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‘Chopped’ Champion Brian Riggenbach Shares Recipe For ‘Perfect’ Sandwich: ‘It Delivers on Every Point’

The 'Perfect' Sandwich Chef Brian Riggenbach
Chef Brian RiggenbachEmily Dorio

As a Chopped champion, Brian Riggenbach knows a thing or two about how to make a good sandwich. In fact, he calls a dish he named the I’ll Have What She’s Having Sandwich “perfect,” so of course we had to feature the recipe in honor of National Sandwich Month, which spans the month of August.

The deli-inspired meal is a customer favorite at The Mockingbird, Riggenbach’s restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, and it’s easy to see why. “Sandwiches are a particular favorite food group of mine and I’ll Have What She’s Having delivers on every point; it’s salty, smoky, spicy, crunchy, gooey melted cheesy — it has all the feels and all the tastes,” he tells Us Weekly. “It’s an easy crowd-pleaser, but still impressive with its layers of flavors.”

The sandwich, which is named after the iconic line in the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, is certainly satiating. “At the restaurant we use a fabulous artisanal whole grain loaf slathered with caraway-beer mustard and topped off with bourbon-pickled jalapeños,” Riggenbach, 38, explains. “This is the perfect afternoon sandwich and also could be substantial enough for dinner, depending how much pastrami you pile on. Casual yet sophisticated, this little number will have you screaming in delight à la Sally at a deli.”

Take a look at the complete recipe below!

The 'Perfect' Sandwich Chef Brian Riggenbach
The ‘Perfect’ Sandwich Courtesy Chef Brian Riggenbach

I’ll Have What She’s Having Sandwich

Makes 4 servings


• 8 pieces high-quality seeded bread
• 2 lbs high-quality pastrami, sliced thin
• 8 pieces white cheddar, sliced
• 4 tbsps beer mustard (recipe below)
• 4 tbsps, pickled jalapeño
• Butter, as needed

Beer Mustard
• 2 tbsps Coleman’s dry mustard
• 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
• 1 1/2 tbsps caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
• 1/2 cup malt vinegar
• 3 tbsps honey
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 6 egg yolks
• 1 tsp granulated sugar


  1. Butter the bread and toast on a griddle, or in a sauté pan over medium heat, set aside.
  2. Add a tablespoon of butter to a sauté pan, heat the pastrami through, top with the cheddar and melt the cheese in a warmed oven at 300 degrees.
  3. To make the mustard, combine all ingredients in a metal bowl or in the top of a double-boiler. Cook over simmering water, whipping continuously but gently, until thickened. Do not whisk too vigorously, or it will become frothy.
  4. Remove mustard from heat. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled.
    Spread 1 tablespoon of mustard on each slice of bread, top with the pastrami and melted cheese, evenly coat with the pickled jalapeño and then close with the top piece of toasted bread.
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