Food Network’s Restaurant:Impossible sends celebrity chef Robert Irvine into independently-run restaurants on the verge of oblivion and, by means of a top-notch remodeling team, new recipe ideas and a bit of tough love, he’s able to give these restaurants and their owners a much-needed second chance.
And it just so happens that his Food Network colleague, frosted tip muscle car driver extraordinaire, Guy Fieri and his Times Square-based eatery, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, are in desperate need of an Irvine makeover.
“It’s a nightmare in there.”, says Restaurant:Impossible producer Cyndi Butz. “I’ve never seen a kitchen staff so oblivious to the concept of sanitary cooking conditions. Many of the chefs and some of the waiters seemed to have some form of scurvy. It’s a miracle we showed up when we did, or there might have been more lives lost than there already has been.”
The idea of Irvine visiting Fieri’s restaurant in a special 2-hour episode did not actually originate with the R:I production team, but instead with the top brass at Food Network. “Look, we don’t directly endorse Guy’s Kitchen and Bar, so legally, there’s no recourse for us there.”, says Kent Pollin, Programming Executive for Food Network. “But when one of your top guys is running an establishment that is referred to in some reviews as ‘a nightmare Elvis would have if he were sweating through a fever in a Vietnamese Applebee’s circa 1968’, you’ve got to step in to protect your brand.”
Butz gave us some idea of what to expect in the episode. “We take an extraordinary amount of guitars off of the wall. In some areas, there were more guitars than drywall. It was actually weakening the structural integrity of the building itself. It also appears that Guy had decided to install his own version of that decoration where it looks like half of the car is coming through the wall, but instead of doing it the correct way, it’s apparent that he drove a car through the wall, which brings up additional concerns as it was a shared wall with a Duane Reade next door and the rear end of a 1967 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible has been sticking out of the Planned Parenthood section for at least a month. Somebody has been paid off somewhere.”
Butz also reveals that concerns with the food and it’s preparation take up a bulk of the episode. “All of the meat was being stored in an unplugged refrigerator next to the walk-in freezer that was being used as a “Chill Brrrrrrr-o-ita Zone” where they had customers, not only walking through the food prep area in rented flip flops, but preparing margaritas and Guy’s microwavable gourmet burritos in a thawing freezer with power strips and extension cords strewn through puddles on the floor.”
Safety concerns were at the top of the list throughout the entire remodel. “There was a shocking lack of concern for safety. They had a section of tables set aside for something called “Guy’s Lord of the Fries”, where they had sawed holes in the middle of some of the tables in the middle of the restaurant and set deep friers in the middle, no more than 6 inches away from the exposed flesh of the customers. Keeping with the motif, Guy also thought it would be fun to have a real pig’s head on a stake as you enter the area. We surely hope that they planned on replacing this pig’s head on a daily basis, because the same head had been there for some time. Like we said, the fact that no reports of injury or illness have occurred is very unlikely. Money has exchanged hands somewhere.”
The financial side of Guy’s restaurant is also discussed in detail. “The amount of money spent on the “Frosted Tips While You Wait, Dawg” station could have been spent to ensure that proper cleaning supplies could have been purchased, rather than the gallons of Windex they had been using for everything. They have no hand soap. Only bottles of Windex.”
Butz assured us that Irvine’s trademark tough love would be present in this episode unlike any other. “Robert bit into a large piece of glass while eating the ‘California Creamin’ Strawberry Daiquiri Bison Burger’, which actually set us back with the shoot because of Robert needing some minor oral surgery, so when he came back in, he was pretty upset with Guy and ready to mop the floor with him, which we’re convinced he would have done if Guy had been there.” Guy Fieri is only present in the episode over Skype, due to scheduling conflicts, as Robert carries him around the restaurant showing him the horrific conditions. “At one point, Robert throws the laptop down the ‘Guy’s Falling Down A Hole In A Paper Floor’, a seemingly endless sinkhole that appeared in the middle of the restaurant that Guy decided to cover with posters and album covers from Stone Temple Pilots, Live and other like bands from the 90’s. Customers were encouraged to throw their peanut shells, chicken bones and other scraps down the hole when as a ‘fun way to clean up’. As Guy’s digital self is falling down the hole, Robert screams at him to think of how Tiffany Abernathy felt when she disappeared in the hole during the ‘Guy’s Extreme Rope Ladder Challenge for Little Dudes and Chikadees’ back in June of this year. It’s very gripping and powerful stuff.”
Butz hopes this episode will raise some awareness and give individuals some pause before they visit one of Guy’s establishments, or allow him to start one in their home town. “Some people have no business working with food or operating a business or employing human beings. We’re hoping this gives people a chance to really look at how Fieri affects the world around us and how we don’t have to stand back and just let him destroy the lives of fellow humans who just want to enjoy a decent properly prepared, gourmet hamburger made from the meat of a clean animal at a reasonable price with their family and not contract some sort of terminal disease. We can fight back and demand better for ourselves and those we love.”
Restaurant:Impossible – In the Fires of Fieri will air later this month on Food Network. Expect a full review from us after the premiere.