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"The Restaurant" Reality Show Season 1


bpearis
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First time poster here (thank you, thank you!).

I got out of the biz a few years ago after spending way too many years as a cook, so of course I can identify a little more with the BOH, but I actually usually got along fine with most of the wait staff at most places I worked at. :shock:

Having said that, I do think the FOH is being portrayed relatively accurately on this show and can't wait for them to start showing more kitchen stuff. I need to be reminded of how bad that life sucked, but at the same time, my adrenaline kicks in when I see it either on tv or when I eat at a place with an open line. I love this show even though I know it has its faults, and I will tune in every stinkin' week until it is done.

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Rare is the moment when I wish I owned a TV.

I wish I owned a TV. Is anyone taping these?

Have no fear. I'm sure you'll be offered the opportunity to buy the complete boxed set at some point.

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

-- Albert Ellis

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Rare is the moment when I wish I owned a TV.

I wish I owned a TV. Is anyone taping these?

I am TIVOing, but that doesn't help, now, does it.

Although I do get to avoid all the commercials - at least the ones that aren't part of the program.

Bill Russell

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What I want to know is why anyone would go to Rocco's to pay high prices for poor service from cry-baby actor-wannabe waitrons serving standard southern Italian chow that can be had in places all over NYC, except out of curiosity stemming from the hoopla of a "reality" series? Or did I just answer my own question? :blink:

I'm in Baltimore, where we have a pretty decent "Little Italy." If I'm going to go to NY to have Italian food, I'm going to go someplace with more innovative food and thus more bang for my buck, like Babbo. Unless I am promised that lovely Mr. Dispirito himself would sit on my lap and hand-feed me, then, I might consider eating Mama's spaghetti and meatballs. I have a feeling that wouldn't happen though (don't think dh would let Rocco near me). So after all the brouhaha dies down, what's going to keep the people flocking to The Restaurant?

(yeah yeah, I am another first-time poster)

Kathy

Minxeats
http://www.foodloversguidetobaltimore.com/'>Food Lovers' Guide to Baltimore

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I Passed on taking the time to watch this thing. From the sound of it, I'm glad about the decision.

Seems ot me that our craft is not well served by this mess, representing as it does to so many people "the business". There are already too damn many restaurant experts out there - you know, those that "know" the business because they dine out a geat deal.

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why did that life suck?

Oops! Kinda forgot where I was for a second...heh heh...*gulp*

I just meant that it sucked for me. The hours, the stress, it all kind of of got to me after a while and something had to give so I just decided to bail.

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why did that life suck?

Oops! Kinda forgot where I was for a second...heh heh...*gulp*

I just meant that it sucked for me. The hours, the stress, it all kind of of got to me after a while and something had to give so I just decided to bail.

heh, no, grillboy, I was just asking because I'm looking to join the field, and I'm getting a little jittery about changing my lifestyle from office boy (soft, easy job that makes good money, normal hours, vacation time, benefits, etc), to that of a cook, starting at the CCA (SF) and going from there. so I'm trying to get as many scary details as possible.

the reason I'm changing my life around is that I unfortunately am desperately in love with cooking.

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I would have serious doubts about the possibility of being franchised or being incorporated

Someone beat him to it...it's called Buca di Beppo, a chain of Italian restaurants spreading throughout most of the United States. Buca's home page

Just to clarify, I thought the poster was talking about Union Pacific being expanded or opened wide, so to speak.

Why he would want to get into a meatballs and red sauce franchise with all the competition from the Buca de beppos and Olive Gardens, et al, would mystify me.

Christ, even Emeril hasn't gotten that bad, has he?

2317/5000

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I wonder if Rocco thought it was a foreign concept to hire a staff who had some type of experience. And not a very good idea to allow your staff to bitch about the customers on national tv.

No matter how good the food is, I also wonder if after seeing the show, anyone would ever want to go to a restaurant in which the chef, a bunch of cameras, and a party of people are dancing and singing in an already very crowded restaurant.

But, the prawns looked good!

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why did that life suck?

Oops! Kinda forgot where I was for a second...heh heh...*gulp*

I just meant that it sucked for me. The hours, the stress, it all kind of of got to me after a while and something had to give so I just decided to bail.

heh, no, grillboy, I was just asking because I'm looking to join the field, and I'm getting a little jittery about changing my lifestyle from office boy (soft, easy job that makes good money, normal hours, vacation time, benefits, etc), to that of a cook, starting at the CCA (SF) and going from there. so I'm trying to get as many scary details as possible.

the reason I'm changing my life around is that I unfortunately am desperately in love with cooking.

Sorry to digress but,

If I may suggest...

I would do some serious assed soul searching before giving up:

easy job that makes good money

normal hours

PAID VACATIONS!!!!!

BENEFITS?????????????????

Dude(?)

take that good money, buy great ingredients and cook for invited guests. In your home.

Maybe try to see if you can stage at a place for a week , take notes on how things are done and do at home.

Seriously.

I think the market is shitty now , depending on where you're located, for employees and owners.

Look at the stats that Rocco recites for that Amex open add.

90% failure rate.

It's a noble gig, cooking, but, you're giving up a lot if you follow your nose into this.

2317/5000

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why did that life suck?

Oops! Kinda forgot where I was for a second...heh heh...*gulp*

I just meant that it sucked for me. The hours, the stress, it all kind of of got to me after a while and something had to give so I just decided to bail.

heh, no, grillboy, I was just asking because I'm looking to join the field, and I'm getting a little jittery about changing my lifestyle from office boy (soft, easy job that makes good money, normal hours, vacation time, benefits, etc), to that of a cook, starting at the CCA (SF) and going from there. so I'm trying to get as many scary details as possible.

the reason I'm changing my life around is that I unfortunately am desperately in love with cooking.

Sorry to digress but,

If I may suggest...

I would do some serious assed soul searching before giving up:

easy job that makes good money

normal hours

PAID VACATIONS!!!!!

BENEFITS?????????????????

Dude(?)

take that good money, buy great ingredients and cook for invited guests. In your home.

Maybe try to see if you can stage at a place for a week , take notes on how things are done and do at home.

Seriously.

I think the market is shitty now , depending on where you're located, for employees and owners.

Look at the stats that Rocco recites for that Amex open add.

90% failure rate.

It's a noble gig, cooking, but, you're giving up a lot if you follow your nose into this.

oh, dude, you're driving screws through my heart...

my job is so boring and soulless! aren't the adventurous decisions that we DON'T make the ones that we end up regretting later in life? if I love cooking, and feel that I want to learn at the most professional and dedicated level I can, with the full realization that cooking in a commercial kitchen will be VERY different than cooking at home or for friends, why not go for it? because it's more comfortable to stay?

I'm really not trying to be antagonistic, but I want to explain my motives fully. I also realize that this isn't the topic of this thread, so if people would rather email me their responses than take up more thread space, you can do so at downtownpoet21@hotmail.com. I'd be delighted to take up correspondence with people who have experience and opinions in this area.

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tan319 knows of what he speaks.

Two quick points to illustrate...

1 - I'll never forget discovering (after 14 years of working in restaurants) that people in office jobs had mandated breaks! All the time! And that, in most cases, they had about 4 to 6 hours of work they needed to get done each day -- and had 8 hours to do it in! And if they didn't get it done... no big deal, they'd just do it the next day. And they got sick days! And health insurance! And paid vacations!!!

2 - I was working in management at a start-up in Silicon Valley. We were doing the Sand Hill Dance (i.e. trying to get another round of investment to keep the business afloat). The head of Product Management had just fired herself and was suing the company for wrongful termination (seriously) and all of this was causing the CEO to develop ulcers and nearly collapse with a nervous breakdown. I went out to dinner with him to try and calm him down and he asked me how I could be so relaxed about all this. I had to be honest and tell him that the job situation at the time for me was less stressful than a pretty average day as a Chef.

As has been said -- you can always keep the day job and entertain at home.

Of course, if you really want to be a chef - go for it. But I'd suggest starting by working BOH in a low level position, then deciding if it's the right career for you. Maybe you could do this while on sabatical from your current job? If you survive the initial period, then go to school, etc.

fanatic...

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The list is endless, as I'm sure is the editing of this show to make the viewing more appealing.

Ah, there it is! The editing. I watched a half hour of the second episode and all I could think of was how shitty they made EVERYONE look: the customers, the waiters, the managers and Rocco. They did a total hatchet job on everyone through very selective editing. I think it's a set up for something down the road, some kind of restaurant redemption scene. What truly disappointed me was the lack of those moments of restaurant heroism that occur every night in a restaurant, when someone pulls a rabbit out of the hat and makes someone else's night in the midst of chaos. Well, there's always the next episode I guess.

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As a guest at the "paying" opening night, let me just say this...almost the whole thing was staged... As we were getting mic'ed, the producer said "the drinks are free, so drink up. And if you have to get sick at the table- go right ahead..." Meatball guy was a friend of the family and I believe has a small part in the Sopranos...The "American Express" wine purchase was also staged. The producers were going around trying to stir up trouble among the guests, getting them to complain about anything and everything so there would be more "drama" on the "reality" show. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the kitchen fire was staged as well.

Yea um... your wrong. The "wine purchasing" as it is now know was not prescripted. The guy was just some rich arrogant ass. And even though you were probably kidding the fire was very hot and very real.

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I'm still upset with Rocco - that he was willing to open a restaurant that shouldn't have opened for at least another week.  He's putting his name on this place. ...

