Four local top chefs will compete in a culinary battle hosted and judged by some of the biggest names in the culinary world.

Celebrity Appearances

 


Spike Mendelsohn
Host
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Spike’s career, spanning nearly three decades, can be described as nothing short of creatively diverse. From chef and restaurateur to television personality, product developer and consultant, Spike is a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Spike worked with some of the world’s most renowned chefs and restaurateurs such as Gerard Boyer, Thomas Keller, Sirio Maccioni and Drew Nieporent. After making his television debut on Bravo TV’s Top Chef, Spike went on to appear on several other cooking-related shows, including Life After Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Late Night Chef Fight and Beat Bobby Flay. He also hosted Midnight Feast and Food Network’s Kitchen Sink.

In 2008, Spike opened up the first restaurant in his culinary empire on Washington DC’s Capitol Hill: Good Stuff Eatery. His burger joint quickly became a favorite of political elites, including President Barack Obama. This success inspired a cookbook (The Good Stuff Cookbook) and multiple locations across the country and overseas. Following the opening of Good Stuff Eatery, Spike opened up We, The Pizza, Béarnaise and Santa Rosa Taqueria. Outside of his restaurants, Spike’s popular DC speakeasy (The Sheppard) has paved the way for a second concept called The Morris.

Applying his experience and expertise as a chef and restaurateur, Spike has worked with several brands by providing them with creative and comprehensive culinary consulting services. His consulting projects include Sunny’s and Campton Yard in Miami Beach and the highly anticipated state-of-the-art sports and active entertainment center, The St. James, in Virginia.

In an effort to put his passion for food equity and education into action, Spike began working with organizations like CARE and DC Central Kitchen as a chef ambassador and contributor. His work landed him the position as the first chairman of DC’s Food Policy Council. He has used his voice to speak out about improving the quality of school lunches, equal access to whole and healthy foods and for the protection of the SNAP program. Spike continues to partner with groups like Food Rescue US and Food Policy Action to make a positive impact on our food system.

Spike lives in the DC area with his wife, Cody, and their son. When he’s not in the kitchen or lobbying on The Hill, Spike can be found surfing any river or ocean that has a wave.


 

José Andrés
Host
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Twice named to Time’s “100 Most Influential People” list, and awarded “Outstanding Chef” and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, New York Times best-selling author, educator, television personality, humanitarian, and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. A pioneer of Spanish tapas in America, he is known for his avant-garde cuisine and award-winning group of 31 restaurants throughout the country and beyond, including four total Michelin stars at minibar by José Andrés in Washington, DC and Somni in Beverly Hills. He is the founder of the non-profit World Central Kitchen, which has earned global respect for its chef-driven humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

 


 

Kwame Onwuachi
Judge

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Kwame Onwuachi is a James Beard Award-winning chef, and author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Notes from a Young Black Chef,” which is being turned into a feature film by A24. Kwame’s resume is incomparable: he has been named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, Esquire Magazine’s 2019 Chef of the Year, and is a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. He’s also been featured on Time’s 100 Next List and has been named the most important Chef in America by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kwame was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana.Onwuachi was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment, and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has quite a dynamic collection of skills and experiences. Onwuachi trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City and has opened five restaurants before turning thirty; including the groundbreaking Afro-Caribbean restaurant, Kith/Kin, in Washington, D.C.

Next up, Kwame will appear as a judge on season 18 of Top Chef this coming April 2021. He first appeared as a contestant on the show in season 13. Kwame currently serves as Food & Wine’s executive producer. In this newly appointed role, Kwame will collaborate on big brand moments and events, including the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, where he’ll host cooking demonstrations and events and also serve in a new role as F&W Pro ambassador to the hospitality industry. Kwame will also focus his efforts on expanding Food & Wine’s Best New Chef Mentorship program. In August 2021, he will host “The Family Reunion presented by Kwame Onwuachi,” a multi-day event scheduled to take place in Middleburg, Virginia that will celebrate diversity in the hospitality community.


 

Tom Colicchio
Judge
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Tom Colicchio is the chef and owner of Crafted Hospitality, which currently includes restaurants in New York, Long Island, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Tom made his New York cooking debut at prominent New York restaurants including The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill and Gramercy Tavern before opening Craft in 2001.

In an effort to broaden his long-standing activism around food issues, Tom served as an executive producer to the 2013 documentary “A Place at the Table” about the underlying causes of hunger in the United States. From holding members of Congress accountable on their voting records around food to working with former FLOTUS Michelle Obama on the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, Tom has established himself as the leading “Citizen Chef” advocating for a food system that values access, affordability and nutrition over corporate interests.

