, pork sausage and confit duck) cut small enough and squeezed into the jaffle is a winner. But if none of those ingredients is accessible to you, I'm quite partial to cheese, ham and tomato.
What's your go-to jaffle?
As an Englishman, I cannot go past a baked-bean jaffle. The beans have to be Heinz English Recipe - the blue tin, available in any good supermarket.
The ultimate jaffle?
There's no beating that cassoulet.

Iain Todd, Ethos Eat Drink, Hobart, Tas
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
At Ethos we change the menu every day, but we have a slow-roasted Bruny Island pork shoulder dish with unripe strawberries, watercress and soused onion, and a charred ox tongue dish with eggplant purée and pickled zucchini that I think would work a treat in a sandwich.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My go-to is a simple one: leftover bread from work, cut thick and filled with Tilsit, chunks of ham and whatever pickles I can find in the fridge.
The ultimate jaffle?
The ultimate jaffle would have to be cooked in a fire with the excess bread from around the sides burnt away and the middle too hot to eat for at least five minutes. The filling would be reminiscent of the old favourite - baked beans that I've made and lots of Tilsit (you've gotta have lots of cheese) all smothered in hot sauce after it's cooked. The bread has to be square, white, supermarket bread to fit in the jaffle iron, plus it holds together the best. A great sandwich with the smell of the fire would be unbeatable.

Andrew McConnell, Cutler & Co., Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
At Cumulus Up one of our most popular dishes is a duck waffle topped with a foie gras parfait. I've always dreamed of filling a toasted sandwich with a good slab of foie gras and a spoon of shredded confit duck and/or slow-cooked onion.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My go-to toastie is a simple old-school ham, cheese, tomato sandwich. Quality ingredients are essential and plenty of butter. It has to be cooked in a sandwich press and not under a salamander grill.
The ultimate jaffle?
My something-serious is an additional snack dish we served last year in Moon Under Water - a brioche toasted sandwich filled with an outrageous amount of cultured butter, a good slab of Gruyère de Comté and shaved truffles. Cooked in a sandwich press with crusts removed, it's now on my short list of death-row meals.

Shane Delia, Maha, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Our signature lamb or renowned Turkish delight doughnut? I think both would be amazing. Our slow-roasted lamb shoulder would be a cracker of a filling. Imagine it with some shaved haloumi, ricotta and almonds. Hot! On the other hand, if we chose Maha's signature dessert, it would also rock. The Turkish delight would be melted down as a jam with hot, oozing Nutella, and finished with a crisp casing brushed with hot honey and sprinkled with crushed walnuts.
What's your go-to jaffle?
It's a simple one. I'm a sucker for Vegemite and cheese, but I need a good cultured salted butter. It makes it just a touch more special.
The ultimate jaffle?
Sourdough, jamón, foie gras and spiced fig jam. Do I really need to say anything more?

Phil Wood, Rockpool on George, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
To be honest, I think congee would be horrible in a jaffle. Imagine how quickly it would go soggy.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My favourite jaffle when I was a kid was tomato sauce and cheese, then my tastes moved on to Marmite and cheese. Now I just love the good old ham and cheese with some béchamel.
The ultimate jaffle?
I reckon it would be braised beef short ribs with sautéed morels, shaved truffle, some Gruyère and an egg - something light.

Hugh Whitehouse, Saffire, Freycinet Peninsula, Tas
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Desserts are always a favourite here, but to put them in a toasted sandwich might be a disaster.
What's your go-to jaffle?
It has to be a classic: leg ham, Gruyère and tomato on sourdough.
The ultimate jaffle?
Being winter, it has to be southern rock lobster, Tasmanian black truffles and poached egg between slices of buttery potato sourdough.

Joseph Abboud, Rumi, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Three-cheese cigars - I hadn't thought of it until now, but damn, it would make a serious jaffle. Three cheeses (haloumi, feta and ash'awan) plus oregano.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Cheese and bacon. Nat [Joseph's wife] is in charge of toasties at home, so I've adopted the house special.
The ultimate jaffle?
I think Andrew McConnell's Moon Under Water toasted sandwich has topped that one. I don't think I could get too serious about a toastie, but I take Nutella pretty seriously.

