For years, the producers of the Bravo series Top Chef wanted to set a season in Portland (via Variety), and its impressive culinary portfolio is the reason why. Portland finally got its Top Chef moment last September and October, when season 18 was filmed there. The season premieres on Bravo April 1. “It was a city that we’d always wanted to come to because the food scene was very vibrant here,” Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi told Variety.
Top Chef also was drawn to Portland for its natural beauty. Snowy Mount Hood looms majestically on the eastern horizon, and forestland surrounds the city. Unfortunately, nature sometimes comes with natural disasters. Top Chef’s contestants and crew had to deal with terrible wildfires that briefly gave Portland the worst air quality in the world (via Variety). The show also went into the city knowing it was the scene of large and occasionally violent racial justice protests, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police.
Despite the obstacles, season 18 of Top Chef is in the can, and this spring people will get to see Portland on TV again in all of its foodie glory and without the FOX News reports about anarchist protesters. “We want to try and reframe the conversation about Portland, and bring it back to the amazing, special place it is,” Bravo executive Matt Reichman said.