America's Next Great Restaurant, Episode 3: Wok & Whoa
Here's Bob Swank's Episode 3 recap of American's Next Great Restaurant. Now we're all caught up.
Johnny Carson golfswing!
Last week grilled cheese operation Meltworks was the crowd favorite and has immunity. “I can make a 100,000 wraps Fran” was eliminated for telling Chipotle founder Steve Ells that his opinions were wrong and that people do like dry over-cooked chicken. She was strapped into her Delorean wrap and sent back to 1993.
Most reality shows have a catchphrase that they use when someone is eliminated: You’re fired; Please pack your knives and go; etc. ANGR’s is the ultra-lame, “I’m sorry, Smedley, we will not be investing in your restaurant.” Awkwardly polite for a vulgarian like Bobby Flay.
I guess we are supposed to think that marble-gargling Bobby from da Block is now a respectable entrepreneur who doesn’t try to humiliate people in bogus chef contests or jump on his cutting board when victorious.
I think something more gritty would work like, “Grab yourself by the collar and take out the trash. Your sauce is weak!” Too strong?
Bobby Flay – Bona fide high-end faux Mexican / jerk
Steve Ells – Bona fide business genius of high concept, lowbrow faux Mexican.
Lorena Garcia – Real Latina / shoe-horned TV chef / chimichurri Barbie
Curtis Stone – Kangaroo Ken doll / haircut in search of celebrity
Know Your Investors
Who is Curtis Stone and why should we care? Oh, he was on Celebrity Apprentice 3. Yeah, but why was he on that? Oh, because he was one of People magazine’s sexiest men alive (2006), newcomer category. Yeah, but why? He apprenticed with Marco Pierre White in London. So? Oh, he had a show on TLC between 2006 and 2008, Take Home Chef, where he picks up hot babes in the lonely food section of supermarkets (Lean Cuisine, anyone?) and weasels his way back to her home so he can put Barbie on his, er, shrimp.
He is a manufactured celebrity who was sold as a soft-core porn stalker. Creepy.
Sandra Digiovanni, Kansas City, LIMBO - Sublime Diner & Paradise Lost Lounge
Joseph Galluzzi, NYC, Saucy Balls
Fran Harris, Dallas, The Sports Wrap
Sudhir Kandula , NYC, The Tiffin Box ("Indian Chipotle")
Stephenie Park, Chicago, ComplEat: Fixed-calorie fast food meals in busy metropolitan areas
Eric Powell, Nashville, Meltworks
Alex Terranova, Marina Del Rey, CA, Hard N Soft Tacos
Gregory Westcott/Krystal Seymour, Los Angeles, Hicks
Jamawn J. Woods, Detroit, W3: Woods' Wings and Waffles
Marisa Zafran, NYC, Wok
I like Indian Chipotle. Too bad no one came up with Mexican Chipotle ... zing!
I’ve Got a Beef with Your Meat
A lot of this competition has to do with perceived leadership, energy, commitment, and, ugh, character. Wrappin’ Fran got in the initial ten because the judges were gaga for her enthusiasm for a terrible concept. Then her obstinance turned the judges against her and they couldn’t dump her fast enough.
Today’s challenge is an idiotic test: Have completely untrained mostly non-restaurant people take over one of Steve Ells’ 1084 Chipotle stores for lunch. What could go wrong?
You Say Chipolte, I Say Chipotle
In reality-show logic, the best way to test your ability to operate three restaurants serving Southern Indian coastal cuisine is to ... serve chips and guacamole at a Chipotle lunch rush. Because this is how you test TV character.
I need to make fun of Steve Ells and Chipotle more. This is basically an hour long commercial for Chipotle. He reminds me of Pepe the King Prawn from the Muppets minus the funny.
A friend of mine watched this episode and said that no one here has the fire in the belly that it takes to start a restaurant. I agree. So future restaurateurs, here is your chance to show your leadership potential by slopping out faux burritos and taking someone’s minimum wage job for a day. ¡Olé!
They turn a Chipotle over to the ten contestants while the the pre-fab four investron judges watch their performance on TV in the kitchen.
Ells: “Notice there are no smiles on their faces”. Destroy them!
Sudhir is hiding in the kitchen avoiding the “line”. The line is the assembly line in front. There is no cooking happening at Chipotle.
Super-anal gringo dweeb is offended by Jamawn’s “on the field” let’s go team verbalizing. All good for a Baptist church, all bad for a fake Mexican Subway and its all white clientele. Apparently they only like his enthusiasm when it is in the appropriate environment. (Yeah, I’m saying that.)
Ells looks like he’s having a stroke.
“Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, baby”. White guy with sunglasses on receding forehead complains to white girl at register that he finds the black guy’s “yelling” unseemly. “There is not a lot a yelling at Chipotle.” Indeed. ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!
Jamawn given a ten yard penalty for being black in the white loading and unloading zone. Can you imagine if they had an actual Mexican working there? Dios mio!
Marisa is warming tortillas on a cold unplugged tortilla warmer.
I’m starting to believe that most of these gastronards aren’t qualified to eat in restaurants, let alone run one.
A Saucy Ball Is Saucy Ball Is a Saucy Ball – What’s In a Name?
Saucy Balls and Meltworks were the most popular names among the people at Citywalk. The judges seem to hate them, but they get to keep their names, ruining Flay’s new operation Bobby’s Melty Ball Sauce Works.
It is strongly suggested that all others change their names. The last person who rejected a strong suggestion is back in Dallas in her WNBA uniform staring into the mirror saying, “I’m tall enough, my wraps are awesome enough, and gosh darnit, I’m tall enough!” Don’t be a Fran-Don’t, be a Fran-Do!
