Turning Down a Chance to Be on Top Chef

By: 
Leslie Kelly

A producer from "that secret culinary show that may or may not be shooting in town" sent me an e-mail late last week, inviting me to be on the show. My part? "Superfan." Sounds pretty cool, right?

Well, here's the hitch: It's gonna cost me $1 million. Yup, that's the price I'd have to pay for appearing as a tiny dot on the small screen because to appear on the show, I would need to sign a non-disclosure agreement, forbidding me from blabbing about the behind-the-scenes reality of being on reality TV. If I talked about it, or worse, wrote about it, the producers could haul me into court -- on Court TV? -- and sue my big mouth for one mill.

Knowing what I know about my tendency to overshare -- that is, after all, the reason I became a reporter in the first place... to put my big mouth to good use -- I had to turn 'em down. Shucks.

It's not that I'm not curious about what's going on during filming. Like everybody else, I've been feasting on the reported sightings of celebrity chefs around town -- Cormac Mahoney Tweeted that Emeril and Hugh Acheson ate at Madison Park Conservatory last weekend. I wouldn't mind hanging around for a half a day, acting as "background." (They can call my role "superfan", yet I know an unpaid extras part when I read the description.)

But what good is it going to do if I cannot share the experience with readers? It's not like I'm going to be "discovered", offered my own show and a bucket of money. (No, I gave up those dreams when I didn't make the final cut on Master Chef. Yes, I'm finally over that, but it took years of expensive therapy. Oh, I'm joking.)

So, dag nab it, it looks like I'll never get the chance to apologize in person to star Padma Lakshmi for going all fan stalker on her that early morning at Pike Place Market.  

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