Hold onto your cowboy hats: Another day, another round of Top Chef Texas rumormongering. Last week we ran with the story that Top Chef was rumored to be shooting in the Lone Star State: specifically in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin. Curiously Houston was absent in that list of cities, leading to adorable whining from local blogs. Today, the tipline brings the rumor that after shooting in Dallas (where they are presently) and then Austin, the show will also shoot in Houston.
But it gets better: In researching whether or not Houston was going to be a location for Top Chef, a source confided to Eater the allegation of a pay-to-play situation in which a company negotiated with the Houston Convention and Visitor's Bureau for cash in exchange for shooting in the city.
Here's what supposedly happened: In October of last year, the Houston Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) was approached by TM Advertising to begin negotiations for a chance to underwrite a possible Houston episode. Presented as an "investment opportunity," out of a nine-episode season, two episodes would be out of state (presumably the finale), one would be in Dallas, one in Austin, one in Houston, and the rest to be determined... all depending on who wanted to pay for the privilege.
Our source says the Houston CVB declined the offer based on the high asking price (not disclosed) and the fact that it's not their policy to pay for what they deem to be editorial coverage. But here's the bigger question: did Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and the state of Texas use tax dollars to fund the next season of Top Chef? Story developing...
Update 07/13/2011: Texas Tourism Boards Deny Paying Top Chef to Film in Texas
— Amber Ambrose