The Restaurant final sticks on the thumbs screws for dynamite TV

The latest series of The Restaurant (BBC Two) failed to capture my affections like previous years, solely because I had other stuff to review. It’s a shame because, once again, it looked like a real humdinger.

While it’s fair to say that food shows have been driving me to Prozac in 2009, The Restaurant could never make me angry. That’s because it’s got something that the rest of foodieville has… and that’s class.

In Raymond Blanc, the show has someone so impossibly likeable that I often wonder if someone grew him in a petri-dish as a PR exercise between England and France. He says all the right things and have a lovely Gallic drawl that makes everything sound cooler than anything my monkeyish Northern tongue could muster. He says “munnay”, I say “munnie”. Blanc wins every time.

And so, to last night’s finale.

Raymond got his young charges and set them off on task so dizzyingly impossible that during viewing, my stomach tied itself into a knot and got indigestion both sides of the crease. It was horrific… but tantalising viewing.

The contestants were asked for absolute perfection. Now, this doesn’t merely mean Making Ace Food And Getting Out On Time Without A Hitch In The Kitch, but rather, mystifying requests at the behest of Raymond’s right hand man, David (officially the scariest human I’ve ever encountered).

Only serve food with your left hand… make sure the chairs don’t touch the table cloth… ensure that the cutlery is spaced just-so

It was here that the contest was won and lost. Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that Chris was the better cook, it was his buddy Nathan that lost them the gig. So surly and cold was he that it’s a wonder no-one has lamped him in the chops thus far.

While JJ and James reminded of a pair of Bertie Woosters on a boating holiday, which of course, makes them bleed upper-crust charm when you cut them, our Nathan looked like a skulking toddler who had been told to tuck his shirt in.

David Moore got his shark eyes on when Nathan tripped over protocol and glided over to him to deliver “go upstairs” in a voice that only a murderer could find appealing.

The final banquet threw the whole thing up in the air with JJ and James ballsing up their food and Chris and Nathan playing push-me, pull me between the kitchen and table. Sarah Willingham, ever lovely and forthright, delivered the brutal honesty but in a way only she can. Basically, that’s honesty with a big dollop of heart.

So who won? Well, by the time they were ready to announce, I felt like my head was in a vice. I wanted JJ and James to win, based solely on the fact that I hated Nathan with such a passion that I was prepared to go on a hunger-strike until someone taught him some manners. And win they did because, in short, it doesn’t matter how good your food is… because serving it with sour grapes will always spoil the occasion.

Like all good series of The Restaurant, this decision will polarise opinion…

About the author

I'm Mof Gimmers.

I've been writing about TV for a long time. I love it and loathe it in equal measures. I'm pretty sure the TV feels the same away about me too.
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  • Confused

    How can anyone back two absolute pompous and pretentious fraudsters ?. I will not be watching any more series of the restaurant, as series three was an absolute pantomime and joke. How did two boys, with no experience, talent or ability win. I agree, the competion was hardly stiff, but at least they could cook, and deliver what was ordered. Raymond and co have obviously been sucked in to these two bullshixxing blaggers, who I wouldn’t trust to make me beans on toast.

    Shame on you Raymond. You have made a mockery of your own show, of which I, and probably many more viewers will be turning off, if you were to produced another culinary pantomime.

  • BtheB

    Totally agree with “confused”. My theory is that RB is in fact a wee bit of a snob. He must have social links with the lord and lady lot he got them all serving to. I think he just chose the people he would feel comfortable working with: well-spoken blaggers. Rather him than me.

  • Egamar

    Surely you don’t actually BELIEVE any of that nonsense you wrote ….

    This series was a travesty from the opening credits. Either budgetary pressures or a jejeune recent meeja studies graduate producer resulted in this series being dumbed down to a travesty of its former self.

    Whilst never aspiring to much, earlier series did at least give a nod to the concepts of “profit” and “competence”. I can only assume RB and his two chums just wanted to fulfil their contractual obligations and get themselves out of the horrendous mess that the dreadful pool of less-than-exciting contestants offered.

    I doubt there will be a Series 4 – I don’t think there can be any deeper depths for it to plumb …. unless …. unless …. the viewers get to vote ….

  • NoCocktailsThanks

    How’s this for a tight situation? You’re halfway through filming a reality restaurant program when you realise that the contestants, whom you have hand picked, are all a bunch of losers. Do you think on your feet, be creative and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? NON! You stand there like a pillar of fleur de sel and choose as the winner the worst couple of blaggers on reality television. Stupid television by a very silly Raymond Blanc.

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