The South Beach Wine and Food Festival has wrapped up for the year and the event was nothing short of a pageant of food-focused scenery, celebrity chefs, influencers, and foodies from all walks of life. There were so many events happening, you didn’t know where to start. There’s a reason it’s a five-day event, it gives you a chance to taste test all you can (and more).
It’s almost like the hustle and bustle of a restaurant, almost. There’s so much happening it’s easy to get swept up in the moment. Luckily, we had a chance to chat with Chef Jeff Mauro after this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival. If you don’t know Celebrity Chef Jeff, he is known as the Sandwich King, the winner of Season 7 of Food Network Star, and one of four co-hosts on The Kitchen on Food Network.
If you have ever watched Jeff on television or have had the pleasure of seeing him in person, then you know that laugh and you know that smile. No matter what he is doing, Jeff is always laughing and having fun especially when you talk to him about his favorite person, the projects he has going on, or about his friends and co-hosts.
TM: A Lot of People Follow You and Admire You Across Social Media Platforms and Television, but Who Do You Admire? And Why?
Jeff Mauro: Outside our wonderful food world, I admire Dave Grohl for not only being a living rock and roll legend, but he is constantly hilarious and extremely likable. Would love to cook for him someday, and then retire to the basement to start jamming and drinking.
What Are Your Top 3 Kitchen Tools You Can’t Live Without?
Jeff Mauro: Quart deli cups, a flat non-stick square griddle pan, and my Kramer Knife.
What’s the Last Cookbook You Read?
Jeff Mauro: My cookbook Come on Over! It came out last year and I still cook from it.
The Last Few Years Have Been Insane for Everyone Including the Restaurant Industry. How Did It Impact Your Work Professionally?
Jeff Mauro: I started my own direct-to-consumer food brand called Mauro Provisions that ships the world’s greatest Hot Giardiniera (Chicago’s famous fermented oil-packed peppers), Prime Italian Beef Kits, and Butcher Boxes. I now have 2 full-time employees, a warehouse, and offices!
What Food Trends Are You Enjoying? Which Ones Are You Not?
Jeff Mauro: I am enjoying the fermented food trend for sure. Tasty and insanely good for you. Stop with the gold foil. Nothing is tasty about $300 worth of nano-thin metal coated over what otherwise would be a delicious steak.
What Is Your Go-To Comfort Food? Do You Have a Guilty Pleasure?
Jeff Mauro: Pepperoni pizza all day every day.
What Is the Last Thing You Learned in the Kitchen?
Jeff Mauro: Don’t smoke tender steaks, it literally makes them tough. Like a ribeye should never be low and slow smoked. Tough cuts of meats, of course!
What Does Your Downtime Look Like?
Jeff Mauro: I’m an avid guitarist and musician and play in the actual Basement Dad Band (we’re called the Jewel Bags, and we gig!), I host a hilarious podcast with my little sister called Come on Over (with over 65 episodes and counting) and I love reading sci-fi in the bathtub … don’t ask.
If You Weren’t a Chef, What Would Your Career Look Like?
Jeff Mauro: I would be a cast member on SNL, hands down. I promise you all, I will host that show one day.
Do You, or Did You Have a Mentor Who Influenced You?
Jeff Mauro: Geoffrey Zakarian is a true friend, a brilliant businessman, and my greatest mentor who is always available for advice. Above everything he is a dedicated family man and that there is the most important job.
It was great to learn more about the Sandwich King. It turns out the Foo Fighters have been on Saturday Night Live approximately 8 times since 1995. Wonder if Jeff knew that. We’re pretty sure he did. Now, how do we make this Dave Grohl dinner happen? Maybe, Dave could pull some strings to get Jeff on SNL. From what I hear, Jeff and his band could be the musical guests, too.
OR perhaps he’ll do a skit impersonating his doppelganger Jimmy Fallon. It’s no secret they are look-alikes and even have the same mischievous laugh and smile.
We hope you make it Jeff. We think you’d make a fine addition to the show. In fact, we can see the skits now.
No matter if he makes it on SNL, we know he’s going to be cooking and laughing all the way.