Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - CocoaModa Update

Photo - Facebook
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Calvert, Texas to makeover the CocoaModa.  The restaurant is French Bistro with an event space and chocolate boutique and owner Ken Wilkinson opened the restaurant seven years ago.  Despite Calvert being a small town, Ken refuses to advertise in the nearby big cities, and also doesn't cater to the local community, and this has supposedly put him in debt.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about CocoaModa to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):

Reviews:

There were no new reviews for CocoaModa since Restaurant Impossible visited besides some Facebook ones which are all positive.



Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in January 2015
  • Here is the CocoaModa Facebook Page and website
  • CocoaModa only offers dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.  They seem to do one sitting Friday and Saturday at 7pm which are 5 course meals for $55 per person.
  • CocoaModa also sells their truffles online and they are $3 per truffle. (Link)
  • All of the reviews for CocoaModa before Restaurant Impossible are great - Yelp and Tripadvisor.  People complement the chocolates, the food, the hot chocolate/coffee and how nice owner the owner Ken is.  The reviews also say the Friday/Saturday dinners fill up so reservations are recommended.
  • A 2011 article in the NY Times credits Ken Wilkinson with leading in the transformation of Calvert, TX and putting it back on the map.
  • CocoaModa was featured on the Cooking Channel in 2011 on the show FoodCrafters with Aida Mollenkamp (Ask Aida Food Network).  Here is the video from that episode.
  • Robert Irvine posted on Facebook today that the ratings of the current season of Restaurant Impossible will determine if they shoot the next season of the show (Link).  This is probably why you see a lot of promotion for the show.
  • Robert has tweeted the following things about tonight's episode on Twitter:
    • "Cocoamoda in Calvert TX , is my next stop tomorrow on #RestaurantImpossible. 10pm eastern on Food network .Major meltdown , 2 english guys"
    • "Well when you think of Englishman , we normally think of peaceful people .. Not tomorrow fireworks in Calvert TX and they are not so pretty"
    • "Words that describe this experience in Calvert .Quaint pompous egotistical , know all ,Crazy in denial Disturbing ..And thats just a few LOL"

Conclusion:

There haven't been any reviews of CocoaModa since the Restaurant Impossible makeover, but the reviews before were great and people like the food, chocolate, drinks, and owner.  They only serve food on Friday's and Saturday's, so I am not sure if this restaurant was chosen because it made for a unique story or because they actually are struggling.  The next few episodes are at a grocery store and a pharmacy, and a barbershop, so it appears the show is trying to pick unique places.

If the main problem was simply not advertising, the show should bring some exposure to CocoaModa which should help out.


*Visit Our Restaurant Impossible Update Page to see all Restaurant: Impossible updates, and which restaurants are open, closed, or have been sold. Also Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter

102 comments:

  1. My mother lives near Calvert and she and her friends have been to CocoaModa multiple times (their chocolates, which I've had, are absolutely out of this world). NO ONE she knows who's ever been there could figure out why it would end up on Restaurant Impossible other than maybe for publicity.

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  2. This breaks the whole spirit of the show. Aren't there still a ton of dumpy restaurants that need remodeling and saving?

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  3. THIS EPISODE LOOKED STAGED, BIG TIME.

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  4. Do did anyone notice the owner giving Robert the finger early in the episode when the owner was standing with his left hand holding his cheek . . . he was also smiling rather slyly.

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  5. I thought the exact same thing.

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  6. I thought this is one of the best episodes I've seen in some time. It was a different type of challenge. This was a stubborn man who could've been successful but he couldn't see the forest for the trees.

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  7. Well I have to take it back. I don't think it was intentional, but his initial attitude and the smile, made it seem that way

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  8. This episode was more fake than Mystery Diners.

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  9. Some people do that without realizing it. Fred Gwynne did it a few times in My Cousin Vinnie. It was very obvious but it was never mentioned.

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  10. i noticed that too..late in the show it looks like he does it again..almost looks like he is missing part of his finger from knuckle down

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  11. If they are banking on this season's ratings make the decision on next's and are "rescuing" unique places, they must be teetering on the edge of cancellation. Then he could go back to doing D:I.

    If Irvine's, Cousin Oliver joins the show, R:I is toast at the end of the season.

