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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi Says This Top Chef Judge Has Gotten "Meaner" Over the Years

Expect some "moments" from the Top Chef judges in Season 17.

By Laura Rosenfeld

The judges of Bravo's Top Chef have always been the toughest culinary critics around since the series debuted in 2006. But one judge has gotten even more candid with their critiques, according to host Padma Lakshmi.

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Padma and her fellow Top Chef judges, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, dished on what fans can expect from the new season during the March 19 episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that aired right after the culinary competition's Season 17 premiere (clip above). Andy Cohen asked the trio, "Which of the judges will be the harshest critic this season?"

Gail said that all of the judges "have our moments," but Padma said that she has seen a change in her and Tom's judging styles throughout the course of the series. "Tom's gotten nicer over the years, and I've gotten meaner," Padma said with a laugh.

During the WWHL After Show, Gail underscored how fair each of the judges are with their critiques. "I think we're really honest with them. You see an eight-minute version of Judges' Table, and ultimately, we spend a lot of time talking to them, and we're constructive," she explained. "I think we give everyone the criticism they should have."

Top Chef Season 17 All Star Nini Nguyen, who served as the guest bartender that night on WWHL, agreed with Gail's assessment of the judging. "I think you guys do a really great job," she said. "Like, we all get very good feedback and take it with us. It's not hurtful."

After Show: The “Top Chef” Judges on Criticizing Contestants

Tom noted that, though it now takes the judges less time to film the Judges' Table after having done it for so many years, they are "still giving really honest, good feedback." "I think that the chefs that take it personally know they messed up, and they don't want to hear it sometimes," he said.

Want more Top Chef? New episodes air every Thursday at 10/9c or catch up on this season through the Bravo app.

See what's coming up on Top Chef, below.

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