Philosophy of the Whirled
They also have to come up with a mission statement or slogan that represents their “philosophy”. For example, Chipotle’s is something like “Fast food for people with Mexican maids.” Something like that. Then they need to come up with a new dish that reflects their “philosophy”.
I’m not good at branding, but that won’t stop me from mocking some heinous attempts by others.
Melt outside the box.
Were not reinventing the wheel, just making it better.
Love is in the balls.
Feel Grandma’s love.
W3 – Wood’s Wings & Waffles
After a big hit with gumbo he broadens his scope to soul food and renames it Soul Daddy. Daddy like. Judges loves this guy’s food. It’s a Cinderfella story! Watching uber-gringo dweeb Steve Ells praise and define “soul food” is amusing.
Hicks – They eat, breathe and dream BBQ. Flay suggests grilling instead, because it’s quicker. That totally negates their concept, but like the good SoCal flat-liners that they are, they go along with Flay’s groin-kick re-tooling.
This di-gnomic duo seems barely able to pack a bong, let alone get behind a restaurant concept. If I were to give their ever-changing concept a name it would Wevs. New name: Grill’Billies
The Tiffin Box – They suggest booting the Swedish chef. Good concept, great recipes, ridonkulous chef. Sudhir (who the judges like to call Sudsy) calls his chef in the middle of the night and fires him. Swedish chef not so bork-bork happy. I’m pretty sure he could make some snap decisions if Sophie needs to make some child-rearing choices.
ComplEat – Flay: “We need to start inserting flavors and ingredients ...” That’s all? Magic 8 Ball says... All signs point to DOOM. Flay hates the name. Stephenie decides to ignore Flay and “stick to her guns”, because people said Chipotle was a stupid name. Oh, Magic 8 Ball says ... your name sucks and you have no concept other than “I hate my fat body” and here’s some calorie-controlled nursing home food. DOOM! (BTW she is thin.)
“I’m not sure what they mean by flavor profiles.” DOOM!
Wok – Marisa thinks that tofu is the answer to her flavorless dreck. If tofu is the answer, what the hell is the question? DOOM! Judges feel that she doesn’t know anything about stir-fry or food or flavor or technique or the difference between hot and cold. Double DOOM! Uh oh, her wok is on fire. She stares at it helplessly. Wok away. Triple DOOM!
Hard and Soft Tacos – Now Revolution Tacos. Asian-inspired tacos today. Glossy Aussie says, “The problem is his tacos are disgusting!” That would be a problem, mate.
Limbo – They like the concept but haven’t had any good food yet. She serves meatloaf and turkey meatloaf. Heaven would be anything but this crap. The name needs to be changed, because everybody knows limbo is nowhere. Heaven is reserved for Top Chef winners and Hell is for Marisa of Wok who puts sauce on the side!
Saucy Balls – Conspicuously absent. Something good must be coming. Without you, Saucy Balls, this show is dead. Show us your new balls. Slogan: Italian Home Cooking Fresh & Fast. Lame.
America’s top marketing geniuses judge the new names, concepts, slogan and food. Yeah, right.
Marisa’s Wok turns out the equivalent of leftover unspiced Chinese food to the judges. (that's a bad thing? -- RG) Crocodile Undie thinks the concept is solid but thinks that Marisa doesn’t understand stir-fry. You know, that really complicated cooking technique mastered by 5 year old Thai toddlers on river rafts.
Stephenie tried to sell people on how awesome portion control is. Why not just smack them in the face and scream, “Fattie, fattie, hate your daddy!”? If I wanted to wallow in the self-loathing of my body dysmorphic disorder, I would stay home and eat rice cakes, listen to Barbra Streisand, and eat Hot Pockets in my wedding dress. Zoloft Pockets!
Customer: “I see ComplEat. Conscious. Modern. Fresh. But I don’t get a sense of delicious.” Durrrr. Her whole concept seems to be based on the abnegation of pleasure.
All but sexy beast Steve Ells call themselves “restauranteurs”. Aside from the fact that glossy Aussie tosser Curtis Stone doesn’t have a restaurant, they all pronounce the word wrong. It is restaurateur.
Judgment Day Although I skewer everybody, the judges cut someone every week. There are so many people who should go. Almost nobody is making edible food.
This week the concept that got the most votes from the yearning churning gastro-masses was Detroit’s own Soul Daddy (previously W3).
In the loser list are Grystle, Marisa and Stephenie. (Hillbilly/SoCal grillin’, wok food for people with ageusia, and portion-controlled nursing home food).
Adios Marisa.I’m sorry. Are you crying? Well, put your damned tears on the side! For trying to promote sauce on the side as a “healthy” life choice you should be sent to the bowels of Hades with Hugh Jackman and Pol Pot.
In my mind there are two great personalities: Joey Saucy Balls and Motor City Dad. The best concept is Sudsy’s (Sudhir. Sudsy? Really?). I would love to get the spices of India without the gut busting belly bomb that is Indian food. Same with Thai. My greatest sorrows are that we still have no moving sidewalks, jetpacks, or delivered Thai food in Baltimore.
Contestant names, Home City, Current Concept Names and Slogans
Sandra Digiovanni, Kansas City,
Joseph Galluzzi, NYC, Saucy Balls, Italian Home Cooking Fresh & Fast.
Sudhir Kandula , NYC,
Stephenie Park, Chicago,
Eric Powell, Nashville, Meltworks – Artisanal Ingredients [barf]
Alex Terranova, Marina Del Rey, CA, Hard N Soft Tacos, Revolution Tacos – explore. discover. indulge.
Gregory Westcott/Krystal Seymour, Los Angeles, Hicks, Grill’Billies – Be the Sauce [no thanks], Urban grill with Southern attitude.
Jamawn J. Woods, Detroit,