David Coomer, Pata Negra, Perth, WA
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Perfect: white beans, duck confit and smoked pork belly. The ultimate baked-bean jaffle.
What's your go-to jaffle?
We do one with jamón Ibérico on toasted tomato bread at Xarcuteria. So simple and luxurious.
The ultimate jaffle?
Comté with black truffle.

Kerby Craig, Ume, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Scallop carpaccio - not very well really. The scallops would over cook, and there is a fair amount of soy and brown butter, which would turn it all into a sloppy dough.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Bacon, smoked cheddar and tomato and/or lime and avocado.
The ultimate jaffle?
Soy-braised pork belly, Dijon mustard, fermented Chinese cabbage, mustard greens and chopped crackling. Oishii!

Daniel Puskas and James Parry, Sixpenny, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
We're not sure how the crab with macadamia milk would work in a jaffle - I think it might need to change a little. The mud crab would be delicious, though. If you mixed that with some mayo and served it with a red cabbage and sesame coleslaw, I think that would be delicious.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Ham and cheese. Keeping it simple.
The ultimate jaffle?
Comté with some braised yoghurt-fed suckling pig, then more Comté. Served with a glass of vin jaune.

Pasquale Trimboli, Italian & Sons, Canberra, ACT
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Our signature dish is our wood-roasted suckling pig, braised lentils and salsa verde. This dish is special because of its texture, flavour and the crisp crackling paired with the piquant salsa verde and earthy lentils. All of this could work, but how do we get crackling to crisp up in a jaffle? I'm sure there is a way.
What's your go-to jaffle?
It's actually a family favourite of ours. It consists of a jaffle packed full of ricotta, a dash of chestnut honey and marjoram.
The ultimate jaffle?
It would have to involve local Canberra truffles, fresh duck egg and white asparagus. Much like a raviolo, pressing down the sides and the yolk soft poaches as it cooks, oozing out as you cut it open.

Ben Russell, Aria Brisbane, Qld
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
Aria's Peking duck consommé in a sandwich? While I'm certain there are some crazy kids out there with a copy of Modernist Cuisine and a pantry full of emulsifiers who would argue the possibilities and similarities to Shanghai soup dumplings, for my money it's a no. Put the bread down and step away. Finding abalone in my sandwich is right up there with finding a Band-Aid in my burger.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Keep it simple: cheese (cheddar only) - sliced not grated - white bread, butter (on the outside of the sandwich only) and, depending on the quality of your cheese, maybe a little sea salt.
The ultimate jaffle?
Take leftover duck cassoulet (be generous with porky bits when making it). I would suggest a rye bread for this, no crust. Take one piece of bread and make a well in the centre. Crack a duck egg into the well, then grate a small amount of Gruyère over the top. Place second piece of bread on top, taking care not to break the yolk, then toast and serve. I would suggest serving this with copious amounts of either beer or shame, depending which end of the night you're at. Repeat process.

David Moyle, The Stackings, Woodbridge, Tas
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
My signature dish is the roasted Broadmarsh pigeon with onion, saltbush and roasting juices. The thing that would make it a killer toastie is that the bread would soak up the roasting juices and blend with the sugars in the onion to caramelise. No added mayo required: the fat from the pigeon being the most appropriate lubricant.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Can't beat baked beans.
The ultimate jaffle?
For the ultimate toastie I think I'd use a brilliant Comté or other mountain-style cheese (berg hueblumen käse, say). To then place it in a toaster feels almost sacrilegious; however, I do it and it's incredible. Serve with a side of pickles.

