I didn't cook for the competition, I cooked for myself, I cooked for my loved ones, I cooked to represent my culture, I cooked to represent Chinese-American immigrants. I was proud of what I was able to accomplish under the conditions.
I really enjoyed judges critiques because I can always grow and improve from that. I don't think any of the judges are intimidating.
One thing inspired me the most from the time I spent in Charleston was how much heritage and history are connected to influencing how I cook. Each dish tugged my heart in a different spot that after I finished cooking, I was really emotional and felt fulfilled at the same time.
Physically, this season of Top Chef was very challenging. We stayed up for 48 hours for the BBQ challenge; we ran around in a hurricane. I got sick, had a fever, lost my voice, stuffy nose, but kept competing.
Stephanie Izard. She is extremely talented but super-humble at the same time. And she was the first female Top Chef. I remember cheering her on when she competed. At that time I just started in my culinary career. Watching her cook was very inspiring.
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