The contestants on Top Chef got a taste of New York last night. But for one chef, Jill Snyder, she learned the Big Apple can bite back. During the Quickfire Challenge, Snyder’s sushi-inspired hot dog was an East-meets-West disappointment. Then for the next challenge–cooking an all-American lunch for fifty New York chefs who auditioned for season five–Snyder again landed in the bottom along with Ariane Duarte and Hosea Rosenberg. In the end, the judges sent Snyder packing for her ostrich egg quiche that they deemed tasted “like glue.” Snyder spoke to PEOPLE about her “bold” ostrich-egg quiche… and answered our burning questions. –Emmet Sullivan
Do you feel the judges too harsh on you on the Quickfire Challenge?Obviously I misunderstood exactly what they wanted from there. I knew we were going to get some sort of New York-y challenge. I didn’t get that they wanted us to make a sausage, so I kind of went outside of the box. I did a seasoned hot dog sushi roll. I thought it was interesting. They wanted a gourmet hot dog, and my twist on gourmet was to make some sort of dim sum, something easy to pick up. I was going the neat, gourmet route.
Are you still happy you went with the ostrich egg quiche?I still think it was a very creative, interesting dish… way more creative than anything else that anybody else put up. Obviously I can’t be that happy since I got voted off. I was going for originality. I’ve never seen ostrich egg on any menu ever. I’ve worked with it before, but at the same time, I’ve very rarely seen anybody else work with one. So using an original, bold, creative ingredient I thought I would score some points there.
What did you think of the other dishes from the chefs?I had originally wanted to be on the dessert side, so I was really shocked that they didn’t give the dessert more criticism. I was not impressed by any of the desserts, and I do pastries very well. I was disappointed I didn’t end up in that category for that challenge.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?I would have tried harder to make a dessert that I know would have impressed everyone. By the same hand, at the time, I really thought that was going to be original and really creative, and there’s some skill to making a quiche. The crust was a rice crust, and you’ve seen in the past episodes that nobody can cook rice right. The rice was cooked perfectly. There’s skill involved in that.
What do you think of Ariane staying but you packing up your knives?It was really surprising. When we were standing at the judges’ table, they said hers was so bad they spit it out. I knew all of my dishes came back empty. We got to see if ate your dish or not when the servers brought the plates back, and all of mine were scraped clean. So I knew nobody spit it out. I was feeling confident after seeing that. I guess they wanted me to argue more, but it’s really hard to argue your point after standing in front of them as they rip apart your entire dish and then say, “Oh, defend yourself.”
So who’s your favorite to win now?I like Eugene’s take on everything, so I’m pulling for Eugene.
Our Top Chef 5 Burning Questions Describe your Top Chef experience in one word.Anxiety.
What is in your refrigerator right now?Leftover champagne and beer from a party last night.
Name one food you cannot stand.Bananas.
Pick your favorite fast food restaurant.Chick-fil-A. I don’t eat fast food very often but if I do, a regular Chick-fil-A sandwich is my first choice.
Best thing about cooking in New York?It’s so inspiring and the energy there is great.
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