The Top Chef Eliminations That Were Toughest For Padma Lakshmi

Losing any competition can be devastating, but hearing "Please pack your knives and go" are the last words chefs want to hear while appearing on "Top Chef." Though celebrity chef and judge Padma Lakshmi has gotten used to delivering the line, the sting of telling a contestant that their time on the popular television show has run out isn't necessarily an easy task. 

Lakshmi has helped the show enter its 20th season, and chefs around the world continue to show off their kitchen skills in a range of culinary tasks that end up in elimination rounds resulting in the final chef being named Top Chef. As told to Bravo, Lakshmi has admitted that some of the show's eliminations have remained etched in her mind as being particularly difficult to conduct on camera and named five contestants who were challenging to have to deliver the unfortunate news to.

Melissa King

Lakshmi remembers the consistent performance of season 12 contestant Melissa King but admitted to Bravo that timing played an important role in King's elimination from the show.

King has since gone on to thrive in the culinary world, even taking home the winning title on "Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.," and we're glad King has remained determined. Had King's elimination deterred her from her chosen career path, we might not be benefitting from her cooking tips like knowing which ingredients spruce up a basic salad and food hacks for leftover Thanksgiving dishes.

Kwame Onwuachi

Though Kwame Onwuachi was eliminated from "Top Chef: California" in 2015, he has only continued to rise in the world of hospitality. Onwuachi opened Tatiana in New York City's Lincoln Center and was even invited back to participate as a judge on "Top Chef."

As for his elimination, Lakshmi explains Onwuachi was sent home after he failed to make a waffle from scratch after contestants were instructed to make "fast-casual dishes." Though Onwuachi's fried chicken was served with maple jus, Onwuachi used a frozen waffle to build his dish, and the judges responded accordingly.

Gregory Gourdet

Gregory Gourdet has competed as a finalist in both seasons 12 and 17 of "Top Chef" but was unable to claim the winning title in either edition. In the "All-Stars L.A." competition, Gourdet became ill en route to Italy and wasn't able to hold it together to take the championship home. Lakshmi described both of Gourdet's eliminations as heartbreaking. 

After his "Top Chef" appearances, Gourdet opened his own restaurant in Portland to highlight the unique flavors and dishes of Haitian cuisine. 

Beverly Kim

Lakshmi recalls crying at the elimination of Top Chef: Texas contestant Beverly Kim. Lakshmi thought Kim was lovely, and her elimination was emotional for the seasoned judge.

Even the Chicago Tribune compared her journey to a Greek tragedy as Kim handled some pretty heavy comments from fellow contestants and was eliminated from the show only to be brought back through the Last Chance Kitchen. Kim competed among the final four chefs on the show, yet after being faced with challenges that were inspired by Olympic sports (an ice-pick challenge in which contestants had to break ice), Kim was sent home for a second time.

Nina Compton

Runner-up Nina Compton was sent home in the final round of "Top Chef: New Orleans," an elimination Lakshmi refers to as the most devastating one she's had to conduct on the show.

Lakshmi explained this episode was particularly close to call, and it was up to her to have to announce the unfortunate decision to Compton. The finale was a fierce battle between Compton and Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi, and the judges' decision sparked controversy among fans.