Lee Anne Wong

Lee Anne Wong reveals behind-the-scenes dish from the most explosive episode of the season.

on Apr 10, 2008

... It's not the Fat Ass Snackmaster Smackdown, but the taste test is a fun challenge that most chefs are intrigued by, or at least our egos are. I think I recall my 4 out of 20, though our culinary producer at the time gave us some pretty difficult and obscure ingredients to identify. It's extremely humbling once you realize how much we use our eyes to identify certain ingredients and even the most discerning palates can make a mistake. guest_405_02_320x240.jpg

I developed the list for the challenge. Of the 15 ingredients tasted, I had 25 ingredients on hand for comparison tasting. The producers and I narrowed the list down for time/production purposes because we had to film each contestant with their set of tastings, which took up roughly three hours to get through all 12 contestants. The biggest difficulty in finding items that would satisfy the criteria is whether or not price was equal to quality, in which case, not always, so I'll leave the prices out of it below. I actually had go through the list with Ming Tsai to assure him that there was a noticeable difference between the lower quality and higher quality ingredients on my list. Here's a breakdown of what you saw:
Imitation Breakfast Syrup vs. Real Maple Syrup
Generic Sliced Bacon vs. Double Applewood Smoked Berkshire Slab Bacon
Farmed Salmon vs. Wild Atlantic Salmon
Imitation Crab Pieces vs. Jumbo Lump Crab Meat
Hershey Bar vs. Valrhona Chocolate
Generic Supermarket Unsalted Butter vs. Plugra
Deli Cheddar vs. English Cheddar
Generic Soy Sauce vs. Small Batch Artisan Soy Sauce
Boxed Sake vs. Junmai Daiginjo Sake
Lumpfish Roe vs. American Sturgeon Caviar
Generic Commercial Pork Chop vs. Organic Kurabuta Pork Chop
Generic Commercial Chicken Breast vs. Organic, Free Range Chicken Breast
Cheap Parmesan Cheese vs. Parmigiano Reggiano
Supermarket Pate vs. Country Pate with Black Truffles
Generic Olive Oil vs. Small Batch Artisan Olive Oil