March 06, 2011 07:46 PM by Lisa Princ
Tonight on NBC was the premiere of their new series, America’s Next Great Restaurant! In this new series watched as aspiring restauranteurs pitched their ideas and concepts to a panel of famed judges for the chance of a lifetime – watching their dream become reality as they get their own restaurant chain! Keep reading for all the details on tonight’s premiere episode!
Tonight on the series premiere of America’s Next Great Restaurant on NBC we first met the season’s investors who will be funding the winning concept. The investors, who would also be the judging panel were made up of Food Network superstar chef and judge of The Next Food Network Star Bobby Flay, chef on The Biggest Loser and the new host of Top Chef Masters Curtis Stone, along with Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle as well as Lorena Garcia, executive chef and restaurateur who has also been spotted on The Biggest Loser with Curtis Stone.
After meeting the investors, the 21 competitors were put to the test – pitching their idea to the panel as well as creating a dish for the judges to sample that would be part of their menu. Right off the bat we saw some big personalities, including Joe, the owner of several wing restaurants who thought for sure he would be a shoe in. Too bad for Joe the judges were not impressed with his idea or his wings! We saw numerous ideas tossed right away such as one gal who made the judges a “healthy” macaroni and cheese that Bobby Flay said tasted like a cupcake and none of the judges liked. Following that one was another gal who sounded like she was five years old who had the genius idea of doing nothing but soups, which obviously would not work in the warm weather, not to mention neither Curtis Stone, nor Bobby Flay could stomach her sample.
Then we saw some great concepts on America’s Next Great Restaurant who made it into the top ten including Fran, who knocked it out of the park with her personality and leadership qualities despite the fact that her idea of sports wraps was not a new one. Then there was Eric, who came in with a grown up grilled cheese concept, but the judges were not sure of his idea and told him to hang on until they could come to a decision. Next we met Joey from Brooklyn with his concept “Saucy Balls” which had the judges laughing. His food, which were meatballs stuffed with cheese that the judges loved and they left Curtis telling him “I love your balls”. Joey, who said his daughter came up with the name idea was also chosen to make it into the top ten.
But it was not all good either, as we saw our share of bad ideas, including one girl who was willing to turn anything into a pot pie, including a cheeseburger which did not go over well with the judges. Then there was a pair of men who thought they would have a fast food joint with waiters – an idea Steve Ells quickly knocked down. And in one of the strangest ideas of the night, a woman brought in this huge blow up prop which had absolutely nothing to do with her restaurant idea which had something to do with children and parents, but I don’t think anyone understood what she was talking about.
Among the other top ten contestants, were a couple who came in claiming they were “celebrating” the American redneck and despite the shaky idea, their food was delicious. Then we met Marisa with a “create your own” stir fry idea that the judges loved as well as a guy who pitched a chicken and waffles idea that the judges were shocked by with the combination – upon asking him if they could play with his concept a little and he agreed, he was sent through. Alex, who had the concept of every kind of taco you could think of was also sent through after agreeing to cut down his menu since it contained 75 different items. Another interesting concept that was sent through was a woman who had the idea of a half healthy and half indulgent sort of “heaven and hell” so to speak menu which the judges loved.
Then we met Jason who came in with a burger and wings concept, which obviously was not unique to the judges and although they did like his food, they decided they were not sure and would have Jason and Eric, the grown up grilled cheese man try to impress them one more time. Concerned with cooking grilled cheese quickly the judges asked Eric to cook as many as he could in 15 minutes and they asked Jason to create one of his burgers for them to taste. In the end, the judges liked the burger but were more impressed with Eric and his grilled cheese, sending him into the top ten and sending Jason home – Jason seemed to think Bobby Flay was jealous of his burger! That wraps up the season premiere of America’s Next Great Restaurant, be sure to tune in next week to NBC for another brand new episode!
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