Spike Mendelsohn

Chef

Washington

As the chef-owner of Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza in Washington, D.C., Spike Mendelsohn has made a name for himself in the nation’s capital. He’s worked for culinary icons such as Gerard Boyer in Reims, France; Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque; and Drew Nieporent at Mai House. After competing on Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Mendelsohn has appeared on shows ranging from Good Morning America to Food Network’s Iron Chef America. In mid-2013, he added another concept to his repertoire — a steak-frites restaurant on Capitol Hill called Béarnaise. He also opened another Good Stuff Eatery in Georgetown, and the location in Philadelphia is under construction.

  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What inspires Spike Mendelsohn?

    I do what I do because I aspire to travel, to be honest. I love the vehicle that food and the hospitality business have brought me. I can travel a lot — that’s what inspires me. Obviously, family has inspired me my whole entire life. My grandpa and mother, father and sister, and all of my friends inspire me. I think more than anything, it’s having a family and team. It’s our family — we make the rules. I think that’s more liberating than anything.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What are Spike Mendelsohn’s favorite ingredients?

    Whatever is seasonal and ripe; whatever is fresh and delicious. There are so many ingredients, I love them all. It’s kind of like what’s tasting the best. One of my favorite ingredients is fish sauce. It’s pretty versatile, and it’s an organic way of seasoning food.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    How did Spike Mendelsohn get into the culinary world?

    I was born into the culinary world. I come from a long line of family of restaurateurs, butchers and what have you. I literally was born on a prep table.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What are Spike Mendelsohn’s most important kitchen tools?

    A chef really enjoys a nice kitchen spoon that fits well in the hand and you can use for different purposes. A microplane — you always want a great zest or some finishing touches. I like to have a couple different types of whisks. I’m a whisk type of person. I just like whisking things. When I get the chance to whisk something, I whisk away; it’s kind of like meditating in the kitchen.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What does Spike Mendelsohn always have in his refrigerator?

    I always have Coca-Cola and sriracha. I always have chicken soup on hand. I always have some eggs, pâtés and nice cheeses usually. Beer — Red Stripe. That’s the basics.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What does Spike Mendelsohn wear when he travels?

    A nice pair of Aviator Nation sweatpants, a comfortable cashmere cardigan and really comfortable slippers.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    Who is Spike Mendelsohn’s favorite travel companion?

    I love traveling with my girlfriend. That’s kind of fun. I do travel a lot with another chef, a good buddy of mine, Marcel Vigneron. He’s always down to do whatever. We help each other on festival trips. He’ll help me cook; I’ll help him cook. It’s kind of fun.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What’s the best trip Spike Mendelsohn has ever taken?

    That’s a difficult one. I took a pretty epic trip to Maui [in winter 2012], which I definitely have to rate as one of my top trips. The whales were giving birth off the coast of Makena and Kihei, so I went swimming with whales. I was lucky enough to run into whales when we were sailing; I jumped in the water. I had great food when I was in Maui.

    We had great surf. I went surfing a bunch of places — Honolua Bay, even went to Paia. I went to go check out the famous break called Jaws that was like 25 feet. It’s pretty crazy. It gets to 80 feet in February, but people go surfing only when it’s 20 to 35 feet. It was pretty huge. We had wave runners and helicopters. The wave runners were trying to save surfers that wiped out in a big wave. It’s just an adrenaline rush. The drive to Hana is pretty epic with huge waterfalls and little hippy stores.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What shops does Spike Mendelsohn visit when he travels?

    When I travel, I usually don’t go to shops or any type of brands. I like keeping it pretty rustic. I usually go to markets — whatever is outdoors in the street is what I enjoy the most. I’ll stick to the brands in the United States.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What does Spike Mendelsohn bring back from his travels?

    I always bring back a piece of local jewelry for my nieces, like pearls in Vietnam. The trend is if I can find some cool pearls, not too expensive obviously. It’s been pretty successful so far with Hawaiian pearls and Vietnamese pearls. Usually I’ll bring jewelry for my nieces.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What does Spike Mendelsohn always travel with?

    I always travel with a backpack, actually, like a hiking backpack. I always pack a backpack in my suitcase just in case I go off the beaten path, in case I get lost in Cambodia or Laos.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What are Spike Mendelsohn’s favorite restaurants?

    Capische? in Maui is always great. I’ve spent New Year’s Eve there. One of my favorite restaurants is Les Crayères in the north of France in Reims in Champagne. It’s one of the most epic meals — classic northern French meal — that you could ever get. Along the water in Cassis, there are a couple restaurants. I forget their names; but just walking along the boardwalk, there’s a bunch of seafood restaurants that you could go to — especially in November, they do fresh sea urchin.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What are Spike Mendelsohn’s favorite hotels?

    Les Roches Blanches hotel in Cassis, France, is pretty amazing. Four Seasons are always really great. The Makena Resort in Wailea in Maui is great. Hotel Wailea is an amazing place to stay at in Maui also. It’s really great. It has a really great restaurant that I love going to. It’s called Capische?
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What are Spike Mendelsohn’s favorite cities?

    I like visiting Ho Chi Minh City because they have such a great food culture, such great markets. It’s a very beautiful place. I love the culture of the people and everything like that. I love that area. I love visiting Athens, partially because I’m Greek, and I love getting souvlaki. They have great nightlife over there. They have really great taverna life.

    Seville is one of my favorite places to go. I used to live there, and I love going up and down the river for tapas. It’s also a great culture and place to be. I love siestas. I love waking up early in the morning. I like the lifestyle there. It’s something that’s really quite amazing. One of my all-time favorite places is Maui, partially because you see 10 rainbows before 10 a.m., and I love surfing over there. I love the weather patterns. Maui’s mountains are pretty genius.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Spike Mendelsohn answered the question: Spike Mendelsohn

    What would Spike Mendelsohn serve at his ultimate dinner party?

    I always wanted to do a real cool, traditional, secret ortolan dinner, where guests eat small birds — really hot, hot small birds. But you have to do it with a drape over your face because no one can be seen eating ortolan. It’s one of those things I read about all the time and people talk about doing one — Eric Ripert has talked about doing one. It’s a super-secret underground dinner with like 12 chefs. They fly these delicacies from France — small birds called ortolans. I think that would be a pretty ultimate dinner party.