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Top Chef Top 10: Susur Lee

The ponytailed, Toronto-based star of Top Chef Masters talks to F&W about 10 of his biggest food, style and art obsessions—and explains why reality TV is kind of like a game of Jenga.
Top chef susur lee: induction stove
Courtesy of Cooktek.

1. Tiny Induction Stove

The kitchen gift I want most is a tiny induction stove. It's just 12 by 12 inches, like the kind they have at shabu-shabu restaurants in Asia.

2. Rolex Diver's-Style Watch

I bought myself a sporty black Rolex. No diamonds. Straight up. And now I don't look at other people's watches.

3. Entertaining Style

When you walk into a Russian restaurant, there are already 20 plates sitting on the table. I like that Russian attitude, but with Asian flavors.

4. Super-Simple Soup

My go-to, stay-warm-in-the-middle-of-winter dish is a homey squash soup. I love drizzling it with a little honey. If you want to toss pumpkin seeds on top, that's good, too.

5. Contemporary Art

I've always related to Asian art. I especially like Yue Minjun; he is based in Beijing. He paints the people with the gigantic smiley faces.

6. Vintage Car

I've had my 1972 VW Beetle for 22 years. I bought it for $500 from a mechanic. Now I've put $30,000 into it to make it nice for my kids. It used to be black, and now it's silver. I put nice speakers inside, too.

Top Chef Susur Lee: European Labels
Courtesy of Etro.

7. European Labels

I like European-type straight jeans; my son picks them out for me. I also like Etro; they make nice shirts. And I love Dolce & Gabbana suits. I like to mix and match.

8. Hotel Perks

It's nice when the staff puts an exotic fruit basket in my room. It changes my mood.

9. Favorite Music

I grew up in the '70s, so of course I will always love my funk and Motown music. I'd have Earth, Wind & Fire play for me at one of my restaurants. Tower of Power, too. They would open for EWF.

Top Chef Susur Lee: Jenga
© 2010 Hasbro, Inc., used with permission.

10. Lessons from Top Chef Masters

The teamwork involved in producing a TV show is a lot like the teamwork in a professional kitchen. You each have your own job with its own timing. But, as in a game of Jenga, you have to be sure everything fits together. And no blocks fall.


Published December 2010
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