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"The Restaurant" Reality Show Season 1


bpearis
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I have no idea why Rocco would want his name to be associated with this kind of food or level of dining.

it is strange, jinmyo. and i don't think anyone has really asked this question yet. UP is just so brilliant in every way. one would think that he'd want to at least match that in some way. unless, 1) it's really for his mom, 2) he didn't think he could or 3) a no-compete thing of somesort is in place. it boggles the mind.

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It does, tommy.

And I really do wonder if UP will reap the rewards of Rocco's adventure.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I would hope that not everyone that attended "Friends & Family night" were like the jerks portrayed on TV. These people are getting a free meal and booze.

You read my mind. I have been part of a restaurant opening and worked on Friends & Family night. The Friends & Family night was nothing like what they portrayed... at least, that wasn't my experience. People weren't rushing around because it was understood they would be there for sometime eating and giving the owners best wishes in their new adventure. It was a party of sorts. Everyone was all smiles as they were served free food and alcohol.

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Guys/girls, you really have to lighten up. Step back. Take a moment.

I'm sitting here reading everyone's responses. I'm not sure if you realise what you're doing. You're all saying "oh, I just wanted to watch the first week to see if it was good...I'm not watching next week....".

Then, seemingly unenthralled, you come back to cut it up to shreds, and in the same sentence say "Well, I'm just going to watch NEXT week's episode to see if it gets better...". When in fact, next week's episode is #3 and it's half over anyway.

Don't you realize that you're going to be watching this until it's OVER??? You're all TRANSFIXED with it!!!!! Come on, just admit it. I'll bet big money that this thread will keep going and going, even after episode 3 is over. Why? Because you can't keep your eyes away. Just admit it. There's nothing wrong with it.

My take? Having been on both sides of the restaurant business (worker and owner), I have to say that this is EXTREMELY real, albeit in a condensed time frame for TV. I'm really surprised that more restauranteurs on here haven't come to say this. You haven't ever heard your wait staff talk like that? That they don't think such and such is fair? I have. I've also been in the shoes of watching FOH try to trainwreck my restaurant and customers, and I've had to step in. You've never had to FREAK OUT on the kitchen staff for not getting it together fast enough? Must be nice.

Fine, the cameras are fixed to be in certain spots for TV effect. Fine, they have to spout the sponsors names a billion times throughout the show. Fine, the drama is to a heightened level again for TV effect. But geeez, it's a NEW restaurant! How many restaurants have YOU opened?

I'm going to say again what I said in an earlier post, and that is that I don't think too many chefs would turn down an opportunity like this. Nobody goes into business thinking it will fail. And you especially don't open a restaurant thinking hmmm, I'm just gonna mess up as much as I can. It just happens. I'll still dine at UP, perhaps even MORE so now. I have total and utmost respect for Rocco for doing this. A food/restaurant-based reality show HAD to happen anyway, I'm glad it was Rocco to fill those shoes.

For all you naysayers, I'd like to know: What part of this show ISN'T reality???

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What an insult to the profession! I am merely a hobbyist - cook and restaurant-goer. I have tremendous respect for our fine chefs and restaurateurs. Rocco is a nice kid and and an excellent and very creative chef. This show is demeaning not only to him but to everyone in the profession at all levels. Last night I turned the TV off after fifteen minutes. As far as the restaurant itself is concerned, do we really need yet another spaghetti and meatball joint? I had never watched "reality" TV before. If this show is typical the phrase is an oxymoron. :angry:

Ruth Friedman

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You read my mind.  I have been part of a restaurant opening and worked on Friends & Family night.  The Friends & Family night was nothing like what they portrayed... at least, that wasn't my experience.  People weren't rushing around because it was understood they would be there for sometime eating and giving the owners best wishes in their new adventure.  It was a party of sorts.  Everyone was all smiles as they were served free food and alcohol.

i suppose it might be a symptom of being on camera. i'm guessing that very few people in that room (customers) tried to *not* be on camera.

