An actor and foodie who is garnering awards on and off the screen
By Sue Baldani
Mitchell Anderson is used to getting accolades for his acting ability. A student of Julliard who began his acting career in 1983, he has been featured in many popular television, film and theater productions. His most current role is in After Forever, a digital series on Amazon Prime, for which he has been pre-nominated for an Emmy award.
However, Anderson’s most recent award didn’t have anything to do with acting, but with food. As the owner of Metro Fresh, with two locations in Midtown, he is what he calls a food nerd.
“I’ve always been a good cook and always loved that food brings people together and fosters conversation,” said Anderson. “You can kind of tell the story of life through food. That’s what I feel my whole career in show business is about – telling stories and communicating with people.”
In 2001, he moved to Atlanta to be with his partner (now husband,) Richie Arpino, and to cultivate his interest in the restaurant business. Fortunately for Anderson, he was introduced to Jenny Levison, the owner of Souper Jenny cafes in Atlanta and former actress; they had an immediate connection.
“She taught me this artistic improvisational approach to creating soups and salads. Metro Fresh is very much in the image of Souper Jenny, with my own spin on it.”
Metro Fresh offers breakfast, lunch and nighttime dining options at both locations, and the focus is on what’s fresh and in season.
“The whole idea is to give people a three-meal-a-day dining option that is super creative, really healthy, and fast. That’s what I think I’m most proud of – that we offer this quick dining option that is also a culinary experience.”
The menu changes every day, but one item has stayed exactly the same for the last 15 years. And this is the one that has won him an award in his role as a foodie.
Called Mitchili, it’s been named Weight Watchers Reimagined Favorite during Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour.
Although he didn’t get to meet Oprah, he was given two complimentary tickets to the Vision Tour and was able to join her along with the other 15,000 attendees. He was also encouraged to incorporate the Weight Watchers favorite branding into his menu, which he was honored to do.
Anderson also wrote a cookbook, called Food and Thought, which can be purchased on the Metro Fresh website at https://www.metrofreshatl.com/.
“The cookbook is all about stories and the story of life. I wanted people to get to know me through the stories I write every day.”
(This recipe includes Hot Italian Turkey Sausage, so it will be a little spicier than the Metro Fresh version.)
– 2 Lbs. Ground Turkey
– 1 Lb. (About five links) Hot Italian Turkey Sausage – Casings removed
– 1 Large Red Onion Diced
– 1 each Red, Yellow, Green Pepper seeded and Diced
– 3 Large Cans Chopped Tomatoes
– 1 can each of Chili Beans, Great Northern White Beans, Kidney Beans and
Black Beans (Drain all except for Chili Beans)
– ¼ Cup Olive Oil
– ¼ Cup Chili Powder
– 2 TBS Ground Cumin
– 2 TBS Ground Coriander
– ½ Cup Dijon Mustard
– ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Dill
– 1/2 Bunch chopped Cilantro
– Kosher Salt To Taste
In large stock pot heat olive oil and then toss in onions and peppers. Sauté until just tender, about five minutes over medium heat. Do not allow them to brown. Add Turkey Meat and Sausage and sauté until cooked through. Add dry spices and mustard. Continue to cook meat until it has turned the color of the chili powder. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add beans and cook over low heat for about an hour. Stir every once and a while so the beans don’t burn to the bottom of the pot. Add fresh herbs before serving and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese if desired.
Serve it over white or yellow rice for an even heartier meal. This recipe of Mitchili will easily serve a nice crowd – perhaps 8-10 people.
Written for Midtown Lifestyle magazine in Atlanta,GA.