Today as part of the Cayman Cookout we're coming at you live poolside at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Up next: chef Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef and the DC restaurants Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza. He talks about his upcoming steak-frites restaurant Bearnaise in DC, expanding to Philadelphia, the Top Chef cruise, and more.
Spike Mendelsohn [Photo: Raphael Brion/Eater]
What have you been up to so far in Cayman?
We had the dinner last night, the silent auction. That was fun. Today I did my first demo on pizza, the art of pie. I was up all night trying to think how I could enter my demo since I was following the master José Andrés, he jet streamed in. I didn't have a jet pack. I figured the only way you could top a jet pack was sky diving in. So I figured I'd just go swimming after my demo.
So how's Béarnaise in DC coming along?
It's going so well. I got to speak with Eric [Ripert] about it last night. It was a boost of confidence, he was really impressed. I'm looking forward to it. No exact date, probably the next couple of months. The great thing about it is not plunging into fine dining, it's a steak-frites restaurant with a limited menu, so we get to practice traditional techniques instead of opening a huge brasserie or something. That's the whole appeal, and if it works out, we can take it to a whole other level.
And what about the Philly rumors?
No more rumors. We have a location. You're the first one who knows about that. We have a location on Walnut. Around that area. But it's bad luck to give out the specific address.
When do you anticipate that to open?
As soon as we sign, within three, four months. Good Stuff Georgetown opens March 4th, and then towards the end of the month, hopefully roll right into Béarnaise — Good Stuff takes a little bit less time because we have four locations, so hopefully we'll open it pretty quickly.
What's your wish list to expanding Good Stuff to more locations?
From day one, four years ago, we were interested in expanding Good Stuff, but we weren't ready. But we've proven we can open a second one, here comes the third one, and then it's non-stop. We don't want to be everywhere, but we want to have Good Stuff locations in great cities. We're not looking to go to New York. There are opportunities overseas, we've taken serious meetings about China and Dubai. There are opportunities, but you know, take it slowly.
And what about Top Chef The Cruise?
What's going to happen? I don't know. There'll be a couple funny crazy characters like Mike Isabella and Angelo Sosa. I'm not sure what's going to happen, so it's weird, you're confined to a boat with people who bought tickets to hang out, and you're floating around for four days. It'll be four days of Top Chef mayhem. I'm a little afraid of what's going to happen. But cruises are coming back, reemerging as something that's fun to do. Chefs are opening on cruise ships, people like Guy Fieri, Geoffrey Zakarian. But I think I'm pretty busy there actually.
And finally, what's the deal with Bachelor Pad/Bachelorette star Chris Bukowski?
Chris Bukowski, I'm not involved with. Jeff Greenberg happens to be my business partner, and he's a very involved human being, he likes to have fun. He has a complete separate relationship with Chris, how I got mixed into this, I have no idea. But nothing of the sort. I want to open my own restaurants.