A Round Rock couple with some strong culinary skills will be featured on a Food Network show alongside celebrity chef Guy Fieri in February.
Aracely Alcocer and Jorge Alcocer, owners of Fuego Latino Gastropub in downtown Round Rock, will be featured on the “Cookin’ Couples” episode of "Guy's Grocery Games" airing 8 p.m. Feb. 13 on the Food Network. The episode will also re-air on Feb. 14, 24 and 25.
In the episode — which marks the couple's first time on TV — three couples must shop for and cook a wedding dinner in under 30 minutes with challenges from Fieri along the way. The winner has a chance to win up to $20,000.
The contestants shop for ingredient's in Fieri's Flavortown Market, which Jorge said is the size of an H-E-B. "Flavortown Market is just amazing," he said. "Every single product you can imagine is right there."
The couple said they received an unexpected phone call in November inviting them to the show. The call happened to come at such a busy time at the restaurant that Aracely said they first didn't accept the call. She eventually picked up the phone after some prodding from a young employee.
"Every time I talk about it I get goosebumps," Aracely said. "Luckily they called back."
Jorge said he is a fan of Fieri’s popular TV show, “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives,” but wasn't familiar with "Guy's Grocery Games."
"I told them I promise as soon as I get home I'll make sure I get myself acquainted," he said.
Not long after the phone call, the couple were flown out to California where the episode was filmed in one day. The next day, they were back to business at their restaurant.
"It was exhausting but it was so cool," Aracely said. "He's very down to Earth and talks to you like you've known him forever. One of the things that I love is that when we're cooking they have a timer and you're stressed and you see the clock ticking, and he just comes over and takes a spoon and goes up to your food and asks, 'What are you making?' "
"It was a lifetime experience," Jorge added. "Even though I have worked in this industry for quite sometime already, I have never experienced that kind of stress and excitement."
Being on the show has brought more attention to Fuego Latino, Aracely said. The couple plans to host a viewing party at the restaurant when the episode premieres.
"A lot of people didn't know we were here because we don't advertise like the big restaurants," she said. "We don't have the budget for that. We put the money to get more food, have more employees. We've been working off of word of mouth."
The Alcocers have found a supportive community in Round Rock. Their restaurant, located next to Round Rock Donuts, currently holds a five-star review on Yelp.
The couple have been married for 23 years and have three children. Jorge had worked in several roles for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts including executive banquet chef, restaurant chef and executive chef since 1991.
The couple opened Fuego Latino Gastropub at 206 North Mays Street in 2017. The restaurant features Latin American food, from Costa Rican to Mexican and Peruvian.
"We realize that when we came to this community there wasn't a lot of that, so we wanted to offer people in the area something different, and I think they enjoy that," Aracely said.
Jorge cooks up fresh meals with the quality you could expect from a five-star hotel but at a more affordable price, Aracely said.
"I think that's also been catching people's eyes," she said. "So far, so good. We're glad we made that step."
"We are building up a reputation and that was my goal," Jorge added. "We're grateful for the support we have received."