Lee Anne Wong

Lee Anne Wong reveals behind-the-scenes secrets from the funniest episode of the season.

on Apr 24, 2008

Production wanted to throw several twists in for the chefs. We knew we'd be asking them to move in the middle of their challenge. Someone had suggested turning off the gas and lights at some point and I replied that while most chefs have had to deal with some kind of terrible situation like the power going out, or the Ansil system going off right before service, this would not only be setting our chefs up for failure, but it was also potentially dangerous. I suggested, rather than killing the power, taking away all electrical appliances. At the end of the day, it's a very good twist. The one thing that chefs take for granted these days is power, as in electricity. I knew that while this may not affect all of them, it would definitely play a role for some of them. Most chefs rely on their blenders, food processors, etc, on a daily basis. Spike and Andrew argued the point I did with Shauna, there weren't blenders a hundred years ago, but there was certainly soup. Andre Soltner tells me stories of when there were no temperature gauges on the ovens and one would adjust the temperature on the oven by propping open the oven door with a rag. Mousses were made by hand mincing everything and passing it through a fine mesh sieve by hand. Any good chef will know how to get by without electricity. Though it did occur to me that if Andrew is so emotionally connected with his food mill, then maybe I should've taken away the blenders for good. They would've loved that.

The soup was delicious. While Spike's determination to make squash soup was suspect, they did an amazing job, especially without a blender. The texture and body of the soup was perfect, and the vanilla cream complemented the warm, rich flavors of the soup. Nikki and Mark's pork tenderloin was good, but boring, the bacon looking very similar to Lisa's winning bacon a few episodes before (he even baked it the same way Lisa did). It was pork tenderloin over sweet potato puree, nothing to write home about.

For those of you who don't heart Richard already, then you should after his Seinfeld impression (you can even hear the cameraman guffaw at his joke). Not to mention he seems like a great guy to work with, from a chef's perspective. I love this dish in it's brilliance and also because it tasted amazing. We do a lot of sous-vide cooking in my kitchen in NY and one of our favorite things to do is cook things sous vide in beef fat. This especially works well if you roast some beef bones and also throw them in the bag. You get that delicious roasted meat flavor. Dale's green curry was sinus clearing and addictively good. I eat a lot of tofu and I think they did a phenomenal job of interpreting green, perplexed, tofu.