Monday, April 13, 2009
I would like to say right here, on the record, that yesterday, Monday April 13, 2009, will go down in history as one of the best days of my life. I was fortunate
enough to be part of The White House Easter Egg Roll, doing a healthy-food cooking demo for kids, an endeavor I originally thought was "pretty cool," but hardly realized how AWESOME it was going to be.
For one, I figured I'd maybe get a glimpse of Obama, just a glimpse. Instead, I was within feet of the First Family as they greeted the thousands of guests to their lawn and kicked off the Easter Egg Roll. It was actually one of the coolest experiences, I mean they were just so warm, nice, funny. At one point, the mic wasn't working and Prez Obama started talking into the bunny's ear, using it as a mic, I mean the kids we're loving that! When Fergie sang The Star Spangled banner standing in the middle of them, it sent shivers down my spine. Sasha and Malia are absolute gems. I don't care if I sound over-the-top, I'm totally nuts over this family!
My cooking demo, if I may say so myself, went amazing. What a great idea to incorporate healthy cooking tips during the day so people can take some practical tips home with them on how to cook for their family. The kids weren't all that interested in my theories on avocados- and who could blame them. After all, I might be Spike, but they longed for The Easter Bunny! The best part was the helpers I got to come on stage and cook with me - classic funny kids moments. We made turkey burgers, recipe from the restaurant, and I think the kids loved mushing up avocado and playing (making patties) with the ground turkey. At one demo I had two kids who considered themselves "pros" and I was thinking of signing them up for the restaurant, if only they were older than eight!
Throughout the day Fergie-Ferg-Fergalicious was performing at the other end of the
lawn, Art Smith was kickin' around, Ziggy Marley was making the rounds - it was a huge honor being in such good company. Definitely a major PINCH ME day.
Now, back to reality where I'm flipping Obama burgers instead of possibly high-fiveing with the man himself. Oh, have I mentioned how much I like him?
Lovn' the White House,
Friday, April 3, 2009
Food & Wine Party... Ok there is not one word above that I don't absolutely LOVE (Food. Wine. Party.). So, you can imagine how much fun I had at this year's
Best Chefs of '09 Bash, given by Food n Wine Magazine in NYC.
I Amtrak'ed it down for the night, and had a blast reconnecting with old friends, and picking the brains of some new chefs that I've always wanted to meet. Late night I met up with Andrew (my Top Chef partner in crime) at The Spotted Pig. He was his usual boring self... a total snooze. Haha, AS IF. But first - the party and my line skipping photos..i was caught!
My favorite person there? Probably a tie between Gail Simmons (she's SO nice and SO beautiful) and Josh Ozersky (he writes The Feedbag Blog, a total genius and absolute trip). I'd be lying if I didn't get all excited over chillin' with Katy Lee Joel, doing our restaurant talk thing! Tom Colicchio, was on crutches but still the coolest dude in the house. Also Nikki Cascone was there - she's an incredible person and a close friend. I hope everyone visits her at 24PRINCE in NYC (promise?). Oh, least I forget the biggest trip of all - FABIO was making the rounds, complete with his bombshell wife and big, bright smile. He's a real ham, that one, but I honestly can't say I don't like the guy.
After catching up with everyone, I walked around with some friends, sampled some stellar food and some not so stellar food. Stephanie Izzard's scallops were the star of the night. Yeah, yeah, insert the scallop jokes here.
Scott Conant served some delish TK from Scarpetta. I'm really impressed by him in general, nice guy, super-talented chef (but you don't need ME to tell you that, just
read The New York Times). I saw Harold from Top Chef, who's a perfectly nice guy, but sooooo shy - he needs to live it up more! Chefs are the new Rockstars, yo!!
We danced for a while, getting down n dirty with god-knows-who, at one point I think Rocco DiSpirito was trying to grind with me. That's probably when I realized it was time to take off. I hung out with some peeps at Nobu and then my bud Nick and I proceeded to party on with Andrew at The Spotted Pig where I will shamelessly admit, there was some sort of cat fight over me and Andrew. Meow! And we'll end there!
