“Top Chef” star Karen Akunowicz on being a queer femme and her favorite food



AE: Favorite color?

KA: Peacock, like a teal color.


AE: If you could describe your personality as a dish, what would it be?

KA: Something arrabbiata, something fiery and spicy. Kung Pao Chickpeas, something like that. [laughs]


AE: Do you prefer wine, beer, or liquor?

KA: Wine.


AE: Are you a night owl or a morning person?

KA: I am a night owl.


AE: What is your favorite thing for other people to cook for you?

KA: Anything! God, if anyone would cook me anything, it would be the most thrilling thing! No one cooks for me, ever. [laughs]


AE: That’s so sad! [laughs]

KA: I know, it’s so sad— you feel bad for me, right? Me too! [laughs]


AE: Alright, well, maybe someone will send you something, I don’t know.

KA: Hopefully.


AE: [laughs] What is your favorite kitchen tool or gadget?

KA: I mean, I can only pick one?


AE: Yup.

KA: My chef’s knife.


AE: Your current favorite song?

KA: Oh my god, “Hello,” Adele. Because, like the rest of America and the world, I can’t stop singing it. And I love her. A close second is “Secrets” by Mary Lambert. I sang that for a long time before “Hello” came out.


AE: And lastly, it’s no secret that I love Padma. If you could describe Padma in one word, what would it be?

KA: Majestic.


AE: Oh! That is a good one!

KA: Oh, girl, you have no idea.


AE: Kristen Kish said “intelligently sultry” when I asked her that, which was also a good one, but, wow, “majestic” is a great answer too. I’m going to start collecting Padma descriptions.

KA: Yeah, she is—wow. And I can’t even tell you in real life, it’s even more—you’re like, “Wow, you are a real person. I didn’t know people looked like that and were that tall and amazing.” Yeah, she’s really a phenomenal person.

If you’re in Boston, you can visit Karen at her restaurant, Myers + Chang, or you can catch her on Top Chef when it returns January 7th at 10pm EST (Bravo).

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