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First look at 'Restaurant Redemption,' season 2: The redemption of JC Chinese

Season 2 | Episode 1 | “JC Chinese Restaurant” | Aired Oct 14, 2014

I’m not much of a reality TV show watcher. The last one I followed was VH1’s Flavor of Love because, you know, Flavor Flav …

Flavor Flav

Nevertheless, when I got the opportunity to review the Cooking Channel’s Restaurant Resurrection, I said, Why not? A show about restaurants, food, “redemption,” one spitfire of an Asian host, with a dabbling of drama? Absolutely! And I’m glad I took the chance. Although it can be formulaic, the show doesn’t disappoint.

Ching-He Huang is awesome. As an Asian person myself, I’m stoked to see individuals like John Cho be the romantic lead in Selfie (how often does that happen?); similarly, it’s great to see individuals like Ching as the centerpiece of a reality TV show. Growing up on the farm, I rarely got to watch TV (see my bio, below). When I got some TV time, I never saw folks who looked like me there. So watching Ching, who is clearly intelligent, smart, articulate, focused, and driven, with a no-B.S. approach, gives me Asian pride. And my oh my, she has some moments in episode 1.

Before even starting to taste the food from JC Chinese Restaurant, the restaurant of the week to be resurrected, Ching looks into the camera:


Looking at the egg rolls:


After getting pushback from Joe DiCristo, the Italian owner/cook of JC Chinese Restaurant, who initially doesn’t want to change the menu:


Seriously, Ching is fierce. And I love seeing Asians owning it.

Speaking of Joe, he and his sister Renae DiCristo, the owner/manager of JC Chinese, are compelling characters too. They took over the operations of the establishment, the first Chinese restaurant in south Philadelphia, after their father passed away. The once thriving JC Chinese fell on hard times in 2007, and it hasn’t been able to recover. On top of that, their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Throughout the episode, you can see that running a failing restaurant, taking care of their mother, and having their own lives have placed a strain on them and their relationship with each other. They bicker often, disagree on changes that Ching suggests, and generally are at odds on the future/legacy of the restaurant.

But remarkably, by the end of the episode, the restaurant gets an overhaul with a new Italian/Chinese fusion menu, a micro-beer list, and updated décor. In other words, Joe and Renae are everyday people with whom you can identity as they transform with JC Chinese. You can’t help but become a little emotional with them when they reopen their establishment to the public.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 7.43.10 AM

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 7.43.44 AM

Based on its Yelp reviews, it’s difficult to tell whether or not JC Chinese Restaurant is indeed fully resurrected. Nonetheless, episode 1 of Restaurant Redemption‘s second season is enjoyable. There are some really interesting, subtle racial and gender dynamics between Ching and Joe, and good cooking tips for folks like me who like to dabble in foodie activities.

By the way, did I mention Ching is fierce? Check it out.

Restaurant Redemption airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on the Cooking Channel.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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