“Restaurant Stakeout” Coming to Food Network

Television is a heartless bitch.

Late last year Food Network ran a pilot for a show called Mystery Diners which was produced by T Group Productions.  On MD, struggling restauranteurs called in experts to set up hidden cameras to help them curb pilferage.  The stings were conducted by the staff at BES (Business Evaluation Services) who are headquartered in Arroyo Grande, CA.  BES provides full-service secret shopper evaluation designed for businesses by a network of professionals.

I loved the concept.  Just knowing that you might be exposed as a thief on national television would surely put a dent in the rampant pilferage of today’s restaurant employees and their “Occupy Wall Street” sense of entitlement.  I even chatted with some of the crew at T Group about whether the show would be picked up or not.  They were hopeful.

New York Restauranteur Willie DegelWell, Food Network has green lighted the concept. . . only with a different production company, a different team setting up the stings, a different title, a different city and a different host.

RelativityREAL’s Restaurant Stakeout premieres March 14th on Food Network.  It’s pretty much the same premise as Mystery Diners with a geographical shift from Disneyesque SoCal to the gritty streets of New York.  That’s where we find Willie Degel owner of Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse (a NYC chain with a slightly above-average reputation – 3.5 stars from Yelp and Menu Pages, 77% “like it” from UbranSpoon) dishing out tough love Soprano’s-style.  Degal is the self-proclaimed “toughest steakhouse boss” in New York who uses hidden cameras to help problematic eateries trim the fat.  Check out this trailer he did for as-yet un-aired reality series for TruTV:

I know what you’re thinking, this guy’s a d-bag.  Well, it’s that kind of confrontational, in-your-face approach that the d-bags who steal from their employers understand and it also brings in ratings.

So how does it stack up against Mystery Diners?  We’ll just have to wait until March 14th to find out.  However, this is the same production company behind The Great Food Truck Race, a show that has serious integrity issues.  Perhaps that is why they chose the name RelativityREAL.  For more information on Restaurant Stakeout read these articles, one from the New York Post and the other from Tulsa World.  The series will air at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on the Food Network.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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