Bostonians had an extra reason to feel some hometown pride this fall — the latest season of “Top Chef” took place in the city, so viewers got to see local chefs Ken Oringer and Tiffani Faison weigh in on the proceedings, as well as catch a glimpse of Rob Gronkowski stopping by for a visit. But setting a reality show in a new city means a host of logistical challenges, including a rather important one for the contestants: where to house everyone.
Luckily, the 1330 Boylston building in the Fenway neighborhood was more than up to the challenge, which was indeed, a bit of a challenge. “It was actually a really short process,” says Sabrina Sandberg, director of marketing at Samuels & Associates, which owns the building. “We connected in December of 2013, and then met with producers onsite in January of 2014. I understand they were looking at a couple different cities at the time and ended up coming into Boston in April to do preproduction, and then they filmed shortly thereafter in the spring.”
Sandberg estimates that they had about two weeks to prepare once the decision was made, but “we’d been holding a couple of the rooms or suites they were interested in.”
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Kay Nilakantan, general manager of the building, says the show ended up housing people in three units. “It was basically a two bed/two bath with study, a one bed, one and a half bath with a study and then a three bed/three bath.”
While we’re not sure exactly who bunked where (and who got that one bedroom unit to him or herself), the folks at 1330 think there are a few reasons the building was selected. “We’ve got some really great restaurants and shops, we’re really accessible by the T, downtown Boston’s just steps away,” lists out Nilakantan. “Our apartments also have really great finishes. They have high-end stainless steel appliances, European-style cabinetry, floor to ceiling windows, and the specific apartments the cast was in had some great views of Fenway as well as the Boston skyline.”
They made some accommodations for the production team in the units, but one thing they didn’t have to change was the kitchens themselves. “We really didn’t have to make any modifications to the kitchens. They’re pretty nice kitchens to begin with!” Nilakantan says with a laugh.
One other reason the building was chosen? It’s already home to some prominent citizens. “The building has a 24 hour concierge, and houses a lot of local Red Sox players, but also clientele or residents who kind of want more privacy and security,” says Sandberg. “The production crew was very tight-lipped, and knowing that we already had that kind of concierge system in place and that we were very accustomed to that kind of process was very attractive to them.”