A number of well-known chefs have their own programmes airing on television at present including Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White, Not to be confused with Hell’s Kitchen, The Restaurant is a reality documentary following. Nine couples have been competing to win a restaurant and run it with Raymond Blanc. The would-be restaurateurs have no formal experience of running a restaurant, but have cooked for friends and family in the past.
Each week a challenge is set by Raymond Blanc for three couples – two will go onto the next round and one couple will have their restaurant closed. Each week Raymond Blanc closes a restaurant until one couple win The Restaurant and run it with Raymond Blanc.
The challenge for this week was to prepare, cook and serve lunch for up to 800 research scientists . The couples had £3.50 maximum to spend on a main course and needed to make a profit. They had to devise menus, order supplies and prepare a marketing campaign. The couples were competing for the same 800 customers and would all cook the food in the research laboratory canteen kitchen. They had some time to devise their strategy and buy ingredients, but only 5 hours to cook the meals.
The couples were as follows:
- Martin and fiancée Emma. He was a prison chef and they also had a military chef on the team so they were used to mass catering. They chose chicken chasseur and a rhubarb crumble as their dishes and advertised them using flyers. They charged just £2.95 for their main course and sold 155 covers for £407 making a profit of £63.
- Sam and Jacqui, a husband and wife team. They did not have much experience in catering and were unable to work out how much each portion of food cost. They went for a Mexican theme serving chilli and Mexican spicy apple crumble. They promoted their food by offering lime cordial and free nachos. They sold 151 covers for £378 and made a profit of £50.57.
- Tom and his mother Nicola – they tended to use most of the ovens in the kitchen and cooked pork for 3 hours (there was concern that it would not be ready). They chose roast pork, potatoes and vegetables with apple crumble as their dishes. They sold 140 covers at £454.98 and made £95.85 in profit.
Tom and Nicola went through to the next round, but the remaining two couples had to plead their cases before Raymond Blanc (a little like the style of The Apprentice). It all came down to profitability in the end and the fact that Sam and Jacqui did not have a clue about financial management. Sam and Jacqui had their “restaurant” closed. When it comes to running a restaurant, it is not just about cooking dishes for people, but almost making a profit.