‘Top Chef’ Season 16 hits Kentucky: Here’s what we saw when we went behind the scenes

Cameras rolled as six cheerleaders and a mascot rushed the court at Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, eliciting shouts from the hundreds of fans who filled the venue’s lower bowl.

Each guest had secured an exclusive ticket to the production of a “Top Chef” elimination challenge. And as the show’s acclaimed judges followed the cheerleaders onto the floor, the crowd erupted into a swell of applause that made it sound as if all of the arena’s 23,500 seats had been filled.

The judges waved and smiled as they approached a table near the center of the court, covered in fabric dyed University of Kentucky blue.

The room’s frenzied noise began to slacken.

A producer took to the microphone: “We’re going to do this entrance one more time,” he told the fans. “Because we make television, not sports.”

The judges left, the arena’s lights dimmed, the entire process started again.

Previously: ‘Top Chef’ announces contestants, premiere date for Kentucky season

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