Food Network's 24 Hour Restaurant Battle Is an Eternity of Boring

Dreams are awesome. Especially the ones with zombies and double rainbows (oh my God!), but what about the waking dreams we have for our lives? Losing weight, running a marathon, starting a business. Those are cool, too. And for the most part, they take planning.

Which is why Food Network's new show, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle is so boring and unbelievable.

Hosted by chef Scott Conant, chef and owner of Scarpetta and Faustina at The Cooper Square Hotel in New York, each episode features dueling two-person teams of aspiring restaurateurs who, according to Food Network, have 24 hours to conceive, plan and open their own restaurants for one night.

Bullshit, Food Network. Please don't insult us. By now, we understand how reality TV works (thanks everything after Real World season 1!). You've got a dream, you see a casting call, you get your ass ready, double rainbow-style.

The contestants know what the show's all about, so there's really no "conceiving" necessary. If they've done their dream schemes (and they all have), it's really all about how the food tastes, so spare us the "Oh my God! I only have 24-hours to do this!" exclamations from seemingly surprised contestants. And let's face it, no amount of decór is going to make that set look more like a welcoming dining establishment and less like a cleared-out Food Network conference room.

Fast-forward through the show's "nail-biting" drama (the tables are wrong, the arugula is stemmy, there are customers out there!) to find which team won. Can they really put a price on a dream? Yes, and it's worth $10,000 -- a drop in the bucket compared to what starting a business truly costs.

Time would be better spent watching the skies for double rainbows.

Now here's this week's foodie TV schedule so you won't miss a thing. For cable channels, check your local listings.

Monday (August 2)

Unique Eats: "Adventure." Daring dining endeavors include a nine-course underground dinner party in Chicago; a double-decker bus serving gourmet meals; and sushi prepared from freshly killed fish. 7:30 p.m., The Cooking Channel

Cake Boss: "Barbers & Bulls." Buddy creates a special anniversary cake for his longtime barber. He also works on a mechanical-bull cake that moves. 9 p.m., TLC

The Best Thing I Ever Ate: "Hidden Treasures." The best off-the-beaten-path eateries are revealed by Food Network stars, including Tyler Florence, Sunny Anderson, and Ted Allen. 9 p.m., Food Network

Fabulous Cakes: "Los Angeles." Three top bakeries in Southern California are spotlighted. 10 p.m., TLC

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: "Where it All Began." An edited version of Dmitri Kasterine's documentary, Out of the Pan, Into the Fire, which profiled Anthony Bourdain. 10 p.m., The Travel Channel

Tuesday (August 3)

Hell's Kitchen: The final four chefs must re-create one of Chef Ramsay's specialties without being told what ingredients are in it. Then, the physical exertion of dinner service proves too much for one of the chefs. 7 p.m., Channel 10, FOX

MasterChef: More amateur chefs prepare their signature dishes for the judges in the second set of auditions. 8 p.m., Channel 10, FOX

Cupcake Wars: "Vintage Cupcakes." Vintage-inspired cupcakes are created. 9 p.m., Food Network

Wednesday (August 4)

Man v. Food: "Oklahoma City." A fried-catfish challenge is attempted at the Steak & Catfish Barn in Oklahoma City. The host also indulges in a T-bone steak and fried-onion burgers during his stay in the Sooner State. 9 p.m., Travel Channel

Top Chef: Washington D.C.: "Foreign Affairs." The culinarians prepare Ethiopian food, then serve up dishes inspired by a foreign embassy. Chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Jose Andres serve on the judging panel. 9 p.m., Bravo

24 Hour Restaurant Battle: "Best Friends Battle." Private chefs play it safe with a small rustic menu that evokes childhood memories, while best friends from Massachusetts pack their ambitious menu with authentic Sicilian fare. Judges include Alison Brod, Gabriella Gershenson, and Geoffrey Zakarian. 10 p.m., Food Network

Thursday (August 5)

Cook Like an Iron Chef: "Secret Ingredient Skirt Steak." A skirt-steak dish. 7 p.m., The Cooking Channel

Ace of Cakes: "Boston and the Pops." Duff travels to Boston and dons a tuxedo to deliver a cake to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While in Beantown, he also throws out the first pitch at a Red Sox game. Also: A huge trophy-shaped cake is created for the 85th annual Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race. 10 p.m., Food Network

Friday (August 6)

Rachael's Vacation: "Rachael's Camping Vacation." Rachael Ray goes camping in Yosemite National Park and explores the many dining options there, including the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge; Ahwahnee Hotel; Wawona Hotel; and White Wolf Lodge. 11 p.m., Food Network

Saturday (August 7)

Mexican Made Easy: "Mexican Family Style." Jalapeño roast chicken with broccolini is served, along with a layered rice dish featuring poblano chiles and cheese, and vanilla-pineapple water. 9:30 a.m., Food Network

Caribbean Food Made Easy: "Caribbean Style Seafood." Vegetable patties; mackerel; and steak and chips. 10 a.m., The Cooking Channel

30-Minute Meals: "Burgers Go Abroad." Indian lamb burgers with green raita and spicy saffron potato salad are made. 10 a.m., Food Network

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef: "The Secret to Grilled Steak." Porterhouse steak with rosemary and garlic is prepared, along with pappa al pomodoro, a classic Tuscan tomato-bread soup, and Sicilian caponata. 10:30 a.m., Food Network

Sunday (August 8)

Grill It! With Bobby Flay:
"Leg-Oh My Lamb-O." Bobby prepares lamb chops with mustard-barbecue sauce and a salad with grilled new potatoes, zucchini and goat cheese; a viewer makes tandoori-style grilled lamb skewers with grilled bok choy and Thai-chili-garlic shrimp. 10:30 a.m., Food Network

Guy's Big Bite: "Guido's Lambo-Rama." Bacon-wrapped leg-of-lamb, served with rosemary au jus; basmati salad with honey-Dijon vinaigrette; and Texas French toast bananas Foster. 11 a.m., Food Network

Big Daddy's House: "In Your Face!" On the menu: braised pork shank with mushroom dumplings; creamed sweet peas with crispy shallots; and cherry custard. 1:30 p.m., Food Network

"Hot and Spicy." Hot-and-spicy food is examined. Included: trips to Bolivia, India, and Indonesia, known for their spicy dishes; a recipe for Indian vindaloo in New York; a trip to Brooklyn's Good Fork restaurant. 6 p.m., The Cooking Channel

Food Network Challenge: "Dora the Explorer Cakes." Dora the Explorer cakes are created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular children's show. 8 p.m., Food Network

Next Food Network Star: "Iron Chef Battle." The final four head to New York City to compete in an Iron Chef America battle. Iron Chefs Michael Symon, Cat Cora, and Masaharu Morimoto will judge their performances. 9 p.m., Food Network

Iron Chef America: "Symon vs. Crenn." Next Iron Chef alum Dominique Crenn battle Iron Chef Michael Symon. 10 p.m., Food Network

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld