Back of the House

Departed Cheftestant Has a Few Words for Johnny Zs

Jennifer Biesty will soon open her own restaurant.
Jennifer Biesty will soon open her own restaurant.

Last night on Top Chef, Jennifer Biesty got to return to San Francisco after the judges passed on her Ménage à Trois of Orange. Named a San Francisco Rising Star in 2007, Biesty currently cooks at Coco500. Our Michael Alan Connelly spoke to Biesty today and got the dirt on Johnny Iuzzini and the truth about co-cheftestant Richard Blais’s haircut.

Did the judges make a mistake last night?
I really thought — especially with how [the judges] were talking about the Polish-sausage dish — that there was no way that we would go home, or I would go home. So their mistake? I don’t know — they make a lot.

What did you like about your dish?
Just the technique of caramelizing goat cheese like that is really unique. The chefs, the other contestants, devoured the leftovers. They were like: “This is the bomb, this is so good.” No one had seen that technique with the cheese before.

What was your impression of guest judge Johnny Iuzzini?
He was kind of pompous and arrogant, really working the camera. Out of all the judges so far, he was the most disingenuous. He was really there more to get his face on TV than to actually be a judge.

What have you been up to since you left Top Chef?
I run a three-star restaurant in San Francisco, and it’s been super-busy since the show started. I’m going to leave at the end of May. I’m working on a project with a friend: We’re going to open up a little restaurant pretty soon as well.

What’s the concept of the new restaurant?
We’ve got this cool location; it’s definitely a nighttime spot. We want it to be a super-cool, dark, speakeasy kind of place with kick-ass cocktails that are using a lot of seasonal ingredients and just great seasonal foods.

You’re originally from Brooklyn. Where do you eat when you visit New York?
I love Blue Ribbon. I know it’s been there forever, but I love it. And Prune. I like Babbo — I know it’s kind of pricey, but I love that restaurant. I love Mario Batali’s style and his food. Where else? My friend just opened a restaurant in New York; it’s called Elettaria.

In terms of the hairstyle, who pulls it off better: you or Richard?
Me. You can tell the difference between a $20 haircut and an $80 haircut.

Departed Cheftestant Has a Few Words for Johnny Zs