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"The Restaurant" Reality Show Season 2


Gustatorian
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Mags, only my first sentence was directed at you and was meant to second your remark.

I'm sure you know enough not to confuse the two kinds of reports and my thought was directed at some here who may not know the difference. Maybe I should have posted two separate posts instead of two separate paragraphs.

Anyway, apologies and regards,

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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The Smoking Gun posted Chodorow's federal indictment.

Edit: the last several pages are the DOT memo urging the revocation of Braniff's certificate to operate as an airline. I had to laugh when they got to the descriptions of the mismanagement. According to the Inspector General's office: "Senior management had little control over day to day operations". Seems like Rocco's not doing anything Chodorow hasn't done himself :hmmm:

Edited by Blondie (log)

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

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I'm looking into my magic ball. Crystal ball, you might call it. I'm seeing the future of Drew the intern...

Three weeks from now, he's sitting around his apartment wondering why "the bad boy intern" from NBC isn't getting invites to the A-List parties.

Six months from now, he's in a bar desperately trying to remind a girl "I was the intern on that Restaurant show. You know, Rocco. That reality show with Rocco? Remember?"

Six years from now, he's finished with college and done a tour of duty managing a HoJos in Knoxville, Tennessee. He's decided he's got enough juevos to come back to NYC. He's in a job interview... "Yes, that was me on that Restaurant show, but I was just a kid. That was a long time ago. Okay, thanks for your time."

But seriously folks, it occurred to me just now, why would someone shrewd like Choderow put such an unknown and potentially troublesome element into an already volatile situation? Think he'll check his references more closely in the future?

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HI.. I'm really surprised by how many people don't like Rocco..maybe you all have seen too much of him..too many interviews..tv appearances..etc..I hadn't heard anything about him since the last season of The Restaurant...I like him..sure he gets annoying but who doesn't :biggrin: I loved the way he handled Drew. You'll have to forgive my ignorance but I have only been in the industry for about a year now..what's wrong with Rocco schmoozing?...shouldn't the kitchen run just fine without him? If he did the menu development..set up the kitchen..hired a head chef..shouldn't he be able to do the pr?..give the people what they want. If his fans will travel major distances to eat his food and want a pic with him..what's the harm. I mean it's not like he hasn't proven himself as a cook. I personally would love the show to have more kitchen scenes...I love the line "I told you NO fires" Reality tv or not..this is still tv..there is so much we don't know or see..I find it very entertaining..and there is finally something to watch on Monday nights! Hey you guys are great I've love reading the posts. Looking forward to your opinions! Thanks. Bev

p.s. the one thing that all (3 lol) the restaurants I've worked in have in common is bad management. Only 1 is still there a year later.

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Was just thinking about costs, and what amazes me is the number of people in the front for a place that is supposed to be "fun" dining and not "fine" dining. Can't claim to have seen the menu prices, but unless he's charging $40 for a plate of mamma's meatballs the place is hilariously overstaffed. On floor, it seems that there is always Laurent, the floor manager, table captains, table waitors, food runners, and busboys. Add in at least 2 bartenders and a bar manager for a bar that is not all that busy and at least 1 hostess at all times. We've never seen a sommelier, but I'm sure they've got 3 or 4 tucked away somewhere.

Until, the addition of the Italian guy, at least the kitchen looked somewhat reasonably staffed.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Thanks Uzay, although I'm not positive we are talking about the same girl. The girl tonight, who was kind of a lousy server was fairly new, right? But there's been another girl on for several episodes, who the editing at least suggests doesn't do much except serve Chodorow's crowd and easedrop, and then report back to the rest of the FOH staff. She doesn't seem malicious or anything, but they've rarely shown her doing anything except gossiping. You may not be in a position to talk about this, but I'm wondering if she was ASKED to do that by the producers of the show.

