Lee Anne Wong

Lee Anne describes the zoo challenge from conception.

on Mar 21, 2008

Ryan's steak and potatoes were right up my alley -- simple and elegant with concise flavors and good color. Dale's dish was also very good -- the components were all prepared beautifully but somehow did not mesh as well as Ryan's composed steak dish. I enjoyed Val's steak and peaches, and summer-style dish that reflected well on the last of the peaches at the market.

And then there was Spike and his beef tips. Mark had left one of his ingredients at the market but managed to improvise and win in the end. Spike just got pissed. I have to admit, the well-done chopped meat crostini/napolean was akin to dog food en croute. You can't win 'em all.

Erik's "deconstructed plate" was way too simple. He did not embrace the challenge and Wylie recognized that right away. Andrew's ADD was working overtime but I will admit that his dish was very tasty.

When the producers initially pitched the Zoo Food idea to me, I was like, "What?" I met with the Lincoln Park Zoo zoologists/nutritionists to go over all the animals they had at the zoo and what they each ate. Surprisingly, most of the animals' diets include a basic feed which varied slightly in ingredients (soy, corn, oats, wheat, etc.) If you are curious about the odd choice for animal groups it's because I had to find the animals with the most variation in diets so our guests for the party would not all be eating leafy greens and eggs. I kept everyone's group to roughly five main categories to draw inspiration from.