Chef Terry Somerville lets us in on his secret for making the sandwich of your dreams.

Sandwiches are a time-honoured staple, from your childhood PB&J to your go-to work lunch, but they’re experiencing a bit of a moment. A new wave of hip sandwich shops have been popping up across the West—like Calgary’s Butcher and Baker and Sidewalk Citizen, or Vancouver’s The Birds and the Beets—and reminding us that the humble dish can actually have some gourmet appeal when done right (sorry, tuna-on-whole-wheat). We tapped Chef Terry Somerville from Meat and Bread to get a few tips on how to build our next sandwich like a pro.

Find the perfect ratio.

“The key to a perfect sandwich is meat, bread-to-garnish ratio and texture contrast,” says Somerville. By having contrasting textures, it adds layers to the sandwich, and with each bite, there will be a deeper appreciation for all the other qualities.

Keep it crunchy.

The work sandwich never seems to live up to expectations, probably because we tend to use vegetables such as tomatoes or cucumbers. They’re healthy additives, of course, but their high water content is a surefire recipe for a soggy ‘wich. To combat this, Somerville suggests putting a thin layer of butter or mayo on each piece of bread to prevent moisture from ruining the bread.

Pick a bread with wherewithal. 

Another tip: make sure you’re using bread with some substance. Somerville prefers ciabatta buns, which will maintain its crust and keep that sandwich in pristine condition until lunchtime.

Balance fat and acid.

If the sandwich contains fatty meats (we’re looking at you, pork belly), you’ll want to pair it with something acidic to balance it out. Somerville advocates for “olive salad, pickled eggplant, spicy peppers, roasted bell peppers, or mustards.” Meat and Bread’s popular Porchetta sandwich has “a meaty loin, fatty belly, crispy skin and the sharp herbaceous salsa verde,” Somerville explains.porchetta 3

Do you have any great tips for making a premium sandwich? Let us know in the comments below!