Spike Mendelsohn

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Spike Mendelsohn
Spike Mendelsohn.jpg
Evangelos Spiros Mendelsohn

(1980-12-15) December 15, 1980 (age 38)
EducationCulinary Institute of America
Culinary career

Evangelos Spiros "Spike" Mendelsohn (born Montreal, Canada, December 15, 1980) is a Washington, D.C.-based chef and restaurateur best known as the fifth-place finisher of the fourth season of Top Chef, which aired 2008-2009.[3][4] He is the chef and owner of multiple restaurants: Good Stuff Eatery, Santa Rosa Taqueria, and We, The Pizza in Washington, D.C. In the summer of 2017, Mendelsohn closed his restaurant Béarnaise in Washington's Capitol Hill and opened Santa Rosa Taqueria in its place.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Mendelsohn was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.[6] His mother is Greek and his father is Jewish.[7] In 1993, when Spike was thirteen years old, his family moved to Seville, Spain. The family resided there for three and a half years during which time he attended school in Marbella, Spain.[6] Later, the family moved to Clearwater Beach, Florida. They operated Pepin restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida[8] until its sale in 2004.[9] Young Mendelsohn worked at Pepin as "busboy, dishwasher, [and] pinch-hitting as a cook when short staffed."[10]

In 2005, Mendelsohn graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.[11] While studying at the Institute, Mendelsohn began his friendship with American Chef Marcel Vigneron. Mendelsohn has since worked for culinary chefs such as Gerard Boyer in Reims, France; Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Bouchon in Napa Valley, California; Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque; and Drew Neiporent’s Mai House in New York City. Mendelsohn notes in an interview that "my family has been in the [restaurant] business for centuries — my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather."[6] In 2008, Spike's family formed the Washington, D.C.-based Sunnyside Restaurant Group consisting of the restaurants "Good Stuff Eatery," "We, The Pizza," and "Santa Rosa Taqueria."[12]

Media appearances[edit]

Mendelsohn made his television debut on Bravo TV’s television series Top Chef: Chicago. He was also featured on other television shows, such as Bravo TV’s Life After Top Chef (aired in the fall of 2012)[13] and Top Chef: All Stars (aired in December 2010), Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Spike TV’s Bar Rescue.

In 2010, Mendelsohn was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine giving his five dating tips.[14]

During the summer of 2011, the CBS' The Early Show featured him as a regular guest correspondent. He was selected as one of the chefs to compete in Food Network’s Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs in the fall of 2011 and asked back to compete in Food Network’s Next Iron Chef: Redemption season that aired in November 2012. He also appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, The View, Rachael Ray, and VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live.

In February 2014, Mendelsohn appeared on The Queen Latifah Show.[15]

Prez Obama Burger[edit]

In 2009, Mendelsohn created his "Prez Obama Burger" in honor of President Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural celebration.[16]

In March 2011, President Obama took five members of his staff out to visit and lunch at Spike's restaurant "Good Stuff Eatery." The group included Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Nancy DeParle, Vice President Biden's Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, and Gene Sperling, director of the United States National Economic Council.[17]

Following the Prez Obama Burger, Spike added the "Michelle Melt" to the Good Stuff Eatery menu in collaboration with White House chef Sam Kass to honor the First Lady's frequent visits to the restaurant.[18]


Spike has served as Chair of the Washington, D.C. "D.C. Food Policy Council" since his appointment by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in February, 2015.[19] The Council's Mission Statement is as follows: "The DC Food Policy Council (DCFPC) will promote food access, food sustainability, and a local food economy in the District."[20] Spike also works with the DC Central Kitchen, whose mission is "to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities."[21] Since 2015, Spike has participated in their annual fundraiser, "The Capitol Food Fight."[22] Finally, Chef Spike Mendelsohn is a Chef Ambassador for the CARE International Chefs' Table Program, "working with renowned chefs in the fight to end global hunger."[23]