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  12. I really had a change of heart over Ken Wilkinson,the owner. At the begining he seemed like a pompous ass giving Robert the finger. But by the end of the show I really liked him a lot. I think he was truly horrified by what others in the community thought of him. His visit to the firehouse seemed genuine.


    I'm having trouble with RI (so far) this season. It looks like they are trying to change up the show by doing 2 restaurants per episode or by doing a HUGE restaurant. Because of that the show has lost what attracted me to it....A genuine effort to save a failing restarant.
    Now it seems every second is given over to high drama and we have to hurry hurry hurry.
    I've always questioned why the idiotic constraint of filming in 2 days. Why not 4 or 7 ?
    Let everyone take more time and get it right.


    BTW: the town of Calvert itself is rising like a phoenix. It's full of artsy shops,galleries and antique stores. RI wanted it to seem down and out. Yes it once was,but like many tiny Texas towns artists and movers and shakers are moving in due to low rents and sales prices of real estate. Calvert is one of many small towns where gentrification has hit in a big way.

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  13. Nothing is more fake than Mystery Diners. I'm surprised after all the news articles about it 2 years ago that it is still on the air. For those who think the show is real. It's totally fake. Restauranteurs sign up for free press for their establishments. The show regulary has open casting calls for people to play the waiters and other crooks who are "exposed". The venues owners are real,but everything else is fake. It's used as a marketing tool to get the seats filled in retaurants/bars. The episode I saw tonight about a "Private Yacht Club" for members only was laughable. No way did that place look upscale or like people would pay big bucks to become a member. At the end of every show they flash a disclaimer onscreen for less than 1/10th of a second that says the show is staged and may not depict reality.

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  14. David RofulowitzApril 2, 2015 at 3:54 AM

    Actually, this episode kind of confused me regarding the character and personality of Ken Wilkinson. The show indeed did make it seem like he was a pompous ass, as you say, but then upon reading some of the reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor he seems to come across as a warm and friendly individual. As the saying goes, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.


    I still watch the show, but it's definitely becoming more "Dr. Phil" with a serving of how to run a restaurant on the side, lol! Drama sells, and probably in the producer's mind the constraint of a 2-day shoot lends itself to more of a cliffhanger approach, For example, how many episodes have you seen where some unforeseen problem arises, causing Robert concern over whether or not the restaurant will open on his self-imposed deadline? Robert gets excited, the viewer is drawn in, and then amazingly, the restaurant is pretty much able to open on time! In my opinion, giving Robert more time would result in less drama...

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  15. Charles Stiles and his stable of Hooters Girls....aka...mystery diners are phonies. Stiles is such a nerd.

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  16. Beat Bobbty Flay has an obvious tell that he won. Just before the results there is a promo for the chef giving a reason why they competing. When that is shown Bobby wins.

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  17. Princess StarlightApril 2, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    After reading what the next few episodes are going to be, well, I'm done with R:I. I've tried watching some of the newer stuff but I just can't get into the drama, the yelling, screaming, and crying.

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  18. This one felt a lot more like the contrived, scripted-for-the-camera episodes of 'Kitchen Nightmares' that are filmed in the U.S.



    You start off with complete and total resistance from the owners, who insist that their restaurant 'isn't that bad.' Then, you get 50 minutes of 'go screw yourself' screaming sessions wherein everyone involve - including the host - threatens to quit filming. Finally, during the last 5 to 7 minutes of the program, the owner miraculously has a 180 degree change of heart and espouses his/her genuine thanks for all of the help that the expert/host has offered. The end.



    That was how this episode felt to me. I wasn't buying any of it.

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  19. Agreed: This one seemed really fake to me. All the way around.

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  20. The biggest question that remains unanswered for me, someone who isn't
    familiar with Calvert, Texas, is whether or not this couple is in the right city to be able to make enough of a profit to help their financial
    situation at all.

    Small town ANYWHERE doesn't seem like the kind of
    place where you can bring in the amount of money that Ken and Jacqueline need to make in
    order to get out of the hole, which we were told was $1,000,000+.

    Even
    with a cute little 'event space' added across the street, how many people in a
    town of roughly 1,100 are going to eat lunch/dinner, buy chocolates, host
    wedding receptions, etc., with enough frequency that it will make any
    difference to the financial bottom line...???

