Wine & Food Fest Preview: Spike Mendelsohn

How does it feel to be the returning champ?
I’m excited, this year has gone by so quickly, I just feel like it was just a couple weeks ago I was in South Beach. Burger Bash is an amazing event & this year they really stepped up the roster of chefs. I’m still one of the younger chefs there, so it’s always a little nerve wracking, but we have a lot of fun and we kind of think we know what people like at the Bash.

And what can we expect from your booth this year?
We’re trying some new stuff but I don’t want to give it away. We’re keeping it a surprise.

Tell us this then – what makes a great burger?
Definitely the blend of meat, I love to use the meat pure and keep a good fat ratio – 20-25% fat, chuck, sirloin & short rib. Then you get a nice salt and pepper season and a great bun – it’s super important that you have really great bread. And really great cheese. I think bacon in a burger is something you should really go with, plus we do a lot of toppings. You’ve got to have a little bit of texture.

Fries or onion rings?
A bag of Funions. I say fries, double fried fries, pure potato fry with cracked black pepper and salt.

What are you favorite events at the Festival?
There are some really amazing events going on. I’m going to try to squeeze in as many as can. Maybe Bubble Q – that’s always a great event. And there’s nothing like going to the tents, drinking the wine & mingling. I’m such a water & beach guy, part of going to the festival is just spending as much time on the beach as possible, meeting people, people watching, walking, going into the stores.

How does this festival compare to Aspen, NY & others?
South Beach is by far the biggest festival and it’s definitely the most fun. It’s the beach, it’s warm weather and it’s a lot of the true fans love food

Last year you were accused of rigging the vote with hot girls wearing “vote for Spike” buttons – any comments?
This year we’ve rented two sumo wrestlers to prove that theory wrong


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