As Top Chef‘s 20th season heads toward the finish line, producers, hosts, and contestants dish on the history of the wildly popular reality series. Come for the alternative titles (Grillers in the Mist!), stay for the skinny on a cruise attended by some of the show’s most rabid fans:
BERWICK Bravo is fortunate enough to have many shows that have a serious fandom to the point of real passion — and, maybe in some cases, obsession.
LIPSITZ But Bravo didn’t have a show like this. After spending so much time with the chefs, we started talking about possibilities and pushing the network on these ancillary projects. Not just the foreign distribution, but the cookbooks, the cookware, the frozen meals, the cruise.
BERWICK That was just a boat full of 2,000 Top Chef fans. Hubert Keller, a Michelin star chef, deejayed.
KRISTEN KISH (SEASON 10 WINNER) What really stayed with me is a lady, incredibly inebriated, running down the hallway to me. I assume she was going to hug me but ended up fully licking my right cheek. I now avoid very drunk people.
COLICCHIO I thought it was going to be a lot worse. After a few days, the people started to chill out. It was actually kind of fun.