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November 20, 2008

Q and A with Jill Snyder, ex-Red Maple chef

JillSnyder1.jpgAs you may know, Jill Snyder was eliminated from Bravo's Top Chef competition last night. Our own Richard Gorelick got the scoop from her about the episode. EL

"The good news for Baltimore chef Jill Snyder was that she had much more screen time on Episode 2 of this season’s Top Chef. The bad news is that she was eliminated. Snyder's next step is uncertain -- she has left Red Maple -- but she does intend to stay in the food business, just maybe not as a chef.

The judges found fault with not only her ostrich-egg quiche (looked like "dog food," tasted like "glue") but her half-hearted defense at the judges’ table, too.

An earlier Quickfire Challenge involving hot dogs didn’t go so well for her either, when she appeared to take an easy way out with the assignment by not "making" her own hot dog. ...

Q: Jill, you’ve had time to adjust to this, but how did your friends and family take it?

A: Well, they’re on my side!  So they were like, What’s going on! But what happened, happened.

Q: What were your expectations going in? Did you want to win the whole thing?

A: Maybe not, but I did think I would do a little better. I was trying to take it episode by episode. I was really surprised that they hated my dish so much. I was caught off guard because the feedback at the restaurant during the challenge was good. When the servers were bringing plates back from the dining room, every one of mine was empty. Which means that people enjoyed them.

Q: That wasn’t the case with everyone’s plates?

A: Definitely not.

Q: Watching the show was the first time you heard judge Gail Simmons call your judges’ table performance the "lamest defense of a dish" ever on the show. Do you think that had something to do with your early dismissal, even before a contestant whose food was spit out of a judge’s mouth?

A: Yes, definitely, I think that’s true. The pressure of the cameras really bothered me. Also, I tend to be quiet. For TV, you need someone more outgoing than I am. But I still was surprised. I thought using an ostrich egg was a creative choice, and there were good things about my dish that they never mentioned. It took a lot more skill [than competitor Ariane’s dish].

Q: In the Quickfire Challenge, you were criticized for not making your own hot dog, but I thought the way you interpreted it made sense to me. I don’t think hot dog vendors make their own hot dogs.

A: The challenge was just to make a "gourmet hot dog," which I interpreted as something else than making your own sausage.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m going to buy an ostrich farm."

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 1:01 PM | | Comments (38)


The judges are pretty consistent -- they don't like experimental for the sake of experimental, and they don't like things assembled rather than cooked (Lauren's fatal problem). And if you don't defend your dish, you're in trouble.

Buying an ostrich farm is a great idea! Do you think she'll come back to Bmore?

You go girl. Buy that farm, and we'll have a BBQ up there.

Seriously, you did Baltimore proud by even being selected.

In last night's episode, you served 50 chefs, from NYC, who YOU beat out to be on the show. They were jealous of you.

You are a winner and I will eat where-ever you are cooking.

She got kicked of the show because her food was bad, looked bad and she had no charisma. I knew she was gone 5 min into the episode.

Notice they shoved her way in the back of that picture, meaning they didnt like what she brought to the camera. Food wise, look wise, or character wise. She was doomed from the beggining.

And please, an Ostrich egg quiche is hardly creative.

Why isn't anyone talking about Chef Melissa? Considering Melissa grew up in the area and attended school in Baltimore, I would think she should be getting a little more publicity from the local media.

Plus, she's still competing.

You can see the whole episode sans commercials on YouTube in 4 parts.

Oops they don't work.

Bozo, your post is really uncool and you have no taste. I thought the camera loved her. She's winsome.

she did lack charisma. I find it kinda crazy that if you're uncomfortable in front of a camera, that you would actually put yourself in a place to be filmed 24/7 for a few weeks.

But honestly, if she wasn't going in there thinking she can win, she shouldn't have been there in the first place.

OK, maybe I was being harsh, but admit it, she was never going to make it all the way, her food sucked and she wasn't camera friendly.

And all those "chefs" who were in the restaurant were hacks, and bigger a**'s than me. Just trying to get on TV.

I don't understand with all the fabulous chefs that Baltimore has why the one chosen to represent our city (totally underrated as destination for foodies) was one that was so clearly outclassed by all the chefs? Seems like maybe she was picked for her looks than her talent. Too bad. Maybe Top Chef will give Bmore chefs another chance.

I don't understand why anyone considers these things real or important. It's just television.

