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"The Restaurant" Reality Show Season 1


bpearis
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I wonder if our friend Tony ever thought when he got into the "public realm" that he would be held up as a paragon of virtue, class and restraint?

My guess is that Tony doesn't think of himself that way now, and that probably has a lot to do with why he's more likely to grow on a viewer and Rocco, unfortunately, gets on one's nerves as the show grows longer. it's not a simple matter of selling out or following a script. Lord knows Tony has had more than his share of bad lines--I don't know if he or his producers were responsible--and much of what you see on Cook's Tour is obviously prearranged if not staged, but in the end, when the cameras go home, you feel like you'd like to have a beer with him and ask a few questions. When you've finished watching The Restaurant you may be a little embarrassed and hope Rocca didn't catch you watching and that when you do meet him, it will be under better circumstances.

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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according to Variety, NBC has been fielding offers from several celebrity chefs who would like to throw their aprons in the ring.

So now not only has Rocco jumped the shark, he's just the ramp someone else will drive up over to jump the shark.

It will probably be fun to try and predict who these people are, but also probably a bit of a bummer. I just hope Bourdain is working on his pal Ripert, who seemed a bit enamoured of the concept when Rocco was doing it, to STAY THE HELL AWAY. :wink:

Eric Ripert is a friend of mine. We worked together for several years in the basement of the Watergate Hotel. He's too smart to do a "Rocco".

Mark

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I think it's going to be Emeril, since his last attempt at network TV went so well.     NOT!!

Legend has it that Emeril can only, and I do mean ONLY, do his own improv stuff and wilts completely when handed a script ... hence the disastrous "scripted sitcom" which tanked after 2 or 3 episodes ...

He is at his best with a vehicle like "Emeril Live" .... unfortunately, he does tend to be quite repetitive in those shows but he is, at the very least, personable ....

and, while he might do a show on "building" a new restaurant because it is what he does best, and is currently doing right here in Atlanta, my bet is that he isn't going to fall into NBC's Rocco-pit ... especially with those constant product placement things ... his agent would probably scream a resounding, "Are you crazy? You can't afford to even consider that as an option!" but then who knows? Stranger things have happened ...

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Isn't Thomas Keller already planning to open a place in NY? *That* would make an interesting series.

Sure, if it was done as a documentary film rather than a "reality show."

Egads, it's Sunday again.

/wince

"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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Isn't Thomas Keller already planning to open a place in NY? *That* would make an interesting series.
Sure, if it was done as a documentary film rather than a "reality show."

One of the nicest pieces I have seen was about "The French Laundry" and Chef Keller and it was a segment by Tony Bourdain on "A Cook's Tour" ....

and, from that, I learned a great deal about Keller's concepts and remain, to this day, very anxious to visit TFL when I am in the Bay area. Reality programming could, with a bit of effort, be a little more classy, you realize ...which is what I see on "Into the Fire", for example, with their show on Trio ... but then there are those pushy, insistent sponsors to deal with ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Hi to all! I almost feel like i should apologize for being a newbie and a non-industry person, but i just wanted to throw my 2 cents into the ring. First of all, i just want to say thanks to all for keeping me enormously entertained. this site rocks and this thread is entirely more interesting than watching the actual show. the highlights have definitely been, for me, bourdain's commentary, which has somehow justified the lost hours of my life spent watching The Restaurant. and it's great to hear commentary from the BOH about the behind-the-scenes situations. I'm more sad about the end of the thread than the end of the show.

I wanted to respond to someone's post a few days back (forgive me, i tried to find it again this morning, and i couldn't), which had something to do w/ the general public's opinion of the show and how realistic they found it to be. since i was in my early 20's, i've always had good friends involved in the industry. many of my friends are bartenders and i've dated a few chefs along the way and hearing their stories of what really goes on BOH has always fascinated me. i've got nothing but respect for these people, it's a tough job and more power to the people who have the skill and the stamina to pull it off!! as recently as this summer, i was ready to do an entire career change and enroll in culinary school, but as my pastry chef friend warned me, do you really want to be 34 years old, working 14 hours a day for 7 bucks an hour? i realized this may not be the path i want to take. maybe if i were younger woman...so, this industry holds a certain fascination for me, which i guess gives me a miniscule advantage over people who haven't given much thought to what goes into the food that shows up at your table after you place your order.

i admit, i was REALLY excited to see the show. i had heard good things about Rocco and his culinary abilities, and i was excited to see the behind-the-scenes action in a restaurant of a well-known chef. this also being in conjunction of my second reread of Kitchen Confidential especially peaked my curiosity. unfortunately, my joy was short-lived....

everyone's already touched on the basic flaws, Rocco's bad management style, his unforgiveable unpreparedness, the incompetence of some of the servers, the blatant, obnoxious product placement, etc....but this show, while i still can't look away, fills me w/ dread.

even if Rocco had good intentions going into it, i think this may be an unrecoverable mistake to have allowed cameras into this tragedy. even if he is being more than duly compensated, once the media circus dies down, what's he left w/ (besides union pacific, an assload of money, and a mitsubishi...)? i don't see this restaurant surviving long, or if it does, as anything more than a tourist trap, kind of an expensive TGIF. it seems like to a chef of his caliber, the restaurant would be like a hairshirt on a summer day. i can't see him, at the end of the day feeling very good about himself or the decision he's made to let us into his world in that capacity. and it was especially disheartening to hear from the former BOH who worked there that he was doing virtually none of the cooking.

so i seem to be rambling, but as far as the average joe sitting at home watching the show, i think in larger cities, i.e. new york, chicago etc.., where there are is an abundance of higher quality restaurants and a larger proportion of people who have had more varied dining experiences (or people like me who are friends w/ industry folks), they'll be able to discern between the disaster this show is and a restaurant that is properly or more competently run. unless of course, they've got their heads completely up their asses. but, i would give the larger portion of the non-industry public the benefit of the doubt for taking the show w/ a grain of salt. maybe i'm optimistic.

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Sheesh, it's just a tv show. Is anyone going to remember it next summer?

According to the Aug 4-10 ratings(http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/entertainment/television/6531088.htm), it didn't crack the top 20 nationally and here in the Bay Area was 19th.

Nationally, the reality shows ranked higher were "Big Brother 4" (twice, Tues and Wed), "Fear Factor," "For Love or Money," "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "The Amazing Race" and "Last Comic Standing." Not to mention two pre-season football games.

In the Bay Area, a presumably food-interested market, more people watched the two football games, "Amazing Race," "Big Brother" (Wed), "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "For Love or Money" than "The Restaurant."

I'm too lazy to look up all the ratings week by week, but I don't think this show captured the general public's interest.

I doubt if Rocco has anything to worry about as long as his serious cooking doesn't suffer from his flirtation with media success and pop culture glory.

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In honor of the last episode of The Restaurant, I prepared Mama's Meatballs. A disclaimer: I can't make a recipe exactly as written; there's always some tweaking going on during the preparation. That said, on to the experience that has left me with a touch of post-ironic stress disorder:

I was lucky enough to find a package of a beef/pork/veal "meatball and meatloaf mix" in my local Giant supermarket. I try to avoid veal, for ethical reasons (my only food ethic) but somehow it seemed ok to use something that already had veal mixed in (because I couldn't easily remove it). I felt that the 5 eggs called for in the recipe was far too many and added three instead. I didn't have fresh parsley, so I used dried. And I made my own version of tomato sauce instead of using that of Mama Dispirito. The meat mixture was a gloppy, runny mess that refused to stay spherical in the pan. As I browned them, each ball flattened into a patty-like form, which made for uneven browning. In addition, they were nigh-impossible to turn and keep intact at the same time, because of the high moisture content. I did the best I could, with my husband (our official meatball maker) hovering anxiously over me. I poured my homemade sauce over the mostly-browned and now disintegrating blobs of meat in the saute pan and simmered the mess until it seemed like it should be done.

The cats got curious while I was doing the plating and husband tripped over one, neatly juggling the full pasta bowl in his hands and screaming "get out of here" at the top of his lungs, causing me to drop a meatball and splatter sauce on my shirt.

