Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Mar 6, 2011 04:15 PM

Anyone else watching "America's Next Great Restaurant"? * Spoilers *

Wow, some "interesting" personalities, so far. Did that Big Wang owner really say that? wow.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am - and enjoying it more than I thought I would. It is not a cooking show, but a restaurant show, so I didn't expect a lot of Top Chef - style food prep. Some of the concepts are good, some are, well, different. Entertaining enough for me to watch the next episode, anyway.

    I couldn't believe that Big Wang guy, and it would honestly make me avoid his places. There's too much good food out there to give business to jerks.

    edited to add - just jumped up a notch because they booted the Big Wang guy instead of keeping him for "drama".

      1. re: AMFM

        it is on now, Sunday 8 - 9 pm, on NBC. Tonight is the pilot, not sure if this is the regular time/day for all episodes.

        1. re: AMFM

          NBC. 7 pm central time. right now for me.

          1. re: Nicolette S

            thanks for adding the Spoilers to the title - sorry, I shouldn't have added that last comment, but he really ticked me off!

            1. re: elfcook

              Nothing at all wrong with that comment. I should have included "spoilers" in the title from the start. How can we talk about it without talking about it?

              SO glad the Big Wang was rejected. What an ass.

        2. I kind of liked the idea of a pot pie restaurant. I kind of have difficulty imagining a chain of "Saucy Balls" restaurants, but maybe it's in our future?

          3 Replies
          1. re: jackbauer

            I'm with you re: Saucy Balls.

            It reminds me of the future in Idiocracy where the top TV show was "Ow, my balls"

            1. re: jackbauer

              Surely it's not. But the name's fun and the guy's got a big heart so until he gets winnowed out he'll make good TV.

              1. re: jackbauer

                The pot pie restaurant was going to be called "Potbelli" which seems awfully similar to Potbelly's Sandwich chain. A 10 second google search could have figured that out, I'm surprised the contestant didn't know about copyright infringement.

              2. The show is engaging but I'm finding it hard to believe these are the best ideas in America.

                16 Replies
                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  they're not. mine was better, but i didn't get cast. i'm a little bitter ;)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Interesting ghg! DId you get to pitch to the judges?

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      no, and that's probably the biggest reason why i didn't make it very far. they *told* us we were pitching to the judges...and then after standing in line for over six hours (the first part during torrential rains) with a cooler and 2 bags full of food and props i had painstakingly prepared, they threw me in an empty, raw industrial building space in front of a single camera with a spotlight in my face and a PA behind it who told me i had 30 seconds to convince them to cast me, and that there was no one to taste my food and if i wanted it to be part of my presentation i could just put it on one of my trays and hold it up under my chin while i was talking so that it would be in the frame.

                      i. was. FURIOUS. i had prepared for DAYS, driven up from San Diego the night before & gotten a hotel room with a refrigerator so i could keep the food fresh, brought knives, cutting board, etc for last-minute garnishing...even the people in line with me were impressed with the spread. but once they turned on that camera i FROZE because it wasn't at all what i was expecting, and i got completely flustered, totally tripped over my words and couldn't get out what i wanted to say. and the worst part? i didn't want to schlep all the food back home with me, so after i tanked in front of the camera i set it all out on trays - with the plates, utensils, etc i had brought for the JUDGES to use - and let the people in my "group" (from the waiting line) eat it...and i overheard several of them whispering that they were relieved we hadn't gone in front of the judges because if they had tasted how good my food was, i definitely would have been chosen.

                      it was a MISERABLE 5-hour drive home in rush hour traffic - i spent the entire time beating myself up & cursing out everyone on the road :)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Oh my, what a heartbreaking experience and, highly ineffective casting process. If that process is an indication of the professionalism you could expect from the organizers you are undoubtedly better off to have cut your losses early on as I can only imagine how much more frustration was ahead in the "next steps".

                        Based on what you've shared, I'm wondering if the "investors" already had a concept in mind before casting even started and were really only looking for one person that they thought came close to that vision and, a group of other folks that would just make for interesting television.

                        As we all know, restaurant/hospitality industry investments are always risky and even more so in these economic times. I can only imagine that if real money is being invested that business plans, SWOT analysis, target market and demographics would all have to be completed well in advance. That's what make me think they already have a good idea of what the next "big idea" will likely look like in the fast food industry and if so, casting would be much, much simpler for them.

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          the entire process was a mess. i got there an hour early in torrential rain, and there were already 126 people ahead of me....and the organizers were trying to figure out where to PUT us in the storm...we ended up lining up along the wall of the parking garage.

                          as the day went on we started to figure out what was *really* up...some guy who had applied for Top Chef in the past said he had been *invited* to attend the casting; people in line recognized some woman from another reality show who appeared later in the afternoon and got to cut in front of those of us who had already been waiting for nearly 5 hours.

                          it was NOT all about the ideas.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I've heard that in the past on these boards ghg, unfortunately they're likely just looking for "characters" to fill pre-determined profiles that would make for an interesting show. I recall someone else saying it was "all about the drama" at a casting call they attended.

                            Sorry you had to go through all that. I can't help but think that if "good health" was fundamental to your concept, that in fact your idea is solid for today's market.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              thanks for the kind words. at the very least, it was certainly a good learning experience! ;) and yes, my idea is grounded in "good health" with an angle that no one has yet tackled...which is why i think the judges really would have liked it, considering that they did select several health-focused ideas to move on to the final 10.

                              oh well, live & learn!

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I think at least a few of the contestants were there to be cannon fodder. The one girl who though you could make tasty soup by pureeing random ingredients in a blender and had no idea how to market soup in warm locations comes to mind.

                                1. re: msjess

                                  it was pretty funny when Bobby ended up with her soup in his lap. it sorta looked like vomit, and i just kept thinking that he was lucky it was actually *soup* because she was so nervous she looked like she was about to lose her lunch.

                                  when i went to the casting and *believed* i was going to be presenting to the judging panel, i called my folks while standing in line and told them my biggest fear was that my nerves would get the better of me and i'd throw up on Bobby Flay's shoes.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              <<it was NOT all about the ideas.>>

                              Reality TV rarely is.

                              Still, I'm sorry for what you went through.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                thanks, appreciate the sentiment...and i'm over it now :)

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            This show is terrible and I'm not surprised to hear your tale ghg. Truly wish it had been different. They could have done so much more. I kept asking myself how on earth these were the best 21 ideas. Not and not gonna watch no more. Also not sure if I should feel sorry for Bobby Flay or have a loss of respect. Just a terrible, terrible show.


                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                              i'm holding out hope that it will be more interesting to watch as they engage in the actual challenges...the only thing that still really disappoints me about not making it is how much invaluable experience and education the contestants are going to get as they're put through the paces.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              OUCH. Sounds awful and not very well thought out from their part. So sorry you went to all that trouble for THAT.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Sounds like a horrible experience. No doubt they were merely looking for characters to fill places along side the predetermined concept as is often the case with 'reality' shows.

                        2. I watched it on and off this evening while doing other things, so I got the jist but not every detail. It seems ok to me for a network reality show effort. I will tune in now that the competitors are chosen and I assume some challenges will occur, and see how it progresses. Not much competition in that time slot anyway.

                          I found the judges discussions interesting re: what may make a good restaurant concept within the general category of fast casual.

                          Yeah - best ideas from peeople with the confidence and willingness to sign on for the public humiliaiton of a network TV reality show...that thins the field a bit, I would imagine.