HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Dinner Impossible New Host

AMFM Apr 21, 2008 01:44 PM

So Michael Symon (who I happen to love for his personality and food - he's AMAZING to the Cleveland community where I used to live) is apparently taking over. And they're going to 60 minutes.
Have to say I hope his restaurants don't suffer since they are fab - but he has great chefs with him there and on the show so I'd bet...

But I'll watch! :)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. TrishUntrapped RE: AMFM Apr 21, 2008 03:06 PM

    I must say...that's a darn good choice. I'll watch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TrishUntrapped
      Miss Needle RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 21, 2008 03:06 PM

      I agree. I watched a couple of episodes of Irvine but didn't like it at all. I'll give this one a try.

    2. Phaedrus RE: AMFM Apr 21, 2008 03:32 PM

      The question is: will FN make Symon roid up for the show?

      1. goodhealthgourmet RE: AMFM Apr 21, 2008 06:17 PM

        right ON! i was just thinking during ICA last night that symon doesn't get nearly enough airtime.

        2 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          LindaWhit RE: goodhealthgourmet Apr 21, 2008 07:40 PM

          AND it looks like he's going to be a guest judge on TFN's next go-round of The Next Food Network Star, according to this link from another thread:


          1. re: LindaWhit
            AMFM RE: LindaWhit Apr 22, 2008 09:47 AM

            i DO worry that MS will become overexposed or a caricature when he is so wonderful But a one time guest judge on The Next Food Network Star (where they've usually brought in one "personality" an episode) doesn't sound like too much there. I think they've all been on in one way or another.

            I hope it's TFN making steps up since Michael is so dedicated and passionate not the other way around.

        2. y
          yankeefan RE: AMFM Apr 21, 2008 06:32 PM

          Interesting, I do like Symon but seems like a weird fit. I do hope it works, it will be interesting nonetheless.

          Did they just have enough of Irvine I wonder? He was a little annoying to me but I really liked the concept of the show so always watched. Hope Symon works out. He and Jamie Oliver are two new quality folks on FN.

          3 Replies
          1. re: yankeefan
            beelzebozo RE: yankeefan Apr 21, 2008 06:39 PM

            irvine apparently lied about some of his credentials, leading to food network summarily dismissing him post-season 2.

            1. re: beelzebozo
              careyanned RE: beelzebozo Apr 21, 2008 06:50 PM

              I heard he lied about Princess Diana and Charles' wedding cake. It's a shame that FN was so quick to dismiss him, he was a great personality and I loved DI. I love Symon as well, so I hope he continues to make DI a fun and entertaining show.

              1. re: careyanned
                LindaWhit RE: careyanned Apr 21, 2008 07:42 PM

                It wasn't the only thing Irvine lied about. Search back a bit for a thread devoted to the subject and you'll see it (his lies) extended to being knighted by the Queen (he wasn't) and many other things.

          2. stellamystar RE: AMFM Apr 21, 2008 06:51 PM

            I love Michael Symon - I wish he was on Iron Chef more. He'll be great on Dinner Impossible.

            1. j
              jlafler RE: AMFM Apr 21, 2008 08:26 PM

              So Symon has made the leap from respected chef to overextended media personality. I don't find that much of a cause for celebration.

              10 Replies
              1. re: jlafler
                TrishUntrapped RE: jlafler Apr 22, 2008 03:49 AM

                Then you probably don't like Tony Bourdain or other food personalities. To each his/her own.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped
                  Phaedrus RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 22, 2008 05:04 AM

                  Different case as far as Bourdain is concerned. He is no longer cooking, he has been a travel and food writer for at least the last five years. Symon is still running restaurants and kitchens as well as doing all this other stuff. The point here is that we have seen what the FN touch has done for and to Mario, Emeril, Bobby Flay, etc. and the overexposure is tiresome. There is a saturation point with any host. I am a huge Alton Brown fan, and I limit my watching to Good Eats and his Eating on Asphalt series, I try not to watch Iron Chef because he is far too obsequious on that show.

                  1. re: Phaedrus
                    jlafler RE: Phaedrus Apr 22, 2008 08:14 AM


                    1. re: Phaedrus
                      applehome RE: Phaedrus Apr 23, 2008 01:13 PM

                      That's Feasting on Asphalt...

                      The question is whether the person continues to be a chef. I think that AB (which one... Bourdain) actually felt guilty about not being a "real" chef any more, which is why he did this last episode. Bourdain is now a writer and TV personality, and even though he proved that he still had the chops, he is no longer a chef.

