Diep2michael_symon_james_otto_1                                                                                                    Photo courtesy of the Food Network
Taking over for the defrocked Robert Irvine, Michael Symon debuted last week on the Food Network's "Dinner Impossible," a show that places the chef into an "impossible" cooking situation and watches him and his sous chefs sweat as they feed hundreds of people highend amusement park food, deliver a VIP dinner to Alcatraz, or in tonight's show (10 pm eastern), feed 350 country music fans and musicians country music-inspired food.

I saw Symon upon his return from one of the shoots and he shook his head and said, "It's one of the hardest things I've ever done."

Symon is allowed to bring two of his cronies to work as sous chefs, and on tonight's show country star James Otto. Tim Bando, chef of The Meeting House in the Hamptons, is a brilliant comic foil (recently seen searching for his reading glasses—Tim, how long before you join the AARP?—and losing his tongs in the fryolator).

And Symon is in good carnivorous form.  When the nice lady from Alcatraz last week said, "How about some vegetables?" during the menu planning, Symon responded, "I don't like people who like vegetables … just kidding …  not really."  Voice Over: "Why would you want to eat a vegetable unless it was wrapped in bacon?"

Truer words were never spoke.

(From Mark Summers Productions. Above photo of Symon with, from left, Todd Downs, James Otto, and David Lowe.)