Two new cooking shows are coming to Channel 7 and 9, Restaurant Revolution on 7 and The Hot Plate on 9 later this year. When I first heard about them, I was not to keen to watch any of them since we will be already fatigued from the non-stop My Kitchen Rules straight into MasterChef Australia nearly every weeknights for 6 months! However after seeing the promos for both these new shows, The Hot Plate looks too serious and dull so far, but Restaurant Revolution has actually got me interested. It is another multi-night reality show which sees ordinary Australians charged with designing and running their own pop-up restaurant. It will be hosted by Scottish-born restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo who was a guest chef on MasterChef Australia last year and is scheduled to air in early August on Channel 7. This means it will start once MasterChef Australia near or after its finale. I pity the viewers, we now have 3 reality cooking shows one after another non-stop without a break from February to October?
From the two promos I have seen so far, Restaurant Revolution looks like it could be a light-hearted and fun series especially the one with the Asian mother/daughter/future-son-in-law’s restaurant doing Mexican fusion cuisine! So hilarious and can’t wait to see how that goes… The other one consists of only one person operating the restaurant all by himself, that will be interesting!
Update July 29, 2015: So I watched the first episode of Restaurant Revolution (I’ll use “ResRev” from here on) live, and recorded The Hotplate and watched later. Simple verdict, glad I chose ResRev, because I basically fast-forwarded The Hotplate after realising it was a clone of My Kitchen Rules but even more bizarre.
Yes, the first episode of ResRev was a bit dull as they were setting the scene from the very beginning of opening a restaurant, but it has potential to build into a interesting show. To say it is a cooking show is not accurate, it is more about the business of running a restaurant rather than just focusing on cooking. I like that some of the contestants are not necessarily cooks/chefs, but maybe front-of-house persons or others, and they are allowed to employ chefs to do the cooking for them. That’s a plus as different restaurants in real life are not carbon-copy of each others, so at least the show is not trying to create a faux equal-opportunity situation here, but more “realistic”. I have never watched My Restaurant Rules, so don’t know how similar/different it was and therefore can’t compare.
Now that’s a totally different story with The Hotplate. First of all, it is so similar to MKR that it is a laughing stock to say the least. It is as if they took the concept directly without any adjustments except just changing the contestants from “home-cooks” to “professionals”. Then the most ridiculous bit is because they are copying MKR and having two contestants per team, one of the team members who is not necessary a cook is now forced to do the cooking as well. The whole thing about “making a good restaurant into a great restaurant” is already a false statement, because the “food” cooked on the show is not a reflection of how those food are cooked in real life when a front-of-house person is suddenly cooking food to be judged! So what are the judges actually judging? It certainly is not on the “food” they normally cooked, nor the standard of how those restaurants normally run, so we are back to MKR-clone with the “non-professionals” and lots of faux drama.
Then the other incomprehensible bit is the menu of the restaurant. So they all looked at the menu and they all ordered the same two dishes of entrée, main and dessert (again the same as the final instant restaurant round in MKR). In saying that, how the hell did they know which six dishes to cook for the 3 hours (yes, same time limit as MKR) before their diners arrived? Of course they are all planned beforehand. It would have been so much more interesting if the diners can all order different dishes from the menu, and they have to prepare all those dishes as on their normal day-to-day running of the restaurant, so the 3-hour time limit of copying MKR is again nonsensical. In saying that, wouldn’t it be also more interesting if their restaurants are also filled with other “customers” (could be invited non-paying “guests” like those on service challenges on MCA) like a normal day? The judging of the restaurant experience is also a laugh, with an empty restaurant! Of course they are getting a reasonable experience when they have no other customers to worry about! Also hilarious that the restaurant is so empty they can hear conversations/arguments from the kitchen! Don’t even get me started on the graphic displays of the name of the dish as they were served on the screen, that’s similar to MKR as well. So that’s it, won’t be watching The Hotplate again, one MKR a year is enough for me, a bad clone is even worse, LOL.
Geez, why are they picking on the Sydney guy? Yesterday he was up first for the pitch, and today, he’s again up first for the 3-course meal! He and the Brisbane trio are my favourites at the moment. Dom seems very humble, and down to earth, while the Brisbane’s team are good for a laugh, they do know how to inject fun to the competition.
From the editing, it looked like Jock informed every team about the cook-for-cash challenge at the same time, so for Dom to cook first, he’d got the least time to prepare in terms of menu, and finding staff. Other teams would have at least one extra day to 3-4 days ahead knowing about the challenge and surely they would have discussed about what they wanted to cook, and those teams looking for chefs, extra time also.
Adelaide’s team is going to be the team that will play out the “too many cooks spoiled the broth” situation, I reckon. Melbourne’s team, can already see a spoilt-princess persona in Maz! Perth’s team, playing the dumb-blond roles well, all I can say is thank goodness there’s a female judge! Still laughing at them wasting precious time going to buy kitchen equipment and then saying they had no idea what to buy in the store, shouldn’t their first priority be finding a chef first so they know what a chef needs in the kitchen!
Oh, loved the final critics at the end, what a blatantly brutal feedbacks from the judges via TV screen!
Update August 5, 2015: Oh well, looks like the end is nigh for ResRev! After disastrous ratings for the first three episodes last week, Channel 7 has already culled the 4-night per week episodes into just two nights this week, Monday and Thursday only with double episodes, and can I say I really hate it when they start airing double episodes. Now they have reduced the show to air just Thursday night starting next week. After watching Monday’s night double episodes, it was just too long for one sitting, I nearly fell asleep towards the end. The problem was that it was just too slow, nothing interesting actually happened in Monday’s episodes, even with the launch night and grand opening. A tighter editing could have reduced the more than two hours episodes into just one hour.
I also thought the two pitches for money last week, while in theory good, but really disappointing to watch, it felt like watching high school students doing an assignment rather than real business pitches! I wonder if instead of starting the show off with straight-off setting up pop-up restaurants, that if they began with contestants starting at the lowest end operating market stalls, and then worked their way up to maybe running food trucks (of course with eliminations and other challenges along the way) and finally pop-up restaurants, at least that way we can see some action in terms of their cooking skills and also their business skills being demonstrated right from the start.