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What an insult to the profession! I am merely a hobbyist - cook and restaurant-goer. I have tremendous respect for our fine chefs and restaurateurs. Rocco is a nice kid and and an excellent and very creative chef. This show is demeaning not only to him but to everyone in the profession at all levels. Last night I turned the TV off after fifteen minutes. As far as the restaurant itself is concerned, do we really need yet another spaghetti and meatball joint? I had never watched "reality" TV before. If this show is typical the phrase is an oxymoron. :angry:

I am both a chef and restauranteur - and I have to say that I wasn't in the least bit insulted by this show.

Ruth, if you had just an ounce of idea what's actually involved both to conceive the idea of a restaurant as well as carry through that vision, you would be gentler with your harsh criticisms.

How trying to make a living/make more money could ever be called DEMEANING is beyond me.....

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My guess is Rocco is doing this to jump into the nationally-recognized celebrity chef category. While UP is awesome and critically acclaimed, I'm not sure it has reached the, uh, "Bam!" level across America. You figure that he gets tons of free publicity, his new restauarant is basically guaranteed a few months of patronage (if only for train-wreck viewing attractiveness), and he continually gets billed as one of the greatest chefs around. Flash forward two years: Rocco's red sauce joints scattered around America (upselling the Olive Garden crowd) and Union Pacific-esque serious restaurants in Vegas and LA.

Knowledge is good.

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I have no idea why Rocco would want his name to be associated with this kind of food or level of dining.

it is strange, jinmyo. and i don't think anyone has really asked this question yet. UP is just so brilliant in every way. one would think that he'd want to at least match that in some way. unless, 1) it's really for his mom, 2) he didn't think he could or 3) a no-compete thing of somesort is in place. it boggles the mind.

Which came first: the tv show or the concept for the restaurant? If the show came first, then it seems likely the concept was chosen as it would be easier to execute and have a wider appeal to Middle America than a more upscale UP-type place. Or maybe it really is for his mom :smile:

Are people really surprised that Rocco is nervous? Just opening a new restaurant with 100 jobs on the line is enough to make anyone sweat, but the added pressure of providing six hours of compelling primetime television must be enormous.

Maybe he chose to do it to raise his profile, or maybe he figured that if he didn’t do it someone else would. I’m with Savour Chef: it was a ballsy move to take the chance and I respect that. Not having made it to UP yet, I won’t be deterred now.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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I'm gonna go out on a limb and say i think some of us may be missing the point. It's a TV show! It's supposed to be entertaining! I'm entertained. I won't miss a minute of it. Granted, some of it is obviously staged, and there are some mighty convenient camera and microphone placements, but i'd much rather watch ANY sort of show about a real restaurant than half the cooking shows on FN.

I am sympathetic to the members of the staff who are serious about their profession and feel underpaid, undertrained and underappreciated. But that won't keep me from watching the show.

And although the antics might ultimately put some professionals and serious gourmands off the DiSpirito brand forever, let's be honest - most of the viewing audience would make a beeline for the place if they were within a hundred miles.

It's television. It's advertised as a "reality show", not billed as a documentary. We all know the difference. I find myself wondering if some of you turned off the television in disgust as children, muttering:

"Goddamn those Flintstones...everybody knows a classic rack of wooly mammoth has five ribs, not four! MOM! Hurry it up with those artisan cheese puffs, or i'm gonna hold my breath again!"

edited for spelling :rolleyes:

Edited by zilla369 (log)

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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It’s too soon for final judgment. “Opening Night” is just that--opening night. Anyone expecting a flawless execution or anything remotely close to it is simply delusional. The customers seemed were a mix of complete twits who thought it would be a good night to get on camera and spout like they were the personal godfathers of Italian cuisine.

A couple of customers really grated my nerves; the fat guy who complained about the meatballs and said,”Anyone who gets up at 6:30 in the morning to make meatballs and have it come out like this should pack it in.” Then he turns around and showers Mama with compliments and attention and gushes about how much he loves the meatballs. Sheesh! What a two-faced ham!

Then the customer who made the waiter go out and purchase red wine for his table. Unbelievable! I'd straighten that guy out in a hurry. That kid should have gone straight to his boss. The servers profiled seemed like they’ve never worked a day of service in their life. I have to believe the others were just too competent and professional (low-key) to show. All in all, I think they will pull it together eventually.

