The new reality show Life After Top Chef airs this October on Bravo, and local burger and pizza maven Spike Mendelsohn will be among the former cheftestants featured—the show will tape Mendelsohn as he works on, among other projects, his new Capitol Hill steak-frites concept, Bearnaise. Press materials for the program set up the tension between the fedora-wearing cook and his “food industry family,” with whom he works closely: “This carefree and brilliant chef struggles with his strong desire to venture on his own while avoiding ruffling feathers with the Mendelsohn clan.” Also featured on the show is Atlanta-based Top Chef All-Stars contestant Richard Blais, “badass” Jen Carroll in Philadelphia, and “fan favorite” Fabio Viviani in Los Angeles.
By Jessica Voelker
News of the Bizarre: The Washington Post's Tim Carman says Andrew Zimmern will be in town this weekend shooting Bizarre Foods. [WaPo]
Oh, yeah, Zola is closing: So’s Potenza. The rumors began with tweets from Foodie and the Beast’s Nycci Nellis, and the City Paper confirmed. Jeff Buben (Vidalia, Bistro Bis) will be taking over the Potenza space. [WCP]
And they’re not alone: It’s been a bleak few weeks for local eateries. Eater DC’s Amy McKeever has the death count. [Eater DC]
Patio privileges: The RAMW rallies behind chef Jamie Leeds. [WCP]
By Jessica Voelker
Tonight, Irvine's challenge is to fix Horton’s Kids, a Ward 8 community center that serves healthy meals to kids, among other things. According to Food Network press materials, Irvine must ‟create a dining room, build a spacious kitchen, and plant a garden for Horton’s Kids to grow their own fruits and vegetables—all before the First Lady arrives in person to give her stamp of approval!”
The show airs tonight at 10.
Last night, Michelle Obama—who recently released her book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America—delivered David Letterman’s top ten list. The First Lady was not in the studio; she was beamed in from the White House map room.
On to the list (or skip down to view the clip):
No. 10: Gardening was invented in 1822 by Albert Gardener.
No. 9: Plant avocados, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro together, grow a guacamole tree.
No. 8: Eggplants were originally cultivated for use as doorstops.
No. 7: In his lifetime, the average American will eat half a radish.
I'm an Adam Richman fan--who didn't love watching his glorious feats of gluttony on Man vs. Food --so I'm excited to catch his upcoming Travel Channel show, Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America, premiering June 6. But I was surprised at the local pick on his list: the chicken club sandwich at the W Hotel.
It's not like Richman had to include a Washington sandwich and settled on a club. According to the press release, he "crisscrossed the country sampling countless variations," and only then selected 30 sandwiches to compete for the title of best in the country. So what makes a typically humdrum hotel staple able to compete with the sexy contenders on the list, such as seared beef tongue with smoked onions from the Noble Pig in Austin, or the crispy shrimp po' boy from Domilise's in New Orleans? And how did it beat out local indulgences from the likes of Sundevich, MGM Roast Beef, or Taylor Gourmet? Did Richman just post up in a W suite after months of exotic eating and literally phone it in?