Documents shed light on ‘Top Chef’ incentive deal

Padma Lakshmi

A story in the Austin American Statesman (“Documents shed light on ‘Top Chef’ incentive deal“) provide another example of “economic development.”

The Economic Development and Tourism Division of the governor’s office provided $400,000 to the Bravo television show “Top Chef” and the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau put up another $200,000.

The $600,000 is close enough to the $682,227 the show plans on spending in Texas that we can easily say the Texas end of the production is heavily subsidized.

What is the return on the investment? The Governor’s offices estimates the state will receive $15 million in “exposure” and San Antonio expects $9 million in “positive media value.”

It’s a great conversation starter. Is this a good investment of tax payers’ money or it a glamorous boondoggle?

My opinion? I would  favor most anything that brings Padma Lakshmi to Texas. However, I believe that a state that is home to Louie Mueller Barbecue, Kreuz Market, Texadelphia, and Fuzzy’s Tacos does not need to pay for out-of-state chef to promote the good eating in Texas.


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