Top Chef sequester details revealed

The six Chicagoans who were on Top Chef Texas talked to the Chicago Tribune, and that interview reveals details about the show’s sequester–and its impact on one of the chefs.

Runner-up Sarah Grueneberg says “the best part” of filming was that it was a “summer-camp style of the whole experience. You get there the first day and think, ‘What did I get sent here for?’ And then you create this secret language and jokes, and I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. Toward the last day, I didn’t want to leave these people.”

But Richie Farina, who works with Chris Jones at the molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto, said that “Psychologically, the show (messed) me up.” He describes his sequester experience in detail:

“…I was stuck in a hotel with no wallet, no cellphone, not even a key to the hotel room. You get $50 a day to go out, and three hours outside a day. The first two weeks there, it was just me, Keith (Rhodes) and Chuy. It was like isolation. It was two weeks of myself in a room thinking how bad I (messed) up. They even asked if we wanted to talk to a therapist. It took me a good two-three months when I got back from the show to get back to my normal self.”

Richie also described how fatigued he was after the challenge that sent him home, calling the post-challenge challenge “the meanest thing they could have done. … The Quickfire (Challenge) stopped at 1:30, I got taken to the studio, I probably made it back to the hotel at 6 a.m. I was up for almost two days straight at that point.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.