Ex-Top Cheffer Spike Mendelsohn Talks Pizza Party, Rice Paddy Rats


Remember the fedora-wearing, scruffy guy from Top Chef Season 4? You know, the one that went home as result of the frozen scallop incident. Well, that's in the past for Spike Mendelsohn, owner of D.C. hotspots Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza (both of which the Obamas love!).

Spike has left the frozen seafood behind and moved on to bigger, more delicious endeavors, burgers and pizza! We caught up with Spike while he prepares for his late-night pizza party at Keith McNally's Pulino's during the New York City Wine & Food Festival.

What excites you most about your pizza party at Pulino's for the New York City Wine  & Food Festival (other than the pizza)?
I used to live and work in NYC, so I'm looking forward to seeing all of my old friends that night. Should be great company, great conversation and great food.

Keith McNally has taken over downtown Manhattan with hotspots like Pulino’s, Pastis, Balthazar and Minetta Tavern. Do you have a favorite McNally restaurant?

What are your top three all-time favorite pizza joints?
Grimaldis, We, The Pizza and almost any hole-in-the-wall you can find in Italy.

The best thing you've eaten between two buns...
Pork buns!

What do you crave after a few (or a lot of) beers?
A homemade egg McMuffin sandwich

Tell us about a moment in your life that could be described as extreme eating.

I was traveling in Vietnam as a part of a chef tour. We ate everything and anything, including a rice paddy rat. For me, that was pretty extreme.

What's the most dangerous part of your job?
The women.

What is the best thing in your fridge right now?
My mother's chocolate tart.

What's your restaurant pet peeve?
A lack of cleanliness.

If I weren't a chef I would be a __________.
A professional surfer or a captain on the Sea Shepherd. Anything where I could spend the day on the water.

What do you think is the most underrated or overrated food?
Foie Gras is overrated.

And you can tell us... have you cooked scallops since that infamous day on Top Chef?
Did you seriously just ask me that question? Yes, many times. Never frozen ones. I love diver scallops.

For more information on the New York City Wine & Food Festival or to buy tickets to Pizza After Dark at Pulino's, click here.

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