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Jun 17, 2007 10:41 AM

$40 Dollar a Day show

Does anybody know how they make shows like this? I know they make it look like Rachel Ray just waltzes in and sits down but I know it can't work like that. Do they shut down the entire restaurant while they film? Are the other people in the restaurant or bar just plants?

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  1. i've worked in restaurants that often had tv crews in them. it's a royal p-i-t-a because no, we didn't shut down. much coordinating goes into pre-taping. but lighting and long cables are all over the place and you're open for regular service. a segment that airs for a few minutes may take several hours to shoot.

    guests may or may not be willing to sign the release and may walk out rather than dine. but most are thrilled to think they may be on tv.

    1. I was at the taping for the Saratoga Springs one. We were all plants. We were invited by the chef/owner to come up for it. He knew about it at least a month in advance. I don't know if that's always the case, but it was for this place.

      Personally, I don't like the show. In the ones I've seen, rather than find good cheap holes in the wall or street food, she goes to a moderately upscale place, and orders the cheapest thing. Or so it seems, but I've only watched it a couple of times.

      6 Replies
      1. re: cheesemonger

        Thanks for both of your insights into this! No, not exactly my favorite show either but I know we aren't supposed to pick on tv show hosts around here. I just LOVE Rachel Ray (ahem.) Anyway, the tips she leaves the wait staff do make me laugh. Hopefully the publicity the restaurant gets makes up for all the trouble.

        1. re: Velma

          I've been wondering if there's a viable way to complain about her crappy tipping! Drives me up a wall!

          1. re: ctscorp

            I'm fairly certain that she tips better than what they show (which is exacly 15%), and that her meals are often free. They just keep things cheap so she sticks to that budget.

            I was in Asheville recently and heard a couple locals recommend Tupelo Honey saying "That's where Rachael Ray eats when she's in town." The tourists went there immediately and when we drove by, there was a line down the sidewalk.

            1. re: mojoeater

              I figured she probably threw the staff some extra cash, but what frustrates me is the impression she makes... people watch and think it's okay to tip 75 cents just because your meal was $4.99. (I mean, that's 15 percent, right?) Especially as she's such a heroine to so many people.

              1. re: mojoeater

                Re: the tips, she doesn't. My mom's friend waited on her on an episode and she said Rachel and the whole crew ate and the tip was crappy.

            2. re: Velma

              I know if I owned a restaurant, Rachel would be welcome anytime of the day or night. I've been to several of her recs and enjoyed them all.

          2. I read somewhere that it actually takes 2-3 days of going into restaurants and then they edit it down to 3 restaurants and a snack or dessert. No, they do not empty the restaurant for her. She goes in at off hours sometimes so the restaurant looks emptier. Also she picks emptier rooms if there are any. Also, she doesn't finish the dishes - she takes a bite or two and then gives the rest to her crew. If she doesn't like the food at all, she mainly talks about the decor to make it sound wonderful. She doesn't want to get places in trouble if their food is awful. She tries to be as nice as possible. That is what I was told by one of the producers that worked with her on several shows.

            3 Replies
            1. re: RisaG

              I have always wondered about that show. I know it had to be edited quite a bit because not everything can be as perfect as she makes it out to be. If anyone is interested Mad TV did a sketch of her show that pokes fun at her lousy tipping and heavy drinking. Its on YouTube.

              1. re: LARaven

                Heavy drinking? They never show her having more than one or two drinks. If that's heavy drinking, I'm in trouble!

                1. re: mojoeater

                  well not "heavy" but she does usually have a drink or two in every show so they exaggerated on that part.

            2. in an interview a few years ago, anthony bourdain refers to $40 a day as "happy horseshit". hehehehe.

              5 Replies
              1. re: celfie

                Bourdain has the best food and travel show today. Moreover, if anyone should know "happy horseshit" when they see it , it would be him. Who could forget Tony in Namibia eating the “worst meal of [his] life,” as he put it. "Ashes, dirt and crap in every bite" of his meal of warthog rectum. Also, I bet he spends far more than $40 a day for his meals. His medical bills alone from the Namibia show continued for weeks.....

                1. re: JeetJet

                  I, too, love Bourdain's show. But it isn't exactly a guide I can or would follow. I will probably never visit most of the places he features, whereas RR, Giada, Guy and even Alton's travels are mostly within the US (and Europe).

                  1. re: mojoeater

                    bourdain is not about going to the places he goes to - his shows are about seeking out the real deal instead of the glossy, safe hollywood versions of 'place'. he's about being adventurous and not being scared. i am amazed that people just want to go to places theyve seen on tv! TV IS NOT REAL!

                    1. re: celfie

                      Of course it's not real. And going somewhere just becasue you saw it on TV is silly. But if you are going to a place AND it has been featured on some show or another, you can get some ideas. A combination of TV and internet (like this site) can provide a wealth of options and opportunities.

                  2. re: JeetJet

                    I bet he spends far less than $40 a day. Alcohol not included. He's always getting street food or visiting a little mom and pop place that's so far off the beaten path the only people who know about it are the local locals.


                2. Worst show ever. I'll give you the synopsis of every episode.

                  Rachel Ray walks into restaurant wearing horrible outfit that shows up her belly and hides her boobs...generally with some sort of giant belt buckle, making her look more like a man than a woman. She orders "house specialty" very gleefully.
                  RR gets meal. Takes bite. Ponders bite. Responds with bright, wide eyes and says something like "MMMmm That is delicious. I can really taste the <insert special ingredient here>"

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: eternalX

                    I agree the show is bad. I would edit your "Takes bite. Ponders bite." It is more like, Ray holds fork upside-down in the wrong hand to show she is cool, takes bite, slowly turns nose up and away from the Camera lens, ponders bite while slowly chewing and with a studied expression on her face -- eyes slightly closing. then her eyes open wide....

                    I will add, however, that I have followed her tracks in several cities and I have been happy with the food most of the time.

                    1. re: JeetJet

                      What about her orgasmic facial expressions. It's sickening. She can't possibly love everything as much as she seems to.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        Even the theme music and lyrics are happy horseshit.

                    2. re: eternalX

                      don't forget how she tries to endear herself to the locals and seems to creep them out everytime - the absolute worst example of this was the belgium $40 a day where she is sitting at a communal table with some americans who keep their back to her as she talks