    And I don't care what the owners say, people in Texas - even educated 'foodies' who read The New York Times - are NOT
    driving 2 hours from Houston, Dallas or Austin on a Friday night to have dinner at any
    restaurant in Calvert. I guarantee you, that's NOT the customer base for CocoaModa.

    Despite the many seemingly obvious 'set-up' moments of this episode, I'd like to think that Ken and his wife actually did fall in love with this small little town in Texas. But it would seem that their business model has almost no viability in that market. Not that people in small towns don't appreciate 'fine food.' Not saying that at all. But it just seems that his shop/restaurant needs to be located in an area the size of Houston/Dallas/Austin if it's ever going to be profitable. As the saying goes, 'You can't get something that's not there.'

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  21. At first, I thought 'blimey, what's with this whinging pillock, slagging everyone off?!' ;) At the end, I guess I felt a little better about the whole thing, especially looking at it from a community standpoint, but it was still a bizarre experience overall.

    As the notes above say, they really are widening out this season. That's two in a row with multiple locations. (which Lynn did a great job with; that coincidental chocolate bar ceiling was particularly perfect) I do hope the series continues, but hope it's not niche place after niche place. Spread things out a bit if possible.

    P.S. Ken's voice is amazing!

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  22. Definitely seems odd whenever Marc shows up.

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  23. That was pretty funny. ;) I decided to look up Robbie Rist's credits and funnily enough, his latest role is as a character named Oliver. Ha!

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  24. I'm kinda undecided. On the one hand, it was a 180, but then there are the pre-episode reviews... *shrug* The part that makes me wonder is, if he's really this stiff upper lip, pompous guy, he likely wouldn't have allowed himself to be on camera with tears in his eyes. I hope it wasn't a put-on, but there's no way of truly knowing.

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  25. I decided to look up Calvert's population and it's TINY. (heh) Less than 1,200 people as of 2012, dropping year by year, it seems. A shop[pe] like that can definitely work, but as you say, their customer base isn't from hours away, nor can it be tiny Calvert. Maybe they really do have a few regulars that drive in from larger towns once in a while (and spend tens of thousands per visit, haha), but it's obviously a combination of people from surrounding small tonws that kept them afloat.

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  26. I agree. Being so standoffish within the community doesn't help either.

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  27. I can tell you for a FACT it was in no way staged. I'm one of the Firefighters interviewed and they had no script or agenda

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  28. I can tell you for a FACT it was in no way staged. I'm one of the Firefighters interviewed and they had no script or agenda.

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  29. David RofulowitzApril 2, 2015 at 7:10 PM

    Yeah, I agree....and once they got Marc Summers involved, it definitely had the feel of a made for tv episode, lol! I don't know what the ratings have been this season so far for the show, but I suspect that if Irvine has to put a post on his Facebook page saying that viewership for this season will determine whether there will be a 12th season, then perhaps RI is losing steam. For me personally, this show has fallen into such a predictable pattern of drama that if it didn't come back next season it wouldn't bother me. And for that matter the FN can also get rid of that horribly scripted and acted Mystery Diners too!

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  30. Tonight for the first time they did the promo for a person that beat Bobby Flay

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  31. Yeah, I forgot. It was late when I wrote that comment.

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  32. Oh, I know - it's like their dad is showing to to tell everyone involved to stop picking on his kids or else he's gonna make everyone go home. That move always seems kinda odd to me.

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  33. Well, hopefully the new lunch service that they offer will help bring in some people and some money from the town.



    Previously, the business model was selling chocolates during the week and offering one dinner service on Friday and one on Saturday. No matter where they come from, 60 people per week eating dinner at your restaurant isn't going to bring in much money for you. You'd have to sell a ton of chocolate (almost literally) during the rest of the week in order to see any kind of profit.

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  34. This was first red flag for me was the woman who showed up at the evaluation dinner service who said that she used to own a candy store.



    And not just 'a candy store' but a candy store that also sold sandwiches and soup. And guess what...??? She had sales of $250,000-$300,000 per year with her store.



    Wasn't that just a little too convenient...???

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  35. David RofulowitzApril 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    I could be wrong, but I believe the disclaimer at the end of Mystery Diners states that certain scenes are reenactments of events that actually occurred (or something to that effect). And from what I've read on various other websites, Restaurant Stakeout is as staged as they come as well...

