Anita Wins Tonight’s Top Chef with a “Soup and Sandwich”

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So let’s be straightforward here, once again you rocked the house and owned the night. Congratulations, as of this evening you have won $20,000 for your charity, Share and the respect of an amazing group of your peers and competitors.

Quickfire Mis En Place Challenge

You must have known that you were going to do well on this challenge as you are one of the few chefs of your caliber that works the line still at his/her restaurant.
Out of the four mis en place events (shucking oysters, cutting onions, cutting chickens and whisking eggs) which one did you want?

Anita Lo (AL): I knew I could do the chickens well and the others were fine but I kenw the one I didn’t want to do was to shuck oysters.

How did you feel when you were doing the chickens?

AL: I felt fast

You looked fast!

Signature Dish Swap

When you were thinking of your signature dish, how did you choose what you made?

AL: I guess my signature dish at Annisa is the Foie Gras Soup Dumpling but there were constraints such as time and execution that led me to choose a great dish that was really popular at Annisa a while back which was the Scallop, pureed potato with Chinese mustard greens and bacon.

When they told you that you guys had to reinterpret another chef’s signature dish, what were you thinking?

AL: I was thinking I didn’t want to reinterpret Rick’s because his style was so different than all of the other chefs. That being said I think that Hubert picked mine because we cook so similarly and I was glad to do his as well.

Hubert did (from left to right) a lobster and truffle cappuccino which was in essence a soup and a corn Madeleine. Tell me about how you went about reinventing his dish.

AL: If you looked at Hubert’s dish, he started off with a classical hot soup on the left so I decided to do a cold corn chawanmushi soup finished with a truffle foam and soft whipped cream. In the middle of his plate he did some herbs and I decided to do a palate cleanser of a champagne gelee (which was a nod to his French heritage but then I topped it with corn shoots (to continue the corn theme) as well as Japanese shiso leaf. Finally he did a French Madeline but out of a very American ingredient corn and I decided to do a very American biscuit but flavor it with an Asian touch, hoisin. The sandwich ended up being a truffle corn biscuit with lobster knuckle meat.

I think we can all see why you won, it was so thoughtful and looked delicious. Gael Greene called it “intellectual, sensuous and dazzling,” Jay Rayner also said that he “was not worthy” and that it was “genius.” I don’t think you could have done better.

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