Tom and his restaurants give back to the community through their impact partnership with FEAST and by serving on the boards of Children of Bellevue, City Harvest, and Wholesome Wave.


 

Amanda Frietag
Judge
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Born and raised in New Jersey, chef, television personality, and author Amanda Freitag has become a culinary maven.
Following her graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, Amanda worked in a diverse mix of restaurants in New York City, including Jean-George Vongerichten’s Vong, Verbena, Il Buco, Cesca, and The Harrison, running the culinary gamut of Mediterranean, Italian and Classic American. She sharpened her skills through world travel, including working under Chef Alain Passard in Paris, and continued expanding her culinary expertise into a variety of international cuisines.

Outside of the restaurant business, Amanda has become a household name for her work both on and off the television screen. She is well known for being a judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” and has appeared on “Iron Chef America”, “Next Iron Chef”, “Unique Eats”, “Beat Bobby Flay,” Guy Fieri’s “Tournament of Champions,” and more. Her mission to make cooking more approachable inspired her cookbook “The Chef Next Door,” as well as other ongoing projects.

Most recently, she launched a digital series called “Easy AF,” where she shows audiences that delicious food can be fun, easy, and quick to make right in your home kitchen.

 


Tommy McFly
Co-Emcee
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If the Washington Post is right – and Tommy McFly is the “local Ryan Seacrest” – then he’s the multi-platform voice, anchor, and host for the world’s most powerful city and its media ambassador to the rest of the nation. An only child Gemini, rescue dog-loving millennial, originally from Scranton, PA, Tommy is always on the move around Maryland, Virginia, and Washington.

Tommy McFLY’s unique blend of social responsibility and community engagement – and peerless ability to connect with people – has even received the notice of the Obama White House. Aside from daily morning broadcast on “The Tommy Show” and NBC4 TV duties McFLY is the only person in history to emcee the White House Easter Egg Roll.

He is, as Cathy Alter of The Washington Post Magazine called him, “a prince of DC media.” But the better title might just be DC’s most sought after, trusted friend.

Download The Tommy Show App at TommyShow.com/APP or just say “Alexa, Enable The Tommy Show.”


 

Kelly Collis
Co-Emcee
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Kelly Collis is a native Washingtonian and has been working in the DC area for over 20 years. Today, she is a broadcaster and entrepreneur. She co-founded a one of a kind broadcast company with her long time colleague and now business partner, Tommy McFly.  Additionally, she and Tommy broadcast live each weekday morning show via an app, Alexa and Google Home discussing all things DC and playing great music – Real. Fun DC.  Prior, she and Tommy hosted a morning show on terrestrial radio, 94.7 Fresh FM in Washington, DC for 8 years. She also founded CityShopGirl, a subscription email publication delivering updates on lifestyle in the D.C. area, and was nominated for one of the best blogs by the Washingtonian Magazine.

Washington Life named her one of the top 200 influencers under 40 in DC for 3 years in a row and was on the cover of Washington Family Magazine and most recently named one of the “Women of Style” by DC Modern Luxury Magazine.

Prior to launching CityShopGirl, Kelly worked as Director of Marketing for National Jean Company, a nation wide women’s retailer. Kelly was also a partner at DBC Public Relations for five years where she counseled both private and public companies in the consumer and media sectors. She graduated with a BA in economics from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and began her career to work on Capitol Hill for a few members of Congress.

She loves spending time with her husband and children, her 2 dogs, shopping, spin classes, following Washington sports teams, especially the Washington Nationals and drinking wine at sporting events or any other time.


 

DJ Neekola
Top 40/Dance Superstar DJ
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Celebrity DJ Neekola has been known for rocking the house internationally over the past fifteen years of her career.

DJ Neekola is without a doubt the it-girl DJ and Washington D.C.’s most sought-after DJ who spins the best of all genres and always from behind her signature bedazzled laptop.

You can catch her at top corporate events and private parties including events like the White House Correspondents Dinner Afterparty by MSNBC, Tomorrowland Festival, Burning Man, on board an international Brussels Airlines jet en route to Brussels, Belgium, the Rammys for five years in a row, Amazon Web Services and so much more. She is a favorite of the Marriott, as she has been traveling around the world to perform for their national and international conferences.

Combining her vast understanding of the ever-changing musical genres with her kinetic technical sets, Neekola creates a custom experience tailored to fill all dance floors to their limit. Known for several abilities — she is able to read a room and keep the dance floor packed for international and generational crowds, keeping energy high and the party rocking until the last beat drops.

More celebrities to be announced!

Battling Chefs


 

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