He rose to fame on TV’s “Top Chef,” but in this neck of the woods, Spike Mendelsohn may be best known for his popular Capitol Hill burger joint. He’s here to talk about his new cookbook, his new pizza joint, his passion for good food, and how Washington’s restaurant scene has changed since he got involved.


  • Spike Mendelsohn Chef and founder of Good Stuff Eatery and We The Pizza; and author most recently, "The Good Stuff Cookbook: burgers, fries, shakes, wedges, and more" (JW Wiley & Sons)

Recipes Courtesy Chef Spike Mendelsohn

From Mendelsohn’s The Good Stuff Cookbook

Sunny’s Hand-Cut Fries

5 pounds Red Bliss potatoes
Canola oil for deep frying
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Wash and scrub the potatoes under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut into rectangular strips about 3/8 inch thick. Rinse the potato strips in cold water for about 2 minutes. Drain.

  2. In a deep pot or deep-fat fryer, heat about 2 1/2 inches of oil until a thermometer reads 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a metal tray or baking sheet with paper towels.

  3. Add one handful of the potatoes to the pot. Fry until tender but have no color, about 3 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on the paper towels. Repeat until all the strips are cooked. Refrigerate until cool.

  4. Reheat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the metal tray with fresh paper towels.

  5. Add the cooled potatoes a few handfuls at a time and fry them until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on the paper towels. Season with salt and pepper while the strips are still hot. Serve immediately.

Red Bliss potatoes are light-skinned potatoes. They cook faster and are sweeter than Russet or Idaho potatoes. Their tender skin is edible.

Blazin’ Barn

Pickled Carrots and Daikon
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
1 large daikon, peeled and julienned
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar

30 ounce ground sirloin
6 potato buns, cut in half
Canola oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup Siracha Mayonnaise


  1. To pickle the carrots and daikon, put each of them into two separate bowls. Add the  vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a large saucepan over medium heat. Brint to a boil. Pour evenly over the carrots and daikon and cool to room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week if covered – they will become more flavorful over time.

  2. To make the patties, roll six 5-ounce sirloin balls and form each ball into a patty. Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate.

  3. Toast the buns. Set aside.

  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to cover the entire bottom. When the oil begins to smoke, reduce the heat to medium and place the patties into the skillet. Season the patties with salt and pepper, and cook 3 for minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side 3 minutes more for medium-rare doneness.

  5. To assemble the burgers, mix together the basil and cilantro. Place 1 patty on 1 toasted bun bottom. Top the patty with some of each of the pickled carrots, daikon, and the basil-cilantro mix. Spread some of the mayonnaise on the bun top and cover. Repeating the remaining ingredients. Don’t forget to wrap the sandwiches in wax paper. Let rest for 2 to 3 minutes and serve.

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