SANTA FE (KRQE) – TV cameras and a famous face attracted a crowd Friday at Santa Fe Plaza as the Food Network brought another one of its big shows back to New Mexico.
The show called “Great Food Truck Race” spent all of Thursday in the plaza shooting a big food competition segment for an episode of the show airing later this year. Producers didn’t leave out the New Mexico flare either with contestants getting their hands hot with nothing other than New Mexico chile.
The TV shoot drew crowds throughout the day, some as big as 100 people. Many were cheering as they heard the host announce “Santa Fe, New Mexico”
While New Mexicans might be used to seeing TV and movie cameras with a boom in entertainment production, this shoot had food fans excited.
“Nothing really ever comes here, so it’s exciting!” exclaimed one Santa Fe girl who stumbled upon the shoot with a group of her friends as they were leaving school.
“Big fan of the Food Network!” said Joe Foreman, a Colorado man who was visiting Santa Fe.
“I was like oh my god is Tyler Florence, it’s Tyler Florence!” exclaimed Kim Carroll, who also wasn’t expecting the shooting.
The shoot was the work of Food Network and celebrity chef Tyler Florence, host of “The Great Food Truck Race.”
“I want Santa Fe to kick off with a bang!” said Florence during the show’s filming on Thursday.
It’s the second time the show has been in Santa Fe, according to the executive producers. This season, experienced food truck chefs drive their businesses to a new city where they compete in a weekend full of cooking and selling. One team is eliminated each week. The last team standing will win $50,000.
Five teams rolled into Santa Fe on Thursday. The city will serve as the backdrop for the show’s third episode of “season six,” which premieres in August.
“We’re so glad to be in a city that’s so welcoming,” said Mike O’Sullivan, co-executive producer of “the Great Food Truck Race.”
O’Sullivan says the show came back to Santa Fe for one big reason. “The chile pepper really, it has a culinary distinction around the country,” said O’Sullivan.
Local Santa Fe chef Martin Rios took part in the filming of Thursday’s challenge, giving the contestants a lesson on New Mexico chile. Teams used various chile in their dishes Thursday, which were then judged by Tyler Florence and Martin Rios.
The show caught a lot of people by surprise, including a group of Saint Michaels students, who got a photo with Florence.
“We just got out of school and we headed over and we see this, we’ve like WHATTT?!” exclaimed one of the students in the group.
“From Georgia O’Keefe to Tyler Florence,” laughed Kim Carroll.
Production crews told KRQE News 13 Thursday that the show will be shooting in Santa Fe through the weekend, all while doing various competitions throughout the city.
“With or without your camera you’ve gotta try our food!” said one of the contestants on Thursday.
While one team won Thursday’s challenge, the winner of the entire Santa Fe competition won’t be determined until the end of the weekend. The show’s producers say the public will help be the judge.
“They (the chefs) need to make some really good dishes … and see what they can do with a New Mexican flare,” said O’Sullivan.
The food trucks didn’t serve any food to the crowds Thursday afternoon, however, that should happen Saturday and Sunday. Whoever makes the least amount of money by Sunday will be eliminated from the show.
The series premieres on Food Network on August 23. The Santa Fe episode will be the third in the series and is slated to air on September 6.