Top Chef, our favorite show, is back for a third season. Same judges, different contestants… .well sort of. This season is a double header with Top Chef 3 and an all new Top Chef All Stars which features some of the most outrageous contestants. This should be some interesting cooking!
On Top Chef 3, native Californian and Asian American chef Sara comes into the competition with New York City restaurant experience. Sara’s flare for cuisine is evident in many of her Asian inspired dishes. Sara brings her Asian roots to every dish she prepares, unless the competition says otherwise.
Asiance had a chance to speak with Sara during this year’s season of Top Chef. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pry any information out of Sara, but we might have ourselves favorite new cast member!
ASIANCE: What is your ethnicity? Were you born in the United States?
Sara N: Vietnamese and I was raised in Los Angeles County?
ASIANCE: Were you a fan of the other Top Chef shows?
Sara N: I’m so busy. I was only able to watch the re-runs and catch a few episodes. Everyone in the culinary industry is a big fan of the show. I definitely think so.
There are attractive men! I think we had a very good cast this season.
ASIANCE: How did you get on the show?
Sara N: That’s funny. I didn’t know they were holding auditions in NYC. I had just quit my job at Stone Rose where I was the caterer and one of my girlfriends woke me up and dragged me to it. It closed at 4pm. We had just missed the cutoff. I was the last person to go and there were about 400 people there. They were cutting us off and my friend pushed me in the room.
I had an audition and then I got a call back. It was similar to a call cattle call with about 15 people at a time. It went really quick. They called me back, asked me to come in a few days later, I flew to California.
ASIANCE: How did you get along with all the judges?
Sara N: They are really nice! Tom and Padma. Gail is really nice. She scared me on the other episodes.
ASIANCE: How did you get along with all the cast mates? Any drama?
Sara N: There is always going to be drama. We’re under a lot of pressure. We’re under different circumstances and it’s a new experience. There was a lot of tension among the cast members. You’ll see!
ASIANCE: What is your favorite ingredient?
Sara N: Truffles
ASIANCE: What’s your ultimate dream job?
Sara N: There are so many of them. I would love to travel. Padma’s job! And Tom Colicchio’s job. I would love to travel and write about food. That would be most amazing thing ever!
ASIANCE: Where is your favorite place to travel?
Sara N: I haven’t been outside the US yet. I was planning to go visit Asia at the end of December. I’ve been to Mexico! (haha!) I haven’t even had time! I went directly from school to work.
ASIANCE: Do you have a favorite Vietnamese cooking dish?
Sara N: Yes! Vietnamese Oxtail Broth Soup. The broth is slightly sweet and savory, with peppers and special spiciness. The women on both sides of my family are great cooks! My grandparents make that every weekend. There is this great place in Chinatown that makes the soup exactly like our homemade. I go there on the weekend with my Vietnamese friends.
ASIANCE: Is there a chef you look up to the most?
Sara N: Anita Lo. She does French Asian cuisine and is an Iron Chef. I love the fact that she is a woman in the kitchen. She is so talented and creative in the kitchen. She doesn’t yell in the kitchen either.
ASIANCE: What 3 things should a girl have in her kitchen?
Sara N: Sharp knife, mandeline and a silpat, which is great for baking. This is for a girl who has the basic, you know, pots and pans. (laughs) The silpat does not need to be greased. I make sugar designs on it…
ASIANCE: Are any of the men attractive? Any love triangles?
Sara N: There are attractive men! I think we had a very good cast this season.
ASIANCE: You said Harold (Top Chef 1) is your favorite, did you ever meet him?
Sara N: I did meet him. We just said Hi. That’s it..oh but he did invite me to the opening of his restaurant, Perilla but I was unable to go.
ASIANCE: If you win, what will you do with the money?
Sara N: Definitely travel, pay off my student loans. Hopefully start up a private catering company. I want to go into business for myself. After the show I will go to greater lengths for myself. In ever episode and every challenge you realized you can accomplish whatever you want, as long as you are pushed.
ASIANCE: Any advice for girls looking to make it as a chef?
Sara N: You have to be very tomboyish. You work long hours. You’ll be working with men and they will be talking about things that aren’t very professional. You can’t be very pussy about it.
Thanks Sara. Top Chef 3 starts Wednesday, June 13th at 10:00pm