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The $100 Egg Roll

by Jeff Hoyt

How much would you spend for an egg roll? Chef Jack Lee has created what he calls The $100 Egg Roll, made with premium ingredients: Maine lobster tail, Alaska King Crab meat, summer black truffle, caviar and gold leaf. The Los Angeles-based private chef recently cooked a seven-course meal called “Beyond the Seven Seas,” which also featured his distinctive Chinese Art Scroll made of Chilean sea bass with rice noodle and scrolls made from asparagus.

The lively Vietnam native has a remarkable history: his mother, pregnant with his brother, sent him with a relative to live in the US at the age of 8 a week after his father passed away. He didn’t meet his own brother for another eighteen years. He learned English by watching “Three’s Company” and took the first name and career of John Ritter’s character, chef Jack Tripper. After attending culinary school, he worked as banquet chef at the Hotel Bel-Air. His dishes have been enjoyed by many celebs, including Angelina Jolie, Kobe Bryant and Oprah Winfrey.

He recently underwent jaw surgery, and lost his sense of taste. “It humbled me,” he says of the career-threatening circumstances. But he had a vision that things would work out — “Maybe it was the Vicodin,” he jokes — and his gifts have been restored. He is currently cooking for Chinoise Catering, putting together a cookbook and shooting television pilots. See below for a video and photos of some of his Chinoise cuisine, which combines Asian and French elements.

Although we can’t offer you such a remarkable meal, we proudly present our latest issue of TASTES which features seafood. Find the top seafood restaurants near you and where to enjoy abalone and sea urchin. Learn how to cook Thai Shrimp and Pan-Roasted Arctic Char. And, discover the differences between types of caviar in case you ever want to make your own $100 egg roll!

You can click on each photo to enlarge.