Can you keep a secret? That was the question “Top Chef” asked 4,200 ardent University of Kentucky fans who just happened to turn out at Rupp Arena Tuesday to be part of an episode of the popular Bravo cooking contest show.
Tuesday's competition was shot right on the court with host Padma Lakshmi (in elegant cornrows) and judges Tom Colicchio and Graham Elliot joined by two special guest judges: Chef Ed Lee of Louisville and UK men's basketball coach John Calipari.
Details of the contest — who cooked, what they served, and who won — are under wraps.
But the crowd didn’t care that they wouldn’t be able to share details. They cheered as if the Wildcats had a title on the line.
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Coach Cal later tweeted photos of the day, saying that he had a lot of fun. "You guys are going to enjoy this season of @BravoTopChef."
Cal also tweeted out a photo of himself with host Lakshmi, saying "I finally learned there's more to food than just eating!'
Some fans of the show who got into the event even found themselves in the Twitter pics and posted on Top Chef Kentucky, a Facebook page set up by fans.
To keep the enthusiasm going, members of the Kentucky cheer and dance squads, including the Wildcat mascot, led cheers.
Most of the people in the crowd didn’t even get to taste the goodies.
But that didn’t stop them from yelling out requests and calling out to the judges.
“I love you, Tom!” shouted a female fan. Colicchio responded gamely, “I love you, too,” while Elliot mimed “what? No love for me?”
So a male fan shouted, “I love you, Graham!” to which he responded, “That only cost me $20.”
The episode will air early next year during season 16 of "Top Chef" on Bravo.