But Ha-al--it's REALITY television! Maybe some people don't get enough real life on their own.

If you want REALITY, tune in Hell's Kitchen and listen to Gordon Ramsey tell every [bleeping] contestant what the [bleep] is wrong with her or his [bleeping] food and how [bleeping] lousy their [bleeping] technique is.

Arrrrrrrrghhh! This post needs a spoiler alert! I record Top Chef and haven't watched the episode yet. Now I'll have to hide the fact that I know who's out from my hubby when we watch it this weekend.

I apologize. I never watch anything live, if only so I can fast forward through the commercials, so I should know better. EL

HAHAHA Bmore totally underrated for foodies haha. Maybe if you cut down on the murders more people would be interested in the local cuisine.

As for Jill, she shouldn't have been kicked off the show yet. She was clearly a better contestant than Daniel or Melissa or Richard or Alex or Carla or Ariane. Plus, Jill is hot.

You don't have to leave an e-mail if you don't want to. EL

Maybe if you cut down on the murders more people would be interested in the local cuisine.

Another suburban idiot who thinks that crossing the city line immediately makes life more dangerous. I'm sure that he or she will be much happier at the boring national chain restaurants that are so ubiquitous in the 'burbs.

Oh, crap! That reminds me I haven't bagged my quota of humans for the week!

Don't want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It's calling out to idiot America.

Oooo habibati, let's go on a gourmet killing spree tonight. Where do stupid suburbanoids go when they venture into Murderland? Fells Point? We could lure them into our van with Hot Pockets and Red Bull.

Ms Lissa


To Serve Person, Revised and Improved has been shipped and you should receive it between December 12 - 18.

Thank you for your order.

RtSO, wasn't that "To Serve Man"?

Owl, I'm not sure, but I think they've largely abandoned Fells Point for Canton and Federal Hill.

Dahlink, yes earlier editions were To Serve Man. But the most recent edition felt to was time to include microwave recipes and bring the title into the 21st century. It also includes some yummy finger foods.

As a suburbanite in the know (through my much younger hair dresser) Hal is right on. Federal Hill is where there popped collars are these days!

RtSO--Ewwwww! I may never eat "finger foods" again.

Good idea, Owlie habibi. Then we can watch "Eat the Rich!"

My thanks for the shipping notification, RtSO. I guess it really isn't fair unless one uses the entire carcass.

popped collars

I thought that crap faded in the 80s.


Fl Rob, you should remember that things never fade in Baltimore, they just move to different locations. ie Big 80's hair - still alive and well in Dundalk,hon!

Joyce, Dundalk is kind of like another country.

You are correct, but its one of the things that makes Baltimore so endearing. The last time up there, I attended a Ravens game. I was surprised at the number of mullet haircuts I saw.

Yes, Rob, the mullet too. This may be the only state in the country with the distinction of having mullet and big 80s hair wearers, as well as the most current (expensive) trendy hair. There's nothing you can do here that's wrong, as evidenced by the cotton candy blonde that I saw yesterday in a suburban Rite Aid!

It's kind of like jeans - everything is ok, except (shudder) mom jeans.

There is another hair abomination specific to Baltimore. It called the Baltie. Male prep school students get this idiotic haircut that looks like a Beetles do done by one who love you don't. Sorry. It's a straight up mop that seems to be groomed with those round scissors you get in first grade. It's a nasty mushroom of ungroomed weirdness. Kids from other areas make fun of it and named it the Baltie.

My theory on the Baltie is that there is some rule that your hair can't touch your collar, so this ridiculous look came to be in the sixties or seventies and somehow had remained because of the weird culture of prep schools.

Yes, Owl. I've never known the name for it, but having a kid in high school (who does not have a Baltie) I have seen it numerous times. It kind of looks like one the Ramones was the model for this mop as oppossed to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Your theory is correct. The first boys I saw with this cut were from St. Pauls and now it has trickled down into the public schools.

Mom jeans?

Baltie? Can you find a picture? I'd like to see one.

Mom jeans? Come on.

SNL did a great parody:

Here's the video ("She'll love the nine inch zipper and casual front pleats ...")

The Baltie? Here's the basic idea from Calvert Hall, but I've seen better:

Here's a classic, Paul from the Gilman School:

Now I'm getting paranoid...

Spotted Jill Snyder in the kitchen at Woodberry. Must be back w/ her old employer, Spike Gjerde.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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