Royal Marine cook Jeremy Hooper (33) and his wife Jane (29), a trainee teacher from Devon, have won BBC Two’s The Restaurant.
The couple seen winning in tonight’s programme will join forces with Raymond Blanc to open a new restaurant in Thame close to Raymond’s renowned Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons.
Says Jane: “We have won the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s what we’ve always dreamed of doing but we never imagined our dreams would become reality so soon, or with such an amazing mentor.
“We couldn’t wish for a more well-respected, knowledgeable, and experienced mentor than Raymond. We know that we still have a lot to learn and that it’s going to be very hard work, but we know we’ve got a great teacher and we are ready for our next challenge!”
Adds Jeremy: “We worked very hard and took the competition very seriously, and to win was an amazing achievement for us. We intend to focus and be 100% driven on making our partnership with Raymond a successful one.”
Over eight weeks viewers have seen the couple battle it out with the other contestants for the unique opportunity to go into business with legendary chef and restaurateur Raymond Blanc.
Says Raymond: “Jeremy and Jane have a passion. Jeremy’s background means that he can cook, but as restaurateurs consistently they have to be able to run front of house and make money. Over the weeks they have become a driven team who are able to pass on their knowledge to their staff.”
Adds Raymond: “I have been enormously impressed by how much effort all the couples have put in to the competition – their determination to make it work has been obvious.”
Nine couples started out in the competition and to test their skills they had to run their own restaurants for the very first time.
In the final, to help him make the ultimate and difficult decision, Raymond told the finalists Jeremy and Jane, and Laura and Jess to take their restaurants to his home town of Besançon in France – the place where he grew up and started his own career.
The two couples were shocked to learn that they had less than 48 hours to reopen their own restaurant there for one night and introduce the French to their British cuisine.
This proved to be the toughest of all the challenges the couples have been given during the series, and there were plenty of tears and tantrums as the kitchen and front of house struggled to cope with the packed restaurants, pleasing Raymond’s family and, most importantly, impressing the woman who taught him to cook … his mother Anne Marie.