ITA with all of this. Claudette is NOT a team player. So, while she pretended to believe that tasting all the dishes was "old school," she really just did not want to take responsibility for any of the other dishes. As long as she didn't taste them, if they failed, she could sidestep the blame. Except that is NOT the role of EC. Really, I think she could have gotten away with it all if she had taken some of the responsibility. I think if she had just said, "I didn't get a chance to taste all the dishes" and/or "I thought the dishes I tasted were good," Mustache Joe would have been out for his several bad dishes. What killed Claudette was saying she wasn't REALLY the EC and that Chris was in charge. Her pretending not to understand her role, trying to abdicate responsibility --- she wasn't coming back from that. (And I fully believe Chris knew what he was doing when he made her EC. At least in the sense he knew she had problems working with others AND he maybe saw it as a way to rid them of an unpleasant person).
Yah, in every season, we know the "villain" chef. The ones who you know are amping it up for TV drama. And I actually think Claudette thought she was just playing that role. In maybe the first episode, she starts out with some bitchy comment about not being there to make friends, or some other reality cliche. But you can only do that SO much and in certain circumstances. Claudette continually lacked integrity at judge's table. You can be ultra competitive, you can be speak up, and even kind of push others to get the competition going your way. You can be self confident and arrogant. But you can't stand at judge's table and continually not take responsibility for team failures. When people do that (and I believe there have been others in past seasons like her), I'm done with them - despite their talent.
THIS. Top Chef may be the one reality competition for which appearing, without even winning, can be a great boon to your business. And no, a mean chef might make amazing food. But what is the incentive to go if you find the chef completely awful, and there are so many other choices out there?