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'Into the Fire' on the Food Network


tan319
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I just saw this show tonight on FTV. They featured the Cheesecake Factory on tonights episode.

Does anyone know if this is the show that was taping at TRIO a month or two ago.

I think it was a night that e-Gulleteers Rayne and Awbrig were there.

Any info is appreciated!

Thanks.

2317/5000

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Checking on the FoodTV site, they only have three episodes listed so far: Cheesecake Factory (which was on last night); Campanile, Los Angeles; and Bellagio, Las Vegas. Still, it would make sense for the producers of the show to head to Trio, and with the typical season for a show like this running 13 episodes, I'd say the odds are good that we'll be seeing our fellow e-Gullet posters soon (wave to the camera!).

I was fairly impressed with the show, given what it was trying to be and do. It fits in the catagory of "food journalism," same as Tony's Cook's Tour (which means that Tony can call himself a journalist instead of a TV personality now). It lacked the personal perspective that his show has, and the editing was frenzied in the Cheesecake episode, but the show gave some idea of what the Cheesecake chain is like from the perspective of those who work there. For example, most television viewers would not of heard of an "expiditor" before, never realizing that a kitchen needs someone to coordinate the cooks. The process of product development was also featured, something about which the average viewer probably hasn't given much thought.

All and all, I was impressed enough to want to see more episodes. I would have preferred a show that is less rushed and with more depth than the half-hour was able to give. Still, it treated me, the viewer, as a reasonably intelligent adult (as opposed to the repetitive schoolroom-simpleton attitude Unwrapped projects), respected it's subject matter, and shows promise.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Thanks for the info.

I thought the cheesecake factory show was pretty interesting.

The R&D stuff was pretty interesting and some of the food looked pretty decent, although the portions were so huge you have to wonder how much food ends up in the garbage.

2317/5000

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Yes, this the show that will feature Trio. They were filming it when I went earlier this year.

THERE you go!!!

Thanks so much for the info.

Can't wait for this. The format of the show should let us see quite a bit of how they do it there.

2317/5000

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Hmm, I have to admit I was really disappointed in "Into the Fire." I was hoping for the hard hitting, behind the scenes look at a top-end restaurant. This was not it. The Cheesecake Factory show was a powder puff PR vehicle, sometimes known in the PR biz as a "blowjob piece."

Of course, most restaurants wouldn't agree to a show like that unless they had some input and control, but this was ridiculous. Nobody in the weeds, all the waiters & waitress were perfect, serving only smiling customers who were way too overjoyed with the whole experience, no bad dishes or returns and the owner & marketing weasel ladling out corporate jingoism by the bucketload. Ick.

Now, I don't expect a "60 Minutes" type of expose, but a little realism and a lot less corporate-philosophy-from-on-high would have made the show much more enjoyable.

Chad

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I don't think any restaurant is going to be agreeing to be torn up on national tv.

Maybe if Bourdain was producing the show...

I think the TRIO show might show some grit.

The Cheesecake Factory is sort of the epitome of a corporate restaurant, don't you think?

I was surprised they were on there but it kind of enlightened me as to how things are done on that side of the fence.Maybe it will give us some perspective.

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I don't think any restaurant is going to be agreeing to be torn up on national tv.

Maybe if Bourdain was producing the show...

No, no restaurant owner or chef would agree to be torn up, but the kitchen is a hot, fast-paced, loud environment. We didn't see any of that, just an antiseptic view interlaced with marketing drivel.

A good, or more aptly, confident chef or owner could turn problems to his or her advantage. Show the kitchen as it really is, what the pace is like, the adreneline rush of a busy service. Show a mistake or two -- BUT show how the chef catches errors (even minor ones), handles quality control, reworks dishes on the fly to make sure that the meal is perfect.

Better TV, more realistic view of the restaurant and the chef becomes a hero just by showing that there are always problems, but the best places fix them in a way that is never apparent to the diner.

And, yeah, I'd love to see Bourdain producing the show . . . "Shouldn't you be doing something?"

Chad

Edited by Chad (log)

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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They probably thought they were giving us some of that drama with the shot's of the expediters 'freaking' about "needing that cheeseburger on the fly and dry! Now please?"

Maybe it was a subversive view point. I thought it was amusing when that waiter went up to that atble to get a drink order and they had 4 waters. He must have been pissed.

They did order dessert though. 2 of them featured Oreos and one featured Hersheys, I think.

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Come to think of it, almost all of the kitchen footage was from the expiditor's station, and not in among the chefs. But, thinking again, I'm not sure I'd want to have camera wranglers in the kitchen during a rush, where they would no doubt get in the way of the kitchen personell turning around while holding hot pans and getting sloshed with the contents. The equipment could get damaged that way, as could the chefs. Oh, and maybe the shooting crew, too.

I wouldn't expect a chef or owner to have the slightest worthwhile idea about how to use a shoot to his/her advantage. That's not their job, and it's not what they've been trained to do. Leave the film production to the film crew, and pray something decent gets shot in the process. In fact, if a chef or owner did decide to take over a shoot, the end results would probably resemble America's Funniest Home Videos more than anything else, but without the laughs. (I admit, even Spielberg had to start somewhere, as his earliest home movies have proven, but I don't think a professional kitchen is the safest place to start.)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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I wouldn't expect a chef or owner to have the slightest worthwhile idea about how to use a shoot to his/her advantage.  That's not their job, and it's not what they've been trained to do.

I would guess that an outfit like Cheescake factory would have people on payroll that are trained to handle that sort of thing.

