A Week of Big Sub(stitutes)

Students competed for the best sandwich recipes and spoke with chef Alex Guarnaschelli ’91

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm

For more than a decade every year, Barnard has hosted its annual Big Sub event, which brings the entire campus community together to break bread. (Last year’s handmade submarine stretched 750 feet.) The College’s culinary tradition continued this year in the form of Big Sub Week, November 9-13, inviting students to share their best “sandwich” recipes — in the categories of sweet/dessert, international, childhood favorite, and breakfast — for a chance to take home a reward. 

A picture of sandwich shaped like bear with carrots and potato chips.

The winning recipes, which were featured on social media, ranged from an inspired classic (Grace Tulinsky ’24’s “Bear-Shaped Ham and Cheese Sandwich”) to a creative twist on a breakfast favorite (Carla Melaco ’21’s “Saturday Morning Sunshine Sandwich”). 

Do sandwiches need to meet a specific criteria? That’s up for interpretation. “To me, a sandwich is easy to assemble, easy to share, and easy to take on the go,” explains Sara Kirkham ’24, whose creation “Millie’s Beary Best Cream Puffs” was named the dessert winner. 

For Amber Chong ’21, who came up with the winning “Chong Bánh mì” (in the international category), “the sandwich is in the eye of the beholder,” she says.    

World-renowned chef and Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli ’91 closed out the event on November 13 with a virtual Q&A and interview about her career and her own sandwich preferences.

“Sandwiches are very emotional,” Guarnaschelli says. “I probably have 10 or 12 pieces of clothing in my closet that comprise three-quarters of my wardrobe, and I’d say I have 10 or 12 sandwiches that comprise everything I’ve ever loved.” If she had to pick, though, it’s a croque monsieur served with watercress and a tangy salad dressing. “There’s little that’s better to me than that experience.”

To read more about the four winning sandwiches and enlighten yourself about the ongoing sandwich debate (Are burritos, falafels, and hot dogs sandwiches?), visit barnard.edu/news.

Latest IssueSpring 2023