Entrepreneur and TV Personality Eden Grinshpan Has Us Eating Out of the Palm of Her Hand
Entrepreneur and TV Personality Eden Grinshpan Has Us Eating Out of the Palm of Her Hand

Entrepreneur and TV Personality Eden Grinshpan Has Us Eating Out of the Palm of Her Hand

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There’s something about spending time with a chef in their kitchen and home that’s so intimate. And while that may seem obvious, it's particularly true with Eden. There's a joy and levity to her cooking that translates into her home life, or perhaps it's her home that informs her cooking; either way, it’s a place you want to be with food you want to eat. The first time I met Eden, the founder of DEZ, host of Top Chef Canada, and the girl behind that highly Instagrammed pizza pregnant shot—you know, the one with the slices stacked on her belly—was through friends, and, as you can imagine, I was instantly enamored.

Now, from globe-trotting to pop-up to DEZ, and in the midst of authoring her first cookbook, she shares her big "ah-ha" moment for opening a restaurant (more on that later). Plus, she talks about how landing Top Chef was a huge turning point in her career, and why she always makes food that tells a story.

Photo by Jennifer Trahan

Photo by Jennifer Trahan

What's shakin' these days?

These days I’m working on my cookbook full of Middle Eastern (mainly Lebanese, Israeli, and Moroccan) inspired food that you want to eat on the daily. Every recipe has a story to tell, from my travels and personal moments in my life to sentimental dishes from my childhood. The culmination is a perfect interpretation of who I am as a mom, wife, and cook. In its purest form, it's me, being at home, inviting you to eat with us.

Wow, congrats! Is this something you've always wanted to do?

YES! 100 percent. Most people in my industry dream of writing a cookbook. And I, like most, have dreamt of this too but didn’t know when it was going to happen. Finally, this year everything aligned and I was able to sell the idea to a publisher.

Photo by Jennifer Trahan

Photo by Jennifer Trahan

And, what do you think made a difference this year?

Opening DEZ gave me the confidence to move forward with Middle Eastern cuisine as my focus. With such a clear vision about the food I want to make, I knew it was time to share that with everyone as a cookbook.

How did you decide to take the leap and open DEZ?

On the heels of a trip to Israel, which brought all my interest in Middle Eastern cuisine to life, I came back to NYC and put together a pop-up in Williamsburg with contemporary Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine. It was overwhelming well received, people actually came to Brooklyn to eat my food, and the pop-up extended far longer than scheduled. That experience gave me the confidence and motivation to move forward with opening a restaurant.

How did you develop your cooking style?

I studied at the French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, where I learned the basics, such as knife skills and searing. I never particularly connected with French cooking and always knew that wasn’t my calling. Therefore, after graduating, I set off on a backpacking trip through India and Southeast Asia. That trip has been a monumental inspiration in my career. I was moved to tears by the tastes I discovered and the connection I felt to different cuisines all over the world.

While my style is not super authentic to any one cuisine, it's somewhat "inspired by" all of these flavors. I love bright, fresh food, that's veggie-heavy and packed with flavor. My approach to cooking is simple, unfussy, effortless, and unintimidating. After all, we’re working women here, we don’t have time to fuck around in the kitchen.

Lest we forget your role on Top Chef Canada...when did you start hosting the show?

I'm on my third season now! I'm basically the Padma of Canada. Meanwhile, have you met Padma Lakshmi? She's a beautiful, gorgeous, regal, sophisticated woman and I'm rough around the edges, which is why it's so hilarious that I have her role in Canada. I make it work though, in my own way.

I landed the role after being a judge on Chopped Canada. They were looking for a new host on Top Chef Canada and asked me to audition. Of course, after my somewhat terrible audition, I never thought I’d get the role, and yet, a week later they offered me the spot. "OMFG, WHAT?!?" Needless to say, it was a huge moment for me.

What do you love most about being on Top Chef Canada?

It's an incredible show and hands down the most complicated, intense food show on television. If you're going to compete in this space and want to prove yourself, Top Chef is the place to do it. Being on TV is such incredible exposure. People learn about the chef's food and get invested in their story. It's the best talent in the country and whoever makes it on the show is already a rockstar, even if they don't win.

Well, never a dull moment I'm sure. What does the morning look like at your house balancing work life and home life?

I wear many hats and no two days are the same. Typically, Ido (my husband) and I get up at 7 a.m. when our daughter Ayv wakes up. While everyone is getting up for the day, we put music on and have a dance party in the living room. We’re big fans of playing and laughing, and there's a lot of joy in our house. Then we make breakfast, prep lunch, and do general mom/dad organizing shit. After Ido and Ayv leave, I clean the house and start on the cookbook, which has taken priority. Which means my assistant/recipe developer comes over, we talk about what we’re making for the day, plus review emails and press opportunities. Then we cook all day. On days that I’m not heads-down with the cookbook, I go to DEZ to check on operations and my staff there. I always try to be on top of quality control, plus I enjoy talking to customers. Moreover, I love to eat, eat, eat, so I try all the food to make sure what we're sending out is perfect. 

And how did you and Ido meet?

Eight years ago in 2011 we were randomly introduced via Facebook by a couple that I met in a bar in Israel. He lived in NYC and they connected us through messenger. When I was back in NYC, I messaged him (with “friends-only” intentions) and we met for a drink. That night set our lives in motion. We spent ten consecutive days together, and he proposed three weeks later.

Ok, LOVE all of that! What’s the secret sauce?

We make an effort to be alone and connect on the regular, otherwise life takes over and it's all too easy to forget to have a real conversation with each other when you’re hustling to get shit done every day. It's important that we make time for date nights, go on trips as a couple, and as a family -- while we love our friends, we also enjoy time alone.

What’s your style?

In general, I keep it casual. I love a great pair of distressed jeans, the perfect white tee, and cool black boots. Although right now, I’m not sure what to say about my style. Currently I have a real "80’s mom" thing happening with a serious hair scrunchy situation going on. So, there’s that too.

Follow Eden on Instagram and join in on the foodie fun. @edeneats