The Winner! “The Tarts” is this year’s United Way Hunger Hero

There were 76 entries and four finalists, and this week 14850 Dining can tell you who won the Hunger Hero sandwich competition. Collegetown Bagels hosted a tasting event and will be selling the sandwich to benefit the United Way of Tompkins County.

There were plenty of samples for everyone to try at the Hunger Hero tasting event. 14850 photo.

Those 76 entries came from sandwich idea submissions online and at CTB and Ithaca Bakery locations. Some were Ithaca-focused, some very seasonal. There were vegan and vegetarian entries, as well as lots with cold cuts or local meat ideas.

Thanks to Collegetown Bagels for hosting the final round, with judges representing Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County, Foodnet Meals on Wheels, and 14850 Dining. Everyone was welcome to come sample the sandwiches if they brought non-perishable food items to donate to the United Way Hunger and Food Security program.

Judging this year’s competition were a representative from Loaves and Fishes, one from Foodnet Meals on Wheels, and yours truly, representing 14850 Dining.

Hunger Hero winner Nghi Nguyen with her winning sandwich.

This year’s Hunger Hero sandwich finalists included one with prosciutto, sliced apples, and granola, and another with lightly fried eggplant slices on rosemary focaccia.

The winner featured smoked turkey, brie, red pepper jam, basil leaves, balsamic glaze, and sliced fresh strawberries on toasted sourdough. A little sweet, a little savory, and a little spicy. It was submitted by local college student Nghi Nguyen, who calls it “The Tarts” and said it’s her ultimate upgraded grilled cheese. Nghi says she made it her mission when she got to town as a freshman to work through the whole sandwich menu at Collegetown Bagels. So far? She’s tried 45 different sandwiches through her two years of college. How many more are left to try? She’s not even sure.

Look for “The Tarts” at Collegetown Bagels and Ithaca Bakery locations for the next month. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the United Way.

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