We rushed the steaming plates to the table and sat down to feast on Mama's Very Chunky Meatsauce and Spaghetti.

Underwhelming, at best. The meatballs were soft, but not in a good way. The taste was ok, but nothing to rave about. My family of non-Italians make much better without using a recipe. In fact, the best Italian-style meatballs I've ever eaten are made by my 100% Polish aunt.

Sorry Mama. Maybe I just didn't use enough love?

Kathy

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

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Kathy (theminx), that sounds just like the TV show.

Rocco would be proud.

"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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In honor of the last episode of The Restaurant, I prepared Mama's Meatballs.  A disclaimer:  I can't make a recipe exactly as written; there's always some tweaking going on during the preparation.  That said, on to the experience that has left me with a touch of post-ironic stress disorder:

I was lucky enough to find a package of a beef/pork/veal "meatball and meatloaf mix" in my local Giant supermarket.  I try to avoid veal, for ethical reasons (my only food ethic) but somehow it seemed ok to use something that already had veal mixed in (because I couldn't easily remove it).  I felt that the 5 eggs called for in the recipe was far too many and added three instead.  I didn't have fresh parsley, so I used dried.  And I made my own version of tomato sauce instead of using that of Mama Dispirito.  The meat mixture was a gloppy, runny mess that refused to stay spherical in the pan.  As I browned them, each ball flattened into a patty-like form, which made for uneven browning.  In addition, they were nigh-impossible to turn and keep intact at the same time, because of the high moisture content.  I did the best I could, with my husband (our official meatball maker) hovering anxiously over me.  I poured my homemade sauce over the mostly-browned and now disintegrating blobs of meat in the saute pan and simmered the mess until it seemed like it should be done.

The cats got curious while I was doing the plating and husband tripped over one, neatly juggling the full pasta bowl in his hands and screaming "get out of here" at the top of his lungs, causing me to drop a meatball and splatter sauce on my shirt.

We rushed the steaming plates to the table and sat down to feast on Mama's Very Chunky Meatsauce and Spaghetti.

Underwhelming, at best.  The meatballs were soft, but not in a good way.  The taste was ok, but nothing to rave about.  My family of non-Italians make much better without using a recipe.  In fact, the best Italian-style meatballs I've ever eaten are made by my 100% Polish aunt.

Sorry Mama.  Maybe I just didn't use enough love?

Not that i'm here to defend a recipe, but if your going to judge shouldn't you follow it?

I don't mean that as a slam it just makes sense

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Sheesh, it's just a tv show.  Is anyone going to remember it next summer? 

According to the Aug 4-10 ratings(http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/entertainment/television/6531088.htm), it didn't crack the top 20 nationally and here in the Bay Area was 19th. 

Nationally, the reality shows ranked higher were "Big Brother 4" (twice, Tues and Wed), "Fear Factor," "For Love or Money," "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "The Amazing Race" and "Last Comic Standing."  Not to mention two pre-season football games.

In the Bay Area, a presumably food-interested market, more people watched the two football games, "Amazing Race," "Big Brother" (Wed), "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "For Love or Money" than "The Restaurant." 

I'm too lazy to look up all the ratings week by week, but I don't think this show captured the general public's interest. 

I doubt if Rocco has anything to worry about as long as his serious cooking doesn't suffer from his flirtation with media success and pop culture glory.

All the other affore mentioned shows had much much better time slots. The Restaurant is on at 10:00 on SUNDAY. As far as the ratings went it was the best in it's slot. With an average of 8 million per show very good on a sunday night. Also if there was no public intrest which there was NBC would not want to do a second season which they do.

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Sheesh, it's just a tv show.  Is anyone going to remember it next summer? 

According to the Aug 4-10 ratings(http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/entertainment/television/6531088.htm), it didn't crack the top 20 nationally and here in the Bay Area was 19th. 

Nationally, the reality shows ranked higher were "Big Brother 4" (twice, Tues and Wed), "Fear Factor," "For Love or Money," "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "The Amazing Race" and "Last Comic Standing."  Not to mention two pre-season football games.

In the Bay Area, a presumably food-interested market, more people watched the two football games, "Amazing Race," "Big Brother" (Wed), "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," "For Love or Money" than "The Restaurant." 