All in all though, I'm liking "The Restaurant."  A lot of fun to watch so far.

He didn't open a restaurant. He stared on a "reality TV" show. The restaurant was a by product of the show. The dog wagged the tail.

The restaurant was going to open reguardless of the show. The insane timeline was a by-product of the show. Do you think they went to Jeffey and said we would like to do a show can you give us 4 million, well mabye but doubtful.

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O.K. As far as the staff not knowing the menu we got the menu description two nights before worked until 2am and had to be back at 10.

spaghettini al olio

If you work in an Italien restaurant, you should at the very least be able to make a good guess at that one.

You want more examples of the lack of professionalism? Arguing with a customer? "I don't know what happened with the order."? Complaining about your tips on the second night (first paying night) of business? And, of course, the hot plate. That's pretty telling as there are few FOH staff with any real experience who would grab a plate bare-handed like that. It's something you only do once.

If someone hands you a plate bare-handed you take it bare-handed

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Oh. And as for the "poor me, I had to work until 2 and be back at work at 10" thing... cry me a river. Try doing that five to six days in a row each week - it's called working BOH - though of course you'd also have to do away with your AC and half your pay to make it an accurate comparison. Oh, and add a lot of people yelling at you.

The a/c wasn't working and we did make almost nothing. Also the cooks always left before FOH, although they did come in much earlier than we did.

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And one shouldn't forget, those diners in that place are New Yorkers. With the exception of Johnny Wiseguy, I would be willing to bet that most of those people have pretty decent palates.

You have a rather elevated concept of the New York palate :wink:

I can't tell you how many times I still get requests for mint jelly with lamb chops, completely regardless of their preparation. Mint Jelly? Wasn't that outlawed in like 1964?

But seriously, New York is the land of the subsitution, and these so-called palates have no trouble at all rearranging dishes into an unrecognizable mess, which no one in their right mind would put together, and then tell their friends afterwards how the food is so-so or not all that great. I think they should be forced to wear their bill around their neck (laminated) every time they want to play critic, just out of a sense of disclosure. Well, that and so that the world can see the tip they left. Just a thought.

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O.K. As far as the staff not knowing the menu we got the menu description two nights before worked until 2am and had to be back at 10.

spaghettini al olio

If you work in an Italien restaurant, you should at the very least be able to make a good guess at that one.

I'm glad this came back up because I've been wondering about it. (And haven't seen the show.) In NYC, or really anywhere, are experienced waitstaff expected to have a general knowledge of classic dishes? Standard Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, etc? An extensive knowledge? Or is there too much variety of cuisines for an employer to expect that? Or is there so much going on with chefs making personal variations that to assume that the name means what it sounds like is too dangerous?

Excellent point. It could range from just pasta, olive oil, and garilc to god knows what.

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O.K. Back to the prawns that manly looking woman and her neutered husband sent back, Spanish Mediteranian Red Prawns, about $ 17-24 dollars a pound. Wonderful!!!

That waitstaff is a disgrace, they were taught wine handling, worthless because they wound up betting on a chugging contest. They didn't know the difference on the forks. What was Laurant and the chubby Maitre'D doing for the few days before?

The problem is that we didn't know we even had dinner forks. The silverware was still being unpacked. And yes there were TWO people that would not know the difference anyway. And 95% of the staff knew proper wine pour already.

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Yea um... your wrong. The "wine purchasing" as it is now known was not prescripted. The guy was just some rich arrogant ass.

why do you say he was a "rich arrogant ass"? the guy wanted wine with dinner.

It is one thing to want wine with dinner. It is another to demand that the server take tour credit card and go out and buy a few bottles. It is another thing on top of that when your food is FREE.

Edited by zenial (log)
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I'm still upset with Rocco - that he was willing to open a restaurant that shouldn't have opened for at least another week.  He's putting his name on this place.   ...

All in all though, I'm liking "The Restaurant."  A lot of fun to watch so far.

He didn't open a restaurant. He stared on a "reality TV" show. The restaurant was a by product of the show. The dog wagged the tail.

The restaurant was going to open reguardless of the show. The insane timeline was a by-product of the show. Do you think they went to Jeffey and said we would like to do a show can you give us 4 million, well mabye but doubtful.

Perhaps they were going to open a restaurant anyway, but the restaurant that opened was a product of the TV show. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it was a hybrid. Call it a bastard or Frankenstein if you will, but I still feel the tail wagged the dog. Then again, I am not the target audience of either the show or perhaps the restaurant. I'm not any more or less likely to drink a Coors beer or drive a Mitsubishi because of the show and the odds were extrememly low before. My opinion of American Express is not likely to change either. However, without the show, I would have been more likely to try any restaurant Rocco opened. I doubt the people who have invested in this care much one way or the other. :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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