The All-Stars Episode 2 elimination was a stunner, wasn’t it? Not only because Jen Carroll was someone a lot of us expected to last further into the All-Stars season, but especially because of the way she went out. I'll get to some thoughts and links about that in a minute. Meanwhile, check out these items for more about that night at the museum from the contestants who were actually there.
Casey Thompson talks about cleaning up after the kids, and says most of the cast had figured out in advance that they would spending the night there (although 75% had no clue who Joe Jonas was) on her blog here.
In this video, Tiffani Faison talks about their teeny-tiny cots and the kids' reactions to Spike's midnight snack, saying she thinks judges table could have gone any number of different ways.
In this audio clip from WGN radio, you can hear Fabio describe in his own inimitable way how foreign this challenge was for him, why he decided to wander around the museum in lieu of sleeping, and how much better Tiff F's Quickfire dish was than Spike's. Fabio also hints that Episode 3 is "very memorable." (Can we take three in a row?)
And in case you're interested in what Episode 2's guest judge Joe Jonas thought of the experience, you can find that via Bravo here.
So . . . I admit to smiling whenever a “serious” news organization features Top Chef, and I read this “morning-after” item from NPR with interest. While I think NPR may prematurely have gotten it wrong in its specific comparison between Jennifer Carroll and Tiffani Faison as to how these two are presenting themselves this time around (other All-Stars who've gotten less face time this season are also mentioned), the piece addresses an interesting point. Some cheftestants seem to be making a concerted effort to soften their edges, while others, notsomuch. Oh, yeah, there’s also that “editing thing,” so a large degree of how we perceive the competitors is shaped by what the Magical Elves choose to air vs. leave on the cutting room floor (where Jen might well have preferred to leave her expletive-filled comments once she’d been booted).
The contestants have no control over how they’re edited for the Bravo episodes. But they do have a choice as to how they present themselves in their post-elimination interviews. Elia Aboumrad might have garnered some sympathy for being the first All-Star cut – until she gave explosive interviews afterward. Jennifer Carroll, in contrast, was shown to blow up on camera, but then gave a lot of interviews two days after the episode aired where she came across in a kindler, gentler, funnier light (you can find some here, here, and here, in addition to our own interview with Jen here). In the judges’ blogs and “extended judging” video on Bravo, there also seems to be a concerted effort on Bravo’s part to dissuade viewers from thinking Jen’s ouster had anything to do with her talking back to judges rather than her dish simply being the least successful on “any given Sunday night at the museum.” Read and decide for yourself.
How are some other All-Stars controlling their own spin and capitalizing on their "second-time-around" exposure?
Tre Wilcox continues his Wednesday night viewing parties at Loft 610, inviting All-Stars friends to cook. Tre did the premiere party, Tiffany Derry sold out the one last week (at $100/person), and Casey Thompson is up at bat this Wednesday.
And Carla Hall is doing a live chat Wednesday night 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. PST / 8:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m. EST on the Tom’s of Maine Facebook page -www.facebook.com/TomsofMaine – via the Live Chat tab, where she says she'll be talking about cooking with seasonal ingredients and holiday entertaining.