As we watched a real New Jersey housewife fight with a fictional New Jersey Big Pussy, we realized celebreality has officially taken over food TV.
The concept of Famous Food is that seven "stars," some of whom aren't shining so brightly these days, will create a new restaurant from concept to operations, with one winner.
The contestants are as varied as they are vapid. Our favorites were DJ Paul and Juicy "J" from Three 6 Mafia, who once tried to pitch a cooking show called Cookin' Ain't Easy and had this great quote: "If you can run a rap group with guys from prison, then you can run a restaurant."
The Mafia boys were very happy to meet one fellow contestant, because they had a picture of her in their recording studio. Who was it? Ashley Dupre, who leveraged her fame from being Eliot Spitzer's favorite call girl into her current gig as an advice columnist for the New York Post.
Keeping up with that theme was Vincent Pastore, aka Big Pussy from The Sopranos. From reality whore fame was The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars contestant Jake Pavelka; Danielle Staub, who was booted off Real Housewives of New Jersey; and Heidi Montag, who had been on MTV's The Hills before making the aptly titled album Superficial.
The celebtestants are responsible for taking over a restaurant on the Sunset Strip. They have 28 days to come up with a concept, name, menu, staff, floor plan design and just about everything else.
In week one, the concept becomes Italian-soul fusion after Big Pussy gives a long explanation about how "Italians and blacks have the same blood." The biggest himbo on the show, Bachelor Jake, confesses that he doesn't know what it means, but imagines a drumstick with a piece of spaghetti wrapped around it.
Heidi says that the name should be Fame, because they are all famous and half the concept is bling. Bada bling!
Everyone is amazed by how easy the decisions are at first, but inevitably heads butt and fake boobs bond. Bosom buddies Danielle and Heidi ditch the group for happy hour. Real tension builds between Danielle and Big Pussy: She calls him a big shot, and he is convinced that she is a Desperate Housewife (wrong show) and a complete and utter bitch. She so is.
What happens when they pitch their idea to the entrepreneurs who will actually have to fund the restaurant? A cold stare, finished off with an "It sucks, the idea."
Shockingly, the girl we thought sucked, literally, for a living, saves the day. Ashley Dupre comes up with the name Picnic and has a concept of picnic tables. The investors love it and the show goes on.
Danielle's hatred of the idea will have us tuning in next week. While Top Chef is on hiatus, this might become our new guilty pleasure.