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  36. David RofulowitzApril 3, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    Well according to the RI updates website, they are offering Friday and Saturday dinner service, but make no mention of the new lunch service. I guess it might be possible though that the website has not been updated.

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  37. The disclaimer flashes on so quickly that it is impossible to read. If MD wasn't trying to fool the viewers, the disclaimer would be readable.

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  38. I think everyone here would agree that the parts at the fire station were genuine. They wanted your honest opinions and they got them. They often speak to people in the communities they're visiting because it can be a great help to them.

    It's the other things, especially those scenes involving Ken in the kitchen and the woman who also happened to own a candy shop, that seem not quite on the up and up sometimes... Editing choices after the fact can be done to increase drama that wasn't really there, too.

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  39. I saw the info about sandwiches mentioned in one of the tags that popped up during the closing credits. If I'm remembering correctly, the tag said that Ken had started offering some kind of lunch service or sandwiches sales during the week and that he's considering a brunch option, too.

    But since you mentioned that the RI update site doesn't say anything about lunch, I just looked at the Cocoamoda website and it, too, has no mention of any kind of 'savory food' beyond their Friday and Saturday prix fixe dinners.


    The Cocoamoda website says that their daily hours are 10 a.m. to either 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. So, maybe the 10 a.m. opening time means that they're offering some kind of lunch-ish items, as well...??? But if that's the case, you'd think that they would make some kind of reference to it on their own web site.

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  40. David RofulowitzApril 3, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    No, you are correct....I remember seeing one of the tags at the end of the show saying the same thing.


    However, I am wondering if their 10am opening time is simply so that Ken can sell his chocolates. But if that's true, and he's only selling his "savory food" on Friday and Saturday, then maybe he really is losing money by only selling his chocolates, unless he's charging an arm and a leg for his dinners. I actually wish Robert had asked to see Cocoamoda's financial statements, as he has sometimes done in the past with other owners.


    I really believe this show is jumping the shark at this point; apparently next week Robert is going to rescue a bistro that is operating within a grocery store...I can't believe that there aren't any business owners whose restaurants are having problems and who could REALLY use Robert's help.

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  41. @david.I've seen those articles about Rest.Stakeout as well. It looks like that show is GONE. No new episodes announced. No old episodes being shown and Willie Degel is appearing on a different show now. It looks like a rip-off of Shark Tank with kitchen items being pitched to a bunch of no-names. I can't understand why the FoodNetwork would leave Mystery Diners on the air with new episodes.

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  42. David RofulowitzApril 3, 2015 at 4:32 PM

    Thanks for the heads-up about RS...I wasn't sure if it was just on hiatus or not. I've watched about five minutes of that Shark Tank rip-off too; I think it's called Food Fortunes or something like that. Between this show and Mystery Diners the FN is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for programming. You know, at one point I used to spend a large portion of Saturday mornings watching the FN because they had, in my opinion, some good cooking shows where you actually learned things. Now it seems like they're turning into the second coming of the Game Show Network...

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  43. I actually like Food Fortunes. Then again, I'm very much into Shark Tank, so I'm all for more shows like it if I can't get more episodes of Shark Tank to watch.

    As fake as RS and MD are, I still put it on for background noise when I'm doing other things. I don't really know why.

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  44. Yes. I wasn't questioning the fire station interviews. The rest felt staged.

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  45. If I had a failing business, I don't know if I would go to RI for help. I might in the past, but not now when they're so much about drama.

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  46. I don't think it's fixed. Then again, I adore Chef Alex, so I am admittedly incredibly biased.

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  47. I think there are many people that feel the same way. FN seems to have lost the cooking aspect and just become a game show network or one that picks up ideas from other networks.
    That said, one of the few shows I have liked lately is Food Fortunes. I'm not sure why, especially because I don't care for Shark Tank, but so far I'm enjoying it.

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  48. Thanks for your insight Rusty. I also like it when they go into the community looking for feedback. And thanks for doing a tough job for your community!

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  49. On Irvine's FB page he had something pitching this episode and a friend of mine that lives around an hour away replied in the comments section that she'd like to try it because no other RI restaurant has been even close to her. She said she'd drive over for lunch one day soon. Someone replied to her and said my friend better call before going because the commenter had gone just the other day and they were not serving lunch.

