Photo: Giovanni Rufino / Bravo
Here's this week's installment of Slashfood's exclusive exit interviews with the latest "Top Chef All-Stars" contestant to get the boot. In an effort to prevent spoilers, we've included the text after the jump. This was a double elimination, so catch the second exit interview on Monday.
The "when will Jamie go home" countdown finally ended on last night's double elimination episode. Season 5's Jamie Lauren was told to pack up her knives for a "watery" striped bass dish, and a nation breathed a sigh of relief. But did she get the short end of the stick? Lauren has served as this season's de-facto villian, with a not-very-kind edit that's painted her as a nonstop complainer. She's also been accused of sidestepping some of the cooking challenges, and playing up the injury that sent her to the hospital for stitches. What does she think about her portrayal? Let's just say she's not thrilled.
Nichol Nelson: What did you think of your dish?
Jamie Lauren: I really liked my dish last night. I thought it was probably one of the best dishes that I've done on the show. I was happy with it.
NN: You didn't think it was too watery, like the judges said?
JL: Honestly, I haven't seen the episode, so I don't remember what their criticisms were because it was so long ago, but I'm sure there was some validity there somewhere. I still liked the dish.
NN: You've taken a lot of heat this season. Do you think you were portrayed fairly?
JL: No, I don't. At all. I was incredibly happy to be there, and I think there's a lot that viewers didn't get to see.
NN: When you cut yourself, you went to the hospital and got stitches. Then Carla cut herself, and threw on a glove. They compared your injuries and . . .
JL: Of course they did. That's what they do. They do anything to make someone look bad or create drama. I don't know how else to defend myself there, other than to say that the medic said to me, "You need to get stitches," so I went to get stitches. I've never had them in my life, and I heard those words and it scared me so I went to the hospital.
NN: So you didn't see last night's show.
JL: I've only seen like two episodes. I stopped watching it. I didn't like the way I was coming across, so I didn't really want to subject myself to it. I just didn't want to watch it. I heard about it from friends and my mother would text me, so I thought, I'm just not going to torture myself. There's no reason to.
NN: How is this experience different from Season 5 for you?
JL: When we were shooting, I didn't think it was different at all. I actually had a really good time. It was a lot of sitting around and waiting and then challenge, challenge, challenge. It's being exhausted and all of the things that the show is. Hanging out with the other chefs, the stress, that part was exactly the same. It's the aftermath that's a little different this time for me.
NN: You've been accused of not cooking much food this season.
JL: The thing is, I did cook. I didn't cook in the challenge where I went to the hospital, but the tennis challenge, I did cook. I made a dish that was actually delicious. I've served it at my restaurant for over a year, and it's a great dish. That wasn't shown the way it was shot either, unfortunately. The viewers didn't get to see it.
NN: And that's the point where you decided you'd had enough?
JL: Uh, yeah, that's kind of where I stopped watching.
NN: Are you on good terms with the other chefs?
JL: Oh, yeah. I just hung out with Tre and Casey and Dale yesterday -- we shot a web series together here in L.A. And we had a great time. But even talking to them, they said they were all really surprised at how I was portrayed. All of them were.