Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Canadian-born chef Spike Mendelsoh is set to prepare lunch for Justin Trudeau and 250 guests at a State Department event.

Joe Shymanski

On Thursday, Canadian-born chef Spike Mendelsohn will be cooking for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau and about 250 guests at a State Department lunch being hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Mendelsohn, 35, grew up in Montreal and Florida, trained at the Culinary Institute of America, has cooked at New York City's Le Cirque and appeared on Top Chef and Iron Chef. The Obamas won't be at his lunch on Thursday (which is part of the PM's official visit), but they've already eaten his food at Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza.

Mendelsohn was also recently named chairman of D.C.'s Food Policy Council and speaks passionately on issues ranging from urban agriculture to small farm-holder co-ops. The Globe and Mail spoke to him on Sunday, as he tweaked his menu for this week's lunch.

Story continues below advertisement

Perhaps I've seen too many political thrillers, but does a lunch for a visiting dignitary involve someone from the security detail tasting your food first? Will they be in the kitchen observing how it gets prepared?

They'll do a whole sweep at some point. I remember when I was cooking at the Cirque in New York and the prime minister of Israel walked in and a bunch of guys with Uzis were hanging out in the kitchen while we were cooking. You're reaching for the salt, hoping they don't think it's something else.

How did it come about that you were asked to prepare this luncheon?

I've been in D.C. since 2008 and my restaurants are on Capitol Hill, where we get a lot of senators and other politicians. I cook a lot for the State Department and do some chef advocacy work. And I'm a D.C. chef who happens to be Canadian.

Can you share your menu?

My first course has been decided on. Profish, a sustainable seafood place in D.C., carries this amazing salmon candy that's cured with maple – think of smoked salmon but on the sweeter side and smokier and a bit chunkier. It will have a potato with black-pepper ranch dressing and candy striped beets.

[For the main] I think I'm going to be working with boneless short ribs. I'd do a nice braise. In D.C., we're almost getting into spring weather but it's still kind of cold. So, I'll lighten up that dish with a maple carrot purée and some great garnishes. Cooking for over 200 people, I want to keep it moist and something I'll be able to execute without the quality suffering. It will be paired with spring vegetables that are not too heavy or buttery.

Story continues below advertisement

You want to make sure you have a bit of acid to combat the maple so it's not overly sweet.

And for dessert?

Chef Santosh Tiptur will be making the dessert. He's from Co Co. Sala, D.C. chocolate confectioners. He hasn't told me what he's doing.

Does preparing a lunch for a sitting prime minister touch on your Canadian pride?

This dinner is more special than all the other ones to me because I get to represent my country and be a Canadian chef for the day. Trudeau is very popular. It really reminds me of when the Obama administration took over D.C. and would get involved in fashion and television and these awesome initiatives, and they kind of revived it in a really hip way. I feel like that's what's happening.

What are some of the challenges that are on your mind for the luncheon?

Story continues below advertisement

God forbid we get delayed for 20 minutes and my food is sitting with acidic vinaigrette on the table. For dinners like this, you have to think about the things you can't control and how you have to adjust and rethink.

Will you get to speak to the Prime Minister?

Maybe for a selfie? He likes selfies, I like selfies; let's get together and do a big old selfie.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies