Lesbian Top Chef Contestant Finds Bachelorette Party Challenge Offensive “Beyond Comprehension”

Last night’s Elimination Challenge on Top Chef: Las Vegas seemed simple enough: Cater a bachelor and bachelorette party with food that will compliment the couple’s favorite liquor shots. Go ahead and reread that – it says ‘liquor shots’. The contestants were divided into two teams, women vs. men, with the women catering the bachelor party and the men catering the bachelorette party. Are you having flashbacks to 2nd grade gender norms yet?

Ashley [Televisionary Favorite!] made it clear, through some very questionable voice over editing, that she had some personal feelings about this challenge due to the fact that she’s gay and therefore UNRECOGNIZED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS SOMEONE WHO CAN MARRY THE PERSON SHE LOVES. She goes on to say, “I find it beyond comprehension. Making us go do, effectively a wedding challenge, when at least three of us on the challenge aren’t allowed in that institution.” Preeti says she agrees with Ashley, but feels lame for not being more upset, since she’s been with her partner for 13 years.

Even though “reality” shows are edited to bits in an effort to elicit drama and Bravo is basically synonymous with gay — so the poor girl was preaching to the choir — I’m glad Ashley said what she did. Having to cater a marriage-based event, when you can’t legally get married, is a bit like cooking for a restaurant that you can’t eat in — it may be your job, but that doesn’t make it any less demeaning. Ashley is echoing the same frustration we all feel. Well, almost all of us?

“The poor girl was preaching to the choir.”

“I understand why she’s pissed off, but it’s just the world we live in today.” – Preeti Mistry

I guess Preeti has a point. This heteronormative world is the one we live in today. And it’ll still be the one we live in tomorrow unless enough of us get fed up and decide to make a difference.

It’s important to note that even five years ago it was still unheard of for a gay contestant on a reality show to say as much, so we’ve come that far, which is something I love/hate to say because far will never be far enough until everyone is equal. And ten years ago there was no such thing as reality television, which, when coupled with the previous statement beautifully illustrates the decay/evolution of our society, I think. Fifteen years ago there was no such thing as iPhones, civilian-owned Hummers, Trader Joe’s Everything Pretzel Slims, President George W. Bush, Lady Gaga or Autostraddle! I rest my case.

Update! Read Tom Colicchio’s response to Ashley’s reaction on BravoTV.com.

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Laneia is the Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 918 articles for us.


  1. I wasn’t as outraged as Ashley, but I definitely agreed with her. Preeti, oh Preeti… my Indian chefbian, I want to love you, but you are just so meh about everything. I was happy with Jennifer when she jumped on the bandwagon with Ashley, adding that the boys vs girls thing was equally sexist/demeaning. BUT the point of reality tv is to create some drama, right… and at least Misogynst Mike wasn’t allowed to talk much. And like Ashley said, it’s Vegas, you’ve got to expect something wedding related…

  2. is there anywhere i can see this clip that doesn’t blatantly discriminate against my canadian location? it’s a bit much, laneia, inviting me to participate in this internet event from which i am barred based on my geography.

      • yes, thank you, and god bless america.

        the thing that stood out to me the most in that clip was how pasty-white all the white people are in the show, and how super-tanned they all are in the one-on-one clips. that said, ashley is a (cute) chef, and she even said that her first priority is pleasing the customer. it’s not like catering a wedding is some CRAZY, UNHEARD-OF thing for a chef to do, so while i’m on board with why she’s annoyed, i don’t think the challenge is “beyond comprehension,” or that the producers are in the wrong for making it a challenge. i applaud the editors for making ashley’s beef a part of the dialogue, though.

  3. Oh man, this reminds me of a super interesting article that I will never be able to find again (maybe I read it through autostraddle? in which case this is embarrassing) but anyways it was about the owner of a gay bar who had banned bachelorette parties because he said it was cruel for him to have to support something he and his patrons couldn’t be a part of. I think both his and Ashley’s views are maybe a little hardline, but maybe important to have brought up?

  4. Honestly, I’m glad the producers did create this challenge, because it gave the gay contestants the chance to speak up about this issue. I think Ashley was pretty level headed in the way she brought it up too, not being like most reality stars who would have made things way overly dramatic.

  5. hello autostraddle this is tinkerbell. I am wondering if any of you remember on the Real World Road Rules challenge when they wanted Anaya or whatever the blonde boob-ed girl her name was, they wanted her to put a pig in her mouth and she said she could not because of god, which is the same reason sally albright wears days of the week underpants but there is no sunday underpants.

    anyhow autostraddle amaya maybe was her name i was thinking about that when i saw this on the teevee. i find absolutely everything to have ever happened in the world to be beyond comprehension, please i would like strippers at my party thank you love tinkerbell.

  6. i’ve updated the article with a link to Tom Colicchio’s blog, in which he expresses his [supportive] views on gay marriage and what he thought about Ashley’s reaction.
    after reading the comments on BravoTV.com, i’m so irritated and exhausted by the human race in general. the way i see it, Ashley is free to have whatever personal reaction she chooses. it’s so strange to read responses from [more than likely] straight people regarding the raw emotions of a gay woman who, as a gay woman, is reminded on a near daily basis what she is and is not allowed to do with her life. she and i and most of you have boundaries we’re not currently allowed to cross because we’re gay. to hear from people on the other side of the divide — and it is a divide — discuss how Ashley or i or any of you should be acting in a situation like this is blindly absurd.

  7. I don’t know if this is the place for this, but I going to post this here and hope it benefits someone.

    Hello you lovely Autostraddle people! I just discovered this website after doing a search for all things L Word related. I would like to make an appreciative declaration to the open, inviting, and inquisitive nature of this website. Until a few weeks ago I was quite oblivious to most all things LGBTQ, until I started watching the L Word, and then quite serendiptously received an invite to my cousin’s “gay” wedding. I have quite a few questions and I’m just enjoying the community you all have created for yourselves here.


  8. Ugh the comments on the Bravo site are really pissing me off. “OMG you guys I can deal with watching the gays on TV but why do they have to talk about how they can’t get married all the time? It doesn’t matter to ME ok?! I just wanna eat chips and see people cook stuff! Stop discriminating against straight people!”

    Effing gag me with a spoon.

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