Top Chef has just been nominated for two Emmy Awards and fan favorite Lee Anne Wong is Culinary Producer. Lee Anne has accomplished a lot since she was robbed a finalist position as a contestant on the first Top Chef. Top Chef has just been nominated for two Emmy Awards and fan favorite Lee Anne Wong is Culinary Producer. Lee Anne has accomplished a lot since she was robbed a finalist position as a contestant on the first Top Chef. She has her own video blog series on Bravotv.com which shows off her teaching skills as a chef… could she be the next Rachael Ray? Asiance caught up with Lee Anne to find out what she has been up to since we last saw her as a contestant… .and no she is not dating Harold!
ASIANCE: Tell us about your new job and are you still at the Culinary Institute?
Lee Anne: Yeah I’m actually still at the French Culinary Institute. I’m working right now. My job as the Culinary Producer is great! I do a variety of different things and it’s really nice to be involved with the show. The Magical Elves is a fantastic production team and everyone at Bravo is fantastic to work with. So life is good! Magical Elves is the Production Company. I’m the supervising Culinary Producer for the show.
ASIANCE: I saw you on your video blog. What about being the next Rachael Ray?
Lee Anne: I’m working on a couple different things right now. I’ve been talking to The Food Network. Things take time. TV doesn’t happen overnight, so I’ve been working on a couple personal projects. So hopefully something will transpire soon.
Harold never tried to recruit me at Perilla. He knows and the general consensus is that he can’t afford me! Haha!
ASIANCE: Is that an engagement ring on your finger!
Lee Anne: Haha. No. Don’t speak such atrocities!!! Ha I’m kidding! No, not an engagement ring. I just happen to be wearing a piece of jewelry that day. And No! I’m not engaged to Harold.
ASIANCE: So what really happened between you and Harold?
Lee Anne: Nothing! We’re really good friends. We’ve never been linked romantically and that’s the truth! He’s got a long term girlfriend and I have a guy I’ve been dating for almost a year now.
ASIANCE: Have you been to Perilla (Harold’s new NYC restaurant) yet?
Lee Anne: I have been to Perilla. I’ve actually eaten there and helped Harold out one night, expediting. He was short a line cook. So I came in and worked a night for him and basically worked for my supper. I then had a great meal.
ASIANCE: Did he try to recruit you?
Lee Anne: No. Harold never tried to recruit me at Perilla. He knows and the general consensus is that he can’t afford me! Haha!
ASIANCE: Do you have a favorite cast member on Top Chef 3 or did you have a favorite previous cast member?
Lee Anne: You know, because I’m the producer, I can’t really say anything. Well it’s interesting though. I didn’t get to know the Top Chef 2 cast that well. I’ve been with the season 3 cast since the beginning of the season and they kind of became my children. So it’s great to see them go through the motions and get to know them and get to know their cooking style and their food and stuff like that. I think this season is amazing! And the majority of the contestants are mature and professional and really nice people all around.
ASIANCE: Do you have a new dish you like besides your rib eye and red wine?
Lee Anne: Chocolate Baking Cake and Bacon.
ASIANCE: What is next in terms of career for you?
Lee Anne: Right now I’m moving forward, continuing doing work for Bravo and moving forward with my media career. I’m still at the French Culinary Institute. I’ve been doing a lot of consulting and working with charities. I kind of have my fingers in a million different pots right now, but I’m having a great time.
I’m the toastmaster for ProjectbyProject. They got me involved for Top Chef 2 and the New York City event. Now I’m their official toastmaster. It supports Asian American communities and businesses. I’ll be hosting their event in Los Angeles and I’ll be doing the one in New York City.
ASIANCE: Do you think you’ll ever open your own restaurant?
Lee Anne: I know I will. It’s just not something I’m going to do right now.
ASIANCE: Have you talked to Dave and Steven?
Lee Anne: Dave is great actually. He just moved to New York City and he lives in Queens near me. He is doing well. He’s still running his business in California. He’s doing some catering here in New York.
Steven actually called me last week. He was in New York City for the weekend, celebrating his birthday but unfortunately I was in Los Angeles. So we kind of crossed paths in the night. But they are both great and doing really, really well.
ASIANCE: How about Tiffani?
Lee Anne: I haven’t spoken to Tiffani. The last time I saw her was down in Miami when they did the Season 1/Season 2 smackdown. She’s great and doing really well. She’s doing some consulting and she’s a private chef for Steve Jobs of Apple. She’s doing really well for herself.
ASIANCE: You look good. Did you loose weight?
Lee Anne: I lost a ton of weight. I lots over 50 pounds. That sort of came from Andrea Beaman from Season 1. She sort of kick started and got me on a cleanse. I read her book. And then I just sort of changed the way I eat and the way that I thought about food. I don’t go to a gym. I work a lot. I’m on my feet all day. Just eating right, not eating after midnight.
My family and friends read your magazine on-line, so they were really excited when they saw the article on me!
When I started culinary school I use to be a size 4. When you are working in a restaurant kitchen, then doing dinner service… You’ve been working from 11am til midnight, you then go out with the boys and co-workers, you drink beer and eat French fries, and then you go home and crawl into bed. Then you get up and do it the next day. That’s really how it happened. That after work decompression sort of catches up with you. You are constantly tasting things all the time. I wasn’t disciplined in keeping myself on an eating schedule. Now I make sure I have breakfast, lunch and dinner. I use to skip breakfast, then have a late dinner. That was bad for me. I force myself to each breakfast now. I have 3 meals a day and sort of lightly graze throughout the day.
I stopped eating white breads and refined sugars. I eat exclusively whole grains, and then I cut back on my protein intake and fatty red meats. Although, I’ll never turn down a fatty piece of bacon. It’s just being conscious with what you’re eating.
ASIANCE: Were you shocked to see yourself. You know how the camera adds 10 pounds?
Lee Anne: You know even when I was heavier, I didn’t care. I’m very comfortable in my own skin. It’s not an issue for me and it was never an issue for my friends. It’s one of those things, I am who I am. If I’m heavier or thinner it doesn’t change what I do and how I do it. It’s nice to drop the weight again. I still eat more than most normal girls. So I’m having a good time.
ASIANCE: Do you like being the fan favorite?
Lee Anne: Yeah well I wish I was fan favorite and got $10,000 like Dave. It’s been nice to be able to parlay this into some work. It’s nice to be involved with a really creative team. It’s such a great well received show.
Thanks for watching. Keep your interest in Top Chef. It is the top food show on television.
ASIANCE: It’s natural for you to show or teach cooking. I saw it on your video blog.
Lee Anne: That’s what I do on a daily basis. I give demonstrations to the public and to private clients and stuff. I’ve been training for this for 4 years. It’s easy to be in front of the camera. I’ve had media training.
Well when I do get my own show, I’ll make sure I don’t use any stupid tag lines like “Young Ho” or “Bam”.
ASIANCE: Thanks Lee Anne.
Lee Anne: My family and friends read your magazine on-line, so they were really excited when they saw the article on me!