Ahead of the December 6 premiere of Bravo's Top Chef Season 16 in Kentucky, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Graham Elliot, and Gail Simmons — along with Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard and Season 15 winner Joe Flamm — all appeared at PaleyFest in NYC, where they shared some insider info previously unknown to fans.
The upshot? Top Chef is "100 percent authentic" and definitely not scripted — with the exception of one "specific thing" (and a very valid reason for doing it).
On the panel, the Top Chef insiders also gave away some info on another behind-the-scenes choice with a specific, logical reason behind it: Why are the refrigerators so far apart in the Top Chef kitchen?
The fridges — not to mention ingredients — are set apart from each other to add to the excitement, as the cheftestants must run around within the space, under time pressure, to accomplish their recipes, as recapped from the panel Entertainment CheatSheet. So this one's not so much a culinary choice — but a set choice that adds to the drama. And while the show is indeed "100 percent authentic" in the food realm — it's well-known for slaying the drama game, too. So that checks out!
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