Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Jan 11, 2007 08:50 AM

Igor From Restaurant Makeover [Moved from Ontario board]

I really am amused by Igor from the T.V. show restaurant makeover on the food network. I know this isn't really that much of a regular chowhound topic. I think he is the real show star. Does anybody know any other restaurants he's done other than the ones from restaurant makeover?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I agree that he is the star of the show. That said, I've heard some really nasty comments about the (i.e., his) workmanship.

    I don't know how they choose their designers, but a couple of them are breathtakingly inept. These are the situations where Igor really shines.

    1 Reply
    1. re: embee

      I don't often feel like strangling people, but some of those designers...

      ...not to mention some of the chefs.

      I still cringe when I recall one particular episode in which one of the designers and Lynn Crawford are sitting at a table in a restaurant, ridiculing the owners (in front of, and behind, their backs) for their reluctance to plunk over what to them was a huge sum of money. This segment was actually run, much to my chagrin, over and over again in a commercial for the show.

      And don't get me started on David Adjey. Ugh!

      As for Igor, he used to be kind of humourous. Now it all seems so scripted.

    2. I hate the way he always gives the women designers such a hard time, but the male designers seem to get a free pass. I just want to slap him. Anyhooooo it's funny how he's always eating or drinking or something.

      1. The most annoying chef of them all on Restaurant Makevover is Lynn Crawford. Typically in each RM episode that she appears, she insults the chefs that she suppose to be helping at the beginning(although she's not the only chef on RM to do it). A handicap for the show IMO, is that all the makevoers & all the chefs & designers they use are in Toronto. I wish they would spread around for a national program.

        26 Replies
        1. re: BLM

          Well, Lynn Crawford is no longer in Toronto. Four Seasons feels she's ready for New York. Her food there will probably be more interesting than it was here. I'd rate Adjey as the most obnoxious, but I'll also admit that some of the cooks/chefs need a sound kick in the rear.

          1. re: embee

            Any of the expert designers and/or chefs on Restaurant Makeover you do like?

          2. re: BLM

            I have always liked Lynn Crawford and respected how far she has gone in this male dominated industry. I think her cooking style is great but...

            What the hell was she doing making tuna steaks in the chicken wing restaurant. She was grilling up ahi tuna that was at least a $30 portion in any decent restaurant at some bar / diner. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant.

            And BTW, Igor is sexy in some bizzare way.

            1. re: Mila

              and that is the basic problem with the premise of this show. most of the chefs seem to ignore the basic bottom like of the restaurant business, especially the difficulties of making money from a mom and pop type of place. most of the restaurants simply cannot afford the kinds of expensive ingredients the celebrity chefs often recommend for their new menu while keeping the prices the same. this is why most of the made over restaurants revert back to much of their original menu, and lose the dishes that were showcased on the show. i think the actual physical makeover has had a more substantial impact on drawing new clientele or bringing back old ones than the revamping of menus.

              1. re: Kasia

                I actually think the chefs do a great job with the bottom line. Most of the restaurants featured on the show have the kiss of death: A menu that is too large. A large menu means very, very high food carrying costs.

                The first thing most of the chefs do is pare down the menu so that they can get back to profitability by reducing said food costs. That in itself probably saves the restaurants from bankruptcy, never mind the new menu items.

                As for Lynn Crawford, if she was in Calgary, she'd be either the #1 or #2 chef in town instantly.

              2. re: Mila

                My nephew worked with Lynn Crawford in her kitchen. Let's just say that politics and talent are on a 50-50 level when it comes to advancing in that company, like any large company. Although I think it can be said here that it was sometimes an issue with her team being left to hold the fort while she was constantly promoting herself and the hotel. I guess that goes with the job. Those are the perks of working for the same company for 20 years.
                My nephew enjoys working at the Four Seasons and says the training is excellent.

                1. re: Mila

                  I have a huge crush on Igor . I would love to party with him he seems like he would be a lot of fun .

                  1. re: Mila

                    I dunno Mila, when I was in the States last year (Mind you west coast: Was, Ore,Cali and NY also come to think of it), Seared Ahi Tuna was on like every casual restaurant and bar menu. It seems to be the calamari of the 00's.

                  2. re: BLM

                    It's the one show on FN I do watch. So they moved it to make way for Giada's cutting edge never seen before food/travle show.

                    1. re: Withnail42

                      You're talking about the Food Network in the US, or Food Network Canada? Restaurant Makeover is also seen on the Food Network in the US, & Giada just started a new show on the Food Network in the US(doesn't air on FNC).

                    2. re: BLM


                      Clearly you’re not from Toronto. Which is a good thing. Because if you were you’d know that Toronto revolves around it’s self. If it happens in Toronto it’s national issue.

                      1. re: Withnail42

                        For a national show(airs across North America for that matter), all the restaurant makeovers shouldn't be done from one city. If it was a Montreal-based program, I wouldn't want all the makeovers be done in Montreal.

                        1. re: BLM

                          I agree. I offten find things in Canada too Toronto centered.

