Local Chef Speaks After Winning Reality Show

Win. KISS. Tickets. That is all, except to mention the deadline to enter is tomorrow.

winner winner ... whatever dinner he made

winner winner ... whatever dinner he made

Told you last week about Pocono Mountain grad Chef JJ Johnson who went on Bravo’s new reality cooking show Rocco’s Dinner Party with the chance to take home $20,000. And that’s just what he did, as he won the weekly competition show and was awarded $20,000 by the show’s namesake Rocco Dispirito, who, quite frankly, I couldn’t pick out of a police lineup if the other three people were Hulk Hogan, Cameron Diaz and Chase Utley.

Anyway, congrats to our local boy for making good! Somehow the Poconos has become ground zero for people making it on to reality shows. I’ve lost count at how many articles I’ve done of people who were on a reality competition show, dating show, game show, etc. JJ is one of our few winners though. Since he’s one of our first winners, I emailed him a couple questions to answer about the experience:

PopRox: How hard was it to keep the secret?
JJ Johnson: It was extremely hard to keep it a secret. I had won $20,000 and I couldn’t tell anyone! Some of my friends and family knew I was going on a show but I couldn’t tell them whether I had won or not. I told them they had to wait until the show aired…even my MOM.

PR: What are you doing with the money?
JJ: I’m going to invest it into projects that I believe in. My food social network platform called urpalate.com and a healthy lifestyle drink (oatmeal juice) that I am going to bottle myself called OMJ.

PR: Are you getting recognized more already?
JJ: Yes! When I go workout in the gym many ask, “Are you Chef JJ?” and I laugh and say yes. It’s a great feeling knowing people watched on TV and really think I did an awesome job. As a chef I’m accustomed to having “fans” because of my dishes, but being able to have people interested in me because they saw me on TV — that’s taking some getting used to.

PR: Anyone contacted you with any kinds of offers? I know that’s one of the big things you were looking for.
JJ: Luckily, yes. I’ve received an offer to do a pop-up restaurant in July and an online talk show where I will talk about food and do some cooking shows. So time will tell and I will take what I feel fits me.  

Congrats again JJ, maybe we’ll see you again sometime on Rocco’s Dinner Party All-Stars. It probably won’t be as good as Real World Road Rules All Stars, but it would be fun anyway.

Links:

poor effort

poor effort

What do TV shows owe us? Is there some kind of unwritten contract between TV viewers and the people who make TV shows that give us the expectation that we should be rewarded in a certain way? I’ve been thinking about this after the season finale of The Killing, which, for the record, I effing hated. As did many others. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized my expectations were out of whack with reality. Why, exactly, was I expecting them to tell us who killed Rosie Larsen? The producers didn’t run a disclaimer at the start of the season telling us “By June, you will know who killed Rosie, why they did it, and as a bonus, you get to watch the murderer’s electric chair execution in real time.” They didn’t make it obvious in any way that they would be letting us know who did it. In fact, they went 100 percent in the opposite direction on a weekly basis, throwing us red herrings, pickled herrings, and any other kind of tricky fish they could find. It was totally frustrating and reeked of spotty storytelling. But back to the question — what do TV shows owe us? Just because the show is a murder mystery, do we need to find out the answer? The Killing was praised for its gut-wrenching realism, even if that reality was pretty stinkin’ boring. So why then are people turning on the show when, just like in reality, we aren’t given a clear-cut answer to the question we wanted to know? There are thousands of unsolved murders across the world. Maybe this is just one of them. If you’re going to criticize The Killing, be my guest. It’s arguably the most boring show I’ve ever given 13 hours of my life to, and I truly regret most of that time. But if you threw praise its way for how real it was, then you can’t turn around and tear it a new one because a murder goes unsolved. After years on the cops beat, I can tell you from experience — an unsolved murder isn’t uncommon. That doesn’t excuse The Killing’s plentiful other flaws, but not knowing who killed Rosie Larsen isn’t one of them.