                      The other AB (Brown) never actually was a chef - at least one that had a renowned exec position. In fact, his goal through culinary school was to become a media producer/maker in the culinary area, so his ascent into TV personalityhood is exactly as he planned - he never wanted to be an exec and never gave up being a chef to stoke his tv career.

                      Symon's ascent into TV personalityhood doesn't have to mean that he will stop being a chef. Plenty of personalities have maintained their role as execs, including Mario, Emeril, Flay, Collicchio, and Bayless. Each splits their time differently, but they all still have their hands in the pot to some extent. Many have returned to their chef positions after the spotlight moved on, like the two hot tamales (Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger) who still run several places in LA and LV.

                      1. re: applehome
                        Ericandblueboy RE: applehome Aug 20, 2008 10:29 AM

                        When was Bourdain ever really a good chef? He gained his fame by writing, not by cooking, no?

                        1. re: Ericandblueboy
                          applehome RE: Ericandblueboy Aug 20, 2008 11:15 AM

                          No. Nearly 30 years as a hard-working, hard-playing chef, culminating in being an exec for years at Les Halles, french bistro in NYC. You need to read Kitchen Confidential, his very first non-fiction book, which brought him fame (and fortune) and got him out of the kitchen. It's like the bible of chef-dom. (Or the irreverent black sheep version.) You also need to watch his season closer form last season, in which he takes his buddy Eric Ripert (exec of Les Bernadin - most definitely NOT a Bistro) to Les Halles to work on the line for a night. He still had enough chops to last the night, (Ripert was even better), but definitely agreed that it was a young man's job.

                          Not saying that Bourdain was necessarily a great chef - but he was a good, working chef. (I have eaten at both Les Halles many times, during and after Bourdain, and always thought the food to be very good for what it was.)

                          As far as Symon - we'll just have to wait and see. How much will he stay in the kitchen at Lola and other places in Cleveland? With both ICA and DI running, he may just decide that he's a media man and leave the restaurants to his minions. But that's the way it is - not just in cooking but other businesses that train and develop skill and talent. You develop staff and then what? With no room at the top, they go outside your organization, they may even become competitors. That's why Mario (and Joe Bastianich), as well as others like Colicchio and even Ramsey keep creating new restaurants - to make room at the top for their best "graduates". Maybe Symon is ok with moving on to the media side because he knows that the people he trained at his restaurants are going to keep doing a great job.

                    2. re: TrishUntrapped
                      jlafler RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 22, 2008 08:11 AM

                      As it happens, I don't like Bourdain, though that dates back to before he was a media personality -- it was pretty much instant dislike when I read one of his early New Yorker articles (that were later published as Kitchen Confidential) in the late 90s. But that's beside the point.

                      I like some food personalities. In fact, I like what I've seen of Michael Symon. I might even watch Dinner Impossible. But if he's doing Iron Chef *and* Dinner Impossible *and* Next Food Network Star, that starts to suggest that his career is taking a turn away from cooking and toward performing, and from his reputation as a chef, I'd say that's a shame.

                      1. re: jlafler
                        TrishUntrapped RE: jlafler Apr 22, 2008 11:25 AM

                        I wouldn't worry about it.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped
                          jlafler RE: TrishUntrapped Apr 22, 2008 11:54 AM

                          I'm not. Just discussing -- I thought that was the point of Chowhound.

                    3. re: jlafler
                      yankeefan RE: jlafler Apr 22, 2008 08:58 AM

                      Thanks for bringing a lot of insight to the conversation.

                      Anyone that is on two shows is overextended? I like the fact that we get to enjoy them on these shows. no harm, no foul.

                      Ill watch Alton, to Phaedrus's point, on anything he gets put on. I find him outstandingly entertaining and he is not giving up on restaurants for these gigs. Sure beats another RR show. But again, thats me.

                    4. m
                      mack184 RE: AMFM Apr 22, 2008 05:02 AM

                      This is the 2nd time that FN has wound up having to "eat" their mistakes. There was the young man in FNStar that had come up with a bogus resume, and now Irvine. I did like Irvine, although I didn't watch the show very much. It's apparent on this board that people seem to like Chef Symon. I do not, I think John Besh should have won..but hey, everybody doesn't like something

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mack184
                        Saddleoflamb RE: mack184 Apr 22, 2008 08:35 AM

                        Besh was robbed.....but in the long run that might be a good thing for him....I find it a little sad watching Emeril still going through his stick after having been pulled from Live/prime time...the over exposure that FN perpetuates....to my mind ...eventually dilutes the charm and uniqueness of these personalities to the point we are able to parrot the hackneyed soundbites before they leave their mouths.......this in no way suggests that shows like AB's Good Eats, Feasting on Asphalt, Bobby Flay's Throwdown......etc , aren't entertaining......

