Kiwi chef reveals family secrets to making ultimate mac n' cheese

macaroni and cheese
There's a lot of debate over the best way to whip up the crowd-pleasing favourite. Photo credit: Getty Images.

It seems like there's a day to mark just about every favourite food. 

'International Doughnut Day' falls on June 3, 'Sandwich Day' on November 3, 'Coffee Day' on October 1… the list goes on.

Well apologies to those gluten or dairy intolerant souls, July 14 marks 'Mac n' Cheese Day': A time to celebrate all the cheesy, calorie-laden goodness of macaroni and cheese. 

There is a lot of debate over how to make mac n' cheese. 

Some see it as a side dish, others think of it as the star of a meal. Some home cooks add vegetables like peas or tomatoes while others think of that as sacrilege. 

We turned to an expert to learn how best to make the crowd-pleasing favourite at home. 

Hamilton chef Chris Taylor owns restaurant Pasta Fresca, and keeps his family's mac n' cheese recipe a closely guarded secret. 

He’s given us his three tips for making the perfect mac n' cheese, which he says is one of the best in the country, and his top seller on food delivery app Menulog.  

Timing (and seasoning) is everything 

"Because the sauce is the base of the dish, I mix the butter and flour well before adding in the cheese, which makes all the difference," says Taylor. 

"I'm never afraid to use herbs and spices in my cheese sauce, and the key to a great mac n' cheese is for it to be well-seasoned to ensure it is full of flavour."

Keeping it crisp is key

"Crispy bacon on top is a must when it comes to mac n' cheese," says Taylor. There are other vegetarian options I use too, but I always make sure whatever topping I choose, I use lots of it. The more the better."  

Get creative

"Because Mac N' Cheese is reasonably basic, I like to get creative with my flavour combinations," says Taylor. 

"While the pineapple on pizza debate is a common and divisive one, I have no worries about adding pineapple to my mac n' cheese. It sounds random, but it is delicious, trust me.

"To get extra crunch, I sometimes bake my mac n' cheese in the oven and add crushed up corn chips on top – that's another unique but tasty combo."

If you want to try making your own, this baked mac n' cheese recipe from The Chunky Chef uses two different types of cheese for the ultimate flavour combination.