Teddy Folkman

Teddy, 33 (Alexandria, Va.), co-owner and executive chef of Granville Moore's Gastropub in Washington, D.C., developed his love of food at a young age while working at a deli and honed his culinary skills and style under several well-known chefs. Now, Teddy focuses on sharing simple techniques to inspire people to think and cook like chefs. Teddy spends his free time teaching cooking fundamentals to local high school students, and he won a mussels and fries challenge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay in 2008.

Food specialty:
Gourmet Bar Food

Favorite restaurant: Granville Moore's in Washington, D.C.

Three foods you can't live without (other than bread or water): Pork belly, potatoes, and chicken wings

Food you won't go near: No such thing

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: The fruit or berry from a batch of moonshine in college. Uni – not so weird these days I guess. Goldfish (little ones; oh college)! Various bugs dipped in chocolate or cheese.

Interests: Music, teaching, cooking, being the 5th judge on American Idol, exploring new ways to entertain people with food and drink, movies that entertain, TV shows with explosions.

Favorite Food Network chef:
Michael Symon

Favorite shows (doesn’t have to be Food Network): 24, Lost, House, Family Guy, No Reservations, Top Chef, Throwdown with Bobby Flay

Favorite food destination: My kitchen at home.

Culinary inspirations: As far as chefs, Ann Cashion, Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio, Michael Symon and every chef I have ever worked for. Inspiration for my food comes from everywhere. People I have met, music I am listening to, how I want to feel when I eat my food – comforted, amused, lethargic, thinking. I also find that the mood I want to create or the emotion I want to have again causes inspiration. I can see leaves turning in the fall; I think what reminds me of fall food wise? Ah, sweet potatoes. I see the colors and think that it looks like sweet potatoes, fried sage and cinnamon. But the dark trunks – that could be a little vanilla bean. It's also cold, so let's add a little bourbon to our cream, and see what happens. If it reminds me of those leaves and being comforted thinking about the fall, I win.

Three people, alive or dead, whom you'd like to invite to a dinner party: Keifer Sutherland, Anthony Bourdain, and Dave Matthews (and my Aunt Helen and Grandma Folkman would be helping me out).

Favorite books: Craft of Cooking, Culinary Artistry, French Laundry – cookbooks that just don't give you some recipe but a sense of why and how the dish came about.

Favorite movies: The Shawshank Redemption, Little Miss Sunshine, Spaceballs, Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Bourne Identity

Why do you think you should be the Season 5 Food Network Star? "Generation-Foodie" is being neglected and they deserve better! These are the people from 8 – 80 who are so interested and passionate about food that they already own a set of professional knives, have taken a few cooking classes, own better cooking equipment than most restaurants, and can recite to you every juicy morsel that pertains to the restaurant industry as a whole: What chef just got fired from where or who just launched their spring menu to rave reviews or not so favorable reviews. They blog about food. They critique restaurants with more insight than most professional restaurant critics.

I want to be able to reach, teach and entertain these people with my experiences in the restaurant industry for 17 years. I want to show them cooking techniques they want to learn, cook with them live, introduce them to chefs they never knew about but should, with humor, intelligence and a different perspective on food. I want to teach them to think like a chef and share with them everything "from the mind of a chef" so they can take it to the next level.

Oh yeah, I also beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown.

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