The Ridiculous Amount Of Work It Takes To Keep Flavortown Market Running

Despite the plentiful wonders of the Masterchef pantry, the most impressive food supply stocked for a reality television cooking competition has to be Guy's Grocery Games. As The North Bay Business Journal describes, from the second season onwards, the show takes place in a 15,500-square-foot supermarket set. All of it is stocked with real products.

To emphasize how real the groceries used for Guy's Grocery Games are, the Food Network published a piece walking the reader through the work it takes to set the set up. Every day, the production team works for three hours ensuring that the products on the shelves are of the highest quality, replacing any that might have deteriorated overnight.

However, the thousands of goods that aren't prepared for the pleasure of Guy Fieri waste not. At the end of the week, the team checks over all the bread, meat, and seafood to see how fresh they are. Those suitably fresh go to food banks, as The North Bay Business Journal reported in 2015, also divulging that the particular charity to which the show donates is the Redwood Gospel Mission.

In terms of how much food the production team actually handles, the Food Network estimates that about 442 pounds of seafood are handled each week, 67 different meat options, and 241 different types of produce. All this is done for the off-hand chance that contestants scuttling around the aisles see the exact good they need to win Guy's Grocery Games

The work is absolutely necessary

Before all the work of constantly setting products on shelves could commence, however, Flavortown Market itself had to be built. Talking to Reality Blurred, Scott Storey, set designer for Guy's Grocery Games, RuPaul's Drag Race, and Big Brother, explained the difficulties behind creating the set for Fieri's show: "It takes a year to build a grocery store, and I had four weeks."

Somehow they managed, but the real victory was in establishing a substantial improvement over Supermarket Sweep, the television game show that, like Guy's Grocery Games, Storey also worked on. The difference between the two is that even though both are sets, Fieri's Flavortown Market can function on some level like a grocery store unlike Supermarket Sweep. Yet, Supermarket Sweep would stock themselves with fresh food because filling the store with fake food proved too expensive. "It would sit there unrefrigerated for a week," Storey remembered. "And then after taping they would just throw it all away. It was the most rank, disgusting — the contestants would always grab it, because it's a roast, it's $24! And it was like rotting flesh."

If you're interested, Storey has shared some before and after pictures of his work on the set for Guy's Grocery Games on his website. Though before the aisles are formed and the food arranged, it's obvious that the room is a giant set; the work Storey and the production team put into making the illusion real enough for television works utter magic.