In this episode, Robert is headed to Tupelo, Mississippi to help out at Woody's. This place was once a happening joint serving the likes of Elvis Presley. Now they are losing thousands of dollars a month and they haven't figure out how to stop the bleeding. That is why Robert is here.
Woody's Tupelo Steakhouse | Click here for the restaurant's website
This restaurant has problems on all levels - food, management, decor, and service. Robert really had his work cut out for him. Compliance seem to fill the entire restaurant. It seems they starting to go down hill, and no one could figure out how to stop the slide, so compliance set in. Basic problems like no staff schedule, no assigned sections for servers, and general bad organization, made the service slow and the server tired and confused. The servers didn't have the right attitude but as often it does, it starts with the management. You train people to give good service, then good service is more likely to happen.
Fixing the decor ending up being a major headache, all because of the table tops. They were using table clothes to cover a padded table top. This was costing them $1,000 a month in cleaning the table clothes. Robert wanted then to go. So they orded a material that was part concrete. The problem was this material wasn't food safe. Robert got black marks on his hands by just touching them. So they had to seal the tops before using them. They ran into a lot of problems trying to cut the tables, but their design team was able to figure out the problem but it was too late.
The restaurant owner was proud for using a high quality steak. Robert showed them in a side by side taste test that the choice he purchased was just as good and cheaper than what she was buying. This goes to show that you don't need the top of the line steak, you just need the knowledge on how to season and prepare that steak well. I have no problem buying a choice cut from any grocery store, because I know if I prepare it right, it will be delicious.
Catfish Sandwich with Remoulade | Click here for the recipe
Robert only shows them one recipe in this show and it is for a catfish sandwich. Catfish is a cheap fish that they can make it good and lower the restaurant's food cost. The catfish is covered in corn meal and deep fried. The sandwich has a remoulade spread on it. The remoulade is a spread that contains ketchup, mayo, vinegar, capers, horseradish, celery, onion, anchioves, and spices.
The reviews I read online since Robert's visit were mixed. Still some complains about some of the same problems - bland food and slow service, but there were enough positive reviews that I think this place has done a good job at turning things around. I think a positive sign is that their facebook page has over 2,500 fans. While it doesn't appear Robert had much time to work on improving the food, it seems he gave the restaurant new life and better organization. Overall it seems this restaurant has benefited a lot from the good kick in the pants, Robert provided.
If anyone has been here since the show aired, let me know what you thought of the place.
If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.
In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.