I'm too lazy to look up all the ratings week by week, but I don't think this show captured the general public's interest. 

I doubt if Rocco has anything to worry about as long as his serious cooking doesn't suffer from his flirtation with media success and pop culture glory.

Just outside the top twenty nationally and in the top twenty in urban markets like San Francisco, probably higher in a pretty desirable demo (younger, higher disposable income) and production costs pretty much paid for by advertisers may not make for classic TV, but it does make for pretty desirable summer progamming for a network that is having problems developing new hits.

Bill Russell

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Oh Christ, I'm watching right now. And they're already into the "ooh the new blonde's so hot thing." I feel kind of embarrassed for her... another female's accusing her of being a disturbing presence, and yet the camera's on said blonde almost as much as the Amex crap. Almost.

Oh Chriiiiiiiiiiist, now they gotta table of child stars that Rocco's trying to steal airtime from. Man, it can be fun watching these people fight for the camera, but whooboy.

Oh christ, I'm turning this off. LOL I'm embarrassed!

Edited by laurenmilan (log)

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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This one had to be the worst episode of them all. They wasted a good thirty minutes on the table of women who were watching the schmuck that proposed. The other half of the show was about trystes between the staff. Is this a restaurant or a swing club?

I wonder who paid for the trip to the Hamptons? Maybe Rocco took out another loan from Amex? :laugh:

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Our man Rocco is hiding out n the hills of New Hampshire. I'm thinking a month or so there, a name change, and some plastic surgery- then he can sneak back into NYC. This episode was almost more disturbing then the previous ones.

Is it possible that he can come out of this unscathed in the professional community?

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The Amex ad where Rocco says "staff turnover is high" bugged me. Yes, staff turnover is high in crappy restaurants. I work in a high end restaurant that is included in Relais Chateaux and Traditions et Qualité. We haven't hired a new waiter in 5 years. We haven't hired a new busboy in 4 years. Cooks are differerent, because they take the experience they gather in one or two years and move up. Many things were disturbing about this last episode. I have never in my 33 years of restaurant experience seen a waiter demoted to a dishwasher. I have seen many proposals at work, never with the circus atmosphere that was depicted here. The trip to the Hamptons was suspect. There seem to be tons of employees there. The group that made it out there was small. The most shocking detail was the last minute - Rocco will be back. The Restaurant, Part Deux.

Mark

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This one was the worst yet. All about sex and food - that's orginial. After all the footage they took that's all they could come up with for the final "redemption" show. It didn't work and it made me uncomfortable watching it. Even more than the others.

Wonder how much Amex money they will throw at this sinking ship to keep it afloat another year inorder to prove he'll be part of the 10 percent who make it?

Why did they waste so much time with those not-so-polite table of women?

Oh, and the close up of the slupping noodles after the over dub of the Roc talking about how sexy food is....Gag.

Is the Roc's branding solid enough for round 2?

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Wonder how much Amex money they will throw at this sinking ship to keep it afloat another year inorder to prove he'll be part of the 10 percent who make it?

His ad should be amended to say "90% of restaurants close in the first year. Now we know why."

Why did they waste so much time with those not-so-polite table of women?

Yeah, they were a real class act.

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

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ah, good riddance. pardon my naivete, but do female restaurant patrons really stick their tongues out at waiters? do they stroke the waiters' faces and fondle them? i eat out a lot but, damn... cringe, cringe; turned it off early. thank god it's over. i'll miss this thread but certainly not the show--new lows in "reality tv." and thank you but no, thank you on another season

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

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.....Many things were disturbing about this last episode. I have never in my 33 years of restaurant experience seen a waiter demoted to a dishwasher..

Thank you for confirming the improbability of this. It seemed so odd. And they wonder why they can't keep staff?

Additionally, that scene in the beginning where Uzay sat down at the table really bothered me. That was so unprofessional. If a waiter or captain sat sat down with me at my table I would find it completely off-putting and uncomfortable.

As for the super-precocious kid, it was just waiting for him to grab the waitress's butt. He seemed fresh enough to do it.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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