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Melissa: "I've Never Received Criticism That Harsh in My Life"

Melissa: "I've Never Received Criticism That Harsh in My Life"

This week we watched as two chefs got the axe on Top Chef. Yesterday I had the chance to speak with both Melissa and Eugene. It was interesting to hear the contestants' perspectives of the new judge, Toby Young.

First up: Melissa. She's truly believes her food is imaginative and creative and is excited for the upcoming opening of her new restaurant Happy Noodle House in Boulder, CO.

To see what she had to say about the competition,


On her losing dish: I honestly wish I had done an entirely different dish. Looking back, I would have been better off with something different. If someone doesn't appreciate what you are trying to do, you do something different. But, no — there was no time. When I was making the dish, I was focused and proud of it. What it came down to is that the judges didn't like it. Like I said, I just should have done something totally different.

On Toby Young's "cat food" criticism: Well, first, I think Toby was hired to be harsh, dramatic, and say it how it is. I think he could have said things a little differently, but we all had to take it. Chefs get criticized for their food. It is what it is. I've never received criticism that harsh in my life. You never think your food is going to not be liked. You made it for a reason. It was really hard to take that level of criticism. I had never even heard of Toby Young until they brought him on the show. But if the producers got him, I was sure he knew what he was doing.

On watching her peers critique her dish: Oh man, when we had to watch them critique our food! I think it was very hard watching them right after eating it. It's different when you hear a critique later. They choose their words more carefully, but in the moment when they blurt out stuff, it's a lot harsher.

On being in the bottom three multiple times: As it goes along you get more and more used to dealing with the judges, but no matter what it's hard to hear the criticism. No matter where you are in life it sucks to hear criticism. But it's the only way to get better: take it in and listen to what they have to say.

On Tom calling her unimaginative and lacking creativity: I've gotten over it, but it still sits with me. My imagination and creativity is something I've always been known for, so it's hard to hear that they didn't see it. I would really like to email Tom and figure out what he was saying. I want to talk to him about it. I care more about Tom's critique than Toby's.

On Bravo's portrayal of her personality: I'm happy the way I was portrayed, but I would have liked to have won. I wish I didn't leave when I left. I wanted to win.


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