5 Biggest Scandals to Ever Hit Top Chef

The next time you watch Top Chef, just remember — there’s a lot more going on under the surface of the show than you might think.

5 Biggest Scandals to Ever Hit Top Chef

#1 When Top Chef contestant Marcel Vigneron was allegedly assaulted on the show

Marcel Vigneron first appeared on Top Chef season 2, and though it was clear from the beginning that he was wildly talented, a lot of his fellow cheftestants seemed not to like him — he's even been called "the most-popular but least-liked contestant" on the show.

#2 Mike Isabella was accused of sexual harassment

Isabella's new empire began to crumble in 2017, after a year of high-profile growth that he didn't seem prepared to handle. That same year, Manager Chloe Caras says that she was sexually harassed by both Isabella and his business partners. Caras said that Isabella's offences included making sexist comments, showing up to work drunk, and goading another chef into trying to sleep with her, an event that she says led to Isabella firing her. She also said that two of his business partners, Taha Ismail and George Pagonis, sent her illicit text messages, and that the group as a whole called her names, insulted her, and touched her without permission.

#3 Accused sexual harasser John Besh was edited out of Top Chef

The James Beard Award-Winning chef had appeared on several other cooking shows, wrote an award-winning cookbook, and was considered to be one of the preeminent New Orleans chefs.

However, in between his Top Chef appearance being filmed and the episode airing, 25 women came forward with allegations that Besh had created a work environment in which sexual harassment and assault flourished. One woman even said that she was forced into a "long-term unwelcome sexual relationship" with Besh himself.

Soon after the news came to light, Bravo made a statement that they were evaluating Besh's episode to decide whether or not it should air. Then, days after the series premiere, Bravo announced that it would edit Besh out of the episode entirely (he was replaced with footage of chef Chris Cosentino).

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Written by Harry Rosen

Harry Rosen is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author.


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