                      2. Gio RE: AMFM Apr 22, 2008 08:27 AM

                        Michael Symon has been around the TV screen for a Very long time. He was one of the hosts of the original Melting Pot cooking show, which I actually miss seeing.
                        I think he's a good choice to host the DI show.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Gio
                          Saddleoflamb RE: Gio Apr 22, 2008 09:04 AM

                          He is engaging and comes across as both passionate and sincere......I just hope I don't get sick of his laugh....

                          1. re: Saddleoflamb
                            sommrluv RE: Saddleoflamb Apr 22, 2008 11:28 AM


                            My hubby liked watched Irvine, all the same, and liked the concept of the show.

                            Unfortunately, we think Symon is annoying, and IC is one of our favorite shows, and we can't watch his episodes.

                            We like to call him "Not-Besh".

                            I'm sure he's a fabulous person and chef. But he has a laugh like a hyena.

                            1. re: Saddleoflamb
                              Gio RE: Saddleoflamb Apr 22, 2008 11:39 AM

                              Well there IS that.... And, he laughs often. Don't they have to go to a TV coach before they begin a show? I think I read that somewhere.

                          2. f
                            FlaHopper RE: AMFM Apr 22, 2008 12:55 PM

                            One of my first thoughts after hearing that Michael Symon would take over on Dinner Impossible was what impact all of these Food Network commitments would have on his Cleveland restaurants. But considering that Flay's, Batali's and Lagasee's restaurant empires grew during their time on the network, the move might work out well for Symon.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: FlaHopper
                              Kajikit RE: FlaHopper Apr 23, 2008 06:04 AM

                              I'm glad... I like the show and I like MIchael Symon too. It will be good to see him as a regular on a show instead of popping up on Iron Chef once every three months!

                              1. re: FlaHopper
                                KenWritez RE: FlaHopper Apr 28, 2008 10:10 PM

                                Symon could also be tired of 80+ hr brutal work weeks and willing to scale back his cheffing in order to earn some coin and have a life. As you age, there comes a point in lots of careers when you say, "I love what I do but it's killing me."

                                Let the man take his break, sit in the sun, and see what happens.

                                1. re: FlaHopper
                                  GDFLS RE: FlaHopper May 6, 2008 10:58 AM

                                  I like Chef Symon a lot, he is fun to watch and I like what he cooks. I look forward to seeing him in a new series.

                                  However, I do wonder if a chef becomes overexposed, not so much as a TV personality, as turning themselves into a ‘brand’ i.e. opening restaurant after restaurant. Just my personal feeling, but when a chef opens up restaurants in NYC, Orlando, LV, LA and so forth, there is no way you can devote time to each to make sure the vision stays true.

                                  Take Ming Tsai, he stays pretty active on TV, books, cookware, pod casts, yet devotes himself to his one restaurant to focus on what he wants it to be.

                                  Not that one way is better than the other, just seems that there is a trend to high end celebrity chef 'franchises'. I guess it has to be working on some level right? Or else they wouldn’t be able to afford doing it.

                                  1. re: GDFLS
                                    KenWritez RE: GDFLS May 6, 2008 11:40 AM

                                    Opening multiple sites, designing one's own line of knives, cookware, spices, oils, t-shirts and other paraphernalia, consulting, tv show appearances, multiple tv show hostings, et al are all methods of increasing the "brand awareness" of the chef and thus his or her income. IMHO the chef becomes a commodity. In Michael Ruhlman's book, "Reach of a Chef," Thomas Keller recounts his multiple restaurants and all his many business ventures, then says, "I'm no longer a chef. And that breaks my heart."

                                    Ming Tsai is doing what I would do, limiting himself to one restaurant, but he won't earn the *serious* money seen by the likes of Emeril, Thomas Keller, Rick Bayless, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, et al. These people are pulling down (I'm guessing) millions of dollars annually through all their businesses.

                                    I don't blame anyone for going after a secure retirement and chasing their dream. Yet again IMHO achieving that dream via "commodity branding" is a Faustian bargain.

                                    The chefs have to be CEOs now. "I'm no longer a chef and it breaks my heart." Indeed.

                                    1. re: KenWritez
                                      GDFLS RE: KenWritez May 6, 2008 12:22 PM

                                      You typed the words right off my keyboard, LOL, Emeril, Flay, and the like are more CEOs of their brands rather than Chefs.