That would be Carrie. Who is actually very nice, but man once the cameras start to roll she turns into Shirley Temple and hams it up. Did whatever the producers wanted her to do. She's actually really funny and quite smart, but you probably won't see that on TV. Same for you, Uzay :) Cheers

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HI.. I'm really surprised by how many people don't like Rocco..maybe you all have seen too much of him..too many interviews..tv appearances..etc..I hadn't heard anything about him since the last season of The Restaurant...I like him..sure he gets annoying but who doesn't :biggrin: I loved the way he handled Drew. You'll have to forgive my ignorance but I have only been in the industry for about a year now..what's wrong with Rocco schmoozing?...shouldn't the kitchen run just fine without him? If he did the menu development..set up the kitchen..hired a head chef..shouldn't he be able to do the pr?..give the people what they want. If his fans will travel major distances to eat his food and want a pic with him..what's the harm. I mean it's not like he hasn't proven himself as a cook. I personally would love the show to have more kitchen scenes...I love the line "I told you NO fires" Reality tv or not..this is still tv..there is so much we don't know or see..I find it very entertaining..and there is finally something to watch on Monday nights! Hey you guys are great I've love reading the posts. Looking forward to your opinions! Thanks. Bev

p.s. the one thing that all (3 lol) the restaurants I've worked in have in common is bad management. Only 1 is still there a year later.

Hey! Welcome to eGullet.

I'm not in the resto business, but I have followed the threads from last season as well and I think the reason Rocco has stirred such contempt and disrespect from his peers is that the image he has chosen to project is one of laziness, irresponsibility, which, considering the play he gets in the media, is something of a blow to others in the industry. A chef of such considerable celebrity (and talent, I hear) could make wonderful use of the media exposure he gets, not only for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the industry as a whole. Instead, he has chosen to make himself look like an incompetent ass on national television. And the question asked frequently on this thread is "why?".

As for the schmoozing, you have a point. I think it's cool for a chef to talk to customers. The feedback is to their benefit, and ultimately the diners'. But in Rocco's case, he was schmoozing back in season 1 before the kitchen staff knew which way was up. And even as things in the kitchen were spiralling out of control, he was still up front groping the ladies. Meanwhile, the table beside heim gets cold meatballs.... I also think there's a line to be drawn between schmoozing and just being a pig. Frankly if Rocco in his current unwashed state sidled up next to me during a meal, I'd talk to the manager.

Yes, the kitchen could an should run just fine without him, if the team is properly trained, etc.... But that wasn't the case, so there was a meltdown.

He may have proven himself as a cook in the past, but first time diners at Roccos wouldn't give a damn how good he was last year. They want good food now, and it doesn't seem they are getting it.

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Was just thinking about costs, and what amazes me is the number of people in the front for a place that is supposed to be "fun" dining and not "fine" dining. Can't claim to have seen the menu prices, but unless he's charging $40 for a plate of mamma's meatballs the place is hilariously overstaffed. On floor, it seems that there is always Laurent, the floor manager, table captains, table waitors, food runners, and busboys. Add in at least 2 bartenders and a bar manager for a bar that is not all that busy and at least 1 hostess at all times. We've never seen a sommelier, but I'm sure they've got 3 or 4 tucked away somewhere.

Until, the addition of the Italian guy, at least the kitchen looked somewhat reasonably staffed.

The explanation is that NBC insisted that most of those people be there 6 nights a week for filming. It's TV, remember? NBC brought in the bimbos and the duffuses and imposed them upon the restaurant, including the male bimbo bartender. They were not hired by the restaurant, but the restaurant had to pay them, and they diluted the tip pool in a ridiculous way. And for the record, the place was mad busy before the cameras came, the team was working pretty well and most of the service and food problems were ironed out. For 3 weeks, NBC threw a spanner in the works and it became a retarded zoo again. Damn shame.

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The explanation is that NBC insisted that most of those people be there 6 nights a week for filming. It's TV, remember? NBC brought in the bimbos and the duffuses and imposed them upon the restaurant, including the male bimbo bartender. They were not hired by the restaurant, but the restaurant had to pay them, and they diluted the tip pool in a ridiculous way.

I had wondered why the place always seemed to have more staff than customers.

I feel for you on the tip pool. :smile:

But I still wonder about the staffing structure. An extra waitor or bartender or two doesn't impact payroll nearly as much as having a more highly salaried series of manager-types around.

