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Saturday, December 05, 2009

"The Restaurant" leaves nasty taste


I very much enjoyed the first two series of The Restaurant on BBC2, where Raymond Blanc coaches aspiring restrauteurs who are put through tasks each week and eliminated.

But this year's show is a travesty.

Not only is it many miles away from Raymond's wonderful Le Manoir, and set in Bristol on a shoestring, the couples are so hopeless that I am questioning Monsieur Blanc's avarice in agreeing to do the programme. These numpties would surely damage his brand, which has been built so carefully over the years, if they were given a restaurant to run under his name.

How can it be that James and JJ, two cocktail waiters, are still in the competition when we're now at semi-final stage?

JJ, the "chef", had, until last night, only cooked once and that was throwing some cake ingredients into a tin and hoping for the best. He had no idea how to make pastry and fine dining to him is a scotch egg and a cocktail.

I think the BBC is even embarrassed about its own show because their dedicated Restaurant website hasn't been updated this year. All you get is a site where you can watch previous episodes with the iPLayer. Thy don't even have any information on the candidates or their pictures: I had to go to one of the forums.

The other two remaining couples are both useless. Michelle and Steve would be OK running a fairly unchallenging cafe somewhere. He seems to be able to cook, more or less, although his cake in the shape of an Airbus was something a child could have done better. Michelle, as front of house, is hopeless. Every week she cries. Last night she cried because Steve was in agony with his back. But instead of letting him have a lie-down and getting on with the deli task herself, she just blubbed.

Chris is the best cook in the programme, as Raymond said last night, but he is let down by his lazy, incompetent FOH Nathan. He has no clue about promoting or marketing their restaurant and is quite happy to sit on his backside while Chris does all the work.

I can't imagine this series will be repeated, which is a shame because the first two were excellent.

In my searches on the web I found out that the winners of series 1, Jeremy and Jane, gave up running their gastro pub after just six months. The winners of last year's series, Russell and Michelle, still seem to be running The Cheerful Soul.

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