Content Warning: This article contains discussions of cancer, racism, sexism, and sexual assault.
Bravo’s Top Chef recently wrapped its 18th season in Portland, Oregon with a polarizing winner. Fans of Top Chef do not shy away from critiquing the show when they feel it’s messed up, and they have taken to Reddit in order to discuss their findings. Not all Top Chef viewers, however, agree on the same topics.
From the cheftestants featured on the show to its hosts and structure, fans have found plenty about the show to debate. For some viewers, their opinions prove so contentious that they are on par with the arguments featured on the show.
10 The Show Is Too Simple
Top Chef‘s challenges make up the highlights of the show, from creative and quirky Quickfire challenges to shocking elimination rounds. Some fans, however, believe that the technical requirements for the challenges have gone down in recent years, such as one Redditor who claimed the show was too easy.
This Redditor stated that most of the challenges were less about skill and more about various restrictions placed on the chefs. At the same time, Top Chef‘s judges assume that most of their competitors have a robust knowledge of how to conduct themselves in the competition, having worked in professional settings before.
9 Tiffani Was Underrated
Tiffani Faison first appeared on Top Chef season 1, where her no-nonsense attitude and competitive behavior antagonized many of her fellow chefs. While she mellowed out in future appearances, her first impressions on the fans cemented her as a villain.
One Redditor looking back on the show argued that Tiffani was necessary for Top Chef in the long run, as her abrasive personality helped set the standards for the competition. Her knowledge of the rules and how to work around them set the example for her fellow chefs, leading her to become the runner up of the show’s first season.
8 Restaurant Wars Is Overproduced
One of the most highly anticipated challenges on Top Chef every season is “Restaurant Wars”, when two teams of chefs go head to head to see who can run the best restaurants. Restaurant Wars tests the chefs on their culinary skills as well as their abilities managing and running the front of house. A user on Reddit made the fair point that the Restaurant Wars episodes are overly produced to the detriment of the competition.
The post expresses contempt for the heavy-handed manipulation from the producers, as well as the blame consistently shouldered by one chef. While they do present a compelling argument, Restaurant Wars remains one of the fanbase’s favorite elimination challenges.
7 Last Chance Kitchen Is Frustrating
Debuting alongside Top Chef: Texas, Last Chance Kitchen offers eliminated chefs a second chance to rejoin the main competition as they go head to head with one another. While it has been a mainstay ever since, Last Chance Kitchen is divisive to some fans. One of them took to Reddit to call Last Chance Kitchen pointless, as they believe it lowers the stakes of the competition.
They also expressed annoyance at the idea of chefs getting eliminated, only to return and place farther than they would have in previous seasons. Without Last Chance Kitchen, however, Top Chef would not have produced memorable winners such as Joe Flamm or Kristen Kish.
6 Top Chef: Colorado Was Disappointing
Top Chef: Colorado is amongst the highest-rated Top Chef seasons according to IMDb and featured a roster of chefs still beloved by the fanbase to this day. Not every fan, however, ranks the Colorado season so highly in their books. One Redditor conceded that although the chefs were memorable, the challenges were lacking.
Surprisingly, a few commenters agreed, chiming in that they felt the finalists were boring compared to other seasons of the show. At the same time, Top Chef: Colorado introduced fans to Fatima Ali, who sadly passed away from cancer after the season.
5 Bryan Voltaggio Is Overrated
Bryan Voltaggio is one of Top Chef‘s most memorable contestants, known for going head to head with his brother Michael during his first season. While Michael Voltaggio won that season, Bryan has competed frequently ever since, much to the chagrin of a vocal minority of fans. According to this side of the fandom, Bryan has been more reliant on his previous appearances in the show rather than his skills as a chef.
The problem is not that Bryan isn’t a talented chef but that, as Top Chef has continued running, more and more new contestants have been able to outdo Bryan in the kitchen. Bryan may be outclassed by some of the newer Top Chef regulars, but he’s still capable of holding his own in the kitchen.
4 The All-Star Title Means Nothing
With so many popular contestants from 18 years of the show, it only makes sense that Top Chef would have an All-Star season featuring fan-favorites. Indeed, Top Chef has previously hosted not one but two seasons dedicated to returning chefs who did not win the first time. While most fans welcome the return of their favorite contestants, a Redditor was bold enough to ask why the show would hype up previous losers.
Most comments poked at the cynical nature of this opinion and pointed out that the All-Star title isn’t a participation prize, nor is it a competition of the “best of the worst.” Rather, it’s to celebrate Top Chef’s long run and its various contestants, giving them another chance at the title.
3 Tom Colicchio Wouldn’t Complete The Challenges
A long-time chef in the industry, head judge Tom Colicchio is known for his sarcastic and sometimes harsh criticism of chefs’ food. His demeanor rubbed one fan the wrong way, who took to Reddit with the claim that Tom couldn’t do better than the contestants under the same restraints.
Ironically, Tom Colicchio has taken on the same challenges as the contestants, albeit with more time and forethought. The tie-in web series What Would Tom Do? features Tom Colicchio putting his own spin on some previous Top Chef elimination challenges, sharing some insights into his own perspective as a chef in the process.
2 Padma Is A Bad Host
Dedicated Top Chef fans love host Padma Lakshmi’s charisma and her various charitable achievements. She’s so popular with the show’s viewers that one person on Reddit showed hesitation when posting a very unpopular opinion about her. This Redditor expressed their belief that Padma was being paid for her looks and did not offer much otherwise.
To their relief, many of the comments towards this opinion showed support or were civil at the very least. The commenters agreed that Padma did not have much experience cooking, but acknowledged she had clearly grown into her role as a host and was well-suited for the job.
1 Eli Was Worse Than Mike Isabella
When Eli started a major argument with fellow Top Chef contestant Robin over her history with cancer, many fans believed him to be out of line. Even after apologizing at the reunion, Eli’s actions were so polarizing that one fan on Reddit deemed him to be more insufferable than fellow contestant Mike Isabella, who wasn’t afraid of touting racist and sexist opinions throughout Top Chef: Las Vegas.
Commenters on Reddit called out the opinion as absurd, stating that Eli was simply being immature. Mike Isabella, on the other hand, has since lost his career over sexual harassment and mistreatment of his employees.