In 2010, Mendelsohn published a cookbook named The Good Stuff Cookbook with his sister Micheline Mendelsohn.[24]

Personal life[edit]

In March 2011, Mendelsohn and the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue began a lunchtime kosher food truck project, an idea inspired by the dearth of kosher delis in Washington. Mendelsohn and his associates featured traditional Jewish staples, like corned beef sandwiches and knishes.[25]

In February 2013, Mendelsohn hosted a celebrity chef beach volleyball tournament at the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival, an annual wine and spirits events showcasing many of the world's top chefs, spirits producers, and culinary personalities. The event is hosted by Florida International University's (FIU) School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.[26]

In 2013, Mendelsohn supported Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative by featuring a White House Easter Egg Roll.[27]


  1. ^ "Dawn Professional Teams With 'Top Chef' Star Spike Mendelsohn to Announce the $20,000 'Make Your Restaurant Shine' Winner" (Press release). P&G. 23 May 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  2. ^ Black, Jane (25 February 2009). "Spike Nails the Burger Bash". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  3. ^ Top Chef (season 4)
  4. ^ Chancey, Blair (1 April 2011). "Boy Wonder: Spike Mendelsohn (page 1)". QSR Magazine. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  5. ^ Sidman, Jessica (14 April 2014). "Spike Mendelsohn Will Close Bearnaise and Open a Taqueria in Its Place". Washingtonian. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Rothstein, Betsy. "Chef 101: Spike Mendelsohn". thehill.com. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ Berman, Daphna (May–June 2011). "What Does It Mean To Be Jewish Today? What Do Jews Bring To The World?". Moment. I tell people I am "Gruish" because my mother is Greek and my father is Jewish.
  8. ^ Bond, Sharon. "Disabled activist files suit against Pepin Restaurant". sptimes.com. The St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Licensee Details". Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The State of Florida. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  10. ^ Flores, Alfredo. "SPIKE MENDELSOHN DISCUSSES HIS NEW EATERY AND 'TOP CHEF'". On Tap Magazine. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Half of Next Iron Chef Competitors are CIA Grads". Cia Chef Blog. The Culinary Institute of America. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ Sunnyside Restaurant Group. Sunnyside Restaurant Group http://www.sunnysiderestaurantgroup.com/. Retrieved 5 January 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "'Life After Top Chef' To Premiere October 3". The Huffington Post. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  14. ^ Hilmantel, Robin. "5 Dating Tips from Top Chef's Spike Mendelsohn". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Valentine's Day meal". The Queen Latifah Show. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Prez Obama Burger". Oprah. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  17. ^ Wilkie, Christina (3 August 2011). "Obama Takes Staff Out For Burgers". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  18. ^ "The Michelle Melt: A turkey burger with a cause". Today. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Mayor Bowser Appoints Spike Mendelsohn to Chair District's Food Policy Council". DC.gov. Washington D.C. Government Office. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Mission - Structure - Roles". dcfoodpolicy.org. DC Food Policy Council. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  21. ^ "About Us". dccentralkitchen.org. DC Central Kitchen. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  22. ^ Teti-Zilinskas, Erica. "DCCK's Capital Food Fight™ is back!". dccentralkitchen.org. DC Central Kitchen. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  23. ^ "CARE Chefs' Table Program". CARE.org. Care International United States. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  24. ^ Logsdon, Kay (17 March 2011). "The Good Stuff By Spike Mendelsohn". The Food Channel. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  25. ^ Jenny Merkin (3 March 2011). "Top Chef Star starting a Kosher food truck". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  26. ^ Nguyen, Tina (15 February 2013). "From Top Chef To Top Gun: Spike Mendelsohn Hosting Celebrity Volleyball Tournament For Charity". The Braiser. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  27. ^ Ruberry, Erin (27 March 2013). "White House Easter Egg Roll Chefs: Ina Garten, Spike Mendelsohn Among Invitees". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 February 2014.

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