Given the utter state of despair in the movie theaters currently, I've turned to both food and the Food Network to console the disillusionment I feel when I see utter, utter shite like The Tourist. And for the most part, it soothes my soul.
Restaurant: Impossible is essentially the same as Fox's Kitchen Nightmares but with the drama turned down. The idea is that British super-chef (they're always British, no?) Robert Irvine has 48 hours and $10,000 to fix business train-wrecks that are on the verge of blowing up.
Robert Irvine is an ex-military guy apparently, so he treats it like an army operation. His barking of orders and rejection of failure are somehow endearing on TV though probably annoying as hell if you have to work with him. In between cooking up some tasty looking dishes, Robert also goes to the gym quite often and doesn't miss an opportunity to show off his arms. I really can't place his accent either.
It's quite sad to see the state of many of these eateries, where the owners are essentially at the end of their ropes, having invested their money, homes and families on something that's really not working. Fans of Kitchen Nightmares will find themselves in familiar territory, since most of the ones so far have the usual combination of:
Overly complicated menus
For me the fun part is to see the redesign process, which they completely gloss over on the Fox version - some of the designers have some very smart ideas on the tiny budget. Irvine holds them over the flame to get the rebuilds finished on time and while I'm sure there's some TV editing to increase the stress, it looks genuinely down to the wire.
If you know anybody who's thinking of quitting their six-figure job for the "freedom" of owning a restaurant, be humane and tie them to a chair and make them watch this season first.
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About the reviewer
James Beswick (jbeswick)
Lunch.com's "token Brit".
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