Lee Anne Wong

Lee Anne Wong reveals what really went on behind-the-scenes in the challenge.

on May 1, 2008

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First of all, stop right there. I know what you are going to say. Money to make TV shows doesn't grow on trees.

The 15-minute Quickfire always sucks. I remember we had one, I think when Ted Allen was the judge. I remember my hair falling out of its ponytail and my pans not getting hot enough and some of my mise en place hitting the ground, basically becoming totally disheveled and still frantically trying to finish my dish. Considering the incredibly short time limit, I think some of the contestants did an OK job. Two thumbs down for the Spike's stuffed vegetables, which looked like something out of a Good Housekeeping mag from 1953. Stephanie's pancake, while creative, was dry. The turkey's texture was very tough, having cooked a few minutes too long. I did enjoy Richard's tuna, and Antonia's rice salad had a really nice everyday appeal and was actually a complete meal on a plate.

Art Smith, as chef/owner of Table 52 and Oprah's personal chef, was perfect for judging this episode. Having worked with children through his wonderful organization, Common Threads, the objectives for this episode are very much in line with the goals of Common Threads; creating simple and healthy family friendly menus that a child could make on a limited budget. Every season there has been some sort of interaction with children as our audience/customers. It was great to be able to have our chefs interact with the little chefs of the future this time around. Not only were our sous-chefs capable cooks, they also each had a genuine interest and love of food. For me, it's always an immense pleasure to see kids who know how to eat right instead of being fed fast food and junk food by parents who have too little time to nourish their child properly. Easy is not always right, which is why Common Threads is such a fun and successful program for kids and adults alike.