Wake Up Call

$200,000 of BP Oil Spill Recovery Funds Will Pay for Top Chef to Come to New Orleans

Remember when BP dumped a crapload of oil into the Gulf? Well in a giant statement of "sorry 'bout it," they created a sizeable fund to help boost tourism in the state of Louisiana over 18 months. And if you're curious where all that money went at least part of the answer is to Bravo's hit TV show Top Chef.

See also: - Welcome Diner: A Phoenix Roadside Stop by Way of New Orleans - Anthony Bourdain Has Some Corrections For The Reissue of Kitchen Confidential

According to the Times-Picayune, the Loiusiana Office of Tourism and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. paid Bravo $375,000 to bring the show to the city. The $200,000 provided by the state's tourism department, however, came from the fund created by BP -- essentially meaning BP is footing a large percentage of the bill.

It's not the first instance in which a city or state has paid, or "sponsored," the Top Chef show. In fact, it's becoming the norm. The Texas state tourism office, for example, paid the show $400,000 to have several episodes shot in its cities, while Seattle paid more than $300,000 to host season 10.

Normal or not, the fact that the city is lining the pockets of Hollywood hot shots doesn't sit so well with certain folks. Namely, culinary bad boy Anthony Bourdain who called out Bravo's Andy Cohen on Twitter over the money:

And even suggested a better candidate for the funds:

"There are definitely useful areas for that [BP] money to go to -- none of which are a cable television show. New Orleans is a city in need," entertainment and political publicist, Angie Olszewski told Fox. "Shame on Bravo."

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria