December 03, 2009 03:00 PM by Britteny Elrick
After almost making it to the final three, Jennifer Carroll was sent home from Top Chef: Las Vegas last night. The reason she was let go over her competitors? Her goat cheese dish was a tad too salty. Jen spoke to PEOPLE about her surprising departure, the other contestants and who she felt was her biggest competition…
“When they talked about my goat cheese being salty, I trust their palates but I thought it tasted okay. So I was a little surprised to go home. It came down to one grain of salt sending me home,” Jen told PEOPLE of the judges’ final decision. Here’s what else she had to say:
PEOPLE: Everyone was saying what high caliber of chefs competed this season. Who did you consider to be your biggest threat?
Jen: This season was crazy with all the competitors on the show. I knew the Voltaggio brothers; I also knew who people worked for and their background. [But] Kevin was just consistent throughout the entire competition. He was funny. He would always be like, â€œI make such simple food.â€ But his food was not simple. It may look simple but it was so complex and so flavorful. I thought he was really my biggest competition. Michael and Bryan seem to go up and down a little bit â€” and Michael was definitely the one who was taking the most risks.
PEOPLE: At certain points you seemed to get pretty rattled. How did your nerves affect you in the competition?
Jen: Once I started to slip and I made a mistake, I just started to really beat myself up. I was a lot harder on myself than I should have been. I was always nervous because I really wanted to impress the judges and be the best that I could. It wasnâ€™t that I was not confident about my cooking or my skills at all. I have always been confident about my technique and flavors. But when I canâ€™t get things done absolutely perfectly I get mad at myself and then I get nervous that somebodyâ€™s going to see that one little imperfection.
PEOPLE: What did you learn from being on the show â€” and was it hard for you to watch yourself?
Jen: I found that I can actually be really creative under a time constraint. I learned from watching everything that maybe I shouldnâ€™t be so hard on myself. It was hard seeing myself being nervous. The show made me look like I had a lack of confidence, which I definitely never did. If I did something wrong, I knew what I did and I always admitted it.
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Photo Credit: Bravo