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How to be diner at Top Chef events?

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Each season, Top Chef's elimination challenges often have the chefs cooking for crowds of folks at this or that food festival, water park, restaurant wars. To be distinguished from when they cater a wedding and that is clearly not open to the public at large.

How do people know about these events before the show airs? Is it invite only? Does the show post about events beforehand? Do you need to sign up for alerts? This season was in Seattle, and I would have loooved to attend something.

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  1. I'd love to know also??

    1. I could be wrong, but I believe those "diners" are professional actors.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Really? Like the Salmon Bake they just did in Juneau? Those were 200 local actors? I can't believe it. I hope it isn't true.

        1. re: sasha1

          Unlikely. If professional actors they would cost too much.

        2. re: ipsedixit

          That's for Hell's Kitchen.

          1. re: acgold7

            I dunno, I remember seeing a post here on Chow - wth is the guys name... Chris something. He went to a Hells Kitchen taping and posted a little about it after the episode aired. He's been on food tv but is not an actor and didn't say anything in his post, that I recall, about being hired to go.

        3. Hmmm - I thought this question would generate more debate and speculation, if not outright answers. I can't imagine you all do not want to be one of those tasters every time they air an episode.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sasha1

            I would love to know too. I'd be the 1st in line if an event was held near where I live.

          2. I've seen a few posts on Top Chef threads where people talk about being part of the crowd... this season someone talked about the breakfast QF challenge at the Seattle market... and about the "taste of Seattle" event.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jujuthomas

              Wasn't that person an employee of a restaurant or the store the cheftestants shopped in?

              1. re: mcf

                I think maybe a friend of theirs was...

            2. They are usually by invitation, and they don't tell you what show you will be appearing on. You don't find out until you show up at the designated location and sign all the confidentiality paperwork.

              Source: a friend who worked for Bravo.

              2 Replies
              1. re: boogiebaby

                Yeah, this...

                I think for Top Chef Canada they posted an ad somewhere (forget where, I saw it on Redflagdeals posted as a "freebie" by a regular poster who was on the e-mail list of the studio). Once you responded and were within the first x number of people they sent you details/meeting spot/etc. A friend went to a taping and then got on their mailing list and managed to go to another taping as well. I was planning on going to the original taping without knowing what it was for but wasn't able to make it. Still kicking myself :) She is sticking by her "Non-disclosure" agreement so I have no clue on any of the details yet!

                1. re: ylsf

                  If Top Chef Canada ever comes back, I will keep an eye out for these things!

              2. my friends in Seattle were at events they filmed for the Seattle season and another was at events for the Las Vegas season. For the Seattle one, they worked at the venue (the market) and were invited to be there by thier employers (the store owners). For the Las Vegas one it was happening at a venue where a friend worked and they got an invite. Both of them had to sign a non-disclousure form. I got an invite a few years ago when they were filming at a food event I was attending but I didn't have time to stand around.

                As far as I know there is no public invite list.

                1. Hi,

                  I've been to a few of these. One time it was a special opening reception for the Aspen Food and Wine Classic. If you hadn't paid the (steep) price of a pass to the whole thing, then you could not enter the special reception. I didn't know it was a top chef thing until I was there, but the security was very tight.

                  Another time it was an invitation to an event that appeared on TV to be for the general public, but was a closed, advance party - think about how they have to make 200 or so dishes. Well, the "real" events draw many more people over many days.

                  How to attend? I assume that you have to be in the food business, food media, or have a friend that is and that gets an invite, I don't think you can put your own name on a list.

                  1. There was a charity auction that auctioned off tickets to restaurant Wars in Texas:

                    http://eater.com/archives/2011/03/30/...

                    1. Well now we have some good information! And I can stop dreaming. I don't know the right people to be in the right place at the right time. Good luck to the rest of you!