Korifaeus Magazine

••• The Big Brother's, oops, i mean Apple's Gazette ••• A Sophisticated Periodical with Panache and a Sense of Humor

Keep the English out of the Kitchen…

Here come the English…
by Korifaeus

The English may be renowned for a lot of things, ( i’m thinking) but one thing is for sure, they never made themselves a name for great cuisine. Thus why would the Food-network produce a show called ” Restaurant Impossible” hosted by an English fellow teaching folks how they should be cooking and is so audacious as to redesign their restaurants to turn them into gold mines ?

A few days ago i happen to see Restaurant Impossible on the Food-network, and witnessed how they turned the warm and cozy looking “Woody’s Topelo Steakhouse” into a sterile and cold looking concrete eatery.

Before and after:
The Steakhouse was furnished with wooden tables ands chairs, pretty much a warm and inviting looking restaurant with white tablecloths – truly a lovely and cozy looking place where i would have felt quite comfortable eating. There was nothing wrong with the interior design, at all, i found, but there was a problem with the restaurant because the owners were supposedly drowning in debt.

Thus what did Chef Robert Irvine do to help the owners ? He changed the entire look of the restaurant and put most of the money in re-decorating the interior, exchanging the lovely wooden tables with “concrete” slap tables painted white – the chairs, too, were painted white – the chandeliers were exchanged with an enormous metallic sprayed branches and twigs lighting fixture something, and the entire restaurant ended up looking like a Swiss Italian-ice cafe; Gelati anyone ?

Now the place may have been a bit what dusty, as was mentioned in the show before the renovation, but the lamps they had before were much easier for dusting than the branches and twigs fixture. To clean and dust ( or keep dust free ) that design will be close to impossible.
There is a rule in designing restaurants and that’s to have easy to clean fixtures because nothing is less appetizing than seeing dust above one’s table where one is about to eat.

Another tip from Chef Robert Irvine to make the restaurant work, thus avoid more debt, was to serve delicious food, such as … a Cat fish sandwich with fries. Yep, that sure sounds like a yummy dish for a steak house, don’t it ? Mind you, the catfish was not baked in a pan but “fried” in a deep friar. Pardon me, but it looked and seemed more appropriate for The Colonel’s fast food chain, than a ” Steak house”.

If at least he could have suggested “blackened” catfish fried in a pan in lusciously bubbling butter, garnished with a roasted tomato and a side of mashies… ?

All the restaurant needed was some “efficiency suggestions”, to safe funds where they can be saved = where to buy good quality meats for the best affordable price. Reduce food spoilage, by taking items off the menu that don’t sell. Also, many restaurants serve way too big of portions – moderate portions look not only more appetizing, they allow some room for desert.

There are so many things a restaurateur could have suggested to the owners of Woody’s steakhouse to increase their profit, but to make it more “contemporary” looking, which turned out to mean “cold avec concrete flair”, was for my personal taste not the way to go.

Should Woody’s still experience some problems in the future, i suggest don’t ask the English ( for anything ” food” that is) for advice, contact Peter Luger’s steakhouse in Brooklyn, New York, still the number one steakhouse and the interior design hasn’t changed in 125 years. Wooden tables “without” table clothes, which i bet saves them a bundle… 😉

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