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"The Restaurant" Reality Show Season 1


bpearis
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I saw an ad in the Sunday NY Times a few weeks ago for staff for the "restaurant"

Front and Back of the house....

I was thinking I may try for a pastry position

I met rocco last year at my last job...

but i hear there not paying that great since there Is a star chef and the chance to get on TV

I bake there for I am....

Make food ... not war

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A Brazilian woman with green eyes and a flower in her hair demonstrated the samba at his request. Another applicant belted out a song. The Rockette kicked. Mr. DiSpirito, as cheeky as he is down to earth, egged all of them on, even as he dismissed them to his peers as they walked away.
Definitely not the most flattering quote I could find in that NY Times article, but probably not the least flattering either. I think this sums the "reality" up well enough.

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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  • 3 weeks later...

Has anyone heard any inside info on Rocco DiSpirito's new venture "Rocco's" on East 22nd St, which is the basis for NBC's new reality relevision show, "Restaurant." I heard that the restaurant was opening tonight.

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Just saw a TV commercial for this train wreck. The worst thing? It was focusing on the chef as being "one of the most elegible men in New York".

Yeah. I made that noise too.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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July 20 NBC will air Rocco DiSpirito's pre-opening and opening of his new restaurant. It is produced by a 'Survivor" exec. I think that it will be a series. The hype seems to be more of the man than the process. Anyone know the scoop?

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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First, the Menu: as it appears on a pink Broadsheet titled "La Gazetta di Rocco" .

PARMIGIANA:

Chicken

Veal

Eggplant

SPAGHETTI WITH MAMA'S MEATBALLS

FRITTI;

Calamari

Shrimp

Baby Artichokes

Asparagus

Cauliflower

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Eggplant

Arancine di Telefono

Zucchini

Zucchini Flowers

AL FORNO:

Clams Oreganata\Stuffed Artichoke

Eggplant Rollatini

Marinated Peppers

Quail

Crispy Lemony Shrimp

Veal Spedini

Mama's Meatballs

Uncle Joe's Sausage and Peppers

Sardines

UOVO:

Mama's Frittata

Boiled and Pickled

In Purgatory

In Polenta

CRUDO:

Tuna

Mackerel

Fluke

Clams on the Halfshell

INSALATA:

Wild Arugula

Tomato and Onions

Chopped Mixed Salad

Caesar

Escarole

Caprese with House Made Mozzarella

SALUMI:

Mortadella

Sopressata

PASTA;

Penne a la Vodka

Fusilli Pomodorini

Spaghetti Carbonara

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Cavatelli Marinara

Penne with Walnut Pesto

Fettucine al Limone

Linguine with Clam Sauce (red or white)

Rigatoni al Ragu

Gnocchi al Fredo

Bucatini with Crab Sauce

Linguine Puttanesca

Lasagne Bolognese

PESCE:

Trout

Porgy

Octopus

Black Sea Bass

Red Shrimp

CARNE:

Steak a la Pizzaioli

Baby Lamb Scottaditto

Rabbit Cacciatore

Chicken Under a Brick

Aged Ribeye

Roasted Squab

Roasted Half Duck

Braised Short Ribs

abourdain

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First, the Menu: as it appears on a pink Broadsheet titled "La Gazetta di Rocco" .

Apparently they're looking for writers.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm having a lot of trouble separating the ironic from the post-ironic from the sincere regarding last night's experience. The food was good--if actively unambitious. Exactly what you think/hope you're going to get after looking at the menu (see above).I mean, when you see Spaghetti and Mama's Meatballs as the first, most prominent thing on a menu--that's pretty much a defining mission statement, yes? Good meatballs. Fresh fish. The food was decent..Maybe even a little bit better than decent.. In fact--if Rocco was serving the exact same food in a tiny, out-of-the-way, homier location, I'd be unrestrained in my praise for the place. (Rocco's version of Rao's, perhaps)But the decor is very City Island: loud, overlit, vinyl and formica...(the business model seems to be a mix of Carmines and Balthazar)and the TV thing added another dimension of..of..complicity in some crime yet to be identified. (though shooting ends this week). I'm confused. Rocco is an extremely talented chef, an excellent cook, a very bright, articulate--and yes--sensitive guy. I personally like him--and hope he does well in all his ventures. I want to root for him--a capable chef with the world on a string, making moves. But I'm troubled by my dinner last night. A meal shouldn't make you feel implicated in some unnamed felony afterwards...it shouldn't make you stand in front of the mirror looking into the yawning depths of your own dark heart, wondering "Jesus! What have we come to?!" Irony and cynicism should not, I think, be menu items.

Am I looking too hard at what could/should be a "fun", casual dining experience? Did snobbery or self-loathing or envy play a part in my unsettling experience? Ripert, who dragooned me into this, thinks the place is fantastic and shrewd. I don't know. I feel like I just woke up from a week-long coke jag; shaky, weak and..guilty.

Maybe some future posters will add much needed perspective cause I feel like I've lost mine.

abourdain

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Ripert, who dragooned me into this, thinks the place is fantastic and shrewd.

Does he think Jerry Lewis is the greatest comic genius of our time?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I was surprised to see above that "shooting ends this week." Reading that it is brought to us "by a 'Survivor' exec," I thought this was going to be an ongoing project; that perhaps the server with the smallest receipts each week would be fired.

I think Ripert hit the nail on the head with the word "shrewd." Obviously, Rocco got (or lucked into) a major investor (NBC) to finance a big new Manhattan restaurant, and my suspicion is, without the need to pay back said investor. The payment was having the cameras in the way during the pre-opening. I mean really, could there be any better advertising than having your own TV show? Don't you think, no matter what the food was like, that people would be lining up just for their chance to appear on an episode?

Also, do customers have to sign a release before eating there?

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The word "Faustian" kept coming strangely to mind

As I understand it, six episodes are being filmed. Most deal with the planning, menu development, hiring, pre-opening process...Rocco goes to Italy...etc. Two (maybe more) episodes deal with the Main Event, the restaurant's first days open for business. Whether there will be future episodes is (like with all television) probably to be determined by the Neilsen overnites.

When the cameras are long gone, the restaurant is expected to operate as any other--serving food and hopefully making money;

And yes. I had to sign a release.

abourdain

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Did they film you Tony? Were there NBC executives madly running up and down the aisles yelling "Eric Ripert and some other food guy are here!" :biggrin:

I guess I'd pay to see that. Maybe NBC does have something here?

Oddly enough, NBC.com still doesn't have information up about the show, despite the wave of commercials they are airing with Rocco looking dreamily into the camera.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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  • 3 weeks later...
NBC web page HERE.

They're starting to shows promos for it; lots of fire and yelling.

I thought all of the commercials were about how "sexy" Rocco is. Like that was somehow the point of the show or something. With bad seduction music playing in the background.

from NBC.com:

The Restaurant will also follow the foibles and flirtations of the wait-staff, bartenders and sous chefs

The subtext being that all people do at a restaurant is fuck? Or at least fuck around?

I STILL want to know if Tony and Eric Ripert were actually shanghaied into making on-camera appearances or not. :hmmm:

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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