Lesbian Reality Televison Q&A Round up
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Sexy Top Chef Jen!
Written by: Colleen M. Lee
The wildly popular Bravo show Top Chef not only tests up-and-coming culinary stars in quick-fire challenges and impossible cooking situations, but it has also introduced us to Jen—the sexy French-trained chef.
What was the initial reaction when you heard that you made the show?
I was elated. I was totally excited! I was jumping up and down!
Did you flirt with Padma?
Well I have, yeah. All the guys did. She would just shoo me away like a fly.
What are your comfort foods?
Anything that’s braised: a short rib or ox tails, roasted chicken, and Zoi makes really good Greek salad meat balls called keftedes. I have a thing for salisbury steak from my childhood. Mashed potatoes and salisbury steak smothered in mushrooms and onions.
Jen, I know you’ve been influenced by many cuisines: French, Italian and Spanish, and you’ve been mentored by many exceptional women chefs. Can you talk about that?
I came to San Francisco after working in some great Manhattan restaurants. I came here definitely for the food. Tracy Dejardanis was the up-and-coming female chef. I met her in New York and I had worked for a female chef in New York, but Tracy had this sort of amazing presence - kind of a fierce presence. She connected me with Loretta Keller, who was my mentor, who I worked for a couple of years. And later on I ended up working with Tracy again. I’d have to say that the female chefs that I worked with—the women from River Café, Rose and Ruthie, Loretta Keller and Tracy—they all tend to have this more mentor-y, more nurturing quality about them. Whereas the male chefs, you’re more afraid of them, so you’re acting out of fear.
What’s it like being lesbian in a male dominated field?
Well, I tend to be like one of the boys. No one really had an issue with it. When I worked in New Orleans and was 19 years old I was surprised that there was so much sexism and racism in the kitchen. But that was in the South. That was intimidating, working in a place where all the chefs were male and all the line cooks were male and the women were only working salad stations. It had that hierarchy and that male-dominated kitchen feel to it. But it’s never really…