The best mac & cheese ever

James Beard Award winning chef Ashley Christensen shows Michael and Sara the way to mac & cheese heaven.
5:04 | 05/16/19

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Transcript for The best mac & cheese ever
city of Raleigh this week, we had to bring in our next guest. Yes, she recently won the James beard award for outstanding chef in the country, wow. Whoa. Pretty amazing. She's the only North Carolina chef to ever get this honor and she's here to show us how to make her famous macaroni au gratin. That's correct. I got it right. And her name is Ashley Christensen, everybody. Ashley, congratulations. The James beard award. That's huge. That is huge. We are so excited. So I understand you love to cook, Michael. Yes. Awesome, awesome. So I'm going to get you to take one of O first steps for us and that's going to be mixing these three cheeses. In your hand there is going to be sharp Vermont white cheddar. Next is a little bit of jarlsberg, almost like a Swiss kind of vibe. Then we've got Grana padano, which is a young parmesan. It's probably the most popular question about this dish, what is that cheese. We think it's just kind of the perfect pairing and the balance that we have of these three cheeses. If you can't find it, you can easily use parmesan cheese. So you can substitute that. Next up, cheese we think is the most important part even though it comes second in this scenario but also very important, the macaroni. We cook it for about five minutes. Do you put oil or anything on it? A little bit of oil after. We cook it to what we call Al Dente which means to the tooth, so you get a little bite in the pasta. We string it off, lay it flat on a sheet try, put a little bit of oil just to keep it from sticking. The noodles will stick to one another. Over here we've got a little bit of heavy cream. A lot a bit. A lot a bit. We reduced it just a such. It has a touch of salt as well. That's one of the things I want to point out about this dish. What you see on the right is everything that's happening in this dish. It's three cheeses, cream -- This is all the ingredients right here, that's all you need. Yes. Three cheeses, the cream, the noodles and a touch of salt. We're going to take all these noodles and pop them right in to the cream. Pour them in? Just pour them right in. You're being too nice. Don't hold back. How many seats in your restaurant? Poole's diner, our first restaurant, has 70 seats. How many of these do you sell a year in that 70-seat restaurant? It's pretty impressive. We only serve it at dinner and orders of this dish. You stir? You stir. I love that you're just jumping in but this is how easy this dish is. Bring up the cream around the noodles and get everything nice and connected. We're going to let that come up a bit and you can see the little bubbles starting to form. For TV magic we'll jump. Absolutely. Stir this. Michael, if you want to give us a hand. Michael, get that cheese on there. Just one scoop at a time. We do it in kind of small handfuls and we just slowly mix it in. We do it this way instead of dumping it all in, we want it to really bind. We're not using any flour or do anything to connect it. Hi, you're in there. How is it? I have never tasted anything better. So all this cheese goes in there, of course? Not quite all the cheese and the reason is that beautiful -- 40%. Yeah. I read my notes. We're going to do about 40% of the cheese, and I think you're there. That looks like 40% to me. Michael, you're going to want to try this. I'm going to try it but one of us has to be able to talk. She's a James beard award winner. Let her talk. We're going to go right in that dish, absolutely. It's time to eat. Michael's hungry. It's time to eat. Michael's hungry. Go just a touch more. There we go, that's it. This is one of the most fun parts. This is one of the most fun parts. What do I do here? I'm in. I'm in. Right over the top as high as you can pile it. We're going to knock it around the edges a little bit. As high as I can pile it, knock it around the edges a little bit. There you go. We got that area. Yeah. This is like a religious experience. I'll tell you right now, that pops in the oven. We put that in that broiler, get it all bubbly and it's kind of like bubbling over the edges and get that nice caramelized section, what you see in these other dishes. Then we end up with this. I think you should use a spoon. You think I should use a I'm not going to fight you. You know what you're doing. You're the boss. Let me see here. Michael -- That is a good, healthy bite. Oh my goodness. All right. I love you. Come here, man. Here, you try this. You try this. Let me know what you think. And you guys at home, don't go anywhere because when we get back, Paris Hilton will be here. Ashley, thank you so much. We'll be right back, everybody.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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