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Style & Living Top Chef

Bravo Exec Reveals What "100 Percent Authentic" Top Chef Does Differently From Every Other Cooking Show

Bravo's Top Chef producer-director Dan Cutforth shares a glimpse behind the scenes.

By Alesandra Dubin
Your First Look at Top Chef Kentucky!

Padma Lakshmi recently revealed the only part of Bravo's Top Chef that is scripted: It's the description of the challenges, so that contestants can be perfectly clear on what is expected of them. And now, the show's producer-director, Dan Cutforth, has more insight on what makes Bravo's Top Chef so real.

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"You hear a lot of talk about reality TV being scripted and people deciding stuff [behind the scenes], but Top Chef is 100 percent authentic," he told The Feast when we caught up with him recently at PaleyFest in NYC. And that means the food is presented to the judges exactly like they might expect to eat it at a pleasant meal in a restaurant — and that's a detail that sets the show apart from others," he said. 

"The food is eaten hot, which most — pretty much every — other food show you ever watch unless it’s one of ours, that’s not the case," he expanded. "Normally, people eat it cold and they pretend that it tastes delicious. So [on Bravo's Top Chef] the food’s always eaten hot, the judges are never interfered with, they make the decision they want to make. Sometimes we cry a little bit when they make those decisions but it’s a really true and authentic show and I think that, I would hope that people who are watching it would realize that and sense that on some level."

"I really, truly believe that [the judges] are kind of how you see them on TV: Tom and Padma, Gail, Graham, they’re exactly like you see them on TV. They really are very much the same people. Maybe slightly less well-behaved when cameras stop rolling, but other than that exactly as you’d imagine."

Top Chef heads to Kentucky for Season 16 when it premieres Thursday, December 6 at 9/8c, with a whole new batch of 15 chefs from around the country competing for the title.

—Reporting by Laura Rosenfeld

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