Celebrity Chefs Dish On New Restaurants, Books, And More

The Daily Meal caught up with top chefs at Food Network's New York Wine & Food Festival Saturday as they stopped at The Braiser's media lounge at Dream Hotel in New York City.

Anne Burrell, Spike Mendelsohn, Dale Talde, Manuel Trevino, and Justin Warner shared what's coming up, their favorite spots to eat, what's behind their work, and bits of their personalities on day three of the four-day food festival.

Anne Burrell continually stated in her blue, iridescent Crocs that she's a sparkly, bubbly girl with stories behind her hair, nails, and constellation of star tattoos. Fans of the always fun, live-in-the-moment star can look forward to new seasons of Chef Wanted and Worst Cooks, but Burrell also has an in-the-kitchen show in development, and a second book, a sequel of Cook Like a Rock Star, on the way.

After Cook Like a Rock Star's background story, the sequel will spill about her journey since achieving fame and "all the beautiful and exciting things [she] gets to do," said Burrell.

We roped Spike Mendelsohn of Washington, D.C. chain Good Stuff Eatery into a chat mid-coffee break for a sneak peek at his restaurants coming to Georgetown and Philadelphia. Mendelsohn's been researching the concept and design for Béarnaise Steak's January opening in Paris followed by a five-day stint in Indonesia.

As for whether New York City will ever get a taste of these new restaurants, Mendelsohn was confident there are enough restaurants here already; he added doing business in the city would ruin all the fun of visiting.

The Daily Meal also heard the softer side of Dale Talde — between F-bombs — who said Top Chef was the best thing he could've done personally, not professionally.

"I went through some serious therapy after to see if the person I am right now is OK," said Talde, of TALDE in Brooklyn. "You see yourself being an a**hole and there's no excuse, even if you're passionate. That's not who I was. The best thing I could've done after getting off that show was go back to work, understand who I was and what I was doing with my food."

Can we expect his Asian fusion in Manhattan anytime soon?

"We're repin' Park Slope right now," said Talde. "We're going to push hard there and see what happens. If not Park Slope, we're going to stay Brooklyn strong."

And he reiterated his commitment to the neighborhood several times, including how a recent steak addition to the menu was pulled after three days of crickets.

"Cook for the neighborhood; it's hospitality," said Talde. "You're cooking for guests. Stay true to who you are, but what does the neighborhood want?"

Justin Warner, a finalist on the eighth season of Food Network Star, gushed about how fun his job is: "Hanging out with people and making them happy" is the best part of the festival for him. He raved the Food Network is so welcoming "if they made a hotel, chefs would all check in there all the time," and that right now he "just walks around and realizes his dreams." Not bad for the Brooklyn restaurateur who says there's plenty more to come.

"We've got to keep pushing," he said of him and his partner George McNeese. "Humor is always the start of where we get ideas. You can't last in Bed-Stuy with foie gras donuts alone."

Lerner teases of venison wontons and a Darwin burger to come, with lots and lots of pods. This may have been the only thing he was more excited to tell us about than his girlfriend.

The Daily Meal also ran into Manuel Trevino of Top Chef season four.

"I'm really looking forward to the sandwich showdown tomorrow morning," said Trevino. "Last year we were a crowd favorite when there wasn't voting. This year it's changed, so we're going for blood. We're using our famous Koby Patty Melt."

We couldn't help but run Dale Talde's comment that New York's Mexican can't compete with Chicago's by Trevino, and he agreed hands down, but... there's hope.

"There's a taco culture in Chicago that you won't find in New York," said Trevino. "We started a restaurant at the pool this summer with a little pop-up, taqueria-inspired menu, though. Hopefully that'll lay the groundwork for something and maybe a bigger stage."

Hang tight New York, proper tacos may be on the way.