Jennifer Carroll put up a fight you could only expect from a native Northeast Philly girl on Season 6 of “Top Chef.” But finishing in the final four wasn’t enough: She’s back in the kitchen looking for a first-place title in “Top Chef All-Stars.” We caught up with the 10 Arts chef de cuisine to talk strategy, underdog mentality and victory dinners.
Why did you want to go on the show again?
Let’s see, because I’m crazy? [Laughs] I wanted to go on again because honestly I had so much fun the first time around. Even though I didn’t win, I made a ton of friends.
Is there anything you’ll do differently in round two?
Round two, I might stand up for myself a little more than I did in round one. I might defend myself a little more and tell the judge what I think. Last season, I think I just took the judges’ word for it.
What’s more stressful: cooking in front of cameras or a busy night at 10 Arts?
Cooking on “Top Chef” is a thousand times more stressful than cooking at the restaurant. At 10 Arts, it’s my kitchen, my restaurant, my sous chefs. At “Top Chef,” it’s truly not the way that any of us chefs work when we’re creating dishes and developing ideas. It could take a year for any one dish to end up on the menu at 10 Arts.
Philly contestants do pretty well in these competitions — think it has something to do with being from here?
I think that Philadelphia is tough. And Philadelphia is extremely competitive — we’re always the underdog, we’re always doubted. But we’re here to say we’re just as good.