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What completely blows my mind, is not just having the opportunity to chat with the greatest chefs in the world at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, but the fact that these amazing culinary pioneers want to meet me too. I am still baffled. It’s beyond humbling to have such influential chefs interested in saying hello and catching up on the culinary scene in D.C. Who would have ever thought?!
In classic Spike fashion, I overslept and missed the 5K in Aspen. There is no way to spin that. Time management has never been my strong suit. It’s actually genetic. My entire family runs on a different time zone than the rest of the world. But, let’s blame my oversleeping on the Aspen food coma. The food is just that good.
Being invited to speak on a panel with Jacques Pepin, Tim Love, and Ming Tsai was a great experience. We have all fallen into the food television realm differently, so it was interesting for me to sit with all of them and understand their perspectives on the influence of television on a culinary celebrity. It’s funny because I started off on Top Chef thinking I needed to be a character. I wore a fedora to stick out. To this day, people still see me as the fedora guy. I go to events and people give me fedoras. I have a stack of fedoras in my closet that is taller than I am. Clearly, the fedora was memorable!
My Aspen getaway was amazing, but coming back to D.C. was nice. I immediately jumped back into Béarnaise mode. Béarnaise is my new restaurant that I will be opening up in D.C. with my sister Micheline. My buddy Brad, who can cook his ass off, is such a great asset to have on the Béarnaise team. Béarnaise, a steak-frites restaurant, will be located just a few doors down from the original Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill. Brad and I met up with one of my good friends (and Top Chef alum) Mike Isabella when I got back. It’s always good to hang out with other chefs, talk shop, drink, and eat. Mike and I both bought custom-made Honda Ruckuses this year. I told him that I was buying a Good Stuff Eatery custom bike and Mikey, always an original, followed suit with a custom Ruckus for his baby, Graffiato. Since then, we’ve gathered a decent-sized D.C. crew of Ruckus riding chefs. So, Washingtonians, stay safe on those sidewalks! Some pork-loving chefs have been spotted in packs roaming the road on 50 ccs.
My entire family got together when I returned to D.C. Having everyone over and cooking some delicious food is always a blast. My mom and I sometimes bicker over who really is the chef in the family. The woman has talent! As much as I like to talk a big game, I learned everything I know from that woman. My mom is the ultimate chef and I seek out her opinion constantly, especially now when my sister and I are opening up a new restaurant on our own.