Using their noodles! Local chefs get creative at mac-and-cheese cook-off in Bushwick

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Call them cheese whizes!

Borough cheddar lovers turned out in droves to dine on some of the best mac and cheese made by amateur Brooklyn cooks — and then judge their favorites!

Attendees who shelled out $25 for tickets to the 15th-annual Mac ‘n’ Cheeze Takedown event at Bushwick venue Lot 45 said every cent was worth it to sample the cheesy creations.

“It was great,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant dad Rogan Holmes, who went with his 3-year-old son Preben, “My son is a big fan of mac and cheese — he was very happy.”

The cook-off event is a long-running Brooklyn tradition that thrusts at-home chefs into the arena of public opinion, as they vie to impress local foodies with their twists on the classic dish in a bid to win top-of-the-line Cusinart and Anolon kitchenware.

Mother-daughter catering duo Alexis Cole and Alonna Storey drew praise for their two mac-and-cheese recipes — creamy-cheesy mac-and-cheese, and cheesy with onions and peppers — earning them the third-place prize in the democratic “People’s Choice” category, and a lot of love, mom said.

“Everybody kept coming over to our table asking for our number,” said Cole, who with her 12-year-old runs catering outfit Alonna’s Kitchen. “We had a wonderful time.”

A panel of judges also named winning dishes in addition to those recognized by the people, and the experts awarded first place to contestant Chris Jackson for his “For Gouda Bout It Mac.”

Other competitors attempted less traditional routes to victory, cooking up unique variants of the comfort food with such exotic ingredients as goat cheese, chorizo, jerk chicken, and even chocolate, according to Holmes, who admitted he prefers to stick to the classics.

“Some of the more experimental ones were not for me,” he said. “I’m a purist.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 8:25 pm, February 20, 2019
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