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Every Wednesday on Guy's Grocery Games, the Emmy-winning host puts eager chefs through the wringer with his outlandish, hilarious and seemingly impossible challenges, all set within his very own grocery store, Flavortown Market. "This is a side of food that we haven't really touched on that we all experience and that's going to the grocery store," he has said of the Food Network competition series. "You go to the store and you're shopping sometimes on a budget. Sometimes you're shopping on a timeline. Sometimes you're shopping with your kids. So what we're doing is …putting that into a culinary arena and I've got to tell you it's crazy."
With just 30 minutes, contestants must shop the fully socked aisles and prepare a dish that will win over a panel of judges, made up of his all-star friends like Alex Guarnaschelli, Jet Tila and Marc Murphy.
Easy? Well, on a whim, Fieri will have his competitors switch shopping carts—or only allow them to shop in the frozen food section. "Watching these chefs battle through it," the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star admitted, "is hysterical."
Three rounds later, if they make it that far, a champion is named and they're given a shopping spree though Flavortown—and a chance to win $20,000.
"You'll see people crash and burn," Fieri teased. "You'll see tears. You'll see cuts. You'll see dropped plates. This is real deal."
And a real fun experience to watch. Now, we're unwrapping the most delicious secrets about his reality series, from how the bleach blonde host really acts behind the scenes to what the food actually tastes like. Enjoy…
1. Flavortown Market wasn't always a grocery store. What started as a 15,500-square-foot warehouse now serves as a fully operational supermarket. To keep it up and running, 2,400 amps of electricity are used, about enough to power a dozen homes.
2. And while most grocery stores take up to two years to construct, the set of Guy's Grocery Games came together in just three weeks.
3. Following the first season, the show moved from Los Angeles to Santa Rosa, California— a.k.a Guy Fieri's hometown—to accommodate the host's demanding shooting schedule. And while it could easily be his neighborhood food store, cast and crew are prohibited from scanning the aisles. As Fieri joked, "I'd do anything to have this be my actual grocery store."
4. Of course, there are subtle differences between Flavortown and a real supermarket. That is, beside it not being open to the public. For starters, the aisles are wider to allow for carts and cameras—and there's no pet food or baby care sections.
5. Plus, attached to each shelf is a horizontal light. Why? "Because the contestants stand looking at the shelves," production designer Scott Storey explained. "You can't light them, so we built lighting into all the shelves."
6. Nonetheless, there are store hours. According to the front door, hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Come the weekend, Flavortown Market closes at 9 p.m. Alas, that's all just for show.