March 4, 2009
Remember Hung Huynh, the Season Three winner of cable television’s Top Chef? And remember that really weird ingredient he used to create a dish one of the judges called “three-star worthy“? It was some kind of funky mollusk, like a clam on steroids, shaped in a way that tends to make folks giggle. It was called geoduck (pronounced “gooey-duck”).
That’s okay, I didn’t remember Hung and his geoduck either. But Brian Wolly, our associate web editor, did. And he recently had the good fortune to meet the famous chef and watch him in action. The menu? I bet you can guess. Here’s Brian’s report, and you can watch the video of Hung’s cooking demonstration in the video above:
“We met up with Hung Huynh of Top Chef fame at the Oak Bar at the luxurious Plaza Hotel at 59th and 5th Avenue. It was tres swanky. I knew from the moment I heard we were running our piece on geoducks that we had to film a segment with Hung. On the first episode of Top Chef Season 3, he was given the choice of a wide variety of unusual ingredients. He went straight for the geoduck, and because of his runaway success with the dish, the shellfish was seared into the memory of many Top Chef fans.
We arranged to film this past Thursday, and it was great fun to not only be in such a nice kitchen, but to see Hung hamming it up for the camera. I tried to get him to talk about the previous night’s (disappointing, in my view) finale of Top Chef Season 5, but like a true diplomat, he remained mum. So thanks to Hung and the chefs at the Oak Bar for letting us poach their time…it was a pleasure.”
Also on Smithsonian.com this month, you can read about geoduck harvesting in the Pacific Northwest, and check out Surprising Science blogger Sarah Zielinski’s piece on how to cook geoduck. Sarah and I have plans to try some geoduck ourselves this week, in fact…we’ll let you know how it goes!
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