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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi Reveals Which Top Chef Contestant Frustrated Her the Most

The former Top Chef host also opened up about her favorite season and the most memorable celebrity guest judges. 

By Shannon Raphael

Padma Lakshmi is looking back on her 19-season run as the host of Bravo’s Top Chef.

How to Watch

Catch up on Top Chef on Peacock or the Bravo App.

On the August 13 episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, the author reflected on her fondest memories from her tenure on the cooking competition — and shared some not-so-fond memories as well.

Find out what she revealed about her favorite season and which celebrities she most enjoyed having at the judges’ table. Plus, learn which cheftestant she got the most “pissed off” at during her time on the show.

Padma Lakshmi got annoyed with this chef

On WWHL, host Andy Cohen asked Padma a series of “shady” questions about her journey as the host of Top Chef. “What’s the most pissed off you’ve been with a cheftestant?” he wondered. 

“Easy,” she responded. “Michael Midgley.”

“Michael Midgley!” Andy exclaimed after Padma made her pick. “Your first season. I love that we’re still talking about Michael Midgley.”

As Andy said, Michael appeared on the sophomore season of the show, aka Top Chef: Los Angeles. The California season was Padma’s first on Top Chef. 

Padma Lakshmi’s Favorite Celebrity Guest Judges on Top Chef

Later in the episode, a fan asked the Top Chef alum to name her “favorite judge that came on either for a Quickfire or Elimination Challenge.” A few people came to Padma’s mind right away.

“Well, Pee-wee Herman [Paul Reubens], who just passed, was right up there. Natalie Portman was a great judge and really fun and we became friends from that. So many people — Questlove, Lena Waithe,” she said, before revealing that one person in particular stood out the most. 

Padma Lakshmi seated on WWHL with a thoughtful expression on her face

“But probably the best was Tony Bourdain,” Padma continued, referring to chef, host, and writer Anthony Bourdain, who died in 2018. She explained her reasoning for the selection.

“He also subbed for Tom [Colicchio]. He’s the only one who subbed for Tom, and he’d been on our show a few times, and I had met him earlier than that,” she said. “But, you know, he’s somebody that I had been friends with until he died for like 20 years, and I think he also went through his own evolution, and you could see it from his appearances as a judge.” 

Padma Lakshmi’s Favorite Top Chef Season

The foodie next weighed in on her favorite Top Chef season of all time. 

“I really enjoyed the New Orleans season,” she said, which was Season 11. “Because I never go out when I’m in these cities because I work so much, but in New Orleans, I did. I even went out alone — it was weird.”

You can stream Top Chef on Peacock now.

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