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My guess is Rocco is doing this to jump into the nationally-recognized celebrity chef category.  While UP is awesome and critically acclaimed, I'm not sure it has reached the, uh, "Bam!" level across America.  You figure that he gets tons of free publicity, his new restauarant is basically guaranteed a few months of patronage (if only for train-wreck viewing attractiveness), and he continually gets billed as one of the greatest chefs around.  Flash forward two years:  Rocco's red sauce joints scattered around America (upselling the Olive Garden crowd) and Union Pacific-esque serious restaurants in Vegas and LA.

Well said. I think "train wreck" is the phrase we need to keep in mind. It's not something I want to happen nor wish to see, but tell me there's a train wreck to the side of the road and I will slow down and look.

I suspect that for all the legitimate criticism, especially from gastronomes, this is successfully reaching his intended audience of prospective diners.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I find myslef wondering if some of you turned off the television in disgust as children, muttering:

"Goddamn those Flintstones...everybody knows a classic rack of wooly mammoth has five ribs, not four!  MOM!  Hurry it up with those artisan cheese puffs, or i'm gonna hold my breath again!"

Classic, zilla.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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A couple of customers really grated my nerves; the fat guy who complained about the meatballs and said,”Anyone who gets up at 6:30 in the morning to make meatballs and have it come out like this should pack it in.” Then he turns around and showers Mama with compliments and attention and gushes about how much he loves the meatballs. Sheesh! What a two-faced ham!

:laugh:

Then the customer who made the waiter go out and purchase red wine for his table. Unbelievable! I'd straighten that guy out in a hurry. That kid should have gone straight to his boss.

His "boss," Rocco, told him what to do in the first show. You go out and get the cocktail from the restaurnat across the street -- in direct violation of the state liquor laws -- and then demonstarted what to do by getting beer, .. um I mean Coors, for the group on (scripted) request.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I agree, Bux. I think watching the show will be an educational experience for members of the audience who have never worked in the food service industry. Most have no idea what really goes on behind the scenes. I have to say that at the very least Restaurant definitely gives them a window they've probably never had before into what serving/cooking is actually like, and what goes on when they're not supposed to be looking. If it's not pitch perfect, most of the audience is never going to notice.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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What was the bit with going across the street and buying red wine? Was the diner an Amex executive? I don't know where the nearest wine shop is, but in NYS, bars and restaurants are not licensed to see liquor for off premises consumption. Heads would have rolled if the cameras caught anyone selling wine for take out. The poor waiter was clueless -- except for the one clue Rocco gave him about pleasing the customer when Rocco sent someone out for beer, excuse me Coors, during rehearsal. And the take my credit card bit? Is that the way Amex encourages members to use thier cards?

Ah, but, Bux, you're not paying attention! That wasn't just any waiter. That was GIDEON!!. He was the actor/waiter who was first in line in the first episode with the sign that said "I'm not a bum. I'm first in line". He has his own website now. This is a sad show.

Maybe I wasn't. I thought it was the guy in the sloppily unbuttoned green shirt that went out for wine. Gideon was reduced to working in the basement cleaning latrines and stuff that night, wasn't he? They were a pair of hams, and as I recall had to told to break up their duo act for the cameras.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I loved one scene and a moment in last night's show. The scene with the manly voiced woman and her compaion who sent back the clams and the prawns. When the prawns come looking pretty fine he say's What are we supposed to do with these? Then sends them back because they are terribly undercooked. Then the chef declares them perfectly done. These people probably have never been anywhere but Denny's.

Then right at the end of the scene with the wise guy wannabe who suck's up to Rocco's mamma, we see the women at the table with the frosted tips stuff a meatball into her hideous looking cake hole. I hope she saw how good she looked. Disgusting!

David Cooper

"I'm no friggin genius". Rob Dibble

http://www.starlinebyirion.com/

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I agree, Bux.  I think watching the show will be an educational experience for members of the audience who have never worked in the food service industry.  Most have no idea what really goes on behind the scenes.  I have to say that at the very least Restaurant definitely gives them a window they've probably never had before into what serving/cooking is actually like, and what goes on when they're not supposed to be looking.  If it's not pitch perfect, most of the audience is never going to notice.