Bill Russell

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Tonights episode featuring the Bellagio was really interesting.

A lot more 'real' action.

Julian Seranno's 'Piccaso' looked good. Ditto Le Cirque.

Made working at a hotel almost look cool.

BTW, does anyone have an idea how much line cooks make at a Vegas restaurant?

The likes of an 'Piccaso,etc.?

Think it would be more then average?

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Looking over FoodTV.com, I found the following episodes scheduled for the next month:

July 25th - Campanile

August 1st - Commander's Palace

August 8th - Greenbriar

August 15th - Trio

At the very least, the series is trying to highlight a variety of restaurants with a range of styles.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Tonights episode featuring the Bellagio was really interesting.

Tan, any covergae of Jean Philippe Maury, exec. pastry chef at the Bellagio? I'd be curious to see how such an operation (dozens of cooks in the pastry shop alone) cranks it out, and what a televsion program of this sort might portray...

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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What coverage of pastry at Bellagio was overwhelmed by the more general coverage of the quantities of food served at the buffets. Quality, even at specifically featured restaurants such as Le Cirque or Picasso, was swamped by the numbers. How the lobster was served at those two restaurants (among twelve at the hotel) was passed over to instead show how the overall umbrella of food service at Bellagio covered when one of the restaurants ran out of lobster mid-rush. Wine, particularly the high-end bottles, became a rattling of dates in quick edits, the sheer volume more impressive than the items themselves. While the chefs were quick to praise their environment for being supportive to them, I got little impression as to what was being served and why I should want to go to Las Vegas.

Personally, I had hoped that the second show would focus on a particular chef with particular ideas on how a restaurant can be run, rather than a second episode in a row showing food as a die-cut mass production. This episode, and the series in general, would have been better served if it had been broadcast later in the run.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Hi, Michael.

Not much shown about the pastry dept. unfortunately.

Except for showing the massive amount of stuff on the buffet and talking about how many brulees get sold a day, it was pretty much ignored.

Swoodywhite:

Know what you mean about the show being about volume and stuff, but I think we're getting closer.

I think Campinile and Trio are going to be interesting shows.

I think it's the best new show on FTV, which I hardly watch, anymore.

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The Campanile episode was much more on track for what this series can do. Extensive interviews with Mark Peel about how he feels about his restaurant, plus footage of Peel in action. The section about Peel devising the night's menu was particularly effective, if short, giving a good idea of why the chef of this particular kitchen is the boss, followed by his briefing the front staff on the night's menu. This is the sort of thing many diners don't consider to be part of their dining experience. Good interview work with some of his kitchen staff as well. The interview and work footage with the maitre'd was also good, giving a clear idea of what kind of impact large parties can have on a restaurant, and how the front and back of the house have to work together while their duties are clearly separate. Keeping the focus on one particular Friday night's service also helped the organization of the episode.

What this series can be capable of was better represented by this episode than those previously shown. Now, having shown how a top-rank restaurant operates, the series can concentrate on other more specialized areas. The upcoming episode on Trio should be even more interesting now, since Peel and company did the groundwork and the Trio episode can now concentrate on the invention that takes place in the kitchen. I would also be interested in an episode following a server and a line cook during the course of one night, showing the parellels between the front and back of the house from the perspective of those who aren't at the top of the hierarchy.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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Personally, I'm happy to see any new programming on the Food Network, period. It amazes me that, with the level of current interest in food and restaurants, the network seems hell bent on driving away as many of its viewers as it can.

Another two-year-old episode of Unwrapped, anyone?

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

-- Albert Ellis

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I have not yet seen any of the episodes of "into the fire" although I have them all on tape. But, I can tell you that the crew that filmed the series are good at what they do. They were very professional, passionate and shared a vision of what they wanted to express in each episode of the series. Those of you that have had the opportunity to view it in its entirety I encourage you to anylize the segments for the image that they portray. It is my understanding that they had objectives to expose in each segment. Although the nitty gritty may not be seen in each episode I feel a true expression of a vision will be witnessed in each viewing.

The crew taped in Trio for 4 days straight. from the minute I unlocked the door in the morning until I locked it at night they were there. The focus of the Trio episode should be "creation". They filmed us in our thinktank meetings after service, interviewed nearly each staff member, spent endless hours talking to me about my food philosophy and even captured a candid initiation of a new extern at Trio. We have a ritual with new externs, I don't want to spoil it, but its pretty funny..

Overall they shot 64 + hours of film to be condensed into 23 minutes! I am confident they will represent Trio as it should be. I have not seen a prereleased copy, I will actually see it after all of you, as I will be in the shits when it hits airwaves in the middle of a busy service. But I will look forward to watching it Monday.

--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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Thank-you, Chef Achatz! Your faith in the filmmakers is encouraging, indeed.

Your comment "that they had objectives to expose in each segment" dovetails with the episode order given at FoodTV.com. I'm not referring to the order in which they're being shown (which I listed earlier), but in which the filmmakers intended them to be shown, which turns out to be quite different. The intended order apparently was:

Campanile

Cheesecake Factory

Commander's Palace

Bellagio

Greenbriar

Trio.

I can't help but wonder if the FoodTV suits actually watched the episodes, or discussed the reasoning of the order with the filmmakers. If they had, they would have understood why the Campanile episode is logically the first, followed by the more industrial Cheesecake Factory and so on, culminating with the Trio episode. At least they are keeping your episode (presumably and traditionally "the best") for last.

On a more personal note, I'm glad my partner and I won't be moving from the left coast to the right until after the series concludes; missing that final episode would be vexing, to say the least!

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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