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Category — The Chopping Block

The Chopping Block – Morri’s Place v Pizza Piazza

It always amazes me when the restaurant owners on The Chopping Block are shocked when their failing business is criticised by food critic Alan Saunders.

You wonder why do they think they have few customers?

Morri’s Place in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale serves European comfort food is run by a older couple Morri the chef and Michelle his wife. They don’t have as many food issues as Pizza Piazza.

The big issue is presentation at Morri’s and with main’s in the high 20’s you do want it to look a bit better then homecooking. The menu is here.

Pizza Piazza a restaurant in Chapel St, Windsor was a mess. What did Fred the owner actually do? He did not cook, nor did he appear to help front of house. The whole of the menu came out of the freezer. Matt Moran thought the taglitelle seafood pasta “tasted like piss.”

The big thing they had going for them were gluten free pizza’s. This should be a big draw card. But the critic at first thought it was too soggy. However Matt Moran sorted that out, by advising that it be finished on the stone in the oven. This did mean that they could only serve gluten free pizza’s.

Sun the chef there did try, and knew how to cook once he got some decent ingredients, but it was not going to be enough to win the $20,000. Morri took it out, and he seemed more pleased with the win rather then the cash.

what does Fred actually do at his restaurant?

December 2, 2008   1 Comment

The Chopping Block – Spargo’s Espresso V Mambo Italiano

One thing that annoys me about this show is the critic, Alan Saunders, is in a suburban shopping centre cafe and is bitching that the egg in his caesar salad is poached not coddled. It is not Aria. Which is something Matt Moran needs to remember when advising the troubled restaurants that not all can afford the top shelf ingredients he tells them to when the are selling meals for under $20.

But really not producing a coddled egg on their salad was the least of Spargo’s Espresso problems. The service was abominable, with Ashleigh the waitress really needing to be put on the chopping block. She was dumb or did not give a rats, or both.

The kitchen was just disgusting, no wonder the food was sub par at this Essendon eatery.

Mambo Italiano is not much better, their signature dish the Pizza Napa which is an upside down pizza, which was more like a pie. And did I spot canned pineapple in it?

Also the chef makes risotto with boiled rice. What was that all about? The daughter of the business Ljubliana seems like she may have the propensity of melting down once she was under pressure.

The other thing is when these restaurants get full, which they do the night they are going to get judged, the kitchens who are used to operating with half full premises are unable to cope.

Waiting an hour like Alan Saunders did for his meal at Spargos is not going to get you to go back. He would have been able to do his weekly shop in the nearby supermarket in that time.

When Alan Saunders did his final review he still bitched that the Caesar salad did not have a coddled egg, even Matt Moran was rolling his eyes, but that did not stop Spargo’s taking out the $20,000 first prize.

November 18, 2008   2 Comments

The Chopping Block – All Publicity Is Good Publicity.

- People apparently do go and eat at the restaurants seen on The Chopping Block. Apparently just appearing on the show win or lose increases the number of clientele a restaurant gets. So all publicity is good publicity in this case.

The Sun Herald reveals that after Season one went to air series producers called each of the eateries that took part in the show to see how they’d been affected since.

Almost every one of the restaurants reported taking part was a very positive experience overall, with the winners noting increases of up to 70 per cent in trade, and losers up to 50 per cent increases.

So this should help them to get restaurants for season three, if Channel 9 renews it. Hopefully he will.

November 16, 2008   Comments Off on The Chopping Block – All Publicity Is Good Publicity.

Reality Tidbits

Matt Moran Tells Of His Abhorrence For Restaurants On The Chopping Block
Matt Moran who advises failing restaurants in The Chopping Block tells Perth Now how at his horror at what he has found at the failing restaurants.

“To walk into the first kitchen and see the dirt and the grime and the uncovered things and the chefs who look like they just came to work after being out for 48 hours”¦ I realised straight away it was a completely different league.

“The way I run my restaurants, we’re proud of what we do – we like our uniforms to be clean, our shoes to be spotless and the restaurant and the kitchen to be immaculate every time someone comes into it – because you’re on show”¦ It made me realise that they, the featured restaurants, are not the kind of places I would ever go to anyway”¦ It made just go “˜f****** hell!’ and realise there’s another world out there.”

It is a pity he does not name names, as I was thinking of eating at Emads one of the featured restaurants on the show.

Australian Idol Winner Won’t Be Releasing a Christmas Album this year.
After the disaster of Natalie Gauci covers release last year, this year’s winner will not be releasing a covers album of songs they sang on the show.

This tradition was started with Damien Leith’s win and he sold over 100,000 CD’s, however Natalie’s bombed with only 11,000 sold.

The winner will release their album in May next year with a single released in March. Which raises the interesting issue of when is Natalie Gauci album going to be launched? Or will it just be buried?
Full story on Herald Sun.

Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe launch ‘Superstar Dancers Of The World’
A follow up from yesterday’s post on Nigel Lythgoe criticising Simon Cowell, it has now been announced that NBC will be launching a new dance show produced by Nigel Lythgoe.

It is called ‘Superstar Dancers Of The World’ and as Nigel previously said it is like the dance Olympics.

The series will pit the masters of various dance genres from eight countries against each other. Equal parts sporting event, rock concert and artistic exhibition.

The eight countries currently scheduled to participate include: Ireland, India, USA, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa and Australia.

It is interesting that the UK and Canada are not represented.

Full details on The Futon Critic.

November 15, 2008   Comments Off on Reality Tidbits

The Chopping Block – Hotel Eden v Courthouse

The episode tonight could have been titled Chef Wants A Wife, with Tim the Chef/Owner of the Courthouse restaurant, declaring he was single every time a camera was anywhere near him. Was he using The Chopping Block as a way of picking up a girl, not for the cash?

Tonight the episode was located in the town of Berwick in Victoria which is a bit of a foodie town.

Both of the competing teams were struggling to stay afloat. The Courthouse was an upmarket serving Mod Oz cuisine. Mod Oz as defined by this restaurant a lot of different ingredients on a plate.

Hotel Eden was all different types of cuisine but a lot of it was frozen or pre-prepped. The bought in frozen beef pattie looked particularly unappetising.

There was the usual scathing review from the critic Alan Saunders, who is good, but he can sometimes come across as a bit snooty.

This week both the owners of the premises were both prepared to listen to the advice Matt Moran, and also seemed to have more experience in the hospitality industry.

I think this helped on the reopening night where the the kitchens worked well. On previous shows this evening usually results in some chaos in the kitchen, lost dockets, and delayed meals.

The food did look much improved in both premises but The Courthouse took the $20,000 first prize.

Courthouse has its own website, and it has kept the Matt Moran dishes on the menu. And if any girls are interested you are able to contact Tim on this site.

Hotel Eden – chef Walter

November 11, 2008   Comments Off on The Chopping Block – Hotel Eden v Courthouse