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TBD Food Talk with Chef Spike Mendelsohn

November 8, 2010 - 11:09 AM
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Chef Spike Mendelsohn
Chef Spike Mendelsohn

Former Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn was 19 years old when he told his mother he wanted to become a chef.

Aware of his potential and understanding the level of commitment it takes to become a great chef, his mother made him a deal -- work for one full year and live up to the demands of the chef, learn some humility and perseverance, and she and his father would send him to any culinary school in the world.

The perseverance paid off. In January of 2004, Mendelsohn started his formal education at the Culinary Institute of America. For his externship he unrelentingly sought a position with Chef Gerard Boyer at the famous Restaurant Les Crayeres in Reims, France. He soaked in every ounce of knowledge that he could during that time and kept a journal about it documenting recipes and techniques in detail.

Upon his return to the Institute he joined the Culinary Society and participated with Chef Pardus and Chef Michael Huynh in a series of fusion dinners in the hope that he would be chosen as one of the 10 students that would be afforded the opportunity to go to Vietnam on a culinary adventure with both chefs. He was chosen to go on that trip and it would be the beginning of the Vietnamese influence on his cuisine. Mendelsohn graduated in 2005, receiving the highest award offered at The Culinary Institute of America, The Francis Roth Leadership Award.

Mendelsohn owns two restaurants in the District, Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill and We the Pizza, which opened this past summer. He released his first cookbook, The Good Stuff Eatery Cookbook, last summer as well. Mendelsohn is a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, scheduled to air Dec. 1.

If you would like to submit questions ahead of time, please email them to nlim@tbd.com.

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