From Eater.com: In a pretty rare move, an anonymous Top Chef staffer has been spilling all kinds of behind-the-scenes details in an impromptu Q&A session on Reddit. The ex-Bravo employee claims to have worked on the New York season of Top Chef as a "low level crew member" which involved "going on field shoots, set (kitchen) shoots, and working at the cast house." The entire thread is quite lengthy, so for your convenience, we've taken the liberty of highlighting the juicy parts.
1) Padma is indeed a "major diva" who required her own trailer for Season Five. She got along best with Gail, who everyone likes. On the other hand, Padma and Tom Colicchio ("super cool guy") were like cats and dogs.
2) Oh, but Pads wasn't the worst of the bunch: "Rocco DiSpirito scared us. Intense guy ... kind of picky and easily-offended."
3) To ensure that no chefs are cheating or exchanging recipes, Bravo monitors phone calls and their (hand-written) mail. No email was allowed.
4) Regarding elimination, judging and the network's role, there is a list of people that the producers hope will last for most of the show.
5) The Bravo overlords assumed eventual winner Hosea would make it to mid-season but they didn't think he'd actually win.
6) Speaking of the Bravo suits, they were furious when so many spoilers leaked out on the internet about the New York season (Sorry, kids).
7) During the New York season, eliminated contestants were exiled to Jersey, where they were isolated to a house that wasn't anywhere as plush as the Top Chef house. You do hate to see that.
I worked behind the scenes on Top Chef Season 5 (New York) [Reddit]