Chef Spike Mendelsohn's Culinary Q&A

We checked in with Chef Mendelsohn, one of 10 rival chefs competing on The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, to find out his culinary icon, favorite "food city," go-to potluck dish and more.

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Who is your culinary icon?
A:
Myself.

What's your favorite cookbook written by someone other than yourself? What makes it so great?
A:
White Heat by Marco Pierre White. It's not just a cookbook for our kitchen counter; it's the cookbook you want on your coffee table. You can feel the adrenaline pumping through the amazing black-and-white photographs.

What's your Achilles' heel ingredient, one that you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
A:
Liver.

What's the first dish you learned to make really well?
A:
Roast chicken.

What's your signature party or potluck dish to make at home for friends?
A:
Chili.

What music do you like to listen to when you cook?
A:
Fat Freddy's Drop and J Roddy Walston & The Business.

What's your favorite "food city" to visit and what do you like to eat there?
A:
New Orleans for Vietnamese food.

If you had not become a chef, which profession would you have chosen?
A:
A pro surfer. I'd like to think there is still time to make that happen.

Chef and owner of Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza, Chef Mendelsohn was one of 15 rivals to compete on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs.