Out of frying pan: Snyder off 'Top Chef'

November 21, 2008|By Richard Gorelick | Richard Gorelick,Special to The Baltimore Sun

The good news for Baltimore chef Jill Snyder was that she had much more screen time on Episode 2 of this season's Top Chef. The bad news was that she was eliminated. The judges found fault with not only her ostrich-egg quiche (looked like "dog food," tasted like "glue"), but her half-hearted defense at the judges' table, too. An earlier Quickfire Challenge involving hot dogs didn't go so well for her either, when she appeared to take an easy way out with the assignment by not "making" her own hot dog.

Snyder's next step is uncertain - she has left Red Maple, where she was executive chef. But she does intend to stay in the food business, just maybe not as a chef.

Jill, you've had time to adjust to this, but how did your friends and family take it?

Well, they're on my side! So they were like, "What's going on?" But what happened, happened.

What were your expectations going in? Did you want to win the whole thing?

Maybe not, but I did think I would do a little better. I was trying to take it episode by episode. I was really surprised that they hated my dish so much. I was caught off-guard because the feedback at the restaurant during the challenge was good. When the servers were bringing plates back from the dining room, every one of mine was empty. Which means that people enjoyed them.

That wasn't the case with everyone's plates?

Definitely not.

Watching the show was the first time you heard judge Gail Simmons call your judges' table performance the "lamest defense of a dish" ever on the show. Do you think that had something to do with your early dismissal, even before a contestant whose food was spit out by a judge?

Yes, definitely, I think that's true. The pressure of the cameras really bothered me. Also, I tend to be quiet. For TV, you need someone more outgoing than I am. But I still was surprised. I thought using an ostrich egg was a creative choice, and there were good things about my dish that they never mentioned. It took a lot more skill (than competitor Ariane's dish).

In the Quickfire Challenge, you were criticized for not making your own hot dog, but I thought the way you interpreted it made sense to me. I don't think hot dog vendors make their own hot dogs.

The challenge was just to make a "gourmet hot dog," which I interpreted as something else than making your own sausage.

What's next for you?

I'm going to buy an ostrich farm.

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