Ty Pennington spent years helping families while showing off his quirky side (and stealing our hearts) on Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He has an obvious passion for lending his talented hands and this time around, he has Chef Amanda Freitag by his side to give a much needed revamp to some of the greatest diners across this country on the Food Network series American Diner Revival. It seems as if Ty drops off doses of positivity wherever he goes and we wanted in on hearing about how he's dishing it up on the new show. As always with TV and real life, there's a lot more than meets the eye and that perfectly describes this show and Ty.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): With all of the reboots happening these days, what are the chances of getting Trading Spaces back on the air? I loved that show.
Ty Pennington: That's a really good question! I've seen a couple that are out that are similar to that but honestly, that was the perfect format in my opinion. The British really got it right when they first did Changing Rooms. Back when I was on it like, for the first three seasons, they cast such crazy different types of people to be on it so I have to admit, it was one of my favorite shows too. It was good fun because I could just build stuff, which is what I do, but it also taught me how to build really cool stuff when all you have to work with is thirty dollars. It was also a lot of fun being an a-hole to designers that just wanted the world. [Laughs.] It was a blast. I hope one day they'll think about doing that. Then again, sometimes things just have to run their course.
That show is responsible for making me think I could sponge paint my old kitchen in a few hours. Meanwhile three months later, I finally finished.
[Laughs.] I think that was the beauty of the show. We gave people a lot of ideas for starter projects but then when you start in real life you're like, oh my god! I'm going to need help to finish this! [Laughs.]
Agreed! I think a lot of shows have spun off of that concept, even American Diner Revival in a way. Building, helping, teamwork, the challenge, etc.
Oh yeah! That's one of the things I love about doing American Diner Revival, it really puts me back in my element and I like doing something with a quick turnaround. We actually have less time than we had on Trading Spaces and we're not just talking about somebody's room. We're talking about a working restaurant! It's crazy what we're trying to pull off there and the responsibility is a big deal because these diners are icons in their town. So preserving the history of it while giving it updates design wise is a real challenge. You can't ruin it! Not to mention how many generations of family pride go into them. The thing I love the most though is that even though Amanda and I are really good at what we do, it takes the whole town to pull off the transformation. I just love the people coming together to do it. It's crazy and I guess I just love crazy.
I think it's crazy sweet. The diner owners are extra appreciative and without sounding too cheesy, although it's probably too late, it's really touching.
On any great makeover show it's all about the reaction you get. What I love with this is the reaction is coming from an owner that never really leaves the diner because it's their life. Some of these places only stay open because they know that there are people in their community that will be there every day at 7am for coffee and a bagel. They're there for the people and to give them this gift, the reaction is so awesome. People who aren't even emotional get teared up. The people are the best part about the show. There are some real characters!
How resistant are the owners when you attempt to get them out of their diner?
Oh they are big time! That's why it takes a family member or someone close to them to come up with a genius excuse for them to leave. I have to hand it to those insiders for coming up with those ideas because it's really hard to do.
Season one has done really great so I'm sure we're all hoping now for season two…that includes a stop in Orange County.
Well let's hope so! And I think coming to Orange County is a great idea! When is it not a great idea to go to Orange County? [Laughs.] I think American Diner Revival has all of the ingredients to make a really great TV show. I've been around awhile so I know it takes all of those elements in order to be fully engaged. I hope it's something that we can do more of because it's rare that we find those things that are really worth doing and this is one of them for me. It's like we're doing something that can change an entire community but most of all, it's just a fun thing to do!
You have the dream job on lock. That's so great. Have you picked up any kitchen skills from Amanda?
Yes I have! That is one of the perks of the job right there! What that woman can do with existing items in your fridge is absolutely amazing. Let's be real. I love doing makeovers but I also love eating so to have the combo of both? It's fantastic! I'm learning a lot and also tasting a lot along the way.
OK last thing, if you had your own diner, what would you name it?
[Laughs.] That's funny. Hmmm…I never thought about that. Let's see, something like, "The Majestic." I think a diner needs to have a name like a ship like, "The Steamer." It needs a name that makes it seem like it's been around awhile. So yeah, The Majestic or The Steamer. The Steamer? Yeah, that sounds like a tasty diner. [Laughs.] OK that name might not work.
Make sure you tune in to catch American Diner Revival with Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag on Food Network this Friday at 10:30pm. For more info on the show, go to www.FoodNetwork.com. For more on Ty, be sure to check out his website www.TyPennington.com, become a fan on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @TyPennington.