Owner/chef Kevin Munroe and partner Shelley Bouchard are hoping that by this time next week, not only the Comox Valley, but the entire country knows you gotta eat at the Mad Chef Cafe.
After filming for two days in December, the Food Network Canada show ‘You Gotta Eat Here!’ featuring the restaurant is scheduled to air June 27 at 6:30 p.m., and the restaurant’s duo will celebrate their television debut in style.
“We’re having a plaid party,” explained Bouchard, referencing the show’s host and former comedian John Catucci’s wardrobe preference for the tartan patten, which is evident in each episode.
“It’s closed to the public, but we’re telling those attending who were there for the filming to wear plaid,” added Bouchard.
The show, which features Catucci on a quest to discover the best of Canada’s comfort food, filmed the segment at the restaurant’s former location on Fitzgerald Avenue.
Munroe said a few days after the filming, the restaurant experienced a huge surge in customers, and hopes the show will serve as a tool to raise the profile of the larger area.
“We’re really hoping to put the Comox Valley on the map,” he added.
Bouchard explained the show came about through e-mails from their customers, who wrote to the producers. She received a call from the show, and about a year later, Catucci and the crew arrived for filming.
“It’s those really unique little places that each city across Canada offers local food, local ingredients and just the vibe that you get in places like this. You can’t really find that in big box restaurants,” said Catucci in an interview during filming.
“Places like here, where there are a lot of local farms around and you can get a lot of local ingredients and that’s really cool…. Not only does the restaurant feel that’s important, but people are caring with the food they are eating.”
The show produces a cookbook for each season with recipes from the featured restaurants, and Mad Chef Cafe submitted its famous F-Bomb dessert — sautéed bananas with coffee liquor caramel sauce over a double chocolate brownie topped with ice cream and whipped cream — for the book.
As fans of the American Food Network Guy Fieri-hosted show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Munroe and Bouchard noted they are hoping to entice the cross-country chef north of the border to the Mad Chef.
“We would definitely do that (filming) again,” added Munroe.
For more information about the show, search You Gotta Eat Here on Facebook.