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Lipsitz and Cutforth say they begin each workday with firm intentions that promptly explode — sometimes literally. "We come in with a plan, and that immediately goes out the window," Lipsitz says. Adds Cutforth, "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." On a recent episode of their hit Top Chef, a fish fryer in the Bahamas burst into flames. "You learn to make quick decisions," Cutforth says. "We had to abandon the shoot for the day, but we had a dark day the next day, so we just did it then." For the Elves, business is blowing up real good. Besides Top Chef and its spinoffs Top Chef Masters and Just Desserts, they produced the unexpectedly good $87 million grosser Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. That's why Lipsitz stayed in New York working on it the night Top Chef unexpectedly seized the Emmy last summer, beating such giants as American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway (which they produced from 2005-08, before it went to Lifetime) and The Amazing Race, which had won seven times in a row. Next up: America's Next Great Restaurant, which will not only discover great chefs but bankroll actual eateries.
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