Time for an update on Top Chef pay-to-play rumors: First, the Houston Convention and Visitor's Bureau confirmed that they had been approached by the show yet denied paying the high asking price (or anything at all). The Austin CVB also told Eater they didn't give Top Chef cash, but would not confirm whether or not they had been asked.
Yesterday, the Dallas CVB told the Dallas Observer's food blog that they, too, had been approached and did not pay, though the Dallas Film Commission is offering "some assistance. Just not the cash kind." [Ed note: Like what? Back rubs? A bouncy castle? An platoon of interns to carry Padma around so she needn't get Texas dust (there's a lot of dust in Texas) on her angelic toes?]
So did anyone pay up? That same Dallas Observer post said that state tax dollars went to Top Chef, writing, "Word is the state tourism office ponied up for the producers (I'm waiting on a call back from the state to find out how much taxpayers coughed up)." Looks like no one got back to the Dallas Observer's food blog because all they've written about today is Asian lunch options and lemonade.
So, who paid? And how much? (Spoiler: probably no one and nothing.)
"State tourism office" is a little vague, so Eater contacted both the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism, which runs the Texas Tourism program, as well as the Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus. According to a press rep from the governor's office, "No state funds have been awarded."
Maybe it was the TACVB? Again, no luck: Executive Director Bridgette Snyder says she asked around and "no one has heard anything about this."
Just to clarify: Top Chef (or a representative) approached the tourism boards in least two cities in Texas (Houston and Dallas) and asked for cash assistance. The cities declined. Tourism boards in the great state of Texas also denied giving any tax dollars to Top Chef.
Got a Top Chef Texas tip? You know where to send it.
· Top Chef Texas: Houston IS IN Plus Pay-to-Play Allegations [-E-]
· Yes, Top Chef is Shooting in Dallas; No, the City Didn't "Pay to Play" [DO]
· All Top Chef Texas Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Top Chef Coverage on Eater [-E-]