Tonight’s Cooking Channel episode of Restaurant Redemption brings chef Ching-He Huang to Korea Town in New York City, New York to help revive a failing restaurant.
Ching visited Kirakuya Sake and met with May Cho, who after twelve years of waitressing decided to open her own restaurant in 2010. Paul LaRocca is May’s business partner who had no idea what he was getting into. May blames the American economy. Her restaurant used to be filled with American businessmen with expense accounts who spent their lunch eating and drinking sake.
Because of the downturn in the sake sales, May has added more dishes to the menu and some costly equipment. Because of the consequences, she had called in Ching to save the restaurant. She had a difficult time finding the place, which is on the second floor of an office building, with no signage on the first floor outside the elevator.
May was thrilled to see Ching when she arrived and hugged her and showed her around. May gave Ching the particulars and when she met Paul, he told her that he did whatever May ordered him to do. On the tour of the kitchen, Ching saw that there was lots of expensive equipment. There were about five hundred items on the menu, so May made several for Ching to try. The portions were enormous and she felt that the waste had to be high.
Nearly everything she tasted was fresh and delicious, but there was much too much of it and the cost had to be astronomical. The yakitori was dry because she kept it on the menu for the few people who ordered it. May did not know how much she was losing because she avoided looking at the numbers. It had been eight months since she even looked at the books. Ching was pissed and told her so. She was pissed for her and at her. May even works at another restaurant to make ends meet.
Ching told her that they were going to bring life back to the restaurant. Ching showed May and her chef how to make Japanese tapas to enhance the sake bar. Small bites were not to May’s liking. She was used to the enormous portions she served. Ching sent May and Paul to meet with Tara Berman, a management advisor to see a clear picture of their financial situation. Then they met with Sarah Vakili, a PR and Social Media Consultant who gave them great ideas.
Ching’s designer Matt Calendar was working to pump up the interior of the restaurant, and with his help, it will be wonderful. When May, Paul and the Chef saw the new redesigned interior, they were thrilled and the new menu will surely make a difference. When they reopened, there were plenty of people who loved the sake and small bites and the place was humming day and night thanks to Ching and her crew of Restaurant Redemption.