Sam Talbot

Sam Talbot dives right into Season 3's Restaurant Wars.

on Aug 20, 2007

Consider these numbers from Time Out New York:

1 year How long a restaurant typically takes to turn a profit. 222 Number of buzzed-about restaurants that opened in 2006. 102 Number of noteworthy restaurants that closed in 2006. And these include restaurants that have experienced people behind them. Restaurants with millions of dollars and years of thought. And yet, they still made mistakes. Besides the scented candles, the mistakes these TC chefs made are being made in restaurants all across the country:

1. The name. Naming a restaurant is harder than naming a child. And with four people, I think they tried to find something they all agreed on so they could move on to what they really needed to spend time on--the food.

That brings me to my next point:

2. The decor. Last year, we had a designer who was supposed to execute our vision. This year, one chef is designated as the "designer". I wished Tom would have said to the producers, "It's called Top Chef, not Top Design." Maybe they should have combined shows and let Top Design contestants work with the chefs to design a restaurant. The chefs should be called to the carpet on their food, not for how well they can shop for wall hangings. And to the criticism of black tablecloths--I'm not quite sure Dale would mind eating off of Billy Idol.

3. Menu choices. I agree with the seasonality complaint. Though if you walk into a restaurant tonight, you'll see the exact same mistake at some pretty well-known places. 4. Teams. CJ picked an MVP squad, not only in talent, but in teamwork. Hung and Howie expressed two totally different ways to win. Hung believes that they're not competing against each other on the team--but they're all working together to win (couldn't agree more). Howie believes it's a war of attrition, and he's going to do what he has to do to do to stay in it. I feel bad for Hung and Dale. The other team seems to have camaraderie, compassion, and a "no chef left behind" mentality.