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  50. He seems to want to air out their dirty laundry. Who wants that???

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  51. Wow, that's sure to help their business!

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  52. Exactly. Just like the people that change their menu back a week or two after Irvine leaves. They want help, but don't want to change.

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  53. I am waiting for them to go to Amy's Baking Company.

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  54. Bobby Flay just tweeted that he was going to be on Lip Sync battle on Spike TV. He is against Jeremy Piven. Not sure of the date but the show airs on Thursday nights.

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  55. I read something about two years ago saying that both The Food Network and The Cooking Channel were struggling with their viewership numbers. As a result, both networks started to focus on 'cooking shows' that really don't have much to do with cooking.

    Shows like 'Cutthroat Kitchen' and 'Guy's Grocery Games' - sure they, feature people prepares dishes in a kitchen. But they're game shows. Not cooking shows.

    Likewise with all of that various "_______ Wars" shows. (Cupcake Wars, Halloween Wars, etc.) They're game shows/reality shows.

    And over on CNN we have 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,' which is a full-on travel show. Sure, it's hosted by a chef and we see him eating the local cuisine, but it's nothing but a travel show.

    I guess that's just the trend right now.

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  56. Yep. That's a really common practice among the business owners on the various 'please, help us' shows. Six weeks after the cameras are gone, everything reverts to 'the way it was' before anyone tried to help.

    We've seen that happen repeatedly on RI, Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue, Hotel Impossible, Tabatha's shows - and the list goes on.

    I guess that's part of why the business on those shows are failing in the first place: the owners just don't have good basic business sense.


    What a shame.

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  57. Why...??? What was wrong with Amy's...??? They were perfectly sweet people running a perfectly fine business. It was those big, bad, mean hackers who hijacked the Amy's Facebook page and caused all the problems.

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  58. Ha, I love this show but always forget when it is on. The person I can't watch is Willie Degel...tried to watch the Shark Tank Imposter show but couldn't stomach it.

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  59. Talk about a show that seems fixed and contrived, but I love Bobby Flay...what can I say!

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  60. I suspect it's even more the Zakarian factor. She's kind of been his protege for years, was his sous chef when he becam an Iron Chef, and was probably strongly championed by him when she won her own Iron Chef title.''

    I'd have given that title to Amanda Freitag.

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  61. What you said, or, they just replicate their own shows (Chopped: Canada anyone?!). I mostly watch the Create TV network (Lidia, Sara Moulton, etc.) and am addicted to Recipe Rehab on Saturday mornings on CBS.

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  62. You're right, and that's because with the so-called cooking "game/reality" shows, it's easier for the network to manufacture drama that draws the viewer in. You can have producers "suggesting" to participants how they should act, or by skillful editing of the show, or whatever. Whereas with straight-up cooking shows, what drama is there is manufacture??

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  63. Seems to me....Marc summers speech about Restaurant Impossible being genuine in its portrayal of restaurants and owners was contrived. I do not believe that he was referring to just that particular restaurant. I believe that he was issuing a public disclaimer to address the commentary that Restaurant Impossible is fake, scripted and staged. Really.....how convenient that he was able to make an appearance the very same day that the incident with the owners occurred. I wasn't drinking the RI Kool-Aid on this one.

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  64. Exactly. By design, game shows pit 'people vs. people.'

    On a straight-up cooking show you get, what...??? Sarah Moulton vs. her rosemary chicken skewers...???

    I guess some people just need more of a commotion taking place to keep them tuning in.

    Whatcha gonna do, right...???

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  65. Longitudinally EnabledApril 4, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    In Bourdain's case, that's by design. "No Reservations" (and even a few episodes of "A Cook's Tour") was very much a travel and culture show. When Bourdain took the show over to CNN, part of the rationale was that he'd be able to get into places previously denied to him, like Burma and Iran. The last few seasons of "No Reservations" seemed to be deemphisizing cookery, so even if there hadn't been the blowup at Travel Channel and "No Reservations" continued, I think we'd be seeing a very similar show compared to,what's currently running on CNN.

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  66. Merlin_Arrowhead_AddictApril 4, 2015 at 10:23 PM

    I like Elizabeth Falkner for the win. It was obvious given that Cat Cora left, they were going to have a female winner. I thought Falkner was the most deserving of the women there.

