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Jan 31, 2013 11:52 AM

Interesting interview with Top Chef contestant CJ Jacobson

Poking around online and found this interesting interview of CJ. He talks about why he came back to Top Chef, what happened on the show and in Last Chance Kitchen, gives an honest assessment of John Tesar, and fills us in on what's happening with him now.

On Tesar: "Is John really that bad as he appeared on the show? He certainly rubbed people the wrong way.
"CJ: He was really, really that bad. This is the guy who watched every episode of Top Chef since the beginning and applied to Top Chef every single year it's been on. He knows everything about every single episode and has analyzed everything. And [he] has this mental database and all of his weird ego and this sense of he missed the boat. He had cooked with all of these guys, you know? He cooked with [Anthony] Bourdain ... and then he had to deal with all of these "kids" 20 years or younger on the show. I'd probably be a surly weirdo too.

"But he's not really terrible. After Last Chance Kitchen, he relaxed. I like him a lot and respect him a ton. We're actually friends now because on Last Chance Kitchen there's a lot of downtime, so he and I hung out a lot, played tennis."

Also interesting, Stefan hooked him up with his current job at The Mercantile in LA, and he's going to have a pop-up on Feb. 14-17 called This Is Not a Pop-Up at Square One.

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  1. Thanks for posting, and thanks for not calling him a "cheftestant".

    CJ seemed like a pretty cool guy to me.

    1. I didn't care for his attitude on the show, or the way he existed while calling out the dessert, but my opinion of him changed dramatically when he was on LCK.

      6 Wins, and he deserves some credit and respect there.

      I can understand that just being on the show might bring out the worst in your personality if you let it. Like how he mentions John chilled out and relaxed and they became friends.

      Thanks for the article link!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

        I once heard a former reality show contestant that the best way to describe watching yourself was like seeing yourself while drunk - an uneditted, extreme, and coarser version of yourself.

        That being said, there is also something to say about how savvy contestants on these shows now are. When someone like Tiffani from season 1 would talk about how she wanted to change her image on the show, it's easy to have sympathy for her not knowing 100% about exactly how she would be portrayed. By this point, it's hard not to think that John's behavior was somewhat calculated.