Yesterday I spoke with Lauren, the first contestant to pack up her knives on the fifth season of Top Chef. The confident, young pastry chef was emotional when she spoke of her deployed husband and opinionated as she discussed the difference between the food and film industries. To find out what she had to say about Padma,
On being the first contestant kicked off the show: I was miserable. Honestly it's absolutely embarrassing. I was shocked. I went into the competition so confident in myself. I thought I was going to be Top Chef.
Her impression of Tom and Padma: I feel that Tom was portrayed accurately. He's very kind and well educated. He's obviously earned his place in the industry. As for Padma, they do a very nice job editing and she comes out looking nice. She's not a person I would like to hang out with. I'm pretty easy going and not high maintenance. Everyone has to do their own hair and makeup, but she has a glam squad surrounding her at all times. They had to stop filming every two minutes to powder her nose. I was disenchanted with the beauty side of the film industry. Film is very different from the food industry.
On watching friend Patrick be kicked off after her: You always hope you will be the one to make it, but if it can't be you, at least you hope for your friends. I wanted him to do well. Now I'm rooting for the other three contestants who graduated from the CIA.
How she prepared for Top Chef: I don't think there is anything that could have prepared me more than watching the show. I watched every episode multiple times, but it never compares to being there. Going to culinary school definitely prepared me for the challenge.
On being inexperienced: I didn't feel out of my league until I met my competitors. I thought, I am being trumped by experience and decades. I'm still very young in my career.
On telling her husband in Iraq she was kicked off: Breaking it to him, telling him that I was the first one kicked off was the hardest thing I've ever done.
On returning for another season of Top Chef: I would need a lot of experience to go back into the competition. Right now I want to open a bakery and get more experience.