Yesterday Eater National wondered if Dallas was in pay-to-play negotiations with Top Chef after hearing similar rumblings from Houston folks--tippers told our national buddies that that the Houston Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) declined Top Chef's demands of cash 'n goodies in exchange for filming in the city.
Today, the Dallas Observer reports back: the Dallas CVB told the Observer's City of Ate blog that Top Chef had in fact contacted them, but they have classically refused to fork over "crazy" money, and so got to play but not pay. The Dallas Film Commission, which is funded to the tune of $300,000 by Dallas taxpayers, also turned down the opportunity to pay for the pleasure of Top Chef. Joe Tone at CoA also confirms what we've already reported--that Top Chef is totally filming in Dallas right this second.
"That's pretty much how Top Chef works," Jan Thomas, the commission's location director, told me this morning. She says the commission "went down a path with" the show a couple years back, and "the money they wanted was so crazy." She declined to say how much. This time was different, Thomas said. They weren't looking for just one city in which to shoot. The show will apparently jump around Texas, with stops in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. But the show did approach the film commission again, Thomas said, seeking cash and then some.The DFC is helping out now, but not in a monetary capacity--for that, Tone reports, Top Chef supposedly went to the state film commission. So to our original question: "did Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and the state of Texas use tax dollars to fund the next season of Top Chef?" The answer is: Dunno, No, Dunno, Maybe. Developing.
· Yes, Top Chef Is Shooting In Dallas. No, We Didn't Pay To Play [City of Ate]
· Top Chef Texas: Houston IS IN Plus Pay-To-Play Negotiations [-EN-]
· Top Chefs Go Shopping At Preston/Royal Whole Foods [-E-]