Laurine Wickett, Top Chef

Trae Patton/BRAVO

Laurine Wickett doesn't think last night's elimination challenge on Top Chef was fair.

Can ya really blame her? She was told to pack her knives not for her cooking, but for her lack of skills running the front of the house at the restaurant.

"I think if the judges knew the circumstances and the whole situation, I'm not sure if I would have been the one to go home that night," Wickett told me this morning. "I think if the playing field was equal and all things were fair, I think Jen was kind of instrumental in bringing the kitchen to a halt that evening."


What else did Wickett have to say? Read on to find what she thinks of Robin, Michael and Padma Lakshmi's need for salt… 

When you were eliminated, I was like, Is this a cooking or business competition?
Obviously I was eliminated not because of my food, but for the lack of my floor experiences. That's a good way to go home, though. I am a chef, not the Top Floor Manager [laughs].

Did you think it was over when Padma asked you to bring them salt?
The judges actually sat down during our second seating for the evening. So for the first seating, I made it a point to talk to the customers and ask them what they thought of the dishes. I knew from the first seating that we had some major problems with the dishes. I went back to the kitchen and communicated that with Kevin and Jennifer. I think that kind of rattled everyone. They never really regained their composure after that.

What's up with Jennifer? When she doesn't do well, she almost seems shocked that she actually got something wrong.
She's a perfectionist and I'm a perfectionist as well. I think the difference between us are when I fall short I'm clearly aware of it. I use those failures…With Jennifer, you're right. She's always shocked when she fails and is more defensive like, "I'm perfect so how can I possibly fail?"

Is Michael as cocky as he seems on the show?
He is, but he makes fun of himself at the same time. I really adore him. Most of what comes out of his mouth is just hot air and talk and obviously he's being portrayed as the asshole this year. Watching the show, I can see how people are like, "He's an asshole." But when you hang out with him, you have a great time. He's a great guy who makes you laugh.

Should Robin have made it this far in the competition?
The judges are making the decisions, and sometimes I think there's more to the decision than meets the eye. She's had one lucky break after another. I don't think she's a bad cook and I don't think she's a bad person, but she's definitely adding an element of drama.

So producers kept her around for good television?
That would be my take on it.

When you were told to go home, it did seem like you were ready, that you had enough.
I know who I am as a chef. I have a very successful business. My clients love me, my staff loves me and I really didn't need to prove that in a competition.

Then why did you do it?
I feel like Top Chef was one of those opportunities that fell in my lap. You never know what could happen from it. I don't think I was really hungry to win, but I did want to take advantage of the opportunity.


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