Eric Greenspan defeated fellow L.A. area chefs Mark Peel, Akira Hirose and Octavio Becerra in a recent cooking competition thanks to some inspiration from “the King.”

Greenspan, 35, turned up the heat with his version of Elvis’ famous banana sandwich: a combination of peanut butter cookies, bacon and banana compote and homemade marshmallows that Greenspan calls the Elvis Moon Pie.

Greenspan, chef-owner of Foundry on Melrose, had to create a baked dessert for the competition. But sweet treats aren’t his forte – one of his signature dishes is a grilled-cheese sandwich stuffed with short ribs.

“I don’t bake dessert, it’s not what I do,” Greenspan said. “But if I can’t bake cookies, then there’s something wrong with me.”

LA Inc., the convention and visitors bureau, staged the cooking competition two weeks ago at the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at L.A. Live to promote dineLA restaurant week. The event brought out about 30 people and included judges Sherry Yard, executive pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck Worldwide; Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times food editor and Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s “Good Food.”

Greenspan’s no stranger to cooking competitions. He was kicked off the first episode of cooking reality TV show “Next Iron Chef.” He’s set to appear in an upcoming episode of “Iron Chef America.”

So, does Greenspan enjoy battling other chefs?

“You know, not really,” he said. “I enjoy the pressure and I enjoy the get-up-and-go. But I don’t believe in culinary competitions. At the end of the day, who’s to say who’s better?”

Name Game

There are advantages to having the name of a famous person. Just ask Patrick Henry, who teaches in the entrepreneurship program at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

When growing up, Henry had been told he was a descendant of the historical Patrick Henry, the representative to the Virginia House of Burgesses who in 1775 delivered his famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!” speech. He later became the first governor of post-colonial Virginia.

The current Patrick Henry, who is assistant professor of clinical entrepreneurship at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Marshall School, was named for his paternal grandfather. But he had no proof of his descent, just family legend.

He had to wait for confirmation of his famous ancestry until his eldest son, Scott Henry and his son’s wife did a genealogical history of the family just a few years ago.

“The historical Patrick Henry had 13 children, so it’s not surprising that we would be descendants,” he said.

Henry added that his famous name has boosted his career.

“It is a very memorable name and people do remember me because of it.”

That apparently fostered a little envy from his son Scott, who long wished he had also been named Patrick, “to enjoy the same advantage.”

So, when Scott Henry recently had a son of his own, he named him Patrick.

Staff reporters Alexa Hyland and Howard Fine contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at

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