When Chef Ji-Hyun Cha signed up to compete in the upcoming season of Hell's Kitchen (premiering Jan. 29, on Fox), she was ready for anything. Or so she thought.
"I didn't go into it thinking I was joining the Brownies," she jokes. "I was marching into battle, and I was ready to do pretty much whatever I had to not to become one of the casualties."
Still, the second-generation foodie went a little weak-kneed when she came within spitting distance of Hell's host Gordon Ramsay's legendary temper. "I'm passionate about my cooking — really passionate. But he takes it to a whole other level," she says with a laugh. "It's as close to a volcano erupting as I ever want to come."
As the New York City slicker braces herself for her primetime debut — "My boyfriend and I are actually throwing a viewing party," she shares — she took a moment to share with us a recipe for a colorful New Year's Eve cocktail that's so delish, it might just drain the red out of Chef Cranky Pants' face. — Ben Katner
Chef Ji's Sparkling Scarlet Sangria
3-1⁄2 cups of dry red wine
2 cups of Vueve Cliquot Champagne
4 tablespoons Bombay Sapphire Gin
4 tablespoons of Grey Goose Citron Vodka
4 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons of simple syrup
Juice of 1 blood orange and 1 lemon
1 blood orange, sliced thin
1 lime, sliced thin
1 lemon, sliced thin
1/4 of an Asian pear, sliced thin
INSTRUCTIONS: Pour all of the ingredients (except for the champagne) into a pitcher and refrigerate overnight. At party time, serve over ice and top off with champagne.
For more on Chef Ji, visit ChefJi.com.