Top Chef All-Stars Exit Interview: Episode 2


Calm down, Joe Jonas isn’t the new host of Top Chef All-Stars. He was just the awkwardly placed judge for the Quickfire challenge. And who else would our chef’testants be cooking for this week when a Jonai is present? None other than a room full of thankless kids. Read on to see what this week’s surprising loser has to say.


Yes, we were as shocked as the next person to see Jennifer Carroll pack her knives and leave.

ES: Judges’ Table was very tense, what was going through your mind when it became clear that your team was at the losing end of the challenge?
Jen: It was disappointing and upsetting to me. I didn’t want to be on the losing team and I didn’t believe our team was in the losers’ circle. I was very passionate and emotional. The judges were coming at us and I was defending myself and my team as a whole. I think my emotions got the best of me. I went down fighting and I went down defending myself and my dish. Maybe it wasn’t the best way to go out but I still think that I did a good dish.

Do you think you were being insubordinate by defending your dish?
The judges were definitely surprised when I started to speak up and defend myself and to do it as passionately as I was doing it, especially from how they saw me compete in the past, that I was always just very gracious and listened to what they said and was pretty accepting. This time around I wasn’t. I made one comment to the judges I immediately wished that I didn’t — the one about the plates — as soon as I said it, I was like ‘oh my god, can’t believe I just said that.’ I apologized. I don’t mean to disrespect the judges and it definitely came cross that I was doing that.

Eric Ripert said he wished you had kept your cool and not been as aggressive. Have you spoken with him about that?
Of course. I’ve spoken with him multiple times. Eric didn’t train me to be aggressive and to lose my cool. Eric trains you to be professional and respectful at all times. That day at judges’ table it didn’t shine through. I had a bad day and it’s a shame it was caught on camera. I went down defending my dish. I came out being a little more passionate and aggressive. I had the T-Rex inside of me that day, T-Rex on a lot of caffeine.

Do you think that Jamie should have been eliminated since she wasn’t even there for the competition?
Jamie and I were partners for the elimination challenge. we took maybe 2 seconds to conceptualize the dish together and I wish we had talked more about that, instead of rushing to get something done. Jamie slipped and cut herself; the medics told her she needed stitches; that’s not my decision to make. I was concerned, I’m not going to say ‘no Jamie, you have to stay and cook with me.’ I took it on my shoulders and the responsibility to make the dish with or without her. Of course had Jamie been there the dish could have been better. I wasn’t about to throw Jamie under the bus.

Because you had done so well in Season 6, do you think the judges had higher expectations for you and were more critical because of that?
I can’t answer that for the judges. I think they expected me, or at least I hope they would have thought that I would have gone a lot further. The challenges are tough and hard, they’re designed to put us in uncomfortable situations. Some days we have good days and some days we have bad days.

Any major differences between your season and All-Stars?
This season we had all played the game already, so we all came in with an idea of how we were going to be this time around. Whether that meant someone was going to edit themselves a little more because they came off not so nice the first time around, or whether I was going to stand up for myself a little more…which didn’t work out for me.

Why did you make the decision to come back to All-Stars?
It was definitely a tough decision to make because I was heartbroken the first time around when I lost. It’s definitely not easy being on Top Chef, going on TV where you are going to be judged by millions. Yeah I do have a fan base but to make the decision to go back is still really hard. At any point you can go home, the competition is hard. I talked with my family and my boss here at work, because they have to give me the time off. It was a tough decision.

Any regrets?
Erm, I don’t have any regrets for doing it. I went back and I got to meet some of the other contestants I hadn’t met yet. I made good friendships with them. I had a hell of a lot of fun doing the food fight promo; that was probably some of the most fun I’ve had in my life. That was some all out crazy-ass food fight that I definitely would not give up doing. Did I win any money? Did I make it to the final? No. But I had a really good food fight. It was fun.

Who are you rooting for now that you are out?
Mike Isabella — we became very close, he’s a really good guy and a really talented chef. All of the chefs are really good. I wish they all do well. I hope none of them have a crazy judges’ table like I did — I think it might go down in history.

(Photos: Bravo)

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