A one-hour per-week pop up
Hopefully there’ll be disasters – and swearing !
Temporary restaurants are nothing new, and some of them certainly fit the criteria of good “pop up” – open for a limited period of time, highly anticipated and eagerly sought-after, well-promoted via social (and traditional) medias… and featuring some unique or unusual elements. Add in a celebrity or 2, and there’s the recipe for a great (pop up) food event ! Locally we’ve had the high-profile MasterChef and Fat Duck restaurants – and loads of other smaller, stylish and successful pop up eateries. Often those short-term events take over an existing kitchen, but sometimes they’re built from nothing (and will disappear as quickly as they arrived)
Mega chef Gordon Ramsay has recently built a fully-functioning pop-up kitchen and dining room – on a sound stage in Hollywood USA – to serve just one sitting a week*. For one hour (per week), around 200 guests are fed and entertained, as the action is sent out live to an audience of millions. THE F WORD (screened in real time on FOX TV, across the US) is based on cooking, competition and controversy… The first live episode (May 31st) had an audience of 3.3million viewers, but later weeks have dropped to mid /low 2+million#. In typical reality-TV style, the pressure is on as 2 teams compete to produce a top-quality experience for hungry diners, to the exacting standards of Chef Ramsay. But hopefully (for the audience at home…) there’ll be mistakes and something to raise Chef’s ire… Mr Ramsay is renowned for his temper and colourful language !
Gordon Ramsay already has “dozens of restaurants around the world” (and a string of successful TV shows) – but this one is different. As Greg Morabito, reviewer from EATER.com commented – “this is basically a pop-up that only exists for one hour per week, primarily as a backdrop. And yet, the studio restaurant exhibits none of the awkward pacing and sloppy service that plague most pop-ups. It’s clear that Ramsay and his team actually give a s**t about this live-for-TV-only restaurant”*
In this pop up some of the diners will get the (amateurs) competition food, whilst others are served from a (professional) back kitchen. In Chef Ramsay’s words the staff back-of-house are “absolute thoroughbreds” – chosen from high-end restaurants. Series producer David Friedman says they “wanted to cut through what you typically see on television, and create this energy, this ambience, this actually true, real dining experience.” Explaining their decision to broadcast the show in real time, he said “if it’s a live event, more things can happen, and, by the way, more things can go wrong…”*
And that’s what makes this pop up experiment so interesting… the potential for mayhem and controversy (and sharing that with an audience of millions !)
# source : Wikipedia.org – The F Word (U.S. TV series)
* source : Eater.com – Gordon Ramsay F Word
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