On each season of Bravo’s Top Chef, talented restaurateurs and chefs compete for the title. The show has unique challenges for the contestants, and it features the who’s who of established chefs to serve as judges.
For PR professions, Top Chef has lessons that you can incorporate into your regular work day. Now you can feel less guilty about binge watching all of the episodes you have DRV-ed this weekend.
Here are five lesson PR pros can learn from Top Chef:
- Everyone has their own palette. There are a wide variety of guest judges on the show – a French chef, a molecular gastronomist, Jimmy Fallon, and even Pee-Wee Herman – that all have different views and tastes. Contestants need to make sure they are meeting individual expectations for the guest judges. This is something that PR professionals should consider when pitching stories.
- There are judges, but you’re not one of them. Every season a contestant gets voted off the show. In their post-production interview they will usually say something about how they still thought their dish was the best. But according to the people whose views matter most – the judges – they in fact did not have the best dish. The same is true for the relationship between PR and media. If a pitch is not being received well, changes need to be made.
- Sometimes, you have to give up on old recipes. There are some PR tactics that are outdated and need to be done away with. This can include everything from spray-and-pray PR, bombing the comments section with promotions drivel, and a variety of other practices that should be removed from our PR cookbooks.
- Half-baked is never okay. One of the quickest ways for a contestant to get kicked off the show is to serve raw or partially cooked meat. In the PR world, sending out pitches that are half-baked or not given a full effort does not get results.
- The amuse bouche. An amuse bouche course is typically one bite, served pre-appetizer, and offers diners an idea of what is to come. Many PR agencies send off an idea for a contributed piece with the whole article attached. There’s a pretty good chance you are pitching the same thing to multiple publications which means you are ignoring the whole “everyone has their own palette” thing (see point 1), and it is not giving the editor an opportunity to think about it.