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  67. I adore Marc Summers, and I was very disappointed in him after seeing that scene.

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  68. I like Restaurant Stakeout more than Mystery Diners, because I like Willie Degel more than Charles Stiles. I just think he has a fun personality.

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  69. I love Bobby Flay, but I can't stand Beat Bobby Flay... although I still watch it.

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  70. David RofulowitzApril 5, 2015 at 2:59 AM

    Haha! that's a good one....Sarah vs. her skewers!


    I guess these shows will always have a fanbase of some sort. I do enjoy coming on here, especially after RI, and having good conversation with folks about the Food Network; seems a lot of people share similar opinions about these shows.

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  71. Not just a recent trend. The gawdalmity $$ has ruined pretty much every commercial channel. Can't tell one from the other for the most part. Even Animal Planet and NatGeo have drifted badly from their original "mission statement". A&E's last gasp was the wonderful "Pride and Prejudice" with Colin Firt and Jennifer Ehle, now they do stuff like "Intervention" and "8 minutes"

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  72. I saw that episode too and it was my first time watching the show. I only kept watching because I live in the same city as that yacht club.

    It was really obviously fake, and I saw the disclaimer at the end, but after thinking about it when watching, I figured it's because no exposed employee would ever in their right mind sign off on letting their horrible behavior be on TV and risk never getting another job. MD probably has to reenact them or they'd have nothing. It makes sense they'd hire actors to follow what actually happened.

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  73. Agree with you that it should have been Elizabeth Falkner when the end competition was between Alex and her. And agree w/ MoHub that Zakarian was an obvious factor in Alex's win.

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  74. I wondered if anyone would get that kind of obscure reference. Funny one about Rist. He'll probably have "Cousin Oliver" carved in his headstone!

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  75. "Couldn't save himself either."

    Sorry, a bit morbid, but it popped into my head when I read your comment. ;)

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  76. I'll have to look into that. I didn't get the reference Biki made.

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  77. Ohhhhhh - you really missed a classic one, there.

    'Amy's Baking Company' in Arizona is the current gold standard for 'reality TV business owners' who are coocoo, bananapants, kray-kray.

    In a nutshell, Gordon Ramsay tried to help them on 'Kitchen Nightmares' a couple of years ago and he actually didn't finish the episode - and I don't think that the quitting part was planned or faked.

    But the real craziness, however, came afterwards, on social media. The owners went bonkers on the restaurant's Facebook page and became aggressively, caustically hyper-defensive. They lashed-out vehemently at Ramsay and the show (of course), customers, former employees - anyone who had anything the slightest bit 'negative' to say about them personally or their restaurant.



    And because all of this weird drama was happening on the internet, the whole stupid harangue went 'viral' and even CNN and other legitimate news organizations are mentioning it, in small snippets.


    But, wait - there's more.

    After their bizarre behavior has made them momentarily newsworthy, the owners go BACK to social media and claim that their Facebook page and all of their other social media platforms 'had been hacked,' and that all of the nasty stuff that's been posted there was the work of 'hackers.' The owners didn't post or participate in any of it, they said.



    I think Ramsay might have even attempted to go back to the restaurant at some point and talk to the owners.


    But, yeah. Whenever you see a reference to 'Amy's Baking Company' being dropped into a conversation, chances are it's NOT a compliment.

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  78. Several months ago, maybe even as much as a year ago, the crazy husband chased someone out of the business and the police had to come. There was news that he'd had a knife, but who knows. I never heard the end of it.
    Yes, Ramsay's crew filmed again at the restaurant, but per Amy, most of it was fake and nothing anyone said was true except what she and her husband said. It was funny really.

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  79. I thought that scene was very bad also.

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  80. Whenever I hear someone - on TV or in real life - 'over explain' something the way that Marc Summers 'over explained' the show's honest nature, I'm reminded of a line from 'Silence of the Lambs.' (And yes, I know how silly that last sentence sounds...!!!)

    There's a scene in the movie wherein Clarice Starling is going through police files that she'd previously shown to Hannibal Lecter. On one of the pages, she runs across a handwritten from him that says something along the lines of, 'Clarice, doesn't the random nature of these murder locations seem desperately random, like the elaboration of a bad lie...???'

    I've always remembered 'like the elaboration of a bad lie.'



