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Joliet Junior College Chef Instructor Andy Chlebana Wins Food Network Challenge

Like a basketball star who won the NBA Championship, Chlebana is going to Disney.

There were a number of factors that came together for Joliet Junior College Chef Andy Chlebana to win the Food Network Challenge, sugar dress Sunday night. The first was the design of the box that transported the dress from one location to another during the show. That box, which was designed by the father of Chlebana's assistant Heather Schreiner, suspended the sugar dress.

"The dress couldn’t swing in that box.," Chlebana said. "There was no way that was going to move."

That did not mean, however, that the dress did not suffer some breakage.

 "We had a lot of breakage when we removed it from the mannequin," Chlebana said.

The pair had planned for that though, making lots of extra petals to replace the ones that broke.

"We probably had enough to do another quarter of dress," Chlebana said.

The final version that aired Sunday did not show much of the first hours of the seven hour competition. But, Chlebana said he was making about 90 petals per hour.

"The first three hours I just made the blue petals for the top," he said. "The judges at the show started saying I was the Zen sugar master."

The pair also considered a possible curve-ball in the design. What would happen if the judges said someone had to wear the dress?

"The way that it was made is if there was a curve-ball thrown at us where they said you have to have a person wear it, you could put it on a person to showcase it," Chlebana said.

For his part, Chlebana said he is taking his part of the winnings and taking the family to Disney. But, he said, they are still keeping it a secret from the children; twin 8-year-olds Abigail and Annabel, 7-year-old Andy and 3-year-old Adler.

Chlebana was watching the show with his children and wife Heather late Sunday night.

"I’ve never heard them scream so loud," he said of the children's reaction to his win.

Angela April 29, 2011 at 03:40 AM
I can't believe he won this competition. I have been personally taught by him. He's funny and quirky, but always has been considered a good teacher by me. Great job, Chef!

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