Walter Rhee, owner of Adega Wine Cellars and Cafe in Silver Spring, thinks he has the winning formula to be The Next Food Network Star. All he has to do now is make it through the rigorous application process for Season 3 of the reality program. The 35-year-old Rhee had to answer a number of questions, including this Baba Wawa–like inquiry: “If you physically were a food or ingredient what would you be and why?”
Rhee put some serious thought to the matter, debating whether he should select soy sauce or chipotle peppers. “I didn’t want to do soy sauce and tie into the whole Asian thing,” says Rhee, a Korean-American born in D.C. “Well, how ironic. You’re Asian, Walter, and you love soy sauce!”
In the end, though, Rhee picked the sauce because of its sharp flavor and surprising versatility. “I see myself as soy because? I don’t know, am I salty?” says Rhee, clearly uncomfortable explaining himself. “Unique, yet distinctive? Expansive? Multidimensional?”
For some reason, Rhee is less embarrassed about his programming idea: a cooking-and-wine-education show that mixes in—I shit you not—comedic kung-fu elements.