Saving One Diner at a Time: Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag Revive Old Diners in a New Series

Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag join forces to revive American diners that have seen better days on the new Food Network series American Diner Revival.

Photo by: Anders Krusberg ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Anders Krusberg, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ty Pennington and Amanda Freitag are on a mission to help classic American diners across the country in American Diner Revival, premiering Friday, May 22 at 10:30|9:30c. Over six episodes, Amanda and Ty travel the country empowering towns to lend a hand in saving their struggling diners, using a combination of Ty's design and carpentry skills and Amanda's culinary expertise. This duo has only a few days to transform — with the help of local residents — a cherished establishment in desperate need of a physical and menu makeover, and will use a good old-fashioned barn raising to ambush unsuspecting and deserving owners with the surprise of a lifetime.

In one episode, Amanda and Ty visit George's Place in Carmel, New York. This diner has been an iconic establishment in the community since the '70s, known for classic American food, cheap prices and charitable owners who constantly give away free food for those in need. But since founder George died a few years ago and left the place to his son Gus and wife Karen, the diner has struggled. The owners desperately need to keep George's legacy alive, but the diner is losing money and the food reviews are getting more negative by the day. The decor needs a makeover, and the low food prices need an upgrade, but first the menu needs food options that can deliver. That's where Ty and Amanda come in to lend their expertise in the diner's transformation.

And in Norman, Oklahoma, Amanda and Ty visit The Diner, which has been run by the same family for 15 years and has been heavily involved in the community, sponsoring local high school debate and softball teams and helping the local homeless shelter. But when owner Mark passed away, leaving the restaurant to wife Claire and daughter Bonnie, The Diner started falling on hard times. Now Ty and Amanda need to fix the rapidly deteriorating building and help the owners keep up with the increased competition from chain restaurants popping up in the area.

Upcoming episodes will also feature diner renovations in Highland Park, Michigan; Monroe, Michigan; Nyack, New York; and Farmville, Virginia.

Go behind the scenes of American Diner Revival at FoodNetwork.com/DinerRevival. Join the conversation on Twitter using #DinerRevival.

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Amanda Freitag Bio

Amanda Freitag is a judge on Chopped, has battled Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, and she competed for the title of America's Next Iron Chef. When she was growing up in New Jersey, Amanda's passion for food was fostered by everyone from her grandparents to her high school home economics teacher. They encouraged her to pursue a cooking career and to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. After she graduated from culinary school, Amanda's first position in a New York City kitchen was as rotissier and garde manger at Vong under the guidance of Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It was there that she was introduced to marrying French technique with Southeast Asian ingredients and flavors. In 1994, Amanda began working with Chef Diane Forley at Verbena, where she rose quickly through the ranks to become the restaurant's chef de cuisine. Forley taught Amanda the importance of using local, organic ingredients and introduced her to the Union Square Greenmarket. During her time at Verbena, Amanda realized how much she had yet to learn about the culinary world, and in 1999 she traveled extensively through France and Italy to explore the bountiful markets and progressive restaurant scenes. While in Paris, she spent two weeks working under Chef Alain Passard at his venerable Arpège restaurant. While her time there was short, the lessons she learned were life-changing. At Arpège, Passard insisted on the freshest ingredients, so there was nothing left in the walk-in refrigerators at the end of service besides butter. This eye-opening experience helped Amanda to further develop her deep appreciation of superlative ingredients and the flavors of the Mediterranean region. Upon returning to New York, Amanda worked at some of the city's most-popular restaurants, including Cesca, where she cooked alongside Tom Valenti as his chef de cuisine and earned two stars from The New York Times. Following Cesca, Amanda accepted the position of executive chef at Gusto in the West Village, where her food was met with critical acclaim. In January 2008, Amanda took over as the executive chef at The Harrison in Tribeca. Over the three years that she helmed the kitchen, The Harrison received numerous accolades from local and national media, including a two-star review from The New York Times. Amanda's first cookbook, The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef's Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home Cooking, was released in September 2015. When she is not in the kitchen, Amanda enjoys traveling the world and collecting restaurant menus to add to her ever-growing collection.

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