Camera crews have been crawling around Wichita since Tuesday afternoon, and now we know why.
The show is produced by Fresh One Productions, which is owned by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. There’s a rumor circulating that he’s in Wichita somewhere, too, but I haven’t been able to confirm that detail and producers weren’t talking. (Has anyone seen him?)
The show, from what I’ve been able to piece together, follows two teams of chefs — one from the United States and one from England — as they race from town to town, cooking and participating in challenges. This morning, a team of five British chefs was set up in the Kress building at Douglas and Broadway, selling muffaleta sandwiches, “meatloaf and mash,” shrimp, tilapia and chorizo gumbo, Boston cream pie and Key lime pie. Office workers and construction workers were filmed as they filed in and out, curious to see what was going on.
As they left, producers asked them to sign release forms so that their images could be used on the show.
Supposedly, the American competitors are also somewhere in town, but Go Wichita’s Ken Vandruff, who helped organize the visit for the film crew, was tight-lipped about where they were. (Has anyone seen them?)
I talked to Rachel Klein, whose daughter owns Salon Teased at 509 E. Douglas. On Tuesday night, she saw the film crews walking around downtown and stepped outside to find out what was going on. The next thing Klein knew, she’d invited the five British chefs and two cameramen to spend the night at her west Wichita home. As part of the race, the competing chefs have to find their own lodging as they travel. The two female chefs cooked the pies in her kitchen, Klein said.
I also learned that the chefs cooked on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning in the kitchen at Heroes, 117 N. Mosley. They also were seen hawking their food at the Wichita Executive Centre at 125 N. Market.
I went down to investigate this morning and ended up buying a serving of the gumbo, which I’m about to try. Producers wouldn’t talk to me, and the chefs weren’t allowed to share details. But the three male chefs on the team did say that they all worked in or owned restaurants in England.
Vandruff said he didn’t know why the show chose Wichita for filming but was glad they did. “It’s great when we can get this kind of exposure for Wichita,” he said.
I’ll let you know when I find out when exactly the show will air.