Top Chef 5: Conference Call with Jamie Lauren

Well, I, for one, was shocked last night when cheftestant Jamie Lauren was kicked off of Top Chef 5.

It's always a possibility for the stronger chefs to be eliminated before their time on Top Chef, since you are only as good as your last dish. Nevertheless, it's hard to let go of the mindset that the strongest overall performing chefs will make it all the way to the end.

But braised celery did the chef in, and we talked to her today about her elimination, what she thought about the judges, and Stefan's hopeless crush.

I asked her about her feelings last night during elimination. She seemed to be reconciled to her fate and took it all in stride, so I wanted to find out what she was thinking during the episode.

She said that the challenge was pretty obvious from the beginning, noting you don't take six people to Le Bernardin and serve them six fish dishes and not expect them to think they'll be cooking that. She had commented elsewhere that replication is not her strong suit, so she went into the competition already aware that it might not be her best hour.

As to the judging, she says she knew her fate, the celery was oversalted and there was nothing she could do about it. She says she probably would have had less equanimity about being eliminated if it had been her own creation.

As things happened, though, she feels satisfied that she had the chance to showcase her strengths as a chef on Top Chef 5. She even takes all the Top Scallop talk in stride, saying it's hard to take any of the other chef's interview comments too seriously when she knows they are edited and often taken out of context.

Although she hasn't quite seen all of them, as she noted that last night she got home late and then her priority was watching American Idol, so she hasn't even had time yet to watch the episode.

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