                          1. re: Withnail42

                            I want to clarify things once & for all. It was nothing against Toronto. National show should mean, they should do makeover projects beyond one city. I would feel the same way, if it was a NYC-based program.

                            1. re: BLM

                              They get funding from the Ontario gov't. That's probably why they stay in Ontario.

                              1. re: Shazam

                                Going from memory only, "Opening Soon" television program is also funded by the Ontario government, but they cover restaurant openings in different parts of North America. And it also airs across North America(Fine Living Network in the US).

                                1. re: Shazam

                                  They have done episodes outside of Toronto. I don't know where they get funding from or how much funding they get from any one entity, It isn't that unusual for something to get funding from, say, Ontario AND Quebec or even Ontario and Chicago.

                                  They did one makeover at a Niagara Falls tourist trap, where they were trying to convince the "chef" that everything didn't need to come from a can or the freezer. There have been others where I coundn't ID the location from the streetscape and they didn't say anything. (I never was motivated to look up the places in question.) But do remember that travel costs can be very high and are often subsidized by turning a food show into more of a travel show (which can net some subsidy cash.)

                                  1. re: embee

                                    Yes, they have done several episodes outside of GTA(Greater Toronto Area), but within Ontario.

                                    1. re: BLM

                                      They have done episodes of restaurant openings in Halifax (Bish), PEI (Dayboat, Lobster on the Wharf) and St John, N.B. (Opera Bistro), to name but a few from "outside the GTA" AND outside of Ontario.

                                      1. re: troutpoint

                                        Those were for the show Opening Soon (there have also been shows in the states, everywhere from New Orleans to Seattle to New York, while Restaurant Makeover is more confined to restaurants around the GTA and within three hours of Toronto. I assume it's more taxing to get the chefs, designers and construction crews all around the country (and most of them have day jobs too).

                                          1. re: Blueicus

                                            I'm saying Restaurant Makeover should use a different crew(if they were in another city). Yes it's much more expensive to shoot beyond Toronto & they would need a new crew. Just do at least a couple of episodes in another major city per year(for a national program). I'm not saying go to a different city each year(when going beyond GTA). Just establish another base beyond one city. If their second base was in Vancouver for example, they could shoot several episodes per season in Vancouver & have a flexibility to shoot a episode in Calgary(if they had an interest from a restaurateur in Calgary). That would open restaurant makevovers from the show beyond Ontario.

                                    2. re: Shazam

                                      BTW, I noticed that the 'Chef at Large' program gets funding from the Nova Scotia government, & almost all of their episodes takes place outside of NS. It seems that 'Chef at Large' has ended its run(not producing anymore new episodes).

                                2. re: BLM

                                  I believe it is a funding issue. Opening soon started in Canada but now has a US co-producer. I've been watching it for a number of years, they used to do mostly small-scale resturants in Canada but now covers lots of the heavy-weights in NYC.

                                  Restaurant Makeover, by all accounts, has a very, very small budget, so they need to keep everything within driving distance in order for the crew to go home at night. Canadian makeover shows nickel and dime the people that appear on them.

                                  1. re: cookiebaker

                                    Restaurant Makeover gets lots of donated products for their restaurant makeovers, does those products get included with the budget? This season of Restaurant Makevoer has a maximum of $40,000(Canadian) for the makevovers(restaurant owner would put in $20,000 & Restaurant Makevover matches it). If the donated products are included in the budget, then it's not costing Restaurant Makeover that much.

                                3. re: Withnail42

                                  The reason why the show is shot it Toronto is for production cost. Cost is the main reason why some companies can shoot all around the country (ie Chef at Large) and some can only shoot in Toronto (ie Restaurant Makeover). It doesn't just come down finding a good restaurant to fix, there are many other veriables invovled. Some of these include, and are not limited to, a crew must be found to do the construction and a crew must be found to shoot the episode, if they can't be found their crew must be brought in and accomodated. New crews may not be able to be found who suit the show (ie personalities). The production company has probably figured (after much deliberation) it is more efficient and effective for them to shoot only in Toronto. I don't think it's the whole "Torontonians think they're the center of Canada issue". Even though we sometimes do. Where a show like Chef at Large must be able to be maneuverable (it's the premise of the show), something like Restaurant Makeover can get it's point across by shooting in one local area. In the end the company making this show is trying to do what every business tries to do, make a product and be profitable from it.

                              2. agreed- adjey is the MOST obnoxious. massimo is my fave, he is just so jolly on the show.

                                1. Yes, I knew Lynn "don't you ever dare call me a babe" Crawford is not in Toronto anymore(she moved to be head chef at Four Seasons NYC recently, her second stint there, but first time as head chef). She competed on Iron Chef America in November, & the episode should air on Food Network Canada very soon(before it airs on the Food Network in the US).

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: BLM

                                    (off the Igor topic again) Yes, I heard Chef Lynn and her girlfriends were going to take on Bobby Flay! Can't wait to see that one!!