Jul. 25 2008, Published 6:00 a.m. ET

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Before I got into a host of hijinx at TCA, I started off the week hanging with Top Chef 4 alum Spike Mendelsohn at the opening his new restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, in Washington D.C.

While my friends gorged themselves on Coletti’s Smokehouse burgers, fries with gourmet dipping sauces and champagne, I found out why a chef classically trained in French cuisine had opened a burger joint.

“Who doesn’t like burger, shakes and fries,” Spike declared.

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He also wanted to give back to his fans.

“I didn’t want to open up a fine dining restaurant where only certain people could come and eat. I wanted every one to enjoy the experience and have a good time.”

Some fans may still be fuming over Spike’s sneaky ways during Top Chef 4. (Remember the boxed lunch and block party episodes?)

The chef laughs it off.

“The challenge for me on Top Chef wasn’t to win the 100,000, it was to see how I fare in front of the camera,” explained Spike, who admitted he’s interested in having a TV career.


“At the end of the day, I wasn’t focused on winning the show, I was focused on having a good time and branding my name and personality.”

Still, he wants people to know he’s a good guy at heart.  

“I know I sometimes came off brash, but it was really all fun and games for me. It was nothing ever personal. I’m actually a laid-back, real nice guy. I just like to have fun. That’s why I opened up this place.”

Spike’s advice for the upcoming contestants Top Chef 5? (One was roaming around the party, but kept his/her identity under wraps!)

“You’ve got to capitalize on the opportunity after you’re on the show,” he advised. “I would have something set up or in the works in the business after you get off.”

Spike has some advice for the viewers as well.

“Don’t believe everything you see on TV. And come down and get a Good Stuff burger.”


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