Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 7, 2013

Area teams to face off in 'Food Court Wars'

TRAVERSE CITY — Area residents will have at least one chance to be part of the “Food Court Wars” filming action in Traverse City beginning this weekend.

“I know they’re coming Sunday, but what the setup is or what time, I’m not sure,” said Jim Smolak, co-owner of 7 Monks Taproom, which he said will be a secondary filming location for the Food Network show. “I think the idea is they’re using 7 Monks as a local restaurant that will be presenting one of the team’s foods.”

“We will be doing the same,” said Tracy Kurtz, who handles public relations for Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos, which includes Saturday filming location Turtle Creek Casino. “And they’re going to be doing some competition, but it is a private tasting.”

The show also will film Monday at the Grand Traverse Mall, according to a Food Network flyer posted Tuesday on Traverse City Tourism’s (formerly Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau) Facebook page. The flyer urges residents to come to the mall food court for free food from the show’s “talented contestants” and directs those who want to be part of the action to email

The reality TV show executive-produced by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay pits teams of aspiring food entrepreneurs against one another as they battle to win their own mall food court restaurant.

Long-time chef and restaurant owner Tyler Florence helps the teams through a series of challenges that test their concept, menu offerings and marketability.

Traverse City Tourism Media Relations Director Mike Norton said he was not involved in “brokering the deal” and that he had no indication of the time for Monday’s filming.

A show representative was expected to visit Turtle Creek and 7 Monks Wednesday and today to discuss details for this weekend’s taping, said Kurtz and Smolak.

“We were excited to find out,” Smolak said. “It’s cool. We’re happy to have them.”

Food Network Public Relations Manager Seth Hyman declined to discuss the filming, citing “fluid” production schedules. He said he would divulge contestant and premiere information as soon as he has an air date.

“Unfortunately there’s not much else I can share,” he said.

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