How did Wisconsin finally land “Top Chef?” The answer involves money. According to documents obtained by the Cap Times, Travel Wisconsin coordinated a total of $1.3 million in incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation ($500,000) as well as tourism partners and agricultural marketing organizations, like Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

Other factors influenced the choice as well. Cheese, brats, cranberries and beer make for easy challenge fodder. And Wisconsin’s sports teams and politics keep making national news.

“Wisconsin is having a moment,” said Diana Schmedeman, a branded content and integrations producer with Magical Elves. “You’re hearing more and more about Wisconsin all the time … the dairy culture, the James Beard Award-winning chefs. There’s so much more in the culinary world that is happening. … It’s perfect timing.”

Landing “Top Chef” has already turned eyes toward Wisconsin. According to Trost, the announcement in July resulted in $34.7 million in “advertising value equivalency”  — essentially, the value of the news coverage “Top Chef” coming to Wisconsin has generated.

[Adapted from: How ‘Top Chef’ came to Dairyland. Nov. 8, 2023, Capital Times]