Mac N’ Cheese-ival missed the mac

THEMUSEUM and B@THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener hosted a lackluster and disappointing homage to the beloved comfort food.

Macncheese - ONLINE Will
Photo by Will Huang

I want to preface my experience before I offend someone. I love macaroni and cheese. I even attended the Mac & Cheese Festival of Toronto in summer 2015.

According to Wikipedia, us Canadians consume 55 per cent more macaroni and cheese than our Southern neighbours — it’s basically our national dish.

But on the cold and breezy night of February 26, THEMUSEUM and B@THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener hosted the Mac N’ Cheese-ival, a lackluster and disappointing homage to the beloved comfort food.

The tickets quickly sold out and the Facebook event page flooded with a secondary market for tickets. Each ticket granted unlimited access to the four renditions of macaroni and cheese and a drink ticket for craft beer, pop or water.

The ground floor featured the “Loaded Cheese” mac n’ cheese, which replaced the “Jerk Chicken” because they were unable to scale the Jerk Chicken up for mass production and still maintain its quality. Unlike what the name “Loaded Cheese” suggests, it was seriously lacking in cheese. Thankfully, the band Running Red Lights from Toronto were there to keep things upbeat and spirited.

On the second floor was the “Caprese” mac n’ cheese, which also seriously lacked flavour and cheese, as well as beer from Four Fathers Brewing Company, a local brewery from Elora. On one side of the floor, you could make some macaroni art and the other side consisted of games and activities normally found in THEMUSEUM.

The third floor featured the “Butter Chicken” and “Italian Sicilian Sausage” mac n’ cheese, the only two that were marginally acceptable.

The “Butter Chicken” had bits of chicken and was topped with a cool yogurt, while the “Italian Sicilian Sausage” actually had some red bell peppers and, of course, Italian sausage. Despite more substance, both still tasted quite bland. To distract from the disappointment, visitors could interact with the ice age exhibit and learn about the lovely woolly mammoth.

I had the chance to taste WitDisturber, the beer made exclusively for THEMUSEUM by the Four Fathers Brewing Company, but sadly I couldn’t finish it. I’m more of a cocktail and shots kind of person so I cannot do the beer any further justice.

Macncheese - ONLINE Will 3
Photo by Will Huang

All the dishes were provided by their partner restaurant, B. In their previous and more successful events, like Tacofest, various participating restaurants competed to offer participants an array of delicious tacos.

A main concern prevalent in the reviews on their Facebook event page was the recycling and disposal of the plastic cups and spoons used to serve the all-you-can-eat macaroni and cheese.

THEMUSEUM purchased plastic spoons and containers made from recycled materials. The plastic cups for beverages and single-serving containers were recyclable but the plastic spoons were not, according to the Region of Waterloo’s online recycling resource Waste Whiz.

All in all, the Mac N’ Cheese-ival was a great idea, but poorly executed. The lines were long and the tables were put at inconvenient places. The food was flavourless, but the music and activities were great.

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