'Top Chef': Who bodysnatched Jen and left this scary, angry whiner?

jennifer-carroll-top-chef-all-stars-320.jpg "Top Chef: All-Stars" had their "Night at the Museum" Wednesday (Dec. 8) with decidedly less monkeys or Ben Stiller, but the chefs made up for it with a primate-friendly parfait and an intensely angry contestant.

Spoilers! Eat your veggies first.

We're going to cut to the end for a moment and just react: Wow! What in the world happened to Jennifer Carroll? It's one thing to feel passionately about your dish, but whence came this humongous potato chip on her shoulder?

For those who may or may not recall, Jen was on the stellar sixth season of "Top Chef" set in Vegas, was in the Top 4 and just missed making it to the finals after her "crush party" victuals at Napa were deemed un-crushworthy. Instead we got the Double Voltaggio and Red-bearded Santa action in the finals. We were very excited to see Jen back as an All-Star since we felt that she had a better chance to shine with the Voltaggios out of the way.

As soon as she entered the stew room for judging, we could feel the anger waves emanating from her. During judging, she wasn't just defending her food, but insulted the judges' intelligence as well: "You guys are smart enough. You're the judges. Why didn't you say 'Hey, can I get a different plate for this?'"

And no, we weren't just imagining her antagonism. Several people on the show remarked on it. One of the judges said she'd never seen a chef so angry, Team T-Rex leader Tiffani gasped out "Oh wow" after hearing the plate comment, even those in the stew room tentatively asked if Jen was like this for her season, and she proudly proclaimed that this was "All-Star Jen." Ugh, please give us "Vegas Jen" back!

Whoo, and the cussing when she was eliminated for lousy, floppy pork rivaled Gordon Ramsay's vocab. We could feel the other chefs, even buff Tre, trying to avoid eye contact. We don't know what happened to Jen between Vegas and now, but she feels like a woman scorned, that her people have been persecuted, that she must fight the power. Chill, lady.

Now that we've discussed Jen and her attitude, we're kind of exhausted. A few other musings and highlights:

  • Did Spike even have a chance for the Quickfire challenge? It was carrot versus chocolate!
  • Heh. "The Spice Girls and their bodyguard" vs. "all the cool guys and their babysitter Carla." Hootie!
  • We think Team Brontosaurus had it right. 45 minutes to sleep is too much of a tease. We would have explored.
  • We don't ever want to be a professional chef if slicing your finger and getting two stitches invites condescension and mockery from all.
  • Ya know, Tiffani, we feel for you. We would have picked T-Rex also, but once you've chosen, shut your trap and stop boo-hooing about the lack of veg.
  • Oh Katie Lee. Yeah ... we remember you. Bring back Bourdain!
  • Ha! We can't help loving Marcel's confession that he deserved more of the the banana parfait win over his dish partners.

Was the elimination deserved? Was Jen's behavior understandable?


Photo/Video credit: Bravo