am·bi·ance also am·bi·ence (mb-ns, ä-byäs) n. The special atmosphere or mood created by a particular environment:
You may have heard me say the word "ambiance" several times in this episode. It's important to understand that the best dinner parties consist of covering all of the five senses: Touch, Taste, See, Hear, and Smell. This is a major challenge for the chefs on the show simply because they are focusing mostly on how the food tastes and smells and not on the entire environment in the dining room and how it feels and looks. For many of the chefs, this is the first time in their lives they are faced with this challenge, which is why I am brought in to try and execute any vision they come up with. I do this every day for Fortune 500 companies, brides, and non-profit organizations.
Coming up with a vision is also a challenge in itself. Though Joel won the competition (Congrats Joel!), he had an incredibly hard time envisioning the entire environment and expressing to me what he wanted his dinner party to look and feel like. He was hyper-focusing on the ingredients that were going into the menu and I came away from our short time together with two things: he wanted to use fresh herbs as part of the centerpiece on the table and that he wanted there to be an interactive game element that involved the asking of the question “If you were a teacher, what would you teach?” I liked these elements a lot but the room needed more to really WOW Rocco and his guests. I asked Joel if he was ever able to open his dream restaurant with his wife, what would it look like? He did have a little more insight to give me there, but it was vague….
One of the hardest parts of my job is to draw a client’s creative vision out of them so that I can then take it and turn it into an awesome and beautiful experiential environment.
I usually end up becoming their therapist by the end of the day!! Folks need to dig deep to find their inner creative rock star for sure.
I knew Joel had something special in him, so I really wanted to take this high school teacher and turn him into a master of his own environment and not only stay in his comfort zone of the kitchen.
Joel’s desire for a perfect meal and a clean “untacky” ambiance inspired me to create some much needed magic in his dining room on Rocco’s terrace.