Annisa, Here I come!

These days, I seem to have too many guilty pleasures. To follow up on the posting about The Fashion Show on Bravo TV, I would like to introduce another show to you -- Top Chef Masters .
In the show, 24 top chefs from around the country compete for $100,000 to donate to his or her favorite charity. In last weeks episode, the 6 winners from the previous 6 episodes competed against one another in an elimination challange. This Wednesday night, the 5 remaining top chefs will have to cook their hearts out to stay in the top 4. The chef I will be cheering for is Anita Lo.

Anita Lo is a second-generation Chinese American. She went to Columbia University, majoring in French. In her junior year in college, she went to Paris to study cooking and discovered her true calling. After briefly working at a restaurant, Chef Lo decided to return to Paris and earned a degree in cooking at the Ritz-Escoffier school. She graduated first in her class with honors.

Anito Lo's"Illusion" -- a braised daikon with kombu caviar & steak tartare that gave the illusion of a scallop

Reading about her background, seeing how she competes in the show, and how her personality contrasts that of the other media-friendly, outgoing, and famous chefs; I naturally became a fan of hers. She seems to not care much about what other people think of her, but she is obscessed with what people think of her food. She is so modest of her skills as a chef, that many of her competitors seem to overlook her as a strong contender. In the show, she says very few words, but the dishes she prepares do all the talking for her. As she was announced as the winner in last week's show, Anita barely cracked a smile, looked down in embarassment, and uttered a "thank you". One judge said of her dish, "One word. Genius."
I'm not quite sure of the exact reason, but Chinese students tend to not talk about how much they study before exams. They often lie or not admit to staying up all night to prepare for tests. I have this feeling that the night before last week's elimination challenge, Chef Lo spent the entire night thinking about, visualizing, and mentally preparing for the next day. Of course Chef Lo did not admit this to the camera, and so people may think it was all effortlessly done, purely with talent. I just know that she may certainly be a genius, but her work ethic and dedication was probably what distanced her from her competitors.

Anyways, I cannot believe I have never been to her restaurant when I lived in Manhattan. Next time when I am in town,"annisa" here I come!

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