One minute, Rachel Klein was in her daughter’s downtown hair salon, watching a film crew busy at work on the sidewalks of Douglas.
The next, she was preparing to take seven British strangers into her three-bedroom west Wichita home for the night.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, a crew filming a new reality show called “Chef Race: UK vs. U.S.” was spotted all over town, interacting with and filming Wichitans as part of their show.
The series, made by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s production company, Fresh One Productions, is set to air on BBC America this fall.
It follows two teams of chefs — one from the United States and one from England — as they race from town to town, cooking and participating in challenges. On Wednesday morning, a team of five British chefs was set up in the Kress building at Douglas and Broadway, selling muffaletta sandwiches, “meatloaf and mash” and slices of pie. Office workers and construction workers were filmed as they filed in and out, curious to see what was going on. As they left, producers asked them to sign release forms so that their images could be used on the show.
Klein said that she was in her daughter’s shop, Salon Teased at 509 E. Douglas, on Tuesday evening when she saw the crew and became curious. She stepped outside to find out what was going on and soon invited the five British chefs and two cameramen to spend the night at her west home. As part of the race, the competing chefs have to find their own lodging as they travel. The two female chefs on the team cooked the pies they sold on Wednesday morning in her kitchen, Klein said.
The chefs also used the kitchen at Heroes Sports Bar, 117 N. Mosley, on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, managers there said. And the chefs also were seen selling their food at the Wichita Executive Centre, 125 N. Market.
Producers who were on site at the Kress building wouldn’t talk, and they said the chefs couldn’t either. But the three male chefs on site said that they all worked in or owned restaurants in England.
Go Wichita’s Ken Vandruff said he helped set up arrangements with the film crew in advance. He said he didn’t know why the show chose Wichita for filming but was glad that it did.
“It’s great when we can get this kind of exposure for Wichita,” he said.
An air date for the show has not yet been set. BBC America is available in a digital variety package for Cox customers. It’s on channel 208.