Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), a 112-year-old farmer-owned dairy co-operative based in Tillamook, Ore., said it is the official cheese and butter brand for this season of Bravo's "Top Chef" in Portland, produced by Magical Elves. The 15 new “cheftestants” vying for the title of Top Chef will have the opportunity to cook with award-winning Tillamook products all season long.
"The shared passion for food, joy and obsession with being able to turn a simple meal into something extraordinary is why fans love Tillamook and love 'Top Chef,'" said Sue Kapllani, TCCA's vice president of marketing. "We've transformed from being known as a local Oregon dairy brand to becoming the fastest-growing dairy wall natural cheese brand nationally. It will be a hallmark moment for those that grew up with Tillamook to watch this season's contestants cook up some extra flavorful dishes using our bold and beloved products."
Chefs will be able to select from Tillamook cheeses that range from traditional and flavored cheddars to the award-winning Tillamook Maker's Reserve aged cheddars and more, TCCA said. In addition to Tillamook cheese and butter, cheftestants will also have access to Tillamook yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese spreads.
The chefs also put their dairy know-how to the test during a visit to the popular Tillamook Creamery. More than 1,000,000 people visit the 38,500-square-foot Tillamook Creamery — the largest tourist attraction on the Oregon coast — each year to learn about the co-op's 112 years of cheesemaking, watch employees working in real-time and enjoy sampling Tillamook cheese curds and ice cream, TCCA said.
"It was such a privilege to have the whole 'Top Chef' team visit the Tillamook Creamery," said Tillamook Creamery Executive Chef Josh Archibald. "The cheftestants were as enthusiastic about learning how our cheddar gets its bold flavor from our time-honored natural aging process, as I was to meet with some of the country's best chefs."
With Oregon as both a picturesque backdrop and true culinary inspiration as one of the most food-forward corners of the country, Season 18 cheftestants will take on a variety of challenges, from feeding frontline workers and crabbing on the Oregon Coast to visiting some of the state's most famous locations. Two Season 18 chefs — Mama Bird's Gabriel Pascuzzi and Soter Vineyards' Sara Hauman — even call Portland home. Host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and judge Gail Simmons will all be back, in addition to a rotating judging and dining panel made up of "Top Chef" winners and fan favorites, TCCA said.
TCCA invites fans to follow @Tillamook on Instagram to join in the "Top Chef" fun all season long. "Top Chef" airs on Thursdays at 8/7c on Bravo. "Top Chef" episodes are also available on Bravotv.com, the Bravo app and through video on-demand services with authentication.