Janice Wong guest stars as judge on Top Chef

Local pastry chef Janice Wong of 2am : dessertbar represented Singapore as a guest judge on the season finale of popular American reality cooking competition Top Chef.

Season 17 of the show – which aired on June 18 – saw an Italian showdown for the coveted title of Top Chef among chefs Melissa King, Stephanie Cmar and Bryan Voltaggio.

King, who placed fourth in Season 12 of the show, emerged victorious. Her four-course meal picked up the top prize for its Italian and Chinese flavours.

It included a starter of char siu-glazed octopus, fried shallots, fennel, pickled peppers and herbs; grilled squab with persimmon, porcini, and fermented black bean sauce; and a Hong Kong milk tea tiramisu for dessert.

King’s tiramisu brought guest judge and famed Italian butcher Dario Cecchini to tears, and Wong, 36, lauded the “amazing quality of the meal”.

Wong and Cecchini featured alongside the show’s celebrity judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Nilou Motamed, as well as Italian-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco of three-Michelin-starred Mirazur in France; Northern-Irish chef Clare Smyth of two-Michelin-starred Core by Clare Smyth; Ethiopian-Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson; Chicago chef Tony Mantuano; and Food & Wine magazine editor-in-chief Hunter Lewis.

To celebrate her involvement in the show, Wong, 36, created an Italian-themed dessert named Dolce Vita, which features cacao-shaped Amaretto vanilla bean ice cream, Rocher chocolate mousse, fondant cake bar, pistachio white truffle crumble and salted caramel textures.

Priced at $25, it is available till July 31 at 2am : dessertbar in Holland Village and online at www.janicewong.online. She will donate $10 from each purchase of the dessert to the Community Chest.

“It was such an honour to have been selected to be part of the judging panel for Top Chef and such an incredible experience.

“To celebrate, I wanted to do something that could be enjoyed back home in Singapore, as well as give back to the community,” said Wong, who was in Tuscany, Italy, in November last year for the finale filming.

“My all-time favourite dessert is tiramisu, and it was also the first dessert my mum taught me when I was nine. There is something unique about Italian flavours in desserts and during my time in Italy for the filming of the show, I was not only inspired by the flavours of the country, but also by the dishes that the finalists created.”

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