If you’ve been following me, oh, since 2006, you’ll know my all-time favorite reality show is Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
Based on the flavor-rich city of New Orleans, this season’s show is culminating with the final competitions right here in Hawaii — Maui, actually — with the first part of the finale airing tonight.
Bravo filmed the two-part finale on the Valley Isle last October, showcasing the island’s rich bounty of ingredients and some of our best local chefs including Peter Merriman and Sam Choy.
What’s even cooler about the finale is that not only did Bravo show off the gorgeous grounds of the new luxe Andaz Maui at Wailea, the backdrop for the show’s online companion series, “Last Chance Kitchen” and other challenges, but a bunch of local farms and food producers got some air time, too, including Kumu Farms, Surfing Goat Dairy and Ocean Vodka.
I got to chat with Keli’i Brown, director of public relations and promotions for the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, about the finale on Maui, and here’s what he said:
Q: What was the experience of hosting the finale of this season’s “Top Chef” like?
Many would be surprised to learn for a destination such as Maui, “Top Chef” represents much more than being included on a popular TV show. This is simply a facet of a comprehensive marketing program which required the support of many including the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Andaz Maui, Merriman’s Kapalua, Gannon’s Wailea as well as various farms and farmers.
Everyone worked hard devoting tremendous hours and throughout the process, we learned about the inner workings of network productions. We established solid professional relationships, made new friends, and will be able to raise awareness of Maui. Viewers will capture a glimpse of our people, history, culture, food and other offerings that make our island home a highly desirable travel destination.
Q: How will this two-part episode showcase Hawaiiʻs food, farms and flavors?
A lively quick fire challenge with Chef Sam Choy centers around a “beloved” local staple and the semi-final challenge hosted at Merriman’s Kapalua celebrates Hawaii’s beloved foods including taro, breadfruit, fish and more. Maui is presented as a premiere culinary destination with a genuine food culture.
Q: I know you can’t give anything away, but is there something you could share with us?
There are a lot of locals included in the segments. It will be fun for all of us at home to see the chefs, farmers, food producers, cultural practitioners, educators and others who supported this project enjoying the various events.
Watch the first part of the finale at 8 p.m. HST tonight on Bravo.