Love 'n cat fights,
Friday, March 13, 2009
I’m just coming down from the ridiculous,incredible, amazing high of South Beach Food and Wine Festival, and I’m back on my feet to tell you all about it.
In a nutshell: I kicked Bobby Flays...you know what. Haha, just kidding.
Well, actually, I’m not kidding at all, but I guess I should be a little more diplomatic about it, I kicked 23 chefs out of running for best burger!
The main reason I decided to go down to Miami was to compete in Rachael Ray’s Burger Bash. I know it sounds corny, but the event is a big deal in the food world and so I thought, let's have some fun and see what it's all about. Former winners include Chef Katie Lee Joel, as well as my pal Chef Michael Schlow of Boston. That said, I honestly went for fun, not for victory. I hoped to win, of course, but come on, not only was I the youngest chef there, but it was my first time on the playground, ya know?
So I dragged my culinary partner in crime, Chef Michael Colletti, as well as my friend from NYC Chef Sean Scotese, along with a few other members of the Spike posse down to South Beach for a weekend of Burger flippin’ and party hopping.
Burger Bash was the first event of the trip - and let me tell you, what happened that night, set us off for a wild ride. A few months prior, I had decided we would serve Colletti’s Smokehouse Burger (Vidalia onion rings, chipotle bbq sauce, cheddar cheese and my famous burger blend) with a Toasted Marshmallow Shake on the side.
While the rest of Miami tanned and tequilla’ed, the boyz and I spent the entire day in the kitchen prepping like maniacs. That’s where I started getting this crazy feeling we could actually win something, there's 4 awards: Heinz Best Dressed Award, Judges Favorite, People's Choice and Best Potato.
As sun began to set, we set up our booth, surrounded by serious food stands like Morimoto, Michael Psakalis and the ubiquitous Bobby Flay, and before I knew it, Burger Bash had begun. Within seconds, tons of foodies, fans, critics and competitors were downing my food and begging for more.
The nonstop action is one big blur. We had two girls in fedora's handing out food and buttons that said "Vote Spike". I was covered in grease, marshmallows, business cards and beer, moving so fast I barely processed when Rachael Ray French-kissed me for making such a brilliant burger. Yes, that’s a fact, there are pictures. Haha!
Before I knew it, there she was again, but this time on stage. It was time to announce the winner. Wow, wouldn’t that be cool...I thought.
Well, be careful what you wish for because suddenly I heard: SPIKE MENDELSOHN. What??? WAIT, WHAT??? What had I won? Something about "Heinz" and "Best Dressed" I
jumped on stage, psyched that I had won something, at least.
But then, before I could blink, it was announced that I won something else!!!Judges Choice for Best Burger was mine too!!! And just when things couldn’t get better, Rachael Ray (you can't just call her Rachael) awarded me with the best honor of all- PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST BURGER.
Hundreds of people had voted and they chose my food as their absolute favorite. OMG. I was floored. So floored that when she declared me the King of Burger Bash, I basically froze on stage! Yes me, Spike, speechless. Hahah! It was so cool, guys. I wish everyone I’ve ever known could have been there.
We all accepted the prizes and accolades and I gave a huge THANKS to my crew, everyone in a state of disbelief. Not only had I won the respect of my peers, but also a trip to Amsterdam (!!) amongst other extravagant prizes.
I felt so proud of Good Stuff Eatery, I’ll never forget it. After all the screaming and pictures and press, we somehow found our way to a big bottle of Champagne on the rooftop of Rachael Ray’s penthouse suite. And the rest is...off the record!
Burger Bash King,
Sunday, February 1, 2009
guest blog by CBS, well I basically cut and pasted what the kind people at CBS said.
I did have to get up at 5:30 am...it was worth it! Shout out to Harry and Maggie, very cool anchors.
While you might not be able to attend a fancy inaugural ball, you CAN host your own party!
On The Early Show Monday, Washington chef Spike Mendelsohn, whom you might remember as a contestant on "Top Chef," season four, served up recipes, and contributor Laura Schwartz suggested ways you could bring a little of the inaugural spirit to your own soiree and make it "presidential."
