Challenger stats: Chef Ford
From: Los Angeles
Restaurants: Ford's Filling Station
Cuisine: Traditionally, it has been Iberian mixed with the influences of my home state of Calif. Ford's Filling Station is American Regional with some French feathered in.
Interests: Forging for almost anything is always good. But I love a fresh idea, architecture, design, golf, fine art and wine and good love.
Ideal secret ingredient: Bacon
Culinary inspirations: Paul Bertolli, Bradley Ogden, Paula Wolfert and the many people I have had the pleasure of working with.
Ideal judge: Jim Harrison, Meatloaf
Culinary secret weapon: My many types of vinegar.
Favorite restaurant: Azak in San Sebastian Spain, Babbo in N.Y. and The Joe Dirfuss Store in a swamp somewhere between Shreveport and New Orleans.
Favorite food: A great steak cooked over a good wood fire.
Food you won't go near: Raspberry vinegar
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: A tie between a hot sauce made with termites produced by the Pimones Indians in Venezuela. Also, smoked scorpion.
Favorite food destination: San Sebastian, Spain and Japan
Alternative dream job: Architect