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May 3, 2011 07:25 AM

Steve Ells stealing idea from contestant?

I just heard about Chiptole opening a new Asian theme chain in DC. Isn't this the idea from one of his finallist on his show? Isn't that somewhat unethical to not pick the guy as winner and turn around and open one of his own?

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  1. i had an idea to open a asian theme restaurant once too. i think he stole it from me. that is way too general to be able to accuse IMO... do you have a link or something?

    1. That has been in the works for a long time. It was announced last year, which means it's been in development for even longer. With nearly every food genre moving to a Chipotle assembly-line process (in Chicago we have Indian, Middle-Eastern/Falafel and now even pizza) could Asian be that much of a stretch? Also, the UK's Wagamama is making a big move into the US (also announced last year) as is P.F. Chang's faster-food offspring Pei Wei (has been rolling out slowly for some time now), so it's not at all a new idea.

      1. East Asian? The Asian finalist was South Asian, cooking the flavors of southern India.

        1. been in the works for quite some time.

          more details about the actual concept here:

          "The Asian restaurant called ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is inspired by traditional shophouses found throughout Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam."

          i can't stand Steve Ells, but i fail to see how he "stole" this from anyone on the show...

          3 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yeah, when I first heard about this new place, I thought it was Indian food, which would have made it slightly suspicious. But I don't see any overlap at all.

            1. re: piccola

              Which way has the borrowing gone?


              " Kandula has shamelessly been calling his concept the "Indian Chipotle" for years, ever since he had his third meal at Chipotle. The Tiffin Box is a Chipotle-enthused idea that brings fast, casual, balanced meals inspired by the traditional Indian tiffin box."

              1. re: paulj

                That's different than if Ells had eliminated a contestant from the show only to launch the restaurant himself. Which, for the record, he hasn't done (though that's what the OP suggested).

          2. Didn't Panda Express pioneer that concept years ago.

            1 Reply