The Reality of Marc Thuet's Conviction
I first caught the scent of Chef Marc Thuet's newest King West resto, Conviction, back in January. I began seeing wanted ads on Toronto's Craiglist site looking for "troubled youth" who "needed a second chance" to staff a new restaurant being opened by one of Toronto's top chefs and appear in an upcoming reality show.
Conviction Kitchen, premiering in September on CityTV, will follow the opening of Thuet's newest full-scale restaurant (Conviction) staffed by former bank robbers, thieves and minor offenders that opened earlier this year. The reality show will chronicle the stressful three weeks Thuet and his business partner/wife Biana Zorich took to train staff, completely outfit a brand new business, and create an Italian menu around fresh and seasonal ingredients.
According to the original Craigslist post, the inspiration for the show stems from Thuet's own troubled past and his desire to pay forward the second chance he was given. The to press release for Conviction Kitchen mentions that the restaurant has only three short months to turn a profit or Thuet will pull the plug, meaning that (in classic reality TV style) the "motley crew will lose their second, and for many - the last chance to turn their lives around."
Conviction opened four months ago, back in early May. So we can only guess that the resto must be turning some kind of profit, or will at least remain open until the show has aired in its entirety.
But beyond that is anyone's guess. The jury is still out on Thuet's latest culinary undertaking. While some people have had good experiences and enjoyed the food there, others definitely have not. And many claim the gimmicky concept of Conviction leaves a bad taste in their mouths.
So while Thuet continues to be the Jamie Oliver equivalent in Toronto, the fate of Conviction remains to be seen. In the meantime we can check out the first episode of Conviction Kitchen on CityTV at 10pm on Sunday September 13th.