I had the opportunity today to be an audience member for a taping of a new Food NEework show--America's Next Great Restaurant. It's produced by the company that makes "Top Chef," so I expected a bit of a "challenge" event similar to that show. In format, I was not disappointed.
The taping was held at Universal Citywalk, and as with most reality/audience shows, I was required to show up way early. But after check-in, we were allowed some time to wander, so I got to photograph the awsome Citywalk signage.
All my photos of the event are of pre-taping, as cameras were not allowed once inside the event. The competition involved ten restaurant concepts, from the title and logo, menus, and finally tasting samples. Each had a stall. Audience members were given one chip per person, which they deposited into a box at their favorite vendor's concept booth.
Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, and several partners were judges. The eventual winner of this competition gets to open a restaurant with the four judges as investors.
The end booth had a fun title, Hicks, and served brats and cheesy tater tots.
There were an equal number of booths on the opposite side, including Indian fare, a healthy-living type booth, and the fave "Saucy Balls."
The Citywalk backdrop really made for an impressive scene--bright, colorful, festive. I could see why it was chosen for the event.
For some of you who have no idea what I do on a film set as part of my job, these pictures may show you how many people it takes to make a show work. Before the audience arrives, multiple cameras were shooting the setup and prep of each competitor.
Even in prep each booth was abuzz with activity. My only disappointment with the event was that there were no vegetarian entrees in any of the ten booths. Several had more expansive menus at their stations, and voiced the comment that their restaurants were a "build your own"-type place. But, when forced to pick one entree to sample all chose meat. I voted for the grilled cheese vendor only because the restaurant concept was one I knew I would patronize.
Would you patronize a restaurant titled "Saucy Balls"? Are you a fan of the Food Network in general? Will you watch this reality series? Please leave a comment on the blog to let me know, and next time I go to a taping, I'll have friends to bring along!