Cruisin' together

Reality TV hits the high seas with Top Chef: The Cruise, starring DFW cheftestants Tiffany Derry and Tim Love

Reality TV hits the high seas with Top Chef: The Cruise, starring DFW cheftestants Tiffany Derry and Tim Love

Can’t get enough of quickfire challenges or experimental gastro-foams? Itching for a spring vacation on the open sea? You’re in luck. Bravo is beefing up its Top Chef game with the first ever (and only?) event on the open water: Top Chef: The Cruise will set sail from Miami in April 2013.

The cruise is as a chance for hungry fans to take a four-day excursion peppered with Top Chef-inspired programming: a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, quickfire challenges and an hour-long cocktail party aimed at bringing the show to life. The cruise stops in Key West and Cozumel.

 Fans can “break bread and rub elbows with the show's judges and chefs.” They can also enjoy what I imagine will be an awkward dance party and dinner in the dark. 

But it couldn’t be a real version of reality television without some favorite Top Chef faces, now could it? Judges Tom Colicchio and the ever-charming Gail Simmons have signed on to join a host of “chef’testants” on the cruise, the most exciting of which were announced Wednesday.

Of course we’re talking about Paul Qui. The Top Chef Texas winner and recipient of the James Beard Award Best Chef Southwest will take a quick reprieve from his growing imprint on the Austin food scene to cruise with fans and foodies. But the Texas contingency doesn’t stop there. Also on board to represent the Lone Star State: former Top Chef Master Tim Love, of Fort Worth’s Lonesome Dove and Woodshed; Casey Thompson, formerly of Shinsei and Brownstone; and Private Social’s Tiffany Derry.

Bravo promises the event will be a “one-of-a-kind culinary vacation experience” where fans can “break bread and rub elbows with the show's judges and chefs.” They can also enjoy what I imagine will be an inherently awkward dance party and dinner in the dark:

DJ and Top Chef Master Hubert Keller will host an evening dance party, and passengers can put their taste buds to the test with an exclusive 'Dining in the Dark' experience that will surely enlighten the senses.

Prices for the four-night cruise range from $699 to upward of $2,000. For that kind of cash, we hope there is plenty of bubbly.

Chef Tiffany Derry of Private Social in Dallas
Fan favorite Tiffany Derry of Private Social. Photo by David Woo
Fort Worth chef Tim Love
Top Chef Master Tim Love of Woodshed and Lonesome Dove. Photo courtesy of Tim Love
Austin Photo Set: News_Bonnie Stewart_top chef episode 8_dec 2011_3
Top Chef: The Cruise will depart April 11, 2013 from Miami. Courtesy of Bravo