                                      It is a shame, but like you, I can't begrudge them making money. I guess it is sad to think that money now becomes the focus rather than being called "Chef"

                                2. h
                                  HarryK RE: AMFM Apr 23, 2008 10:58 AM

                                  I like Michael Symon a lot. I think he's an excellent chef and a fantastic Iron Chef.

                                  However ...

                                  There is a big difference between a) making meals in a restaurant ... b) making five gourmet meals in 45 minutes and c) making 8000 entrees for 3,000 diners in 4 hours with half a stove working as on Dinner: Impossible.

                                  In other words, MS is awesome. But how awesome? Restaurant chef, yes. Iron chef - and amazing accomplishment - yes. But can he also be Superman Caterer Guy too?

                                  Think about it. That is a totally different skill set! Can one man have it all?

                                  I hope he does well, but I'm thinking maybe he's taken on too much then he can chew. Remember how on Top Chef -- and on The Next Iron Chef -- how making something that needs to be heated up later killed contestants left and right. Well that's something even a basic caterer must know about .... again, let alone a Dinner: Impossible host/chef who has to make multiple tens of thousands of these seperate dinner items and keep them warm and have them served perfectly.

                                  So, as said, I sincerely hope MS does well, but does he or can he suddenly acquire that skill set too? Guess we'll see.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: HarryK
                                    Minger RE: HarryK Apr 29, 2008 08:34 AM

                                    I have to agree that cooking volume is a different and not trivial to pick up skill set. I suspect the missions will be scaled down with Symon as the host and be rendered "impossible" in other ways.

                                    1. re: Minger
                                      Phaedrus RE: Minger Apr 29, 2008 10:21 AM

                                      Like forcing him to shave his soul patch, or to cook without cackling?

                                      1. re: Phaedrus
                                        AMFM RE: Phaedrus Apr 29, 2008 03:48 PM

                                        funny. i bet he couldn't do it - it'd be like asking me to talk with my hands tied behind my back! :)

                                  2. h
                                    Heyteacher RE: AMFM May 4, 2008 12:30 PM

                                    Wow, that's surprising that he would sign on though they do have similarities in personality....I still the original host even though he lied but I will watch the new show to see how it compares.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Heyteacher
                                      careyanned RE: Heyteacher May 29, 2008 08:03 PM

                                      With all this conversation, I'm getting excited as to just how FN will utilize MS on Mission Impossible. Anyone know when he is going to debut???

                                      1. re: careyanned
                                        AMFM RE: careyanned May 29, 2008 09:07 PM

                                        it says september...

                                    2. d
                                      DKMYHEART RE: AMFM Jul 23, 2008 11:18 PM

                                      Watching that show was a waste of my time. Symon was dry and boring beyond belief. I would rather chew a mouth full of corn starch then watch him again! RIP Dinner Impossible.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: DKMYHEART
                                        Mild Bill RE: DKMYHEART Jul 24, 2008 05:40 PM

                                        ---- corn starch....

                                      2. b
                                        Bunson RE: AMFM Jul 27, 2008 10:52 PM

                                        The sneak preview was a mixed bag for me. I thought the actual show was interesting, well shot and the food looked great (bacon covered by a chocolate waterfall...I must have that), but the one thing that absolutely kills the show is Michael Symon's monotone drab narration in the editing room. It lacks Robert Irvine's enthusiasm, it seems that Symon would rather be watching the grass grow than do the narration. Dinner Impossible is one of the few shows left on Food Network that I watch, so I hope he gets more comfortable as he gets a couple more under his belt.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Bunson
                                          applehome RE: Bunson Jul 29, 2008 01:16 PM

                                          One could argue that the food can now speak for itself, whereas before, Irvine's monotonous food had to be amped by hyper-narration so it might generate a modicum of interest.

                                        2. a
                                          AMFM RE: AMFM Aug 20, 2008 07:36 AM

                                          So the premiere is aparently tonight at 10 pm (an alcatraz episode) followed by a rerun of the boardwalk episode. i think an iron chef of his is on at 9 first if you're a super fan. i'll be debating between project runway and the olympics at that point!
                                          anyway if you're actually in cleveland one of his jonathan sawyer at bar cento is recreating the dinner.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: AMFM
                                            AMFM RE: AMFM Aug 20, 2008 08:44 PM

                                            So I really liked this one too. Silly/fun but focused on excellent food. I thought the vegetarian comments were hilarious.

                                            1. re: AMFM
                                              applehome RE: AMFM Aug 21, 2008 10:24 AM

                                              Yep - very entertaining, showed a good amount of detail on the food being made. I only watched a couple of Irvine's show, but always thought there was a great deal of compromise and shortcuts to his process. The baked yakitori just killed me. I don't get that from Symon - just well thought out, fun (soap cake napoleons) and delicious cooking. It's a level above Irvine's stuff.

