Stephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard explains why she's jealous of this week's challenge.

on Nov 19, 2008

I just want to start by saying thank you to all of those who commented after my first blog. I appreciate all of the continued support! (and the date requests of course!) To answer some questions: Things have been great for me. Life did change quite a bit after the show came to an end but all for the better. I am currently working on opening a new restaurant here in Chicago as well as a cookbook and possibly a television show. There are many opportunities available and I am excited to pursue different avenues though I will always have my priority in my restaurant.

OK, well enough about me and on to the second episode. I was a little jealous when the hot dog challenge was announced as I thought for sure we were going to have one last season. We take our dogs pretty seriously here in Chicago as well (might get scowled out if you dare put catsup on it though). The hot dog expert Angelina rolls in with her cart and I got kind of hungry just wanting to try a straight up dog from Queens. Also was curious to see what the chefs would come up with, all to be very different for sure.

It is hard in the beginning with so many chefs to show each and every Quickfire dish but we got Padma and Donatella down quite a few. First up was Jill with her hot dog summer roll. I am guessing Jill was a little nervous about making her own hot dog so she chose to try to be creative by incorporating a ready-made hot dog into a Vietnamese dish. I am sure she would agree that this was not the way to go. Looking around and seeing that every other chef was working on stuffing their own casings would confirm that. Sometimes I think the producers slip in some bad choices for you (kind of like the frozen scallops) and you can not take the easy way out.

Radhika chose to use some of her personal ingredients and show her roots with her dog which I think was a good way to go. She stuck with flavors she was comfortable with and made an original take on an American classic.

Many of the chefs kept things pretty simple but focused on having flavors that just worked. Daniel added some crispy onions and horseradish, Hosea won me over with the roasted peppers and bacon (no one said the dog had to be perfectly shaped), Carla added her own twist with a quick "sauerkraut" that was sure to balance out the richness of the lamb and pork, and Ariane went with a simple chicken and bacon sausage that looked tasty but may have had a bit too much celery seed. I am sure Jamie was not thrilled to see Padma's face (slightly exaggerated??) when she bit into the bone, but in the end the flavor must have been pretty good. I enjoyed how Fabio took a ready-made sausage and reworked it to create his own Italian flare into it. In the end Donatella called out Jill for not making the hot dog herself and ultimately not having a good dish. Stefan was on the bottom for the first time with his world dog. Donatella claimed she would not go anywhere in the world to try it but at least he was having a little fun with the challenge (remember Hung and his trippy cereal and egg breakfast dish?).