Jenna Johansen talks frankly about her boot from Around the World in 80 Plates

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Lori Midson
Jenna Johansen's culinary tour on Around the World in 80 Plates came to an end last night.

It's been several months since Bravo's Around the World in 80 Plates was filmed in cities spanning the globe, but the memories for hometown chef and contestant Jenna Johansen, who made it through seven countries -- and countless challenges -- before she was given the boot in last night's Thailand episode (despite the fact that her dish, papaya salad, enthralled McDang, Thailand's most lauded chef), are still crystal clear.

Johansen, whom the other chefs annoyingly called "annoying," insists that she didn't deserve the ax: "I don't feel like I should be the one going home tonight, and I'm disappointed about that," she reflected after fellow contestant John Vermiglio cast the deciding vote to send her packing from Chiang Mai. "I don't know how I ended up here, but when I came on to this competition, I thought this would be an adventure, and I thought that there would be a lot more cooking, and now I realize it's a definitely a game more than a culinary competition, and that's a little disappointing to me, because now I see that there's a chance that the person who wins this may not be the best chef. I'm taking this personally, for sure," she added.

Johansen can't reveal who wins the $150,000 prize, but now that's she's home -- and busy with a full plate of local culinary adventures, including a Heart of Italy feast this Sunday night at Pizza Republica alongside owner-chef George Eder (seats are $99 each, and reservations are still available by calling 720-489-2030) -- she can talk openly about her experiences on the show. And in the following exit interview, she weighs in on why she deserved to win, who should be the next chef to go, and who she thinks will be the last one standing.


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11 comments
Sirloin3
Sirloin3

Jenna is a sweetheart, and a friend as well. Anyone that loves to cook and eat the odd bits of an animal as much as she does, and does it well, is one cool person in my book. Yeah, reality TV is a strange creation, see Idiotcracy, the movie , a prophetic observation on the future. See ya soon Jenna! Kevin the meathead

Fran_Chesco
Fran_Chesco

Who is this person? Why is she a celebrity? in Denver? What successful restaurant here has she run?

Eurythmic
Eurythmic

Here here Mo!  Perhaps it's just human nature for folks to think they are perfect, sit on their ass and bitch and criticize others while others bust their butts doing things they know nothing about - or maybe its just poor manners...

Ddigler
Ddigler

What kitchen is she running now? What investor has put their money on her?

Mo Smith
Mo Smith

And I suppose your personality is perfect and if cameras were on you constantly in a heated competition they'd never see you getting annoyed with less capable people like Liz who could never effectively command a kitchen of a restaurant I'd want to dine in because she would be too busy collapsed in a ball whimpering in a corner about how unfair the world is? The next time you're dining in a restaurant wondering why the kitchen doesn't have its shit together and you're paying lots of money for poorly-paced and badly-executed dishes, you might realize you'd be well served to have a pro like Jenna in charge making sure things are done correctly, on time, and that the dishes are filled with heart and soul. As a paying customer, I like knowing someone is in charge who is going to bust someone for turning out an inferior plate or taking short-cuts. I definitely think the editing and questions for the other chefs were set up so they could have a "villain" because it makes for good TV. They didn't show near enough of the really great things about her personality that I've witnessed watching her work with a team during crunch-time.

Ddigler
Ddigler

She can say what she wants in this interview but she did say and do those things on the show. Yes, the editing highlights those unsavory parts of your personality but at the end of the day it's you.

Mick
Mick

We love Jenna and think she deserved to win due to her skill and leadership. I too am disappointed the show is more about ego, drama and strategy than food, and it's truly sad to see the 'game-players' come out ahead of the passionate cooks. Cooperation and teamwork are what make kitchens work (which is what Jenna displayed), not self preservation and backstabbing - I think ANY restaurant would be better off with Jenna in the kitchen and I would hire her in a nanosecond!  We're so lucky to have her in town!

Mo Smith
Mo Smith

Great interview, Lori, and great responses from the chef. These reality shows are definitely more about drama and games than true talent, and I'm sure there's creative editing. I have had the privilege of eating Chef Jenna's food many times and watched her work while sitting at the chef's counter while she was at Dish. Yes, she knows how to run a real kitchen and turn out exceptional food and can speak more languages than you, so deal with it. Why is it that strong, driven, and talented women are still labeled as "abrasive" (even by other women), but men with the same characteristics are "assertive?" (Note: By "you" I'm referring to the other back-stabby chefs on the show, not the author of this Q&A.)

Chef who
Chef who

watched 2 or 3, boring and petty.

Jack
Jack

anyone else notice she looks like a hybrid of Yoda and Jabba the hut?

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