Spike Mendelsohn, Host of FYI's 'Midnight Feast', Takes THR's Taste Test
The "Top Chef" alum dishes on hosting the culinary competition, which sees chefs sourcing ingredients from NYC's Chelsea Market after hours (and footing their own grocery bill)
In the city that never sleeps, notable chefs are scurrying around Chelsea Market after-hours, scavenging its boutiques' shelves for exotic ingredients that will make their three-course meal the latest winner of Midnight Feast.
"It's a dream for a chef to walk into any market and have full access, with no other customers," says Spike Mendelsohn, host and judge of culinary competition series, airs Thursdays at 10 p.m on FYI. Unlike other shows that offer unlimited budgets and elaborate shooting locations, three competitors head to the New York City hotspot (sometimes after serving dinner at their restaurants), allocate funds from their own pockets for supplies, and deal with unexpected twists in the kitchen. "It's a realistic peek into a chef's life: we're up late, we work hard under strenuous hours, we pay our grocery bills, and yet we're always trying to cook the best meal of our lives."
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Of all the artisan options in the famed food hall, the restaurateur and alum of Bravo's Top Chef and Food Network's The Next Iron Chef personally gravitates toward The Lobster Place for its fresh and diverse options — "Bread bowls, oysters, sea urchins, so much goodness over there," he salivated — as well as Amy's Bread and Spices and Tease, but is satisfied sitting out as a judge alongside Eater.com editorial producerKat Odell and chef/restaurateur John DeLucie. "I remember having that anxiety of either playing nice or saying, 'Screw this guy,'" he laughs. "I'm enjoying eating some kickass food from all-star chefs and critiquing it a little bit — it's nice to be on the other side of the table."
SPIKE MENDELSOHN'S THR TASTE TEST
"Fried chicken — not a new fixation but one I can't and won't give up."
Known for Cooking
"Vietnamese food, like a Vietnamese grandmother would make."
"I would go to Greece and eat braised rabbit at my regular joint, Anna's. With bread and wine, of course!"
"Popeyes. Guilty pleasure."
"Rice paddy rat."
Simply Won’t Eat
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"Whatever is in my refrigerator?"
"My boys from my favorite rock 'n' roll band, J Roddy Walston and the Business, whenever we have the chance to be in the same city, at the same time."
"My big wish is for my burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery, to be in more and more cities. It’s a family business, and I want to grow it along with my family."
"Too many to mention, but it does involve a pretty girl. That's all I'm gonna say."
"Keftedes with feta cheese and Greek meatballs."