While foodies and celebrity-chef stalkers are gearing up to watch tonight’s season 15 premiere of the cable-TV series Top Chef, Colorado tourism and restaurant-industry leaders are gearing up to watch those folks who are watching it, believing the show presents a major opportunity to increase visitors to the state.

Colorado Economic Development Commission officials earlier this year offered as much as $1 million in incentives to lure Bravo’s top-rated show to the Centennial State, where it spent months filming in Denver, Boulder, Aspen and Telluride.

The structure of the incentives — essentially, a 20 percent spending rebate for companies that use a minimum percentage of crew from within Colorado — means that Top Chef will have at least a $5 million impact from its direct spending, but it is the almost incalculable impact on the state’s reputation and attractiveness that intrigues officials more.

Flashing in front of the 2.1 million viewers expected to watch the show will be scenes of local beauty and local attractions that are used as backgrounds to the chef challenges, ranging from the state Capitol to Elitch Gardens to Boulder’s Flatirons.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/2j2ELky