If we can try to rank the best TV shows, Top Chef is necessarily placed in the top 10 since it’s just too good and you have to agree. Like all shows, you can ask yourself lots of questions about it when you’re not working on it, and these little secrets are jealously guarded, at the cost of the lives of their keepers.
Well not really, since I managed to find the answers to all these questions on the internet, so I exaggerated my last sentence a bit. But at least I’m giving you all this info at once and you can eat it in one bite like during the bite test which is really a hard test.
1. We record more than 1000 hours of images per season
Yep, it’s pretty huge. But given the number of cameras running simultaneously, which can range from 7 to 14, we can easily calculate the number of images. A last chance event that usually lasts an hour with 7 cameras already gives 7 hours of rush to edit, so once the season is over there is clearly a lot of work to choose what to keep or not. Afterwards, there’s worse, we can be an editor for “the hour of the pros” (thought for you, brave editor who can’t spit on this job).
2. Candidates have their own assigned cameraman
Each candidate has a dedicated cameraman as well as someone who asks him questions when he cooks. It’s in these moments that they explain the dishes they are cooking and make stupid jokes or even dare to “dab”. Inevitably, in order not to “miss” anything if something happens (like a good joke or the famous shot of the mandolin), they are filmed continuously, which therefore requires a substantial team of cameramen and which also explains the number of hours images at the end of the season.
3. Candidates get paid
Yeah at the same time it’s still quite logical if we assume that at most they will be retained for more than a month and a half and that they will have to put their professional activity on hold during this time. They therefore earn a salary close to the SMIC and also share the salary of Maël, a former 2019 candidate whom Chief Etchebest wanted to “toughen up a little”. No, this part is obviously wrong.
4. We use more than 100 kilos of food per event
And it can almost double depending on the number of dishes prepared. It therefore seems huge in terms of quantity, and we avoid waste as much as possible. The food is then put under vacuum (when possible), it can be reused for the following events (well the day after what, not the season after) where it can be donated to the red cross. So it’s ok, we avoid throwing away kilos of food and still happy anyway.
5. We usually shoot two prints a day
And it takes roughly a day and a half to complete an episode of the show. Finally if it is about “normal” episodes, because all those outside require much more time. For example, the restaurant war or the events that take place in places far from the Paris region necessarily require different preparation for filming than on the set where the entire technical team has already made its mark. In these cases, we shoot one event a day.
6. Candidates don’t do the dishes
These big disgusters don’t have time to wash what they mess up and that’s a shame. Instead, the production has hired between two and six professional divers who come to work accordingly depending on the needs of the show. So that’s why they’re clearly allowing themselves to use as many dishes and utensils as possible, because they know they’re not going to have to clean everything. Good spirit guys.
7. The technical team does not eat the dishes
If we assume that usually four plates are prepared by the candidates and that the jurors generally eat them until the end, there is nothing left for the team members. Moreover, on the plates prepared for each event there is always one that is reserved for making shots (beauty shot). We put it on a spinning plate and show it to you with a little “Tinkerbell” type magic sound effect and hop, you think it’s too beautiful. Except Chloe’s. No messing around Chloé has to work on the dressage there.
8. Candidates do not know the tests before taking them
Finally it’s a bit more complex since at the start of the season we give them a great guide to the basics to know, like what is a cromesqui or the list of ten bones that you can crush by shaking hands with Philippe Etchebest. Inside they also find the themes that will be discussed during the season, like fish cooked for fear or yuzu (since obviously it’s cool to shove yuzu everywhere). As for the last chances, we clearly say nothing to them but at the same time in general it is always a food in the spotlight so we do not crowd too much in the development of the choice.
9. Dishes are not eaten hot
There is an average of ten minutes between the end of a test and the tasting, which is enough time for a dish to cool down. As we do not put the dishes in the microwave so as not to distort them, the tasting is necessarily done between lukewarm and cold, depending on whether the dish is tasted first or last. Afterwards, the jury does not take this into account and knows very well how to separate things and find the taste without the temperature. Otherwise it would still be really problematic.
10. Stéphane Rotenberg also eats the dishes
We are made to believe that this little rascal Stéphane has only tasted the dishes once during the pithiviers event of the 2020 season, but that’s not it. He has even already admitted that he was going to eat the rest of the sauces and preparations at the end of the tests. Some candidates even leave ingredients on a plate for him and their appointed cameraman. Sacred Stéphane, one day he will win for sure, he has been participating for 12 years.