My point was really that the "fine dining" structure of the FOH staff requires not just crowds, but also really large $$$ checks. Hence, I wonder about the prices being charged.

Working from the assumption that the place is really losing as much money as the TV show makes it seem, I'm sure that this is only one of several cost factors that is out of whack.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Additionally, I was wondering why Choderow hadn't written into the contract that Rocco would spend X amount of time at the restaurant. And then I thought, well, maybe he didn't include it in the contract because he assumed that Rocco knew what it meant to run a business. But if Rocco DIDN"T know -- and sorry this is getting so convoluted -- then this whole thing may just be a case of expectations that were insufficiently spelled out, on both sides.

You make a great point. As we were watching the conversation between Rocco and Choderow, Blovie (who is a lawyer) turned to me and said he would love to see their contractbecause he had a feeling it was poorly drafted.

(Yoohoo, Smoking Gun? :laugh:)

"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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Here is the menu with prices.

"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.

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

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Additionally, I was wondering why Choderow hadn't written into the contract that Rocco would spend X amount of time at the restaurant.  And then I thought, well, maybe he didn't include it in the contract because he assumed that Rocco knew what it meant to run a business.  But if Rocco DIDN"T know -- and sorry this is getting so convoluted -- then this whole thing may just be a case of expectations that were insufficiently spelled out, on both sides.

You make a great point. As we were watching the conversation between Rocco and Choderow, Blovie (who is a lawyer) turned to me and said he would love to see their contractbecause he had a feeling it was poorly drafted.

(Yoohoo, Smoking Gun? :laugh:)

Right here. :smile: As TrishCT said, according to Rocco's complaint the operating agreement was never signed.

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

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Thanks. Paragraph 108 is particularly enlightening.

"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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Here is the menu with prices.

Thanks Jinmyo.

With prices like that, they better be turning at least five times a night to meet the expenses. Another disconnect with good business that makes me wonder about the principals here.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Here is the menu with prices.

No wonder he doesn’t want to be there… If I had to crank out that kind of slop I might also spend my time dodging the kitchen.

I know he wanted to make the sort of food he grew up with in Queens, but that menu is tired… very, very tired.

It is in huge contrast with the menu at Union Pacific http://www.unionpacificrestaurant.com/

...although I hear he isn’t spending much time there either…

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Here is the menu with prices.

Wow. That's kind of shocking. It's like the ItaliaLand ride at Disney World. What's the point of it? Is there a need for diSpirito to be there to supervise that menu? I think it's worse that he'd put his name on the awning than the fact that he's never there.

I'm late to the show so excuse me if this has all been discussed to death.

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Well, this may be nitpicking, but Rocco could NOT have told Chodorow "that Mark Burnett, the creative force behind several phenomenally successful reality television shows, including Survivor and The Apprentice, would be producer of the show", because The Apprentice didn't exist yet. :biggrin: Pick, pick, pick. It's just sloppy hyperbole, I know, but it's annoying.

Paragraph 118 is funny. It blames the tourists and fameseekers. You know... the same ones Rocco spent so much time schmoozing with in Series 1.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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It is in huge contrast with the menu at Union Pacific http://www.unionpacificrestaurant.com/

We can't really compare both establishments. Sure, he is the chef at both, but they have very different concepts. And this is the funny part, Union Pacific is his high class establishment, which should bring him less money, especially in NYC (This is why Boloud has Restaurant Daniel, catering, DB Bistro and Cafe Boloud: Daniel is just not profitable enough) and the money should be comming from Rocco's, which, btw, is exactly the kind of restaurant he wanted to open.

Wow. That's kind of shocking. It's like the ItaliaLand ride at Disney World. What's the point of it? Is there a need for diSpirito to be there to supervise that menu?

You're right, with that menu the kitchen should run without him actually being in there (if anything he should spend most of his time at Union Pacific) However, if the kitchen a mess, then he better be there to make the necessary adjustments. After all, like somebody else said, he's the boss and therefore he's expected to lead the team.

That would be Carrie. Who is actually very nice, but man once the cameras start to roll she turns into Shirley Temple and hams it up. Did whatever the producers wanted her to do. She's actually really funny and quite smart, but you probably won't see that on TV

Then maybe you should introduce me :wink::laugh: I happen to think she's beautiful, and I was dissapointed to see the way she was behaving! Good for her!

