Cooking competitions and Las Vegas go together like ham and eggs, peanut butter and jelly, or other vastly more sophisticated culinary combinations you'd recognize if you watched more cooking competitions.
If our chefs aren't taking part in them, our restaurants are guaranteeing jobs as prizes. Or, as is the case with "Top Chef Masters" (10 p.m. Wednesday, Bravo), our hotels are hosting them.
The fourth season of the series, which features 12 established chefs competing for charity, likely was destined for Los Angeles, says executive producer Dave Serwatka. And then The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas stepped in.
"They were able to give us really everything we needed to bring the show there," he adds. "They made it really easy for us."
The hotel wasn't looking to land just any reality show, stresses Lisa Marchese, the property's chief marketing officer.
"There's lots of opportunity (for TV exposure) that comes our way. We evaluate each option, and in most cases, quite frankly, we take a pass. But with 'Top Chef Masters,' it was just such an amazing opportunity."
She sees a distinct similarity in the points of view of both the hotel and the show - specifically the way they introduce talent and new food concepts.
" 'Top Chef' in their kind of mash-up of entertainment with culinary excellence, I think, represents a lot of the same kind of approach."
The series will put The Cosmopolitan in front of an upscale national audience for 10 weeks as it serves as home base for the competition, as well as a home away from home for the contestants.
Filming took place in August and September 2011 all around the property, from the pool to the Wicked Spoon Buffet, which served as the site of the first elimination challenge. In Wednesday's premiere, the chefs take over the buffet, cooking for 200 Strip performers, including costumed showgirls, pirates and Jabbawockeez.
And the judges' table will make room for a variety of celebrity guests, including Holly Madison.
If all this sounds familiar, the "Top Chef" mother ship - essentially the same series only with up-and-coming chefs competing for themselves - filmed its fall 2009 season at the M Resort.
That production, Serwatka says, "definitely influenced" the decision to return to the valley.
"We had a great experience when we did 'Top Chef' there," he adds. "I mean, I think that because there's so many people working in hospitality in town, it's really easy for production. They have a very can-do attitude. They know how to make things happen."
The most important lesson producers learned during their first time in Las Vegas? "Stay inside."
"We didn't learn not to be there in August," Serwatka adds, "but we learned once we were there in August to stay inside."
Because of the heat, outdoor filming was mostly relegated to early mornings and nights. The only other time he remembers the production venturing outside was to shoot at the hotel pool, which will host free "Top Chef Masters" viewing parties.
Beginning at 9 p.m. each Wednesday, fans can gather at the Boulevard Pool to eat, drink and watch the latest episode on the hotel's 65-foot digital marquee.
And, judging from Serwatka's assessment, fans - whether they're watching poolside or in their living rooms - should be in for a treat.
"I think it's a great season," he says. "Our cast this year is just fantastic. And I think it's our best season yet."
Contact Christopher Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4567.