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The Gift of Julia

Today is Julia Child’s 100th birthday.  Like many other chefs around the world I would like to share one of my favorite Julia memories.  The following happened in 2009 while I was the executive chef at Mars Hill Cafe.

With the Oscar buzz for Julie & Julia, the nation is savoring the gem that was Julia Child. Julia was one of the original cheflebrities and her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking changed the way Americans eat forever. Her bigger than life persona inspired a generation of home cooks to attempt classic French dishes like Coq au Vin and Coquilles Saint-Jacques.

The French Chef CookbookRecently a regular customer to the café presented me with the gift of a first edition copy of Julia Child’s The French Chef Cookbook. The book was published in 1968 as a companion to her long-running TV show, The French Chef. The book had belonged to the customer’s mother who passed away in 2007. I would like to share with you the note she signed inside the book. I am only including first names so as to protect my benefactor’s anonymity.

Dear Stuart,
This book belonged to my mother Mary. When I discovered it I thought of you. The tasty dishes you prepare for Mars Hill Café are wonderful and delightful to the taste buds. It is my hope that this book of treasured recipes enhances your career and aids your dream of becoming a top rated TV chef.

Bon appetite!
Glynis

The book now occupies a prominent place in my living room. It is a treasure I will keep the rest of my life. Or at least until my niece graduates from culinary school. That gives me about 15 years to enjoy it.

ICA: Mendholson vs Symon – Outcome

Iron Chef Michael Symon was triumphant in Battle: Prosciutto.

ICA: Mendholson vs Symon

I think this week’s challenger, Spike Mendholson put it best when he Twittered, “This sunday dvr the oscars and tune in live for Iron Chef America, what will the secret ingredient be???”  Mendholson is the talented young chef at Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, DC.  Waiting for him in Kitchen Stadium is the Iron Chef with best winning percentage, Michael Symon.


Spike began his culinary matriculation  in 2004 at the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he distinguished himself among his peers.  Mendholson was one of 10 CIA students to accompany Chef-Instructors Michael Pardus and Michael Huynh on a culinary adventure to Vietnam.  Since then Spike’s style has had a definite Vietnamese influence.

For his externship at CIA, Mendholson did a turn at Les Crayeres in Reims, France.  Les Crayeres is a three Michelin star restaurant under the direction of Chef Gerard Boyer.  After school Spike worked at landmarks like Bouchon and Le Cirque.  Eventually he found himself working for his former teacher, Chef Huynh at the Drew Nieporent venture Mai House in Tribeca.

Today Spike Mendholson is not only the force behind Washington DC’s Good Stuff Eatery but he is also a celebrity host of Food 2, the Internet alter-ego of The Food Network.  There he is the co-host of Kelsey & Spike Cook with the should-be winner of the Next Food Network Star 4, Kelsey Nixon.  Spike came to national prominence when he was a contestant on Top Chef: Chicago.

Click HERE for the mystery ingredient and outcome.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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