I'd never been to Louisville, Kentucky before ... and I’m not sure if I had ever planned to go, actually. However, I had three of the best days of my life in that charming town chock full of Magical Elves and Americana last summer.
In the thrilling twist of a lifetime, I was invited to Derby City when the producers of Bravo's Top Chef shot season 16 of their stalwart culinary competition show. I was asked to join them for the last leg of the stateside production before the entire cast and crew jetted off to Macau to finish filming. Spending time behind the scenes between Louisville and Lexington proved to be more amazing than I'd ever imagined.
This show is almost solely responsible for setting the trends, raising the bar, and moving our food culture forward ... around the planet ... for nearly two decades. It has ignited the international food scene and invented the ubiquitous "foodie" identity that none of us would want to come back from now. The creative production format and exquisite art direction has set the standard for all food shows that came after it.
So when I got the call asking for Dining Elevated to contribute our Uplift flatware rests to the judges' dining tables, I was genuinely beside myself. Catching my breath and then catching the next flight, I made my way to the land of down home cooking and the famous Kentucky Derby. With six different Uplift styles in hand, I planned on giving Tom, Padma, Gail, and Graham the same 'A-ha!' experience that every other diner reports having when they discover Uplifts for the first time.
Speaking of other firsts, this was going to be the first time in 16 seasons that the Top Chef tables would be adding something new to their tabletop design mix. And as much of a honor as that was to hear, it was also a huge responsibility. I'm an artist and a designer, and I know how important it is for every scene that the art department creates on a show that prestigious to be perfect and to look perfect. Luckily, these products literally never fail to impress. Everyone. Simply. Loves. Them.
Take a look at season 16, episode 12 for yourself and see what you think ... Set up #1 - casual outdoors and Set up #2 - formal dining. Then keep an eye out for future episodes to see how the Uplifts fair on their journey to Macau! You know, I certainly will! Top Chef airs on Thursdays at 8pm PST on Bravo. And check out all of the Uplift designs at www.DiningElevated.com and on social media at @DiningElevated.