Follow me @chefcgarcia

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One aspect of all this that continues to amaze me is that some of us aren't grasping the whole MADE FOR TELEVISION aspect of all this. Just like that plug for Rocco on a daytime soap in the middle of a show about him not being at the restaurant. I know he volunteered for this embarassment but still, to assume that it represents anything close to the complete picture means one cannot separate the images on the screen of your tv and real life. Perhaps Rocco needs Marshall McCluhan as a consultant or better yet, Jacques Derrida or Jean Baudrillard. (on the subject of TV Baudrillard once said "you are everywhere and nowhere at the same time".

Again, not to be a wet towel, like I said before, I love watching it too, but in all it's cartoony, over the top simulacrum kinda way. And to think that Rocco got to be the owner and chef of any NYC three star restaurant by acting the way he does on the show, then you have little idea of what an accomplishment that is.

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

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Well you know Tim, for those of us who didn’t toil alongside Rocco and soak up his former magnificence, it looks like this guy spends more time scratching his ass, pouting, complaining and flirting with the ladies than running a restaurant with his name on the awning. Worse, though, is that he seems ready and willing to perpetuate this image week in week out. If integrity were the name of his game, why would he let this train wreck go on? Does he care? Is he in it for the money or the celebrity? There hasn't been one second on that show where Rocco comes off like a seasoned pro -- not one.

Cooks may rule, but this cook’s looking less and less like a chef and more and more like a sell out.

sorry forgot to quote this in my last response and while I have the opportunity to give an example, in my 12 hours a day at work, I probably spend 20 minutes total taking a smoke break or going to the bathroom.

Rocco's show runs about 47 minutes or so, what if they did a show on my life and chose to only show me smoking while they splice in cooks spitting in the food (not that they would ever do that, right guys?) ? NBC chooses to portray everyone on the show for the maximum amount of drama so they can sell soap and help GE build weapons of mass destruction.

Edited by tim olivett (log)

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

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I know he volunteered for this embarassment

When you volunteer, you do it free of charge, no?

At least he's getting paid to look like an ass. :hmmm:

And considering how hard it is to make it to the three-star level in NYC, I respect him even less for destroying his hard-earned repuation so quickly.

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Tim, I don't think it's necessary to explain to people here the concept that this show is on, and made for TV. And there is also an opposing concept--that editing can leave things out, but has trouble constructing things (in other words, if we see Rocco yelling at someone... it happened... although the reasons WHY may be obscured somewhat by editing).

Is the show reality? Of course not. Even if every moment shown was accurate, there's still the basic fact that the people involved are playing for the cameras. On the other hand, the mere fact that something is in front of a camera doesn't make it false either. The fact that there's a lawsuit? It's real life. The fact that the food in the Restaurant reportedly is nothing special--that the "description" of it as a "one-star red-sauce joint" may not be inaccurate--that's real life. The fact that Rocco is rarely there? The reasons or rationale may be bent by editing, but it's real. The dollars and cents of the "loss" the restaurant is supposedly having? Well, it's hard to verify it now, but I imagine if there is a day in court someone will have to show something real at some point.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Hey! Welcome to eGullet.

I'm not in the resto business, but I have followed the threads from last season as well and I think the reason Rocco has stirred such contempt and disrespect from his peers is that the image he has chosen to project is one of laziness, irresponsibility, which, considering the play he gets in the media, is something of a blow to others in the industry. A chef of such considerable celebrity (and talent, I hear) could make wonderful use of the media exposure he gets, not only for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the industry as a whole. Instead, he has chosen to make himself look like an incompetent ass on national television. And the question asked frequently on this thread is "why?".

Hey thanks for the welcome jersey13! Great points! Boy I miss a lot working nightshifts..wasn't aware there was a widespread distain for Rocco in the industry. I agree he should use this opportunity to promote the biz..not make it look like it is run by incompetents. But I'm sure that wouldn't be as dramatic! I guess it's true...people only care about what's on their plate today. Reputation doesn't sate the stomach! :smile:

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