Review: Private Chefs of Beverly Hills
So after months of hype and buzz Food Network finally rolled out it’s newest reality show (“non-scripted” in LA-ese) Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. I’ve chatted with some of the cast members (even did a few interviews) and I think after watching the first episode I’m ready to render some thoughts.
The chefs were paired off on three different catering events: Jesse and Manouschka did a dinner for 40-odd dog lovers AND THEIR DOGS. Just before the party was to start the hostess hands them a menu that was different than the one she had contracted. After a brief meltdown, Manouschka and Jesse rally to provide all of the guests and their pet humans a fantastic dining experience.
Chef Stuart (no relation) and Chef Brooke catered a Botox party thrown by another hostess who changes the menu just before party time. For no apparent reason she 86’s the first three courses, a soup shooter sampler and she wants each remaining dish given a “spa name.” Brooke and Stuart handle the changes with style. At one point the hostess (who is quite thick) suggests that Chef Brooke could use some Botox. Then the dim-witted hostess informs them that one of the party guests got Botox in her lips and can’t chew and so she needs something that can be sipped or slurped. To which Brooke asks, like soup?
Brian and Sasha went glamping. Apparently glamping is roughing it without giving up the creature comforts – glamorous camping. One of the glampers, Mark, a successful chef and restaurateur was in their hip pocket the entire time. He just couldn’t leave them alone with questions and pointers and elevendymillion mentions that he’s a chef, too. For a kitchen Sasha and Brian have a water spicket and a camp fire; that is if they can get the fire lit, which of course they do.
Again a last minute menu alteration. Actually an augmentation, the glampers have caught two trout and want them added to the menu. No problem. In the end all of the glampers were thrilled with the meal. Especially Mark, who as it turns out is just a very passionate foodie.
NOTE: just because you see people making last minute menu changes and the chefs making it happen on the show does not mean it is acceptable. In fact, many caterers will (and should) charge an extreme amount of money for last minute changes like these. You must remember that for these clients, money is no object.
As for the circumstances, these are the real issues that confront all of us who have made preparing food our lives. I have had more than my share of last minute changes and ridiculous requests. I too have had a meltdown because a customer has asked for something goofy that is outside the agreed upon service.
The catch is if you refuse to do it your reputation takes a hit. They won’t tell their friends about the 5000 things you were contracted to do that were done perfectly they’ll only mention the one thing you refused to do. So here’s how the balance is struck – yes we can do that and here’s how much extra it will cost you. Being a narcissist ain’t cheap. America at its best.
I believe this show is bound for good things. Unlike Food Network’s first shot at a reality show based on the Tinsel Town catering industry, the deplorable 2 Dudes Catering, PCO90120 follows the same formula that has made Ace of Cakes a hit. They don’t try to force the action, no more contrived drama and clever schtick. Just find an interesting scenario and let the cameras catch the action.
Prior to the premiere many were predicting Chef Brooke to be the break out star of the show. I do not concur, I think the person that gets the most fan mail will not be any of the chefs but rather the general manager of Big City Chefs, Samantha Martz. The BCC web site describes her as an, “overachieving twenty-something prodigy with a sweet and sassy personality.” She’s got a serious Mary Alice-thing going on plus she’s cute as a bug. As far as the chefs go, they are all talented professionals and I wouldn’t mind sharing a kitchen with any of them. In fact I’ll give them the best compliment I can think of – I’d let them barrow my knife.