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Whistler wins with reality cooking show visit

Show stars try biathlon and the Peak 2 Peak during filming here

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A taste of Texas has come and gone, soon to be re-lived on television through the Top Chef Texas show.

The American reality TV show was in Whistler and Vancouver for filming last month. The series is nearing the end of its season and Episode 15 brought the final four contestants, or cheftestants as they have been dubbed, in the cooking show to Whistler.

The challenges they faced here included cooking a dish while riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola.

Cheftestant Lindsay Autry won that challenge by cooking a salmon dish during the 11-minute gondola ride from Blackcomb to Whistler.

The Olympic-themed episode also featured the cheftestants shooting biathlon rifles at Whistler Olympic Park (WOP). The one-day on-location event took place in the second week of January under blue sky.

"The TV segment will bring WOP exposure in markets that WOP does not have a marketing budget to reach," says Patricia Leslie, the acting director of Business Development with Whistler Sport Legacies.

The other three competitors in Episode 15 are Paul Qui, Sarah Grueneberg and Beverly Kim.

SPOILER ALERT!

If you are following the series and don't want to know key details from the Whistler episode you should skip over the next paragraph!

At the end of the episode filmed here Kim was eliminated.

The show airs on Bravo TV in the United States ahead of the Canadian broadcast schedule on Food Network Canada. Food Network Canada debuted Episode 12 on Sunday (Feb. 19) and the episode featuring Whistler is scheduled to debut on Monday, March 5.

Episode 16 aired in the U.S.A. on Wednesday and in that show the final three participants were in Vancouver to make a dish and a cocktail that fused the concept of fire and ice into one cohesive dish. According to the Top Chef Texas website, the dishes were a culinary testament of their journey from the blazing Texas heat to "blistering" Vancouver cold.

Yes, Texans appropriately describe the temperature in Vancouver during the month of January as "blistering."

Padma Lakshmi hosts the show while Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons and Hugh Acheson judge the food with special guest judges each week. Lakshmi is a food writer, former model and actor, cookbook author and jewelry company owner. Simmons and Acheson are both originally from Canada. Acheson has ownership stakes in a number of restaurants while Simmons is primarily a food writer. Colicchio and Lagasse are both established restaurateurs with operations in a number of cities.

Top Chef is a two-time Emmy award winning show. The program picked up Emmy awards in 2008 and 2010 so landing this episode in Whistler guarantees Whistler will be on the minds of a vast number of people around the world.

According to Tourism Whistler, the show is broadcast in more than 20 countries so this was an international initiative successfully executed by the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism BC, Tourism Whistler, Tourism Vancouver, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and Whistler Blackcomb along with Whistler Olympic Park.

Because the show is a cable program each episode repeats numerous times meaning the reach will go far and deep.

The season finale on Bravo is scheduled to broadcast February 29 and March 12 on Food Network Canada.

It is worth reminding food fans that Whistler's Jimmy Stewart will debut on television March 12 as well when Top Chef Canada starts its second season on Food Network Canada. You can learn more about Stewart and his television debut by checking out a full article on Top Chef Canada in the Arts section of today's Pique.

In the world of reality television shows Top Chef Canada and Top Chef Texas are proving to be ratings hits. Food fans get the added bonus of learning about rarely used ingredients and seeing unique cooking techniques. Many of the challenges the show stars have to compete in focus on doing things quickly to create unique tastes that impress the judges.

These shows are a great place to find new ideas to bring to the family dinner table or to restaurant customers.

Whether it is a taste of Texas or a quintessential Canadian dish there's no finer way to waste an hour of any foody's leisure time.

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