Did I ever imply it was an educational experience? I don't think so, but you're correct. It's easier to focus on the train wreck aspect, but for a while I though the second show was going to offer the rush of being in a kitchen -- and it did at times, but people like myself are clearly distracted. Zilla369 had a good perspective.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I agree, Bux.  I think watching the show will be an educational experience for members of the audience who have never worked in the food service industry.  Most have no idea what really goes on behind the scenes.  I have to say that at the very least Restaurant definitely gives them a window they've probably never had before into what serving/cooking is actually like, and what goes on when they're not supposed to be looking.  If it's not pitch perfect, most of the audience is never going to notice.

Did I ever imply it was an educational experience? I don't think so, but you're correct. It's easier to focus on the train wreck aspect, but for a while I though the second show was going to offer the rush of being in a kitchen -- and it did at times, but people like myself are clearly distracted. Zilla369 had a good perspective.

Apparently not, and I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. I was merely responding to your point about the show reaching its intended audience.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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I loved one scene and a moment in last night's show. The scene with the manly voiced woman and her compaion who sent back the clams and the prawns. When the prawns come looking pretty fine he say's What are we supposed to do with these? Then sends them back because they are terribly undercooked. Then the chef declares them perfectly done. These people probably have never been anywhere but Denny's.

Then right at the end of the scene with the wise guy wannabe who suck's up to Rocco's mamma, we see the women at the table with the frosted tips stuff a meatball into her hideous looking cake hole. I hope she saw how good she looked. Disgusting!

Where the hell are the shots of Daniel Boulud who was there with a crew of his and the Ripert/Bourdain table? I'd hope to see some of this in a future show, but I've already figured out I'm not the target audience. I also assume these guys are going to offer a guarded professional opinion. Well maybe Bourdain who's posted here can be depended on to offer a candid opinion. He get's paid to bite the hand that feeds him. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Then right at the end of the scene with the wise guy wannabe who suck's up to Rocco's mamma, we see the women at the table with the frosted tips stuff a meatball into her hideous looking cake hole. I hope she saw how good she looked. Disgusting!

Not only that, but the recorded sentence spoken by whoever just before they cut to her ended in the word "cow". I was cracking up. Now, that's editing!

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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I didn't mean to put words in your mouth.

Yeah, but you were correct. I might have said those words had my focus not been elsewhere. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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What was the bit with going across the street and buying red wine? Was the diner an Amex executive? I don't know where the nearest wine shop is, but in NYS, bars and restaurants are not licensed to see liquor for off premises consumption. Heads would have rolled if the cameras caught anyone selling wine for take out. The poor waiter was clueless -- except for the one clue Rocco gave him about pleasing the customer when Rocco sent someone out for beer, excuse me Coors, during rehearsal. And the take my credit card bit? Is that the way Amex encourages members to use thier cards?

Ah, but, Bux, you're not paying attention! That wasn't just any waiter. That was GIDEON!!. He was the actor/waiter who was first in line in the first episode with the sign that said "I'm not a bum. I'm first in line". He has his own website now. This is a sad show.

Maybe I wasn't. I thought it was the guy in the sloppily unbuttoned green shirt that went out for wine. Gideon was reduced to working in the basement cleaning latrines and stuff that night, wasn't he? They were a pair of hams, and as I recall had to told to break up their duo act for the cameras.

Right you are! All those schlubs looked alike to me. :biggrin:

Mark

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I loved one scene and a moment in last night's show. The scene with the manly voiced woman and her compaion who sent back the clams and the prawns. When the prawns come looking pretty fine he say's What are we supposed to do with these? Then sends them back because they are terribly undercooked. Then the chef declares them perfectly done. These people probably have never been anywhere but Denny's.

Someone twists and snaps them open. You know, the way you do with whole shrimp? I saw them for only a second and the flesh looked a little too translucent yet though the shells were crimson. But the diners couldn't have known that without opening the shrimp.

Customers were wrong. The cook was wrong.

I hope the shrimp went into something else, like at least a stock.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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