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Reality bites: The big lies of 'Kitchen Nightmares'

When Kitchen Nightmares, Fox's loud and bleep-filled restaurant makeover show, airs an episode Friday that Kitchen2 was shot in a Pinecrest restaurant, there's one moment I'm sure you won't see: my near-arrest by the Fox Reality Police.

After a tip from a reader that Kitchen Nightmares might be shooting at the Scandinavian restaurant Fleming, I dined there the night that the show set up its cameras. And when I tried to surreptitiously jot down a few notes, I caught the eye of one of the shrill producers barking orders at waiters and customers.

``What are you doing?'' she demanded, striding briskly to my table. ``Just jotting down some thoughts,'' I replied, truthfully if incompletely.

``I'm going to have to take your notebook,'' she said in a harsh voice as her eyes flitted this way and that, looking for a convenient wall against which I could be lined up and shot. (And not with a camera.)

``You are not taking my notebook,'' I corrected her. One of the cameras must have caught the look on her face, an exquisite blend of astonishment and rage: Doesn't this tattered peasant know I'm from TELEVISION? She actually looked so crazed I thought she might leap across the table and grab the notebook. Instead, she stalked over to her crew, which gave my table a wide berth (and numerous dirty looks) for the rest of the night.

I haven't seen Friday's episode of Kitchen Nightmares, which airs at 9 p.m. on WSVN-Fox 7. But I'm willing to bet any and all takers a month's worth of dinners at Fleming that it won't include the confrontation over the notebook or anything else that hints at just how unreal a reality TV show can be. Read my full column on the taping of the scurrilous Kitchen Nightmares in Friday's Miami Herald.

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