Turning around a failing restaurant is a daunting challenge under the best of circumstances. Attempting to do it in just two days with only $10,000 may be impossible, but that's exactly what... Read allTurning around a failing restaurant is a daunting challenge under the best of circumstances. Attempting to do it in just two days with only $10,000 may be impossible, but that's exactly what Chef Robert Irvine sets out to do in his new Food Network show, Restaurant Impossible. Ro... Read allTurning around a failing restaurant is a daunting challenge under the best of circumstances. Attempting to do it in just two days with only $10,000 may be impossible, but that's exactly what Chef Robert Irvine sets out to do in his new Food Network show, Restaurant Impossible. Robert will use a little MacGyver and a lot of muscle to rescue these desperate places from ... Read all
We all remember Irvine from his Dinner: Impossible days, and it seems that the Food Network has forgiven any of the lies or exaggerated claims he has made about his credentials (because of course, this is show business, and no one is quite honest about what they have done or are doing now, have they?) and given him this new baby to feed, and it seems to be doing pretty well. In fact, it's one of the more interesting series on the Food Network right now.
Here, there is a little mixture of extreme grossness (cockroaches, rats, ten years worth of molded grease and other forms of nastiness galore), enough sob stories to to keep you mildly endeared to the situations of these mainly clueless, hapless people who think that owning and running a restaurant is just shoveling out plates of food and taking in the dough, but not enough that this become Psychosis: Impossible. Irvine marches into these failing institutions, and proceeds to rip, tear, and shred them down to the very naked bone, but not in a mean, nasty, or condescending way. There is no sense of him pimping the emotional weaknesses and general ignorance of these people just for the kicks, and in the end the results are good, and sometimes quite lovely, even though there is a question of how many of these people will keep up the suggestions and listen to Irvine's critiques and improve their business upon them.
Here, the focus is more or less on the owners and their jaded misconceptions about one of the most-likely-to-fail businesses on the planet than on established restaurants which are crumbling beneath bad management, so on and so forth. Whereas Ramsey will curse, defile, and break down restaurants and their owners, Irvine uses some of the brashness without the snarls, and there have only been a few times when he seems genuinely irritated or upset with these people, which shows quite a bit of patience and sympathy on his part. He knows, better than even the viewers can, that most of these people have generally no idea what they are getting into and have, not surprisingly, gotten themselves into a situation which they cannot escape from. Some are angry, others seems numb, others are stuck in disbelief that their food tastes terrible or that their décor looks like something out of a bad horror movie.
Eventually, after all the tears have dried or facial tissues have proceeded to return to their original shades, the work begins. Over the three seasons, a retinue of different designers have appeared on this show with differing degrees of attractiveness to their work, and the most consistent designers will be seen over-and-over again. The rest of the show is spent reworking the menu and flavors, cleaning up the normally disgusting kitchens, and putting all the feathers back into place. In the end, the results are normally quite attractive, and the reactions of the people can seem a little cheesy at times, but Irvine seems genuinely happy to bring happiness into the lives of these depressed, on-the-edge of the precipice people and their families.
It's a much gentler, family-friendly version of Kitchen Nightmares and much more watchable if you're looking for a decent show to pass time with, not the bitterness-and-bile boot camp where people are degraded and insulted everyone two seconds. As time progresses, I feel this show will get even better, and there is a great chance we can enjoy Irvine and his restaurant escapades for many seasons to come.
- Jun 5, 2012