Lee Anne Wong

Drink every time ... Well, Lee Anne Wong explains.

on Mar 11, 2008

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Welcome to Chicago! It's hard to believe we're in Season 4, and I still get slightly giddy when I see the posters start to appear in the subway and on buses. This season has our most talented group of chefs by far, and as the season progresses you'll see how difficult it becomes for our judges to send each of them home. Most of the time it's not a question of whose dish failed or was the worst, but rather whose dish was not as great as the others (while still being good). Some of you may be aware of this thing on the internet known as "The Top Chef Drinking Game." I decided to play for this first episode. The results? Hilarious, but definitely not pretty. Follow along ...
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I got to meet this eclectic bunch of chefs during final casting. This season the producers threw the old rules out the window and cast chefs who actually knew each other (hence Zoi and Jennifer). It adds a strategic element to the show that maybe didn't exist in previous seasons. To be honest, the culinary circle at this level is smaller than one would think and it gets harder and harder to cast chefs who don't know each other. Either way, the initial shock for the other contestants in finding out there was a couple competing was soon forgotten as soon as they stepped into the Top Chef kitchen. (Drinking one for Spike's comment). It's always a crazy push to build the kitchen. From construction to putting the final polish on all of the stainless steel, our crew usually gets it done in less than 10 days. I actually only get roughly two days to build the pantry. I have to wait for the paint to dry on the walls before I can assemble the metro racks and then sort, organize, and arrange all of the equipment, small tools, and pantry ingredients. Thankfully, my partner in crime Shannon was with me and a fellow chef and local Chicagoan, Lisa, joined our culinary team. The reason why I want to tell you about the 48 hours of pure sweat my team pours into meticulously building the pantry? Picture the widening of my eyes while watching the chefs demolish the pantry during the first Quickfire. Gets me every time. (Drinking one for Nikki who had never made a deep dish pizza before.)