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Chefs Tell All: Overhyped and Under-Appreciated Chefs

For our January issue, we asked 24 chefs to give their candid—and anonymous—opinions on overrated colleagues, underappreciated restaurants, embarrassing ingredients, and nightmare customers. We’re posting the results throughout the month.

Top row: Michel Richard, Barton Seaver, Bryan Voltaggio. Bottom row: Yannick Cam, Justin Bittner, Frank Ruta.

Most overhyped chef?

Michel Richard (Citronelle, Central, Michel): “He doesn’t cook in his kitchen. He’s like a brand. Gucci is for clothes; Richard is for restaurants.”

Barton Seaver: “For a chef without a restaurant, I’ve never seen someone get so much publicity.”

Bryan Voltaggio (Volt): “He wouldn’t be on the list of James Beard nominations without Top Chef.”

Most underappreciated chef?

Frank Ruta (Palena): “We all think we’re the best, but you eat in his restaurant and say, ‘I’m never cooking again.’ ”

Justin Bittner (Bar Pilar): “He cooks the type of food cooks like to eat.”

Yannick Cam (Bistro Provence): “Not many chefs can make sauce the way he does. That’s how you judge a good chef.”

Related:

Chefs Tell All: What They Think of Critics 

Chefs Tell All: Bad Servers and Tired Trends

Chefs Tell All: What You Maybe Didn't Want to Know About Kitchens

This article appears in the January issue of The Washingtonian.

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