If you're the sort who likes to boat, farm, fish, clam and make good food, it's kind of hard not to be taken over by a green-eyed monster when chatting with Anita Lo. The executive chef and owner of Annisa in the West Village pulls out contemporary American cuisine from her wide base of knowledge, has a cookbook, was the first woman to win an Iron Chef showdown (against Mario Batali, with mushrooms as the secret ingredient) and had a later stint on Top Chef Masters. But what really makes her eyes light up? And how did a feeling of "otherness" and a degree in French literature lead to the kitchen?
Tucked into the West Village, Annisa has steadily grown a following from chef Anita Lo's careful, technique-driven takes on New American cooking with French and Asian touches. We ventured behind the scenes into the kitchen to see a breakdown of one of her most popular dishes, featuring a whole squid that's part grilled and part fried.