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Are you being served?

September 12, 2008

And so to The Restaurant. Last year I only really got into it for the last few weeks, and so promised myself I’d stick with it from the beginning for series two. But they’ve gone and pulled the rug out from under me by showing TWO episodes a week! Lawks! How’s anyone meant to actually hold down a slightly better than mediocre social life now they’ve gone and done that? I’d just managed to cultivate (ie pull the wool over certain people’s eyes) an I-Don’t-Need-TV-No-More attitude and before I know it, I’m frantically texting friends of a Thursday evening begging them to video or download the second episode, as the RT have wrong-footed me once again (Note to self: Must go back to highlighting what you want to watch in the week to avoid wrong-footing).

Aaaanyhoo. Same as before: Couples (one chef, one front of house) compete to win a proper wicked restaurant co-owned with the prestigious Michelin chef and politest chef in the world™, Raymond Blanc (or Ray White as we at BMTV are calling him from now on). Each couple gets their own restaurant and must run it in real time with their own menus (or ‘concepts’). Each week, one restaurant is Closed. For good…

Ray White is joined along the way by his ‘inspectors’ Sarah (a sort of Mary Portas for the catering world) and David (Ray’s bi-atch), who have both clearly been to the Nick And Margaret Off The Apprentice School of Gurning and earned themselves A stars.

Of course, I’ve got a vested interest in the programme because a lot of it is filmed in and around Oxford and so I get to sit there screaming “oooooh! Been there. BEEEEEN TTTHHHHEEERRREEE!” annoyingly at the screen. (Note to self: Hmmm, perhaps this was why Mr Tupper didn’t want to watch the second ep with you, hmmmm, Badger? Remember, the rules when watching with company…). The first ep was great for this, with lovely sweeping shots of Le Manoire aux Quat’ Saisons (or The House of Four Seasons, Ray White’s posh eaterie in the Cotswolds). Then the couples all went a shopping in Oxford city centre – the covered market, M&S food hall, ummm… Waitrose… Shame they didn’t go up the Cowley road (especially the Carribean couple) as this is Oxford in its non-stereotypical glory.

Aaaanyhoo. The memorable players so far are:

Alasdair and James
The Smithers and Burns of the series, James is the chef, and Alasdair, his bi-atch who likes to hug James that little bit too long, if you know what I mean. You don’t? He basically fancies the tats (yes, Tats) off him. James screwed up first ep by letting his potato separate. Not sure how that happens, but I advise clenching next time. James sweats a lot. Both trained in catering, James has worked in Michelin starred restaurants.

Annette and Kashelle
‘Cooked’ a 3-minute mango slop for Ray White. Got fired.

Harriet and Mike
A creepy looking couple (he’s old enough to be her father) until you realise that they’re actually father and daughter. Still creepy though. Seem rich enough to buy their own restaurant, what with their massive house and horses, but hey ho. She’s bossy. He’s doddering. It’s not going to be pretty is it? I predict tantrums before bedtime.

Michele and Russell
Hate these two mainly because Michele (who can’t spell her own name properly) loves flowers IN FOOD, sunshine and bunnies. If they’re not cooking or being lovely, they’re carrying out embarrassing public displays of affection. Currently work and live together, running a catering company (their food consists mainly of flowers). Predict they’ll have split by the end of the series.

Laura and Peter
Bravely going against the grain with their Asian/Welsh ‘concept’. Thai Dai anyone? Sorry. Couldn’t help it. But they actually interest me lots.

Caroline and Chris
Served a cheesecake made of goats cheese that looked like something you see on the pavement of a Saturday night. I see big things from these two…

Richard and Scott
Touted as the actual gay couple of the series (except we know different, don’t we James and Alasdair?!) they couldn’t be more stereotypical if they tried. Air Hosts, matching puppies, lurid wallpaper, camp as a row of tents. Served Ray White soup IN a bap.

I’m back in Oxford late September so hopefully I’ll be able to sample at least one of the delights from these years’ hopefuls. Will report back asap.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2008 2:15 pm

    Pea sorbet? Muck!
    I couldn’t believe some of this lot made it on the show… must be slyly included comic relief.

    The old man with the daughter was hilarious. And the sorbet concept was doomed from the off. Quite good TV.

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