Reuter’s Etan Vlessing reports celebrity chef Marc Thuet and his wife Biana Zorich will “whittle down 84 former bank robbers, thieves and petty offenders into seven waiters and six cooks” in an eight-part series to premier this fall. Finalists will head for a three-week culinary boot camp before Conviction Kitchen opens its doors to customers. [see video]
“This (TV show) will move viewers, and prove you can hire these people. They are grabbing this second chance and turning round their lives,” said Thuet, a former drug and alcohol abuser. Apparently during filming, one ex-con who was told to cut his hair threatened chef Thuet’s wife. Good thing Gordon Ramsay wasn’t there. Another ex-con left the show after he was found shooting up in back of the kitchen.
“This is probably the most emotional show we’ve ever made,” said Simon Lloyd, president of Toronto indie producer Cineflex Prods. “You’ve got someone taking heroin, who can’t stay in the restaurant because he can’t be around recovering addicts.”
“Conviction Kitchen” differs from most reality TV series in that no one is voted off the show at the end of each episode, writes Vlessing. “Zorich hopes the trainee chefs and dining room servers remain with the new restaurant until they’ve learned enough to further their new careers elsewhere, or even open their own restaurant”.