Can a Lombard couple’s relationship survive the stress of starting a new food truck business together?
Viewers will find out with Food Network’s new docuseries “Me or the Menu” premiering Thursday, June 30. Lombard’s Kathleen Murray and Nate Albert are one of four restaurant couples whose lives in Houston, Brooklyn and Chicago have all been captured by reality TV crews for the five-episode series.
“Probably the most important thing about her show is the deep examination of the impact of our personal relationship while trying to run a business together,” said Murray, who was cast on “Me or the Menu” the last year shortly after she and Albert launched Saucy Kat, a Wheaton-based Italian cuisine food truck.
“It was an online interview, and apparently we did some fantastic things,” Albert said of the audition process.
This isn’t the first time Murray has appeared on a reality TV show. She briefly appeared on Episode 3 of Season 11 of the Fox show “MasterChef,” which put Murray on the Food Network producers’ casting radar.
But “Me or the Menu” was a different beast of TV production. Instead of a studio cooking contest, “Me or the Menu” was a full documentary project.
“Having cameras on me from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, having GoPros (cameras) in the car and being on the mic all day – it really got behind the scenes of life and what it’s like to run a business,” Murray said.
“When they started filming, I was so awkward,” Albert said. “But the more you did it, the more you got used to it.”
Murray notes that she also has a corporate 9-to-5 job as a creative director for a tech company. COVID-19 cutbacks last year meant Albert was laid off from his job at a winery, allowing him to focus on the food truck.
Saucy Kat was a way for Murray to express his love of cooking and share family recipes going back generations. It also allowed Murray and Albert to avoid all the risks of running a restaurant full-time – a luxury not afforded to fellow ‘Me or the Menu’ couple, James Martin and Jessica Neal. , who run the Bocadillo Market restaurant in Chicago.
But Murray and Albert say food truck prep is still important.
“I don’t think people have a sense of the stress and the work and the labor of love that goes into producing an event,” Murray said. “I spend six hours making my sauce. And then sometimes I come home at 3 a.m. and get up at 6 a.m. to get the truck ready.
Murray and Albert nervously anticipate the airing of “Me or the Menu” and see how their lives will be edited and portrayed on screen. When they were interviewed, none had yet seen a full episode.
“It’s finally starting to kick in. The video clips are online,” Albert said. “Kathleen has television experience, and I don’t. So it’s surreal.”