                                              But... where's Tim? These two chefs (who are now credited) also wore the Lola shirts... but no Tim to kick around and call names? Maybe one show was all he could take.

                                              1. re: applehome
                                                AMFM RE: applehome Aug 21, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                Jonathan Sawyer is one - he's a great chef on his own now in cleveland but started with Symon. He had a dinner at his restaurant Bar Cento to recreate the meal last night for a viewing party.

                                                edit: oh realized i mentioned that before.

                                            2. re: AMFM
                                              LindaWhit RE: AMFM Aug 21, 2008 10:55 AM

                                              I had never seen the boardwalk show, and I really enjoyed it and the interaction he had with the local vendors (a lot of whom helped out). And the Alcatraz one was fun to watch - loved the idea of using the replica tin cups for the risotto and the "soap napoleons". The half hour format makes for a very crazed show tho - perhaps that's the point - show how hard it is to pull it off.

                                            3. m
                                              melly RE: AMFM Aug 22, 2008 01:46 PM

                                              I love Symon but I don't think this dinner impossible is as good as the Irvine one. I watched last night and they don't show how he made some of the entrees. Irvine turned out to be a liar, but I was entertained by him on that show.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: melly
                                                applehome RE: melly Aug 22, 2008 07:14 PM

                                                He had 3. He poached the salmon in oil, baked the boneless short ribs in the oven on sheets, and did the truffle risotto in the pan. They skipped by the plating pretty quickly, but I thought they caught as much as they could for the 30 minute show. So far, and I didn't see a lot of Irvine, I'd say that Symon's dishes are much better than the few I saw Irvine make. The Japanese affair, in particular, had items I would not eat - where there is nothing Symon has made that would fit in that category. Some of his items seem exceptional - I'd love to try them - from the chunks of lobster on the icee gazpacho in a lemon cup, to the poached salmon with fava beans, blini with caviar, of course, which I'd eat anytime. You always expect short cuts in any catering, but I'd say that Symon is hitting pretty close to 1.000 so far.

                                                I'd agree that Irvine was entertaining - and I could care less about his lying, at least in terms of evaluating his show - but I do really think that Symon's food is better.

                                                1. re: applehome
                                                  sibeats RE: applehome Aug 23, 2008 10:00 AM

                                                  I totally agree..Irvine's personality was more suited to the show, but Symon's food looks so much more appealing. I thought Irvine was pretty good in the hors d'ouevres department but less so with the main dish items. Symon's main dish items in the Alcatraz episode looked great. Hopefully he'll settle into the personality end of things. After all, Irvine was doing the show for a long time, so must have been pretty comfortable with the format and his schtick. Looking forward to Symon's version!

                                              2. Frodnesor RE: AMFM Aug 27, 2008 08:32 AM

                                                I just caught the first new D.I. with Michael Symon (Alcatraz) on DVR. I am not among the camp that's annoyed by Symon or his hyena laugh (to the contrary I find his enthusiasm genuine and engaging), but I was fairly astonished at how un-challenging the challenge was. Unless I missed something, the "mission" was to cook apps and a sit-down dinner for a few hundred people in 10 hours, at a fully-stocked, lavishly-equiped catering facility, the only real complication being that you had to move everything on a boat in order to serve it on-premises at Alcatraz.

                                                Isn't that ... "catering" + load it on a boat? Impossible? More like "Dinner Slightly Inconvenient".

                                                I'd much rather see just a good old-fashioned cooking show in any event, though I would occasionally watch this show because (as distinguished from much of FN's programming) it at least inolves some - you know - cooking, albeit at a high volume and consequently usually dumbed-down level. But if the premise means anything at all, seems like they ought to step up the challenge aspect a little.

                                                The boardwalk episode was more interesting, at least because it involved using the food products available at the boardwalk (though I thought that episode - like most of them in the Robert Irvine era - smacked of set-ups).

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Frodnesor
                                                  AMFM RE: Frodnesor Aug 27, 2008 07:04 PM

                                                  when you really count it up because of SF traffic and the boats and stuff it appeared they lost about 2 hours on each side to transportation. agreed it's not the craziest but i figure they're warming him up a bit. still great looking food and entertainment imho.

                                                2. a
                                                  AMFM RE: AMFM Aug 27, 2008 07:38 PM

                                                  thought tonight's was "eh". (the grand old opry). the resulting food looked good but it was too much about celebrity and not enough about the food. and i love ya michael but you should've had some chicken. :)

                                                  Show Hidden Posts