Key Ingredient: The Next Generation

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Noah Sandoval of Senza Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

The Reader's Key Ingredient series— for which we are the videographer— has been running for over two years now, with more than 80 chefs taking on the challenge of cooking with some seriously weird ingredient deviously foisted upon them by the previous chef (and yes, the chain has been unbroken all that time, with only a tiny handful of chefs turning it down and forcing the challenger to pick a backup). But another milestone of longevity was reached this week: chef Noah Sandoval of Senza became the first challenged chef to have been somebody's assistant in a previous episode. In June 2011 Sandoval was just one of the guys in the background helping out Michael Carlson of Schwa as he wrestled with the infamous liqueur Malört— like all of us, doing shots of the stuff along the way in what was surely Key Ingredient's wildest, most bibulous shoot. (It even got an outtakes reel.) He's more sober (in multiple senses) as the head of the acclaimed gluten-free restaurant, given chestnut flour— a wheat flour substitute with which he'd had little previous experience. Check out Julia Thiel's account of the challenge here and see the video below.