Top Chef in Wisconsin is a Feast for the Economy and Tourism

Top Chef, the acclaimed cooking competition show, now airing on Netflix, has set its latest battleground in the heart of Wisconsin. Known for its high-stakes cooking challenges and a panel of esteemed judges, the show brought its flavor to a state famous for its cheese and bratwurst. We’ll have to wait and see how that works out, but Action! Wisconsin sees a high-profile show like this as a perfect example of the benefits and resources brought into a state when outside producers choose Wisconsin as a location to shoot.

Not just scraps from the table

The crew’s two-month stay resulted in a substantial economic infusion, notably with 7,000 hotel nights generating close to $4 million. This influx of spending extended beyond accommodations, spilling over into local businesses and the employment sector. The show’s presence also turned local eateries into hotspots overnight. Right now getting a reservation at Three Brothers in Bay View is harder than paddling upstream in the Wisconsin River during spring thaw!

A show like Top Chef creates opportunities for local grips, gaffers, sound technicians, camera operators and production assistants. TV production can also directly provide work for production management, catering, location scouting, and logistics, and spread out to secondary fields like carpentry, catering, travel, transportation and of course hospitality. Showing that our people can handle the scale and pace of the productions will attract more TV productions to Wisconsin in the future.

enough to go around

Long-term impacts are of course unknown until it after it airs, but are potentially even more tantalizing. As Top Chef showcases Wisconsin’s culinary scene, it’s poised to promote the state as a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts. This exposure is a recipe for increased tourism and economic growth, as viewers are often inspired to explore the places they’ve seen on screen.

Top Chef will likely shine a spotlight on Wisconsin’s rich agricultural heritage. By featuring local ingredients, the show promises to bring attention to the state’s farmers and artisan producers. This could lead to an increased demand for local products, boosting the local economy and creating new opportunities for these businesses.

Leaving room for more

As positives as the impacts have been and will be for Top Chef to come to Wisconsin, we could have helped them and ourselves so much more if we had the economic infrastructure in place ahead of their production. Without a film office, there was nowhere for them to find specialized crew which means a lot of those jobs went to outside contractors who came to the state temporarily. Insurance, permits, all the logistics of operating a large production in the state could have made their efforts easier for them and more profitable for us. Not to mention, no one knows Wisconsin better than Wisconsinites. We have no doubt the show will be great, but who knows how much more authentic it could have been?

Hosting Top Chef is a rare chance for Wisconsin to share its rich culture to the rest of the country – beyond the fried food and frozen dairy. It’s an opportunity for Wisconsin to be seen. To build our state’s brand and raise its profile as a unique and vibrant destination, drawing in not only tourists but also potential new residents and businesses.

About Action Wisconsin!

Action! Wisconsin is a coalition of businesses and individuals working to bring Film and Television investment into communities, large and small, across the state.