Round Rock diners can see a pair of familiar faces on television cooking for one of America’s most famous celebrity chefs this February.
Jorge and Aracely Alcocer, owners and operators of Fuego Latino Gastropub in downtown Round Rock, are set to appear on Food Network’s “Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games” on Feb. 13, marking the first time the chef and his wife have ever appeared on national television.
The episode, titled “Cookin’ Couples,” will feature the married couple of 20-plus years cooking a wedding dinner together for the chance to win a shopping spree worth $20,000.
“We went, and we participated and had a lot of fun. Now it’s something you can put in your to-do list with a little check next to it,” said Jorge, head chef and owner of Fuego Latino.
The Alcocers received an unexpected phone call from Food Network producers in the middle of their lunch rush, according to Aracely, who serves as manager for the restaurant. Aracely said she almost did not take the call initially, but picked up the phone after her wide-eyed employee urged her to pick up the phone.
“[She] was looking at me like, ‘Are you crazy?,’” Aracely said.
Not long after, the couple was on a plane to California to film an episode of Fieri’s cooking game show. “Guy’s Grocery Games” features chefs competing against one another in a three-round elimination game by preparing dishes for the celebrity chef and guest judges, all the while working around a series of challenges cooked up by Fieri.
“Imagine cooking everything from scratch in 30 minutes—doing the thinking, the plating, the shopping in 30 minutes in a store you’re not familiar with,” Jorge said.
Contestants shop for ingredients in Fieri’s Flavortown Market grocery store—a sprawling supermarket that Aracely claims is the size of an H-E-B.
“Flavortown Market is unbelievable,” Jorge added.
The experience is a first for the couple, who opened their Round Rock restaurant in 2017 after living and working in Costa Rica. Jorge worked for the Four Seasons hotel chain for more than two decades prior to opening Fuego Latino, working as a garden manger, executive banquet chef, restaurant chef and executive chef.
When the opportunity arose for the Alcocers, Jorge said he was hesitant at first but ended up moving forward because of his wife.
"I told him, 'We’re 40-something years old; we don’t know when we’re going to get another opportunity. Let’s do it. What do we have to lose? It will be fun. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose; it will be very memorable for us,'" Aracely said.
In the end, the Alcocers got the chance to work alongside the Emmy-award winning Fieri, a moment that Aracely called "surreal".
"Guy [Fieri] comes over and he dips into your food. You’re stressing out, and he’s relaxed and having a good time," Aracely said. "He gives you little tips here and there. It was so fun to meet him."
Fieri has been on television since 2006, and the celebrity chef's hit show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" has been on air since 2007. "Guy's Grocery Games" is now in its 20th season of production since the first episode aired Oct. 20, 2013.
The Alcocers are on the fence about hosting a viewing party at the restaurant Feb. 13, though several of their customers are already of aware of the upcoming episode, according to Aracely. The restaurateurs themselves say they relished the opportunity to take on a new challenge and cook together as a team, something Aracely said was a unique experience in their lives.
"We got to do [the show] together, too," Aracely said. "For me, that was huge."