Top Chef tour starts Saturday as Bravo expands the show’s brand

With Project Runway moving away to Lifetime, Bravo is going full-throttle with its development of the Top Chef brand. In other words, anything Bravo can put the show’s logo on and then sell, it’s going for. Among other things, there’s a recently published cookbook and the forthcoming spin-off for teenagers. They’re also planning a Top Chef-themed cruise next May, plus themed classes at the Culinary Institute of America this summer. Can Ilan Hall dolls, ones that say dickish things when you pull a string on their backs, be that far off?

Starting Saturday, the show will embark on a 20-city tour, but it will not be quite like American Idol’s tour. In fact, each stop will apparently feature just one past cast member, and not the host or judges. Those contestants “will host four live interactive shows, three for fans in attendance and one private show for cable affiliate partners over one or two days,” according to a Bravo press release. They’ll cook on a truck that Bravo says is “includes a state-of-the-art kitchen with the capacity to accommodate 38 guests per seating, also allows for addressing 300 people in an open-air setting.”

Free tickets are available on the tour’s web site, but only for the first few stops right now. And the only announced chef is Josie Smith-Malave, who appears in Jericho, New York, on Saturday. Bravo is also looking for “cable affiliates” to “partner” with them, meaning pay. Those affiliates get “logo placement” and “promotional spots on plasma television inside the truck,” plus a “taggable spot promoting” the tour and “meet and greets with chef’testants.”

Oh, and some cooking.

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