Jean-Christophe Novelli Banned 'Top Chef' Judge Toby Young From All His Restaurants [feuds]
Last night's Top Chef... well, whatever. Here is the fact we care about. The Chicago Dining Examiner casually mentions this random tidbit — turns out that guest judge Jean-Christophe Novelli has "banned Toby Young from all of his restaurants following a showdown during the taping of an episode of the British Hell's Kitchen. The Top Chef taping was the first time they've crossed paths since."
Ha! Seriously? Yes, seriously! The UK Independent reported in 2005:
Novelli has banned the Evening Standard food writers Toby Young and Kate Spicer from every single one of his restaurants, after they misbehaved on his recent TV show, Hell's Kitchen.
The two were among "celebrity guests" invited to compare meals produced by students of either Novelli or Gary Rhodes.
Recollections of what took place that night differ, but Young and Spicer - who admit being well refreshed [i.e. drunk as skunks –Ed.] - were caught on camera launching a vitriolic attack on Novelli's cooking.
The French chef, above, is still seething. "They were invited onto the show as dinner guests but all they did was get steaming drunk," he tells me. "They couldn't even walk by the end of the evening."
"I'm bothered because it hurt the contestants. They were excited at critics trying their food, but Spicer and Young were just sarcastic and obnoxious. I've now banned them from my restaurants."
The ban has been in place for several months, but only came to light yesterday, as Novelli prepared the guest list for the opening of his new restaurant in Dublin.
In her defence, Spicer denies excessive drunkeness. "I can see why he was upset by what we said, but the food was bad," she says. "Perhaps he's just stroppy because Toby and I won't sleep with him."
Me-ow! Where was this tidbit when we asked who the hell is Toby Young?