‘Top Chef’ episode shot on a historic plantation, black chef loses competition, viewers freak out

A Bravo channel television series has come under fire for being insensitive in filming an episode at a former slave plantation.

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Viewers of “Top Chef: Charleston” took to Twitter to blast the competition series for shooting the Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge at Boone Hall Plantation, a former cotton plantation in South Carolina.

Viewers were angered further because the Challenge included a black man and a white man competing against one another at the Charleston landmark which is open for educational purposes and events.

The lead judge on the series, Tom Colicchio, took to Twitter to defend the show against the backlash. In a series of tweets responding to the criticism, Colicchio said the show was never meant to be offensive and slavery is part of Charleston’s history.

In the final segment of episode one, contestants John Tesar and Gerald Sombright arrived at Boone Plantation, driving past a row of original slave cabins.

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“It feels very surreal. The place is so beautiful, but this is a place where people were treated less than a human being in and had an experience that we’re still trying to get out of now,” Sombright said. “I like how this town doesn’t shy away from its history.”

Colicchio’s responses to countless tweets may have satisfied some, while others were still offended. He offered up another apology to those who did not understand the show’s intention, while he encouraged viewers to keep watching the series.

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Frieda Powers

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