Conviction Kitchen airs Friday nights (that’s tonight) at 10PM EST on Planet Green.
Planet Green is quickly becoming one of my favorite channels on cable television. Just the fact that they have The Fabulous Beekman Boys goes a long way toward endearing them to me, but now I have discovered that they also have Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich – restaurateurs with hearts of gold.
Yesterday around this time (lunchtime!) I was at the Discovery Offices in New York City where I had the opportunity to screen several clips of the upcoming season of Conviction Kitchen (filmed this time around in Vancouver), hear from Planet Green’s President and General Manager Laura Michalchyshyn, and have lunch and chat with the show’s hosts Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich. Michalchyshyn remarked that Planet Green is about “great personalities making change” and that they are a “very curious and character driven channel about what’s next”.
I think the evidence of Michalchyshyn’s comments about Planet Green can be discerned in the channel’s content. I don’t watch much reality television. I don’t know housewives from housemates, or who any of the idols are, but the personalities of the handful of shows I have seen on the fledgling network are engaging, and show great commitment to not just an idea or a principle, but to something very specific and personal. The Beekman Boys have their farm and environmentally sustainable living and lifestyle, Marc and Biana have their restaurants and the creation of opportunities for people who might otherwise have very limited choices.
Conviction Kitchen seeks to open a successful high end restaurant with a staff of twelve ex-convicts. Six in the kitchen, and six as waitstaff. I was touched by the moments that I saw from the upcoming season, and by Marc and Biana’s story – the whys of their involvement when they have very busy lives raising a family and running several successful restaurants. The restaurant business is a tough one and I can’t imagine staffing and running one solely with a special needs population. The stress level must be intense! Those who are selected for employment have been incarcerated from a few short months to over twenty years. Some were behind prison walls as little as a few months before the show found them. They have been in for many different offenses, but most of them for drugs and related offenses involving assault, theft and armed robbery.
Marc is a recovering addict, and there are risks inherent in his exposure to other addicts, and Biana worries for him because of this. They both worry for their employees. Their commitment stems from knowledge of what the people they employ have experienced and the challenges that they still face. This provides a compelling element to the show, and I think its definitely one worth watching.
Hello FTC! I still am not quite sure what has to be disclosed, what doesn’t and by whom, but I got lunch, a Planet Green flash drive and Marc Thuet’s cookbook while at Discovery. I’m also buds with one of Discovery’s best employees. I really did enjoy what I saw as well. Life’s to short to blog about bad tv shows.
Images Courtesy of Planet Green.