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‘Restaurant Startup’ Host Tim Love Says the Business Is the ‘Sexiest and Crappiest Investment on the Planet’

TCA 2015: Joined by co-hosts Joe Bastianich and Antonia Lofaso, the trio talk about the show’s differences to cooking competitions and what they’re looking for as investors

CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup” is not another cooking competition, host and investor Tim Love told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena on Thursday.

“Restaurants are a marriage of two things: art and commerce. It’s the hardest things to put together,” he said. “It’s the sexiest and crappiest investment on the planet.”

In its second season, the series follows Love and Joe Bastianich as they vie against each other to invest their own money in food concepts. Each week, two teams compete and try to sway both restaurateurs. Bastianich, former judge on Fox’s “Masterchef,” said show’s successful and failing restaurants are real, not scripted.

“This isn’t created for television. That’s the greatest attribute of the show. It’s real money. The investment is real,” Bastianich said. “We’re dealing with real lives.”

Joining the panel were CNBC’s primetime alternative senior vice president Jim Ackerman and show co-host and consultant Antonia Lofaso. Love continued the conversation by detailing to reporters what he’s looking for.

“There’s not a city in this country that wouldn’t benefit from a great restaurant. What I look for on the show is whether that person, or people, have the ability to bring that restaurant into their own city,” Love said. “It’s up to that person to convince me.”

Before the panel ended, the discussion took a lighthearted tone. The hosts shared what they like to do as part of Los Angeles’ growing restaurant scene.

“I drink a lot of wine,” Love said jokingly. “I’m just happy that it’s sunny.”

“I go to In-n-Out Burger,” Ackerman said.

“I’m just extremely proud of what’s happening in L.A.,” Lofaso said.