Culinary hot shot Elizabeth Blau brings her Vegas expertise to prime time.
TV’s Elizabeth Blau at Honey Salt, which she runs with her husband/chef Kim Canteenwalla.
Now in its third season, Restaurant Startup has Las Vegas’ very own Elizabeth Blau starring alongside Joe Bastianich and Tim Love. Part Shark Tank, part Top Chef, the show pits two teams against each other to pitch their restaurant concepts to investors. The winning team gets 36 hours and $7,500 to put its idea to the test. The role is a perfect fit for Blau, known, along with her chef husband, Kim Canteenwalla, for her Vegas hot spots like Andiron Steak & Sea and Honey Salt.
Were you a fan of the show before becoming involved? Our son Cole and I love all the CNBC programming. We also watch Shark Tank and Undercover Boss.
Which investor did you enjoy going head-to-head against? Joe is more the restaurateur and is incredibly financially savvy so negotiating with him is definitely more daunting. Tim is not only a chef but an incredibly smart businessman. He makes the negotiations fun.
Are you very hands on with your restaurants? I am, but I leave the day-today operations to my husband and our business partner, Jason Lapin. I am more of a mentor and coach. Having over a decade’s experience in the consulting business makes me very adept at the delicate balance between guiding someone else’s vision and creating it.
What factors are most important for you in choosing who to invest in? The restaurant industry is fraught with examples of failures. I think it is critical to consider all the components—the people, the food, the vision, and the scalability. I would start with the vision. Without a clear vision you are doomed.
Did you always dream of going on a show like Restaurant Startup? The first food show I really became obsessed with was the original Japanese version of Iron Chef. I think shows like ours give aspiring restaurateurs a chance of a lifetime not only to get a financial investment but also the expertise of a partner with invaluable experience. I don’t think the 36 hours and $7,500 are an unfair constraint. I always wanted to go on Apprentice because I thought I could definitely win that one!