What’s it like to attend a Top Chef taping? Bravo and Travel Wisconsin invited me to participate in a taping of Bravo’s Top Chef. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the taping of Episode 10, Season 21 “Door County Fish Boil” filmed at Grant Park Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

TOP CHEF — “Door County Fish Boil” Episode 2110 — Pictured: Jeremy “Torch” Klaubauf — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Last year in September, Bravo and Travel Wisconsin invited me to a Top Chef taping during Season 21, which was taking place in Wisconsin. My taping celebrated a Wisconsin classic when the chefs hosted their Door County fish boil to feed 100 hungry guests (me included) at Grant Park Beach. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at a Bravo Top Chef taping and about the episode I participated in.

Behind-the-Scenes: The Details

I had no information regarding the episode I was attending or what to expect. I was already in Wisconsin for a hosted press experience. It was all very secretive.

The night before taping I received an email. I was to arrive at Grant Park Beach at 1 p.m. Grant Park Beach in Wisconsin is a serene lakeside retreat offering sandy shores and scenic views of Lake Michigan. The email had directions on what to wear and what to expect throughout the day. Guests were told to dress beach casual and wear appropriate shoes for walking in the sand.

Upon arrival, I checked in to the media station, where I had to sign strict non-disclosure paperwork. I had my photo taken with my signed documents. I was given privacy stickers for my phone lens upon check-in.

Behind-the-Scenes: Door County Fish Boil

Episode 10 of season 21 focused on recreating a Door County Fish Boil. A Door County Fish Boil is a traditional culinary experience featuring locally caught fish, potatoes, and onions boiled over an open flame, served with coleslaw and bread. The rules were each contestant must cook the white fish in a pot plus two sides using whatever method they wanted (induction, fryer, etc). I was assigned to groups one and four at check-in. The chefs assigned to those groups were Chef Danny Garcia and Chef Dan Jacobs.

Behind-the-Scenes: Chef Danny Garcia

Chef Danny Garcia was in group one. He prepared a Dashi Sofrito Boil with White Salsa Verde. His two sides were a French bean salad with bonito mayo and carrot slaw with pepitas. Danny’s dish was delicious and very smart from a preparation perspective. He brined his fish, which gave it tremendous flavor.

Chef Danny Garcia’s dish. Image provided by Bravo

Behind-the-Scenes: Chef Dan Jacobs

Chef Dan Jacobs was in group four. He prepared a Red Curry and Coconut Fish Boil. His two sides were a herbed cabbage slaw and smashed fried fingerling potatoes. Dan’s dish blew me away. The flavor he created in the broth in such a short amount of time was impressive.

Chef Dan Jacbo’s dish. Image provided by Bravo

Behind-the-Scenes: The Judges

Guests were up close and personal with the judges and guest judges. I sat directly behind the judges and heard their feedback and comments on each dish. It was all spontaneous and completely natural.

Kristen Kish, Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio were joined by:

Diners were told not to approach the judges. The judges and guest judges interacted with attendees during the boilover. A boilover is when a can of kerosene is thrown directly into the open flames, causing a massive fireball. It is a wild sight and a fun bonding moment for everyone there.

Behind-the-Scenes: Wisconsin

I had the chance to chat with the Bravo and Travel Wisconsin teams. Destinations seek to be Top Chef-featured locations to establish themselves as a culinary destination. I can see why Wisconsin is a foodie spot. I found my time in Milwaukee and Madison to be great, and I loved all of the Wisconsin food spots I visited. Thank you to Bravo and Travel Wisconsin for this incredible invitation. What a memorable experience!

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