Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blue Moon of Food Network

"Are you ready to see your restaurant? Didn’t I tell you that I’d give you a second chance? Here is your second chance. Open your eyes.” And the restaurant owner and the family opens their eyes, and they scream in excitement.

This is a usual climactic moment from the top show in the Food Network, Restaurant Impossible. A drop of tear appears even in the viewers’ eyes at this peak emotional moment. Next is the ritual of introducing the designer and builder to the owner. After this done, the chef, goes into a jovial carnival of sorts and partakes in the excitement of the owner and staff. Occasionally, the chef too gets involved with the service. Finally, the restaurant that was failing a day before was left with a new hope to the owner and staff.

The unforgettable part of each show in Restaurant Impossible is the shouting, screaming, creative, hard working, successful, and tough, man with a sledgehammer, top chef, Robert Irvine. Born in Wiltshire, England, Robert Irvine successfully made his way into the green flame of the art of cooking after completing a successful career in British Royal Navy. Restaurant Impossible has completed five seasons and it is onto the sixth. It is one of the most viewed shows in Food Network with the highest rating.

What does Restaurant Impossible and Robert Irvine mean to me, someone from Kerala, South India? Robert Irvine’s towering personality is one element that keeps my interest in the show. Mr. Irvine shines like a blue moon throughout the show. Another element is the food and restaurant part. Many creative ways to realize a restaurant makeover can be learnt from each part of the show. Also these makeovers are brought to effect through the usage of cheap materials, making it possible for middle class and poor people to dream big within an affordable range of price. Small-scale business owners and restaurants with a bend to learn things and an open mind can learn plenty of techniques from the show. (This is sort of a multi-use mechanism).
Image Courtesy: Google
The second element that attracted me was the Indian reality of compulsive customer dissatisfaction. Almost every restaurant, (excluding a few star hotels, which I have no experience with, whatsoever) in India, especially in Kerala serves on a daily basis only to provide misbehavior, harmful food, and unclean circumstances to their customers.

The worst restaurant shown in Restaurant Impossible has the quality and standard for being one of the top most ones in Kerala. This shows the alarming state of things down here. However, it will be interesting to investigate into the reasons of survival and success, for these humbugging restaurants throughout Kerala. Often the result might surprise us.

In Kannur town, most of the restaurants survive based on necessity rather than quality. The large population density makes it impossible to avoid the presence of a restaurant at a particular area. The quality of the food they cook seems to be the last thing of concern. The nearest restaurant is mostly the only priority. Also the large number of people, workers, office staff, bureaucratic officials, students and others throng into restaurants, good ones or otherwise. If you didn’t like food from one place, by the time you found another restaurant fighting for a seat, either the food would be over, or you would die of hunger. In most cases, one just never finds that ‘good restaurant’ anywhere. This just is the reality.    
Image Courtesy: Google
One of my friends sent me the link to a show of Restaurant Impossible, a year back, for the first time. From then onwards I am fan of this show. From Kerala,YouTube is apparently the only way I could watch Restaurant Impossible. I watch the show often in weekends, and occasionally in the evenings, after a particularly hard day at college, where I work as a Lecturer. Largely, I feel connected with Robert Irvine due to his appeal as a teacher and a guide. What I see in Robert Irvine, as one of his greatest qualities, is his ability to make people realize their own worth, a concept that adores the Objectives in my Curriculum Vitae as well.

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