    Often times, when someone is lying - or trying to dodge the entire truth - they just keep talking and talking and talking. It's as if they're fishing around, grasping at straws, hoping that SOMETHING that comes out of their mouth will make you believe their story.

    That was the feeling that hat I got from Marc Summers.

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  81. Thanks for the detailed reply! The name sounded slightly familiar to me, but I didn't know any of that. I guess they figure any publicity is good publicity?

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  82. Restaurant Impossible has jumped the shark, and it's cooked. Done. Kaput. They don't even MENTION having only $10k to spend on the re-decoration, because we all knew it was always a joke in the first place. Tom Bury's company doesn't work for FREE. RI has made the mistake that so many other TV shows have made now: Instead of continuing to do what made them popular, they think they need to get 'bigger' and 'badder' and more flamboyant -- moving away from what made them successful in the first place.

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  83. The thing is that in the early days, the issues on Mystery Diners had an air of something that might actually happen in the restaurant biz. As the seasons progressed, the problems got further and further from reality. The one that really clinched it for me was the dinner theater episode—especially when the owner mispronounced the name of a character in his own production, and somehow, Stiles had never heard of Fiddler on the Roof.

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  84. I've always preferred Dragon's Den to Shark Tank, as the producers of ST seemed to think they needed to tart up the show for American audiences.


    And I surprisingly like finding myself enjoying Food Fortunes. I also like the element of having a group of consumers rate the products.

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  85. Now, now. I have to admit that I look forward to Halloween Wars each year.

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  86. When I believed the $10,000 BS, I thought Division 9 did it for free advertising. But you're right, no way could those guys do it for free. I thought doing a bowling alley and a golf course was ridiculous, but now they're doing a pharmacy?

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  87. I agree. I don't know what happened to him, but it's very sad.

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  88. David RofulowitzApril 8, 2015 at 1:57 AM

    I know this is off-topic, but tonight I decided to watch the Chopped "Amateur Chefs" episode...one of the female contestants has long hair, and predictably, one of her hair strands found its' way into Chris Santos' appetizer. He called her out on it, yet she moved on in the competition over a chef who was chopped because he "failed to transform" his basket ingredients. Meanwhile, I'm thinking WTF, how does that make any sense?? I've seen this occur a couple of times in the shows' previous episodes, but there doesn't seem to be a requirement for the contestants to follow any sanitary practices. Hell, when I cook at home for my mom she's always asking me if I've washed my hands after touching a piece of food! I don't get it....

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  89. I would pay to see that.

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  90. They fired 100 employees in a year in a tiny place, stole their tips, threatened customers, and Amy talks in cat language.

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  91. I think business was also terrible, but the place is a front for money laundering.

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  92. They always say "the customers liked it the old way". Well yes the few customers that still go there of course would or they would have stopped going like every else. They need to find out what the customers that stopped going there want.

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  93. Mystery Diners is the worst....

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  94. Does not mean that is true of everyone...

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  95. Willie was still better than Mystery Dinners, at least he gave some real advice in the show.

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  96. They always show the "bad guy": smiling when somebody else screws up. In reality they are usually smiling when the judges say something nice to them and they just edit it.

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  97. David RofulowitzApril 9, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    I think that TLC has been one of the worst offenders in terms of straying from its' original content and mission. I do like "Intervention" and "Hoarders" because I feel those shows shed a realistic light on addictions/diseases and how they not only affect the afflicted individual but their family, friends, etc., too.

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  98. Read the Wikipedia entry on Alton. He filed for divorce in November 2014

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  99. To be honest, I watch it. And I even enjoy it. But I totally knew that all four of those mentors would get down to one cook each until the finale and that it would be Curtis who was eliminated. I felt bad for Sharon, really, she is a great cook. And I think Curtis and Michael Symon were the best mentors. But, yeah, she was cursed soon as he picked her.

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  100. Which is to say, they had three Iron Chefs and the new guy. Hmmmm, wonder how that's going to go down.

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  101. This reply is probably too late, but a college or university town (Austin, Lubbock) might have been a better fit for CocoaModa. I'm not familiar enough with Texas to suggest other college/university towns. Even if the people in a small town appreciate and can afford fine food, you have to have enough people in the community or nearby to have a viable restaurant and catering business.

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