My blog’s becoming a occasional blog despite the fact I promised that I would update it regularly when I started it. It’s becoming like all those other blogs I did, although admittedly most of those just had one post before I ended up deleting the entire account. After a good five months of doing nothing, in recent weeks I have been stupidly busy, finding myself a boyfriend, working with a very exciting new TV company and filming porn (all these three are entirely different projects with no crossover whatsoever). As a result of this, I haven’t been watching much TV, so much so that I’m even beginning to miss Live From Studio Five and its insights into modern life. Last night, with nothing to do, I sat down to watch The Restaurant.
What a fucking mistake that was.
I missed the first series, but watched a lot of the second series with my former flat-mate, and it was relatively enjoyable, but the start of this series gave me rage (rage, by the way, is French for rabies; if you’re reading this Raymond, I mean the anger rage, not the rabies one). Previous series were filmed at Raymond’s Manoir restaurant, but this one started with what was essentially a three-minute advert for one of his brasseries, a chain with such glamorous locations as Milton Keynes, Cheltenham and Portsmouth. I don’t know if previous series featured them, but what with the ‘current economic climate’ I couldn’t help feeling that the whole product placement thing had been taken a little too far and that it was all for Raymond’s benefit. There was a shot of him calling in the orders (there’s a technical restaurant term for this what I’ve forgotten) that almost made me want to sick up my supper in my mouth and then swallow it back down again, it was so false and set-up, we all know Raymond doesn’t spend any time cooking there.
Next up is meet the teams time, this is a couples competition, which adds an interesting dynamic to the programme. As always, it’s pretty obvious from the outset who’s going to be thrown out as the narrative focusses on them the most. The task is to create their signature dish, which they must then present to Raymond and his team along with a brief description of what their restaurant concept is. I can’t remember all of the names of the competitors, basically I forgot to write them down, so I’ll do my best to explain what happened next without them.
All of these teams are carefully selected from hundreds if not thousands of applicants, so the nine that make it to the first programme have been chosen for a reason – some of them will be shit, some of them will be great – it’s like manufactured pop. You could almost describe this first episode as the X Factor of food, only that would be false, X Factor is entertaining, this programme just plods along with few surprises. One of the shit teams, a mother/daughter combo, I think, failed to crack open a coconut with an incredibly sharp kitchen knife, and then attempted to open a can using the same knife. Ok, this scene was quite funny, it was like watching clowns in the kitchen and the fact that they ‘couldn’t even open a tin’ made it all the better, but these two were clearly going to be culled – quicker, in fact, than anyone else – Raymond just had one taste of their dish, raised his concerns about its taste and their safety in the kitchen, and then fired them or whatever the word is for exiting this show. Don’t be fooled, two teams were always going to go, it was just fortuitous that this team were so shit they could let them go early. While the rest of the teams cooked, Raymond’s helpers wandered around. Raymond’s helpers are nothing like those folk fromTthe Apprentice – these two are devoid of all character and seemingly talent. David Moore made some snide comment about the mushroom tower looking more like a maisonnette (hilarious, David, why don’t you fuck off and crawl back under that rock?) while Sarah just looked like a mega-bitch for the entire episode and contributed nothing at all to the programme. Nothing. Not a thing. Not one thing. Nothing. She was terrible. Her wikipedia page reveals that she has been included in the Sunday Times list of 35 most successful women under 35 when she was 33 years of age; I can reveal that her success was certainly not measured by her TV appearances. It also boasts of her business success, which includes being on the board for the chain Tootsies (you know, the chain that closed down a couple of weeks ago) – whatever, I don’t like her, I don’t like her attitude and I don’t want her to darken my screen ever again. Unless she can manage smile through that (probably) botoxed face.
Okay, back to the teams. There was one guy who’d retired from the army, decided he’d quite like to do a restaurant thing, grabbed a military cook and off they trotted, onto our screens with having known each other for under two months – they will prove to be entertaining. There were two fat chavs who done chocolate fondant badly (do they not watch MasterChef? FONDANTS NEVER WORK), two girls who cooked peas for 25 minutes, some friends who wanted to bring African food to Britain, a couple of South London lads, two weird blond guys, a couple who sell flowers and look like they don’t wash and own lots of animals and then a mother and son team who transcended strange; if I wanted to set up a restaurant it wouldn’t be with my mum – and if she wanted open a restaurant she wouldn’t want to open one with me – neither would we appear on TV together – but this mother/son relationship definitely had something of the ancient Greeks about it (if you’re in any doubt, what I mean by this is that wouldn’t surprise me if the two of them had sex occasionally). Anyway, they failed to convince Raymond that their concept worked by not providing him with a concept – they were the second team to go.
Here’s a rundown of the teams (with names), concept (in most cases) and my own views.
JJ and James – blond nobs, haven’t got a fucking clue – their concept is some kind of picnic thing, no one really knows. I hope they stay in because they’re fun to laugh at (not with).
Shaun and Janet – the dirty animal lovers (my words) – they are Weird with a capital W. She wanted gravadlax and pronnounced it with an accent. They’ll be out soon and back to their animal loving.
Chris and Nathan – the London boys – they’re really sweet, want to bring high-end food to the masses and will go far.
Barney and Badger – the army boys – not sure how this will ‘pan’ out – army people are a little scary and these two look like they might fist people down dark alleys (should that be up dark alleys?)
Daisy and Nadine – want to open a Nigerian restaurant, despite not being Nigerian. They’ll go far.
Rebecca and Stephen – fat, eyes like pigs. Might do well but look like they might eat their way through the stock, that’s if they haven’t stopped munching through the camera cables.
Frances and Lucy – can’t cook peas; what more do you need to know? Want to do entirely locally sourced food, Raymond says it’s impossible, he can only manage 30% – try harder, Raymond, that’s what I say.
Will I be watching The Restaurant again? Maybe later in the series when the funny people are out-of-the-way and the real cooking starts, otherwise I’ll be giving it a miss; it’s the same-old-manufactured-try-hard-reality-show, pedestrian, nothing exciting and nothing special. If you could make TV through painting by numbers, this would be how to do it. Oh, and I went to a Brasserie Blanc the other day and thought it was over-priced and underwhelming. So stick that up your French pipe and smoke it in a specially constructed shelter outside.
Here’s a funny thing off the BBC; enjoy…