Mendelsohn turns out delicious comfort food he turns out at his restaurant, "Good Stuff Eatery" and had plenty of party foods on his Early Show menu, with fun spins on many of the fancy finger foods that will be served at parties around the capital.
On Mendelsohn's menu:
Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers (instead of shrimp cocktail)
Mini Jalapeno & Nacho Cheese Quiches (instead of ham & cheese quiches)
Chili & Cheese Phyllo Pizzas
President Obama Sliders (instead of roast beef canape)
Toasted Marshmallow Spiked Milkshakes (OK, OK, it's a bit cold for ice cream, but this item has a cult following at Chef Spike's eatery, and he's added some Kahlua to help warm it up!
In early October, Chef Spike put both an Obama burger and a McCain burger on his menu. As you might guess, his goal with each was to capture the candidates' personalities. The restaurant also kept a tally of how many of each burger sold. Just as in the election itself, the Obama burger wound up on top.
Chef Spike explained why each item in the "Obama Slider" burger belongs:
Blue cheese represents Obama's sophistication
Red Onion Marmalade for his sweetness and kind heart
Applewood-smoked Bacon represents the feeling of comfort and safety he's bringing to the country
Horseradish Sauce represents his attitude and swagger
Check out recipes.
I'm on oprah.com but that's pretty HUGE right?
I was very excited to be hosting a Burger Ball (during Obama's Inauguration), which went superb. The DJ - DJ Butta-was off the chain! People were dancing till 2am, eating, drinking and just overall enjoying the moment. The undescribeable moment in history, that I know I'll never forget, along with the feeling of actually being in front of the U.S. Capitol that morning.
That's right, I woke up at 6am and walked down to get a view. It was a great view and yes, my feet are still defrosting, but it was worth it. To be hanging out with all these people that braved the freezing cold, looked at their alarm clock and actually got up that morning, stood in line till 9am to get to an entrance and then again till the ceremony started. The vibe, the people, the feeling of change and that yes, everything is going to be alright...amazing.
Then I huffed it back to the restaurant, busted out 2,000 burgers with our outstanding staff and at 5pm got ready for the Burger Ball...am I insane? Yes.
So in the middle of the Burger Ball who walks in? Stephanie, Producer for Oprah.com with her crew. They happen to be super cool, awesome and thank goodness, loved the food!
So check us out on Oprah. I take you through a tour of the Good Stuff Eatery kitchen, you meet all the boys behind the line and my shakistas. You'll also get the secret recipe to the Obama burger and other awesome dishes for hosting your own party.
Now...please email oprah and let them know how much you love the good stuff at Good Suff!
So Tuesday morning I went to NYC and hanged with barb, joy, sheri and whoopi - ladies of The View.
I was in a competition with Lisa Fernandez and Stephen Asprinio on how to cook for a family with a budget. I still can't understand why the win went to Lisa...I mean how can you beat Greek Pizza and Greek Yogurt with Honey? but it did.
Also reunited with Padma...for every guy (and girl) that has asked me...she IS even more beautiful in person!
The ladies were amazingly sweet. A shout out goes to Rachel, the show's producer who was in charge and made sure everything was perfect AND she was funny as hell.
I got a dressing room, moving up in the world, am I? It was pretty slick.
In case you want to recreate the best recipes.
Ok, so, one of the coolest things to happen this week...I'm a spokesperson for Quaker® Oats in Washington, DC. That's pretty cool right? I mean I should be their spokesperson for the world - Ambassador of Oats - but that's another story.
Part of this amazing job I'm spreading the word on the Quaker® Oats Quickfire Challenge.
You want a free to trip to New York? Enter a recipe, made with Quaker® Oats and not only can you watch the taping of a Top Chef episode but you'll have some serious bragging rights.
Interested in cooking with Quaker® Oats, find more than a hundred recipes here. Just make sure you submit an original recipe. I've come up with a few of my own that I'll post once I tweak them.
So run out and grab your stash and start your own test kitchen.
Enter to win and hopefully we'll be hanging in the Big Apple!
oats and love,