Thursday, November 12, 2009


For another week, the good people of Bristol are accosted by strange men (and the occasional woman) bearing trays of food. Raymond summons the couples on board a big boat and places a bunch of keys on a barrel top. It's a bit like a swingers' party, only with restaurants. Raymond sends them un petit amuse bouche to inspaire them to create somezing that demonstrates the essence of their vision and then give it away to the people.

Team Winker nab a rather posh venue with a big terrace and high five each other annoyingly. JJ appears to have been traumatised by last week's debacle, and refuses to do any actual cooking, apart from squeezing vaguely at a scotch egg. The boys manage to chat up a lot of blondes and do lots of annoying high fives. Even the waiters are high fived as they lay the tables, poor chaps. JJ cowers at the pass while other chefs assemble sausage rolls with salad and stuff for the "indoor picnic" concept. Raymond turns up at a full restaurant, which is nice. Except that it's full of very hungry people who have been waiting for over an hour for their scotch eggs, and only two waiters. James claims that everything is absolutely fine, and that everybody's happy. No really they are....absolutely. While Raymond interviews dozens of hungry, pissed-off people James runs upstairs and sobs into his spangly ABC jacket.

Team NotGay get a nice little place in a pleasant district and do a fairly good job at selling their restaurant to the public. Nathan screws up the service on the first night, and there are the usual scenes with annoyed diners getting their coats after waiting for two hours, but they like the food, even if they replaced haddock with cod.

Team Blonde get what looks like an old chippy with an non-working oven, which puts the dampeners on their amuse bouche of goats cheese parcels in filo pastry. The goats cheese is from France, and god only knows where the bread came from, but they still market their local food for local people concept with goats cheese on toast. That's cold goats cheese on cold toast. With a nipple of squished chutney. Somehow they get a full restaurant on the first night, but then Blonde number 2 forgets to cook anything. This isn't a good move. After all, people don't usually go into a restaurant to sit on uncomfortable chairs and chat. You go to pubs for that.

Team Nigeria offer suya to the masses. Lucky masses - though kosai (sp? - spicy little deep-fried puffs made of bean paste) would have been even nicer. The ladies get a restaurant in downtown Bristol and hire some African dancers to entertain the masses. Sarah still worries about their cooking (she's not into chewy goat), but says they know how to make a girl feel welcome.

I think Mark may be right about Team Miliband, maybe we should change their name to Bez/Miliband. Badger decides to dress up in a badger costume because name. However, badger costumes are hard to find, so he wears half a gorilla suit and paints his head in black and white. They serve half a strawberry smeared with cream and some parma ham and melon for their Modern British cooking concept, but at least it doesn't look like a giant blackhead on toast. Short on customers, Badger visits the local barracks and drums up a few of Our Boys to brave the cameras for an evening. Bez throws himself around the kitchen and worries Raymond with his instabilité and inability to make an edible sauce. The soldiers seem to like it though, and Team Bez/Miliband win restaurant of the week for actually managing to serve most of their customers and not having any walkouts.

Team Essex call their place The Front Room, because they serve food that you could cook at home, I suppose. Mrs Essex frets about people getting bored and walking out, so she hires a magician and a saxaphone player to entertain the punters. Mr Essex sighs and starts sharpening his knives meaningfully. They attract hearty blokes wanting slabs of pure MEAT without any fussy stuff, and even the sax player pockets a tidy sum - though he saw Mrs Essex coming when he told her his charges. Two hundred quid in London would get you a four piece band for two solid hours, and they'd help with the washing up if you offered them food.

Raymond doesn't want this lot of candidates cluttering up his manoir, so they all convene in the winning restaurant to learn their fate. Team Blonde are sacked for being blonde and a bit useless.

Next week: Sarah comes close to shouting at Raymond again, and James from Team Winker snivels behind a door.

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