David Swain, Fino, Willunga, SA
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
We don't really have a signature dish, but there are two dishes that could work well: baccalà of locally-caught snapper with celeriac rémoulade, watercress and chervil on Small World Bakery whole rye; and Mayura Station full-blooded wagyu brisket pastrami that is brined then hot-smoked in our Weber in our rear car park, served with Langhorne Creek fresh horseradish (in season right now) and cauliflower pickles on Small World Bakery ciabatta.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My go-to toasted sandwich at home, made by my son 13-year-old Abel, is an Asian-style pork bun with a twist. From Fino's kitchen comes 14-hour slow-cooked SchuAm Berkshire pork shoulder, and Abel makes his own kimchi (Chinese cabbage, spring onions, garlic, ginger and chilli).
The ultimate jaffle?
My eldest son, Zeph the 18-year-old, makes his own chilli cornbread, which he fills with homemade Southern fried chicken. It's a wonderful late-night snack for a teenager.

Luke Burgess, Garagistes, Hobart, Tas
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
We don't have a signature dish really, so our options are wide open.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Brandade and quince aïoli.
The ultimate jaffle?
Nothing gets more serious than aged Comté and pine mushrooms braised with garlic and savory. Winner!

Scott Minervini, Lebrina, Hobart, Tas
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
It's slow-cooked lamb Scotch with pea and mint pudding, and mint hollandaise. So I'd have to shred the lamb up, add some of the braising juices and a few peas (no pudding, of course), freshly chopped mint and parsley, a little fresh garlic would be good, some sea salt too and put it into the toaster. A nice touch would be to dip the hot jaffle into a small bowl of the hollandaise.
What's your go-to jaffle?
Grain bread, butter, Heidi Farm raclette, thinly sliced red onion and smoked hot paprika.
The ultimate jaffle?
A hard one, but local black truffle, egg that is still fairly soft, and some crisped prosciutto. I'll have to make one when the truffles come around.

Sean Connolly, The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
The signature dish at The Morrison would have to be the slow-roasted lamb shoulder with raspberry vinegar and star anise, and I think the lamb would work really well in a jaffle.
What's your go-to jaffle?
It would have to be the baked-bean jaffle, you can't go wrong with that.
The ultimate jaffle?
I think a camembert and truffle jaffle would be amazing - very luxurious.

Richard Ptacnik, Otto Ristorante, Sydney, NSW
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
This is a very interesting question for me as our signature dish is ravioli di barbabietola - a ravioli of finely sliced pickled beetroot, goat's curd, pistachio and horseradish, served slightly chilled - and to be honest I have never contemplated trying it in a jaffle. But you never know, it might be a fun thing to do.
What's your go-to jaffle?
I'd find it very difficult to go past a jaffle with some prosciutto - perhaps some that's been quickly pan-fried to give it some caramelised flavours - combined with ripe heirloom tomatoes and beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella. I'm getting hungry thinking about this.
The ultimate jaffle?
I would probably go for some tender and tasty smoked pulled pork with a light blue cheese sauce and perhaps a little cabbage to the side.

Nick Mahlook, Stokehouse Cafe, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
One of Stokehouse Cafe's signature dishes is our spit-roasted lamb, and it's great in a jaffle: a bit of cheese and some caramelised onion and you're set.
What's your go-to jaffle?
At the moment it is pastrami, cheese and pickle. Quick and easy and super-tasty as well.
The ultimate jaffle?
The jaffle is so versatile I think you could shove just about anything in there - crayfish, truffles, fancy ham. Jaffles are about sitting around the campfire, a bit of smoke in your eyes and sharing good conversation and a couple of cold ones with your mates. If you have those components covered, I don't think it matters what you put in them: you're set for a good meal.

Joseph Vargetto, Mister Bianco, Melbourne, Vic
How well would your signature dish work in a jaffle?
The restaurant's signature dish is a tuna carpaccio with cucumber, tomato, avocado and dried tuna roe. I think it would go really well as a lightly toasted sandwich or panino alla griglia. The tuna is flavoured with green chilli and fresh herbs. I think this with the addition of a few slices of Taleggio in organic wholemeal bread pressed lightly so that the tuna doesn't over cook would be delightful.
What's your go-to jaffle?
My go-to toasted sandwich is pretty simple and not very Italian, but I can't lie: wholemeal bread, tomato, cheddar and smoked ham.
The ultimate jaffle?
My serious jaffle is a piadina (Italy's answer to the jaffle) with prosciutto, rocket and stracchino cheese. And lots of Barolo.

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