'Top Chef'

Watch Week 1

November 19, 2008|By RICHARD GORELICK

We're keeping tabs on Baltimore chef Jill Snyder as she competes on Season 5 of Bravo's "Top Chef." She spoke with us about surviving last week's episode; the second episode airs today at 10 p.m.

There were two memorable moments for Baltimore chef Jill Snyder on last week's first episode of the New York edition of Top Chef. The first came during a brutal Quickfire Elimination involving apples (the Big Apple, get it?) when 17 contestants were trimmed to 16, with the departing contestant sent away without even seeing the Top Chef kitchen.

During an apple-chopping challenge, judge Tom Colicchio seemed to single out Snyder's work for criticism. The second standout moment was when her Jamaican-inspired dish - jerk-seasoned scallops with plantain fritters and three sauces - was judged and deemed better than her opponent's creation.

Wow. That Quickfire Elimination looked terrifying. Were you all stunned?

Pretty much. That all happened surprisingly quick. My hands were really shaking. I was afraid of being eliminated right away. I felt bad for Lauren [the chef who was sent home first]. I didn't get to meet her.

Brunoise! How bad were your chopped apples? Did you have to start all over?

Tom [Colicchio] dumped them out on my cutting board! You didn't see that. I was like, oh no, I'm going to go home for apples! My hands were really shaking during that challenge, and I was afraid I was going to be eliminated. I was able to pick through and reuse some of them, though. And I'm a really fast chopper, so I was able to refill them before the others finished. You didn't see [me] running over to the winner's side as soon as my apples were approved.

How quickly did you come up with the idea of using the Jamaican colors on your dish?

That developed. I had wanted to use conch for my dish, but I couldn't get it. The Rastafarian colors were a way of making the dish say Jamaican, but so were the flavors I used, things like rum and pineapple.

(The three sauces were: red - spicy roasted red pepper; yellow - Jamaican rum and pineapple; green - lime-herb.)

Poor Patrick [who was sent home at the end of the episode]. Did you get to meet him at all?

Yes, I hung out with him some. He was really nice.

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