one less week for the ringer to convince me i should watch

one less week for the ringer to convince me i should watch

The CW just doesn’t know a good thing when it’s got it. A couple years ago, it was running its season premieres a couple weeks earlier than the major networks, on like the first week in September. It was a great move for the network, which is so far behind the Big Four networks that it couldn’t even catch them if the other four went off the air in the middle of the season. The CW is basically a niche cable channel at this point the way it goes for teen female viewers, it barely belongs to be an over-the-air channel. But I always enjoy getting a chance to try out the first couple weeks of a new show, and CW’s schedule made it easy to do. The first two weeks of Vampire Diaries were enough for me to say I wanted to see the show, and I’ve been watching ever since. Instead of keeping up this tradition, the CW is going only a week early now, starting its shows through the second week of September. That gives us all one week to decide on The Ringer in a DVR battle with Raising Hope and the New Girl and one week to decide on Secret Circle against Person of Interest and The Office. Not good enough. There was no chance I was going to watch Hart of Dixie, but since it’s not premiering until Sept. 26, now there’s even less of no chance, if that’s possible. Labor Day is late this year, I know, but there’s no excuse for not getting your shows out early before the other networks.

Feeling sorry for Green Lantern’s $53 million opening weekend is like feeling bad for an Enron executive. But why should Warner Brothers have to put up with bomb talk when the movie opened to $53 friggin’ million? Yes, the budget was $200 million or whatever, and yes, they planned to make a whole bunch of these movies. But when exactly did $53 million become a bad total for a movie about a guy who dresses up in a green suit and spends most of his screen time talking to drawings of aliens? Whenever it happened, it’s a weird phenomenon. Hollywood should just come out and give us official standards as what constitutes bombs and what makes a movie successful.

lots of shots like this in transformers

lots of shots like this in transformers

Without going over the storied and prosperous movie career of Megan Fox, a career that can now safely be classified as “failure,” it’s always fun to revisit her time with Michael Bay. Actually, it’s always fun to revisit anyone’s time with Bay since he is, from all accounts, a loony bag who treats actors like dog poop. I always love the story Ben Affleck tells on the DVD commentary where he questions the reality of the plot of Armageddon — a move the rest of us did walking out of the theater — to which Bay told him to shut the eff up. I would say that pretty much is all anyone needs to know about Bay. It’s stupid that Fox gave up the only role that seemed to work for her, but you can also understand where she was coming from, that she felt like nothing but T&A. Because that’s all she was in those movies.

The only thing interesting about Thomas Gibson returning to Criminal Minds is it seems he could have very easily joined the list of big-time TV stars that wouldn’t be coming back next season. Not that it matters that much, they probably could have found anyone to fill his shoes without anyone noticing.

what's that you say? canceled?

what's that you say? canceled?

Do you know that feeling you have when you haven’t had something for a while, then you hear you’re getting it back, then you realize when you get it that you didn’t really like it in the first place, you just remembered that you did for some reason? That’s my experience with The Sports Show with Norm MacDonald. Somehow over the past 15 years, I forgot that I didn’t really like MacDonald anchoring Weekend Update on SNL, I just thought I remembered I did. So when his Sports Show was starting, it sounded like a great idea to someone with a revisionist history mind. Then I found out it was pretty boring and dry — just like it was 15 years ago. My bad. No no, I’m not exactly broken up that it’s gone.

Hey, Norm MacDonald used to guest star on NewsRadio! Since I haven’t plugged it yet this summer, I will now. AVClub has started its yearly DVD reviews of one of my favorite TV comedies of all time, NewsRadio. If you weren’t a fan of the show, don’t bother reading them, they’re over your head. But for those who did watch, and appreciate not just great TV but also great writing, they’re a must read on a weekly basis. What makes me most sad about the reviews is that they’ve finally made their way up to season 5 and there won’t be any more next summer. Tear. I wasn’t a huge season 5 fan, the Johnny Johnson thing wore on me quite a bit, but the writing of that season was in no way a step down from any other season of the show. If I thought there were more than about five people reading this that would understand it, I’d write a 5,000-word blog post on the myriad examples of how season 5 is just as good as any other NewsRadio season. But I won’t bore the 99 percent of my readers that don’t know Matthew Brock from Matthew Fox. You’re welcome.

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