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Pretty much everyone who's anyone in the culinary world has been a guest judge on Bravo's Top Chef, from Eric Ripert to Wolfgang Puck to Emeril Lagasse. And while none of them have been shy about giving their honest opinion on the cheftestants' dishes, some of them have made better impressions on the culinary competition's regular trio of judges than others.
When Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on March 19, the Top Chef judges were asked some eyebrow-raising questions by "The Shady Sharp Knife," which you can check out in the clip, above. One of those questions was: "Which celebrity guest judge gave the worst, most uneducated critiques?"
After pondering that question for a moment, Gail recalled a guest judge "from one of our early seasons," which jogged Tom's memory. "Michael! Chef Mike. Season 1, who was just the worst," Tom said, referring to Chef Mike Yakura.
"He was very aggressive," WWHL host Andy Cohen said in response, with which Gail and Tom agreed.
Mike Yakura definitely didn't mince words when he appeared as a guest judge in Top Chef Season 1, Episode 5, providing his critiques on the cheftestants' Latin American fusion dishes that they served from a street cart in the Mission District of San Francisco. "Forgettable," "arrogant," and "unimpressive" are just some of the choice words he used to describe the chefs' dishes. He was particularly not pleased with Andrea Beaman and Miguel Morales' dish, saying, "It's a f--king burrito. You just put s--t inside of it, and you roll it up."
And the chefs could feel how disappointed Mike was with their cooking. "Guest chef was pretty brutal," Lisa Parks, who would end up being eliminated that episode, said to her fellow competitors backstage as the judges deliberated. "He was like unimpressed. Totally."
Mike returned as a guest judge in Season 2's Restaurant Wars episode, and he was just as opinionated, saying at the Judges' Table that both of the teams' culinary concepts really "fell flat." Even before then, Mike didn't hold back while talking to cheftestant Ilan Hall at his team's restaurant. "Mike Yakura was a bit rude, and being front of the house, you have to take it all in stride," Ilan said in an interview during the episode.
Michael Midgley ended up being the chef to pack his knives and go at the end of Season 2's Restaurant Wars, and he also has the honor of being the former Top Chef contestant with "the worst attitude in the kitchen," according to Padma, who also dropped this little tidbit on WWHL at the request of "The Shady Sharp Knife." For Tom, that distinction goes to another Season 2 cheftestant, Elia Aboumrad.
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 in Season 17 of Top Chef, below.
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