If the Valley restaurant scene seemed "off the chain" this week, blame it on restaurateur and Food Network host Guy Fieri. The spiky-haired chef was in town quietly filming six Valley restaurants for the 14th season of his popular show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Perk Eatery, the breakfast and lunch spot in North Phoenix, was one of the six restaurants Fieri chose to film for the show. And Perk's owner and chef, Detroit native Pauline Martinez, who runs the business with husband Carmen, tells me it's a pretty intense process.
Here, in a short interview, Martinez gives an insider's perspective about what it's like to be on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
LH: Do you find Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or does it find you?
PM: As far as I know, there is no way for restaurants to secure a spot on the show. The production company has a research team that seeks restaurants out, so they find you. There's a phone call asking if you'd like to participate and some surface questions. Then, you send them a list of your most popular dishes and they schedule a long phone interview and send everything to the producers and Guy. They look at all the restaurants presented to them and then decide who to feature. Guy personally decides which dishes he wants featured on the show. From the first phone call to the actual filming it was about three weeks. It moves very fast.
LH: What's the actual filming process like?
PM: Filming was a blast and took three days. The crew was so incredibly nice. They were all down-to-earth Midwest guys. We only had to do one take of most of the shots. It's all very real and nothing is scripted. I was surprised at how fast everything moved -- it's pretty intense! But I wasn't surprised by how much food I had to make.
LH: How do you think being on DDD will change Perk Eatery?
PM: I know that it will not change the quality of food we serve. I know we already work really hard and will now have to work even harder. I've spoken to a few other restaurant owners that have already been featured to get a feel of what to expect. In short, we really haven't set expectations but we're prepared for whatever comes our way.
LH: C'mon, what's Guy Fieri really like? And is that Camaro really his car?
PM: Guy is exactly as he appears on the show. He's a jokester and loves to have fun. He picked up on my personality pretty quickly, so there was a lot of back-and-forth banter. He said I was crazy and I told him I wouldn't have it any other way.
Guy actually owns the 1968 Camaro featured on the show. It goes on every shoot. We had the pleasure of having Cheverolet's Customized Guy Fieri 2013 Corvette on set for our piece. It's being auctioned for charity at the Barrett-Jackson event this week.
LH: What can we expect to see during your segment of DDD?
PM: During our fun-filled banter, Guy did remind me to be nice to the hand that edits. I said, never bite the hand that feeds. I'm sure they'll take full advantage of the fun we had on camera. Oy vey!