Interview with Chef Derrick Fox on His “Dinner on Ice” Pop-Up at ICE Santa Monica


Dinner on Ice-a pop-up dinner (presented by Capital One Cafe) featuring five-courses from MasterChef Finalist Chef Derrick Fox, cocktail pairings, ice skating and more-will take place at ICE at Santa Monica on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

A limited number of tickets are available for $100 in advance, and all inclusive of skate rental fee, dinner and open bar. Guests are encouraged to dress in cozy winter attire.

Buy tickets via Feastly here. Want to get 20% off the event? Enter promo code GIRLSONFOOD at checkout!

This dinner offers a preview of Chef Derrick’s delicious and visually impressive dishes, which will be available at his new residency at Ma’Kai Santa Monica later this month.

Deconstructed Watermelon Salad with Citrus Compressed Watermelon, Shaved Cucumber, Goat Cheese Mousse, Toasted Pepitas, & Leek Vinaigrette – to be served at Dinner on Ice

ICE Santa Monica

I had a chance to interview Fox, a professional drummer turned fan favorite on MasterChef Season 6, about Dinner on Ice, taking his wife’s last name and his favorite Marina Del Rey spots:

JG: Dinner on Ice sounds incredible! What inspired this cool concept? What challenges do you anticipate for having to cook on ice?
DF: I think pop-up dinners are getting more known and so we are getting the ability to do them in more exciting places! Keeping food hot I think is the big challenge. I’m going to be moving quickly!

JG: Will this dinner have visual/entertainment elements, or is it a straight up seated dinner?
DF: I will be positioned so that all the diners will be able to see me plate the food. We will also have some hors d’oeuvres being passed around, a hot chocolate station and I think we will have some ice dancers as well.

JG: On a scale of 1 – 10, where do you land as an ice skater?
DF: I spent half my childhood in Denver Colorado, so I’ve been on the ice a few times. I remember the ice rink being a standard hangout when I was in middle school. I’d say I’m like a 7.

JG: Since you’re a musician at heart, I imagine the mood is going to be pretty important for you. What kind of playlist can we expect?
DF: DJ Dan Wilcox from KCRW will play an eclectic mix of tunes for skating and dinner.

JG: I see that many of these items will be on the menu at Ma’Kai soon. What else do you hope to bring to Ma’kai during your residency?
DF: I’m looking to bring fresh, vibrant, flavorful, and colorful food to the menu. I travel a lot and bring my food to places around the world. It’s going to be nice to have a place for people to come to me. I want to bring some art to Ocean Avenue. I like to make food flavorful but I also like to make it pretty and visually inviting.

JG: Any word on how long you’ll be at Ma’Kai? Is the intention to make a permanent spot for you?
DF: Ma’kai is in such a great location, and I’m excited to be a part of the new direction. Giving me a chance to put a new menu on the block is exciting and I hope will lead to more. I will never forget when Gordon asked me if I had the opportunity to have a restaurant where it would be, and I told him Santa Monica. Now I am designing a menu for a residency at Ma’kai. I mean, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Chef Derrick Fox

JG: I see you got married and took your wife’s last name, which I think is so sweet! If you don’t mind me asking, how did that decision come about?
DF: Thank you! I like to think of it as more than “sweet”-I think it’s empowering! There are several reasons. I was born with a last name that later changed. My mom remarried and our new dad (who is a hero in so many ways) adopted my brother and I, and we took his last name. I think like 6 weeks before getting married I told Kimberly I wanted to take her last name. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something to celebrate her. When I first met Kimberly and she introduced herself, I was like, “Wow that is a good name!” Kimberly Fox! It’s got a ring to it. I also thought this was a really good way to break the norm and show equality. And I think the most interesting part of it all, there are six states in the US that will let a man take his wife’s name on the marriage license. And the only reason it was possible for me to take her name is because of the Marriage Equality Act.

JG: With the #metoo and Time’s Up movements in full swing in many industries, do you have any thoughts on how the restaurant industry can improve treatment of employees?
DF: I’m proud of these movements. I know it’s hard for anyone being abused or harassed to speak up. I can’t imagine what some women go through. I can’t make a blanket statement for restaurants and how they treat employees. Restaurants aren’t like Hollywood-we have HR departments, we have sexual harassment materials, etc. I’m not saying it doesn’t go on in restaurants. It does and I’ve seen it. I have seen cases where a man has crossed the line and I’ve said something. While I always try and prevent issues like this from occurring or escalating, I encourage any woman who has been harassed to contact a legal expert, victims can find a sexual harassment lawyer here, so that they can receive the justice they deserve. For too long these kind of men have been giving good men a bad name. There are a lot of supportive, nurturing men out there. I try to lead by example. If you see something happening, say something. And if I could share anything is that any woman is welcome to come work in my kitchen and I will treat you as an equal, and you will always feel safe.

JG: Who are some of your favorite female chefs and restaurant owners?
DF: I think we all have to bow down to Julia Child! I am also a huge fan of Niki Nakayama! I don’t have words to describe her talent. And Dominique Crenn is also an incredible example of what it means to be a chef. Everything these women do is with purpose and grace and it’s so inspiring.

JG: I see you’re living in Marina Del Rey. What are some of your favorite spots to dine/drink?
DF: I’m a fan of Josiah Citrin, I love Melisse and I was so excited when he opened Charcoal right down the street from me. I also love the Whaler-it’s the perfect beach restaurant. Rose Cafe is another favorite! Their food is unbelievable!

JG: Are you still friends with any of the cast mates, or even the hosts?
DF: I have spoken with Gordon and Graham from time to time on social media. And I speak with Katrina and Jesse the most, they both came to our wedding. I speak with Nick here and there.

JG: Since shooting MasterChef season 6, do you miss the cameras? Any plans to get back on the screen?
DF: I do miss it! I love it! And I’m working on it!

Buy tickets via Feastly here. Want to get 20% off the event? Enter promo code GIRLSONFOOD at checkout!

Images provided by Spin PR


Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a couple of cooking competition shows as a taster (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. IMDb page here: For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.