Gochujang fried chicken bao bun
Chartwells Higher Ed at University of Central Oklahoma Edmund, Okla.
Executive Chef Melodie Thornton, CCC, discovered bao buns a couple of years ago on a great first date. Now she’s still in love with the guy—another chef—and bao buns! She created this sentimental sammie using chicken fried in fiery gochujang, yuzu aioli, Japanese pickles and hot pink cabbage slaw.
NC fried chicken biscuit
Harvest Table Culinary Group at Elon University, Elon, N,C,
Chef Keith Griffin was inspired by local ingredients (chicken from Joyce Farms, cheddar from Ashe County Cheese and honey from Cloister Honey) as well as his roots in Virginia and North Carolina when he dreamed up this down-home comfort on a housemade drop biscuit.
Lawd have mercy sandwich
Metz Culinary Management at Mercy Medical Center Baltimore
The breading on the chicken here is made with corn flakes, but first it’s brined in pickle juice. Details like the potato bun, chipotle-ranch dressing and bread-and-butter pickles take this into heavenly chicken sandwich territory.
Parmesan-peppercorn chicken sandwich
Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga.
The sauce is the secret to this fried chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwich. According to Executive Chef Clay Culpepper, “the Parmesan-peppercorn sauce really sets it off.”
Korean ranch fried chicken sandwich
Aramark Higher Ed., Weston, Mass.
Gochujang strikes again in this sandwich created by Executive Chef Michael McCutcheon. The flavors are inspired by the chef’s experience living in New York City and experiencing more flavor mashups per square mile than almost anywhere else.
Korean fried chicken sandwich
Metz Culinary Management at Arcadia University, Glenside, Pa.
Housemade kimchi makes this fried chicken sandwich pop, along with gochujang (there it is again!) aioli.
Spicy Baltimore yardbird
Unidine at Keswick, Baltimore
Chef Aaron Gonnelly collaborated with the team at Keswick on this crispy chicken sandwich with Baltimore flavor, which includes a buttermilk marinated chicken thigh, Maytag bleu cheese slaw, housemade pickles, Old Bay-honey hot sauce and a tomato on grilled brioche.
Pink pineapple fried chicken blast
Sodexo at University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, S.C.
Pink pineapple has a subtle tartness that sets it apart. Executive Chef Anna Sena paired that flavor with spicy jalapeno slaw, peppery arugula over fried chicken on sourdough toast.
Blaze’s chicken sandwich
Chartwells Higher Ed at The University of Texas at Arlington
Another chicken sandwich elevated with Asian flavors, this one begins with a buttermilk-Tabasco marinade, then gets breaded with “red hot” powder, cornmeal and cracker crumbs. The sandwich layers on housemade pickles, onions, jalapenos and Szechuan cole slaw.
WFUsion chicken sandwich
Harvest Table Culinary Group at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.
This really is fusion at its finest: The barbecue scene of the Carolinas meets the Nashville hot chicken sandwich then heads straight to a Japanese steakhouse (that’s where you’ll find yum yum sauce!) Oh, and there’s bacon, too. Just because.
Nashville hot chicken sandwich
Chartwells K-12 at several districts
Part of Chartwells’ chicken concept, Roost, this spicy sammie has been the most popular sandwich for the company across the country. It’s part of the Student Choice program, where kids vote for which concepts their cafeterias will have, so you know the kids are asking for the fire!
Aramark at Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, Page, Ariz.
A leisurely Sunday supper at grandma’s house—with fried chicken and deviled eggs—is the inspiration here. The deviled eggs come in the form of pimento cheese. Clever!
Devilish Fresno chili chicken sandwich
LivGenerations Senior Living, Tempe, Ariz.
For seniors living on the spicy side, Chef Bryan Fowler came up with this sandwich. The warm buttery roll is sealed with a sweet layer of red pepper cream cheese and the heat is from chili brown sugar, bacon jam and pepper Jack cheese.