Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares will forever hold the mantle as one of the top cooking reality shows on TV. Seeing the drama and transformation of these restaurants both sides of the pond, along with Ramsay’s unforgettable bouts of extreme anger, made for some unforgettable episodes. Taking this concept and adding an extra spin to a tried and tested formula, Restaurants On The Edge sees three enthusiastic and talented people coming together to change the fortunes of struggling restaurants across the globe.
From the gorgeous shore-sides of Malta across to the breathtaking heights of Austria’s Alps, this feel-good series oftentimes feels like a watered down version of Kitchen Nightmares but it manages to stand out thanks to its educational content and unique approach to showcasing each restaurant’s transformation.
This first season takes place across five different areas around the world. From the heart of Hong Kong, to Austria, Saint Lucia and Malta, there’s a whole variety of beautiful locations explored. Restaurants On The Edge plucks out one flailing restaurant from each of these countries and changes its fortunes. Each episode adopts the same foundation, with an introduction to the location and wide, sweeping establishing shots boasting the beauty surrounding these eateries. The trio are then introduced to the restaurant owner, with a brief overview of the problems before diving into resolving these and changing the owner’s fortunes for the better.
From here, the three presenters split up and soak in the culture and atmosphere from each country, visiting local markets, learning about the architecture and even blowing up social media posts to read to the owners to gauge where their business needs to change. The educational aspects of this show is where Restaurants On The Edge excels and learning more about the history of these countries through culinary dishes or designing interiors is a genius move that helps this stand out from Kitchen Nightmares in the best possible way.
Where the show slips up however is with the owners themselves. The Maltese Goalkeeper in the first episode admits he’s not a good businessman and knows nothing about restaurants, the Austrian couple shrug and laugh off the incorrect phone number and signpost outside their establishment while first-time, naive owners waltz into the restaurant businesses and immediately find themselves struggling due to inexperience. It all comes across as a little naive but thankfully these moments are counterbalanced by some genuinely heart-felt moments from each of these owners. First impressions are everything though and Restaurants On The Edge, perhaps inadvertently, shows off the worst of this at times.
It’s not all bad though and Restaurants On The Edge has enough style and originality to make it worth a watch. The three different presenters are unique in their approach to enhancing the owner’s fortunes, the educational aspects are excellent and seeing the reactions from the different owners at the end makes the journey worth taking to rekindle that feel-good factor these shows do so well to ignite at the end. It’s not perfect, but the show does enough to make it a decent reality offering to whet the appetite.
Verdict - 6.5/10