‘Top Chef' Producers Consider Elimination … by Death!

Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

The New York Times Magazine is profiling Bravo head Lauren Zalzanick this weekend, but the article is online already. What tantalizing details does it have for Top Chef fans? Too few. But what we did learn tells us that the producers are getting deliciously diabolical:

The conversation eventually turned to “Top Chef,” a cooking competition that is one of Bravo’s most popular shows. For its fifth season (which begins Nov. 12), the show would be set in New York City. One contestant being considered, it turned out, had a seafood allergy. “That’s funny,” Zalaznick said, giving a purely professional assessment. “Let him do a seafood challenge.”

We're also titillated by this bit:

Andy Cohen, the head of original programming and development at Bravo, floated a proposal for “Top Chef” that would involve, early on in the new season, a surprise challenge and the swift elimination of a contestant. Zalaznick and company wouldn’t allow me to give away what is known in the genre as “the reveal” — the unexpected dramatic twist — but suffice it to say, the challenge was an otherwise mundane cooking task that, when performed under pressure, would thoroughly unnerve the chefs. “I really like it,” Zalaznick said. For her, the idea neatly captured the ruthless way in which the big city can chew up and spit out even the best provincial talents: “It’s like, you’ve really arrived in New York — it’s where you fight for your terrible pot-washing job after you’ve been executive chef back in wherever, and then you get fired for washing your pot wrong."

Anyone have any idea what that "mundane cooking task" might be? We vote knife skills. Leave your ideas in the comments.

The Affluencer [NYT]
Related: The Near-Fame Experience of Being a Bravo Reality Star [NYM]

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