Food Network’s Simon Majumdar on KC’s Dining Scene

We caught up with Food Network star Simon Majumdar about Kansas City cuisine ahead of his trip to Kansas for the Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival.

Simon Majumdar surveying a competitor’s food at last year’s Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival.

There are plenty of reasons food expert Simon Majumdar of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef” is making the trip to host a panel of experts at the Kansas City Kosher BBQ Festival for the third year running: the sense of community, the creativity of contestants and, of course, the city’s food scene.

“It gives me a chance to go to back to Kansas City, which I think is actually the most underrated food city in the country, and it gives me a chance to reconnect with all of these amazing people down there,” he says.

Majumdar comes to town every year to compete in the American Royal, but his recognition for KC’s culinary scene extends beyond our tantalizing smoked meats.

“There is nothing wrong with being the barbecue capital—I adore barbecue and I’ve spent lots of time trying different places in Kansas City—but I think it has so much more to offer than that and people don’t know it; people like Michael Smith, Celina Tio, the guys out at Rye, Justus Drugstore, the people at Port Fonda,” he says. “There’s great Mexican food. There’s just a variety of food and an energy for food in Kansas City that people don’t know about, and I think that’s really exciting.”

While he’s in town for the festival, Majumdar plans to scout out possible additions to that list.

“I always make a point of going to try plenty of new restaurants because there’s so much exciting stuff going on, particularly now in the downtown area,” he says. “When I first started going to Kansas City there wasn’t much there and now it’s all beginning to bubble up down there and I’m seeing some really fun stuff.”