Super Chef Journals: Spike Mendelsohn

Get an inside look at the top-secret journal of the Next Iron Chef rival eliminated this week.

Photo By: Kevin Lynch ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Leanna Creel/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Chef Mendelsohn

Spike Mendelsohn, the owner of two popular Washington, D.C., restaurants, was the first Super Chef to leave the competition. His journal reveals ideas for future dishes he hoped to make to wow the judges.

Next Iron Chef Journals

The chefs were given journals on Day 1 to use for challenge planning and reflection throughout the competition. On the first page, Chef Spike gave himself a little pep talk with a few key points to remember: "Bright simple food ... You will be the Next Iron Chef ... Bacon is the golden ticket."

Lucky Match?

For the first Chairman's Challenge, Spike drew Alton's red match, which gave him an advantage. He could pick his own teammate, plus assign all of the other chefs' matchups.

Preparation

Not knowing what the challenge had in store, Chef Spike wrote out a list of dishes he felt he could confidently pull off.

Teammates

Chef Spike used his advantage to pick Chef Samuelsson: "He is the best. I just want to keep my toughest competitor as close to me as I can," he explained.

Guessing Game

Chef Spike speculated in his journal about the location of the "Heat and Meat" challenge. He was wrong about Big Bear, but definitely right about cooking in the wilderness. "I'm expecting the worst possible scenario," he said.

Outdoor Kitchen

Team Mendelsohn-Samuelsson waited for the signal to grab their meat — a whole suckling pig — and start working on their heat, a fire that they'd build themselves.

Dish Plan

Chef Spike sketched out some ideas for cooking in the wilderness, including a brine made with lake water. His team ended up using said lake water in their pork stew.

Swine Inspiration

Before he began cooking, Chef Spike had to break down the baby pig. Even though its ribs were tiny, they decided to cook and serve them.

Think Again

In his journal, Chef Spike jotted down notes for a possible lamb dish. He didn't know they'd be limited to cooking with pork, but quickly adapted.

Things Get Heated

"I have 13 burns on me and no more hair on my arm," said Chef Spike after building a fire from kindling. It was their only source of heat for cooking.

Pork Two Ways

Chef Spike wrote out notes for the two dishes he and Chef Samuelsson would ultimately present: a pork stew and the rib dish.

Skinny Ribs

The judges found the ribs to be a poor choice. "The ribs are a little dry because they're anorexic," said Judy Joo.

Thinking Ahead

After the challenge, not yet sure of his fate, Chef Spike continued to plan out more dish ideas for future challenges.

Secret Ingredient Showdown

Now facing his former teammate in the first Secret Ingredient "death match," Chef Spike quickly surveyed the pantry to conceptualize his scallop dish.

"Ideas in Food"

Chef Spike listed more dish elements that we may have seen from him had he stuck around longer in the competition.

Taking Chances

In Kitchen Stadium, Chef Spike used liquid nitrogen to freeze scallop roe, which he then grated over his finished dish.

Scallop Survival

The scallop dish outlined here was Chef Spike's last shot to stay in the competition. To serve with his seared scallop, he made a flavorful sofrito using traditional ingredients plus raw scallop and calamari.

Final Dish

"A lot of thought went into this dish, and the scallop was the star," said Simon Majumdar. Chef Spike felt confident: "I think I cooked an absolute perfect scallop. I hope I just served the dish that's going to keep me in the competition."

Early Exit

In the end, Chef Samuelsson edged out Chef Spike. "There is no shame in being beaten by a master, and I think we can all agree, you weren't beaten by much," said Alton.

More from:

The Next Iron Chef

Next Up

50 Super Bowl Snacks

Food Network Magazine has game day covered! Choose from dozens of easy dips, snack mixes, sliders and more.

Chefs' Burger Picks

Food Network stars name their top burger spots.