“Top Chef,” the reality competition show that pits some of America’s best chefs against each other, will film its upcoming season in New Orleans.
As part of a sponsorship arrangement, two of the “Top Chef” challenges in the upcoming season will take place outside of the New Orleans area in order to spotlight more of Louisiana, said Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. The locations haven’t been disclosed.
Bravo, the cable channel that airs “Top Chef,” announced Friday that the 11th season of the program will take place in New Orleans. The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. and the Louisiana Office of Tourism are partnering to sponsor the season.
“The vibrant food scene of New Orleans will be a welcome addition in the 11th season of the series,” Bravo said in a news release. Dates of filming were not disclosed; neither was when the upcoming season will air.
The Louisiana Office of Tourism is putting up $200,000 to sponsor the New Orleans season. The money being used is coming from a fund set up by BP in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Berry said.
The amount of money the New Orleans Tourism Marketing is putting up for “Top Chef” was not disclosed.
“Top Chef” won an Emmy in 2010 for Outstanding Reality Competition Program. The show features chefs from across the U.S. competing against each other in a variety of cooking challenges.
Previous seasons of “Top Chef” have been filmed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and in Texas. In all of those cases, the chefs would often cook with local ingredients and challenges took place in well-known restaurants around the host cities.
The 10th season, which started airing in November 2012 and finished in February, was set in Seattle. SeattleMet.com, a local lifestyle publication, said the city “spent at least $300,000” to lure “Top Chef.” The thinking is that it was worth the money to get a series of hour-long commercials for Seattle restaurants and attractions, SeattleMet.com said. More than 1.85 million people watched the Seattle season finale.
“Top Chef’s” ninth season took place in Texas, with filming taking place in and around Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. The Dallas Observer, an alt-weekly in the city, reported that Texas tourism officials put up $400,000 to lure the program to the Lone Star State and the city of San Antonio kicked in another $200,000.
New Orleans has long-standing ties to “Top Chef.” The fifth season finale was shot in New Orleans. Emeril Lagasse has frequently appeared as a judge over the years, and John Besh has made multiple appearances.