At weeklystandard.com I posted a Top Chef update, including interviews with the two eliminated chefs, Tyler Wiard and, surprisingly, Top Chef veteran C.J. Jacobson. To C.J., I prefaced my question by saying “I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but is it worse the second time around?” Actually, he confessed, it was the first anyone has asked him if getting eliminated this time was worse than ion season three. And the answer was yes because of his early departure. “I was humiliated,” he said with honesty. C.J. is also incredibly funny and does a terrific Tom Colicchio impression.
When I spoke earlier on the phone with Tyler, I asked about his living situation during the Last Chance Kitchen episodes. “I hope I can answer this,” he said before an NBC-Bravo minder interjected, explaining that contestants cannot comment on anything off camera. “But there is an eliminated cast house,” I pointed out since it was briefly shown on a webisode. “So the other contestants who lost are all hanging out there?” After a pause, the minder confirmed this—though I’m not quite sure why this detail is surrounded in secrecy. Earlier I had asked chef Jeffrey Jew about the timespan of the show—my understanding was the show is crammed into a week. He, too, deferred to one of the show’s staffers listening in on the conference call who said they could not get into the duration of the series, but it’s more than a week and the final part had yet to be filmed. (Several years ago I ran into another former Top Chef contestant, Timothy Dean, who said that nondisclosure agreement is no joke.)
So much for the Open Kitchen.