Where Our Food Comes From

Spike Mendelsohn discusses his work with children.

I always tell everyone that if I didn’t cook, I’d be a pro surfer. I think I need to amend this claim. If I wasn’t a chef, I would herd sheep.

All kidding aside, I loved hanging out at Border Springs and Rappahannock Oysters. Getting down and dirty at the farm was such a blast. As a chef, it is essential to understand where your food actually comes from.

I’m happy that Jen had the opportunity to escape to the farm for a couple of days. The stress of trying to find investors and constantly being there for her family must take a toll on the girl. It was great to see her let her hair down, have a few drinks, and chase around some chickens. Being a part of Top Chef created a strong camaraderie between all of the former contestants. We support each other, hang out together, and cheer each other on. Jen is a great friend to have in your corner, so I’ll be there for her 100%.

At Good Stuff Eatery, we are constantly trying to give back to our community. We began Good Stuff Gardens as our way of supporting the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. Our initiative allows us to plant gardens at local schools in D.C. The students and I plant herbs, vegetables and fruit. I try to teach the students how to live a healthier lifestyle. I believe it is imperative to educate young students about the importance of healthy eating and that cooking can be fun. After we harvest the fruits of our labor in the garden, I conduct a cooking demonstration with the students and their parents. The trick is to teach the students how to make dishes they already like and are comfortable with, but in a different approach -- one that is healthier, fresher and more delicious.At these cooking demonstrations in local schools, I always ask the students where chicken comes from. It kills me that every single time a student yells out “Safeway!” or some other grocery store. Kids don’t always understand where their food comes from. It should be fresh, nutritious and, when possible, local. Your tomatoes aren’t from Whole Foods; they come from a hard-working farmer and his or her land.

I love working directly with children. We get our hands dirty in the garden, learn how to make a well-balanced meal, and the students listen. If you make gardening and cooking fun, kids pay attention. The students are receptive to new approaches and appreciate the freshness of the ingredients if you take the time to show them why it is important. We all need to stop and think about where our food comes from and make some healthier decisions with that in mind.

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Go Team Fabio!

Fabio Viviani learns from his fans.

 

Hello, everyone! I am sad because I have really enjoyed these blogs and the live-tweeting with #TeamFabio. Each person who comes to me at an event to tell me how much they enjoyed one of my recipes, I LOVE YOU! Thank you for supporting me because I would not be here without you.

My time on Life After Top Chef has taught me so much. The fans have spoken and helped me realize that I can relax a little bit to take time for myself. Dean Schaeffer has really been helping me with this. I cannot stress how important it is to take time to reflect on your own life. I am not saying that you have to go worship crystals in the desert, but you can take time in your life to meditate on what is bothering you. I find that it gives me clarity and is really helpful.

Spike came through with his connections in D.C. this week and decided to call in the big guns, the Italian Stallion in the chef world, to cook at the event for kids. Of course I accepted -- I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would be here cooking for the First Lady! So my sadness about the end of LATC is immediately met with an excited nervousness. Do not get me wrong! I was not nervous about cooking for the First Lady as much as I am about being on Team Blue with Richie. This guy is a nervous wreck! Richie! You do not have to worry -- this is what we do for a living.... Did you know that you won Top Chef?! 

It is OK because being a chef is not always about the food. Most of the time it is about solving problems without the customer knowing that there was ever a problem in the first place. So if today I need to manage Richie’s stress about the event, I can do that because if I can’t be the top chef, I can be the favorite -- I’m OK with that. Are you, Richie? Ha!

We were all honored to be a part of the First Lady’s plan to provide nutritional food to kids in school. I have heard horror stories about the food that is served in the school lunch programs. It is important for the children to get a healthy meal, and I have seen the plastic cheese they put on top of cardboard pizza. These are the future rulers of the world, people! Don’t you think we should feed them properly?

Everyone’s Life After Top Chef has been a huge success in my cookbook. I wonder what there is to look forward to in my Life after Life after Top Chef. I know that it will be exciting. One thing I have really enjoyed is the feedback that I get from my fans here on the blog and especially during the live-tweeting during the show. But just because the show is ending, it doesn’t mean that you cannot get a hold of me anymore! I try to answer every one of my fans whenever I get a few minutes to hop on my Facebook or Twitter, and I have a new cookbook coming out next year! Go #TeamFabio!

 

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