Top Chef's Jen: My Emotions Got the Best of Me
Top Chef: All-Stars contestant Jennifer Carroll wasn't happy with the judges' critique of her pork-and-egg breakfast dish. On Wednesday's episode, the Season 6 alum shocked viewers — as well as her fellow cheftestants — by dismissing the judges' complaints and displaying an endless array of flippant facial expressions. Looking back at the situation, Carroll says even though she wanted to fight for her dish, her aggressiveness was a little harsh. See what else she said about her unusual emotional state and what she really meant by her comments about Jamie.
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TVGuide.com: Do you feel that Jamie's absence affected the outcome of the dish?
Jen: If Jamie was there for the whole time, of course it could have been better. It could have maybe been more successful. But Jamie got hurt and she had to go, and that was her decision to leave. And me saying it didn't make a difference if Jamie was there or not wasn't supposed to be a slight, like, "Who cares if she was my partner or not? I would have been the same." It wasn't supposed to be like that. ... I was defending her.
TVGuide.com: Looking back, do you think you were a bit harsh or rude when defending your dish?
Jen: I definitely think my aggressiveness was coming through and it was a little harsh. After I said those words to the judges, I was like, "Oh no, I can't believe that just came out of my mouth." And I immediately apologized to them. But I said it and I seriously was like, "Chr---, I can't believe I just said that." But, hey, I was fighting for myself and my passion was shining through, whether I wanted it to or not.
TVGuide.com: What would you have done differently if you had to do the whole thing over?
Jen: I would take a couple more minutes to conceptualize the dish and I probably would have added a seafood element in there for a surf-and-turf kind of thing. But I still think my dish was good and had good flavors. But cooking is subjective, and the judges didn't agree with me. And maybe I would have held back a little more in retrospect. I'm going to practice my poker face so I don't have that many facial reactions. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Do you think your talking back played a factor in the judges' decision?
Jen: I would hope it didn't. They all said it didn't, and I read Gail's blog and she actually said she was glad that I stood up for myself. You take things personally, whether you're supposed to or not. Criticism is always good, but sometimes it's hard to swallow.
TVGuide.com: You told the other chefs that what they saw at judging was "Jen: All-Stars." What sparked the new, outspoken Jen?
Jen: I came back to Top Chef and I really wanted to win. I planned on defending myself and speaking up more about my dishes and the way I really felt about them instead of just accepting the judges' critiques. I still should have done what I did, but maybe not as aggressively.
TVGuide.com: Why did you get so emotional at the end?
Jen: I didn't want to leave, and that's exactly why I got emotional. I wanted to compete; I wanted to make it to the finals, and it wasn't in the cards. So, I definitely got emotional, and it got the best of me that day.