File photo by Steve Shay
A 2011 photo of Southgate Roller Rink employee Ada Johanson handing out skates during the rink's grand re-opening. Southgate was used as a location for the Dec. 26 episode of Top Chef, a cooking competition/reality TV show on Bravo.

Top Chef rolls into Rat City

Cooking reality show spends an episode at Southgate Roller Rink

The Southgate Roller Rink in White Center was introduced to around 1.5 million viewers across the world on Dec. 26 with the airing of television show Top Chef: Seattle, which spent much of the episode within the confines of the rink.

For anyone uninitiated in the program, Top Chef is a reality show for foodies that pits talented chefs against each other in cooking competitions. It is generally more about the drama and interpersonal conflicts between contestants than actual cooking. The show is in its 10th season which was shot entirely in Seattle over this past summer.

Chef contestants’ challenge for the week was to cook for and feed an army of Rat City Rollergirls (roller derby league) celebrating their season-end party at Southgate.

The choice to bring contestants and celebrity chefs who act as judges to Southgate was a more grounded one for the season, with prior stops at high-end restaurants like Canlis and the elaborate Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit.

The rink was on full display, with several camera shots of skating action and the judges setting up their tasting table smack-dab in the middle of the rink with Southgate’s logo prominently displayed in the background.

Top Chef is notorious for strict non-disclosure agreements they have contestants and business owners sign before shooting in hopes of keeping the city, and episode locations within that city, a secret until show time.

Southgate Roller Rink waited until the day the episode aired to reveal they were part of the show, providing a link to a Top Chef preview on their Facebook page.

We were unable to reach Southgate staff for comments on the experience, but chances are they were pleased with the exposure.

As one Facebook friend put it after watching the Dec. 26 episode, “The ring looked dope!”

Southgate Roller Rink is located at 9646 17th Ave S.W. in White Center. According to, it was built by Hiram Green in 1920 as a boxing arena. It became a roller rink in 1937. It became an event center for a while, but reopened as a dedicated skating rink in 2011.

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