Eat St. was in South Florida for nearly two weeks, filming season four of the popular Cooking Channel show that highlights food trucks and their colorful owners. While here, the film crew shot footage of 11 trucks, traveling everywhere from roundups to the Everglades in order to capture various locations and settings.
Each Eat St. episode is 30 minutes, with each truck getting about six minutes of footage after editing. That makes for a fast-paced segment involving a lot of eating, cooking, and cutaways. But what goes into filming each truck? We asked Eat St. director Keero Birla to fill us in.
"Each truck requires one full day of production, with a crew consisting
of two cameras, a director, and a production person. That's about eight
to 12 hours of filming," Birla says. Even before a truck
is filmed, a team of researchers do their homework, talking with chefs
and owners and setting up a schedule. "Social media is our best tool in
finding a truck. We film all over the United States, so we look for
trucks that are trending, that have a good buzz. We also, of
course, look for a truck that's doing something unusual and has a good
story behind it. And there's the food-porn aspect. The food has to look good on
Birla says that throughout the country, most food trucks
fall into two categories. "There are chef-driven trucks, where the truck
is a stepping stone in the owner's career. These chefs are on their way
up, and the food is unique. Then there are the trucks with a story
behind them. The owners aren't necessarily chefs, and this is it for a lot of them.
Many of them have maxed out their credit cards to buy the business, and
entire families sometimes work on them. I wonder what happens to these
trucks. I hope for the best for them."
Birla noticed that no matter what city he's in, there are universal complaints. "So many truck owners work day after day just to
stay afloat," he says. "Then local governments sometimes make it difficult for truck owners to park on the streets. The industry is so new, many times local municipalities simply don't know what laws and rules apply.
year ago, there were no food trucks in Calgary. A few would-be owners
went to City Hall and requested a meeting with the mayor, who listened
to their proposals and agreed to work with them. Within two months there
were about 15 trucks. They park on the streets. They work together,
making sure they don't bunch up or park in front of brick and mortar
restaurants. They pay taxes, parking fees. They employ locals. They're
real businesses and they're treated as such. It makes a difference."
location, Birla enjoys dining at local restaurants as well as food
trucks. "During filming, we'll support them," he says. "After we wrap for the day, we like to try a city's restaurants. In
Miami, I particularly like Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, and we
had a great meal at Cantina 27 recently. Though, sometimes, you get a
strange suggestion. I asked our hotel concierge where to get some
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authentic Miami-style cuisine, and she sent us to Mango's. I didn't see a
lot of locals there."