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Last Restaurant Standing - Martin and Emma Interview!

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If you are a fan of this website, you know there is one couple on Last Restaurant Standing that I continually tease in my reviews. Well Martin and Emma found me, and asked me why? Why do I hate them so much? We emailed back and forth a bit and I grew to actually start liking these people! I wrote them an email full of interview questions and when I got it back, I realized that they are way cooler than the show made them out to be. I was even rooting for them last night! (Even though I already knew the outcome!). Today's post consists of a condensed 2 paragraph reviewcap of the episode, followed by The Food in My Beard exclusive interview with Martin! Some of the words in the interview may seem misspelled, but remember, he is using the queens English which is a bit different than ours!

Last night was a pretty good episode of LRS. The challenge this week was to further establish your brand by creating a microwaveable take home meal that could be sold in stores and then pitch it to two execs. The Twins decided to make a fish pie as a kids meal that they would market with playful colors and designs. Their pitch included an awkward moment when they sang a children's song for slightly longer than I expected. Jeremy and Jane made a fine dining meal to go with their restaurant. The pitch was pretty good complete with a fully acted out commercial. Unfortunately, the food was bland. Martin and Emma decided to go a different way and make a Lancashire hotpot (a common microwave meal in the UK) and update it to better ingredients and quality. They think they have an edge because Martin is from Lancashire and grew up making the dish.

At judging, Raymond slams the twins for using cod in their meal. Cod is currently a hot topic issue in the UK regarding sustainability, but the whole theme of their restaurant is about organics and earthy food. Whoops! Jeremy and Jane also get a bad review on the blandness of the food and the fact that Jeremy seemed to think he was above using a microwave. Martin and Emma seemed to do fairly well this episode, but we all knew it was their time to go. They have been in the challenge numerous times and Raymond threatened them last time that one more time would be it. After he let them go, he said that he truly thought they were some of the most wonderful people he had met in a long long time. I would have laughed at this statement, but after reading the interview, and realizing some of the things the camera may have not shown, I realize that it was sincere. Raymond also heavily warned them to NOT open their own restaurant.

The Interview:

TFIMB: Since Restaurant brand and theme was such an important issue toward the end, if you were to start over, what would you change about your restaurant's brand? Or would you?

Martin: We would pretty much change everything, we weren't really sure of what we doing straight off we actually went on to learn so much about branding and asserting your identity which to be honest was non existent, I constantly get ribbed for my "Were slow learners" comment but we are! It takes us a while to pick things up but once we get the hang of it there is no stopping us and I think we would have gone from strength to strength but that wasn't the nature of the show and in the end our time had come to leave.

TFIMB: Was there anything you did on the show that did not come across on TV as you expected it to?

Martin: Most of what we did was maybe shown slightly in a different context to how it was intended which is disappointing but you open yourself up to this when you sign up, were not bitter about it the show was great and a lot of people over here seemed to warm to us! Were just grateful to be included on the show and to of been given so much time and advice from Raymond and his inspectors.

TFIMB: Is there anything you regret doing on TV, Maybe something people often ask you about now that it's over?

Martin: Never! You make decisions there and then based on what is happening and what you think is best. Life is too short to judge yourself with hindsight, so many people ask me about not doing the desserts and especially rejecting the "eels"!!! It was two hours before opening time when they arrived I already had a mis en place list as long as my leg and I wasn't happy with having eels slaughtered in my kitchen so I made the decision that they weren't going on the menu that night, although the show made out my chef put them on i wouldn't allow that I make the decisions in my kitchen we put them on the next day when we had more time to prepare them, I decided we were not going to use them that night it would undermine the quality of the service we provide our guests if I was to prep eels instead of making mash or stuffing chicken breasts etc it would of been carnage. Raymond was not happy but I think the inspectors respected the fact I had the balls to make the call to save the integrity of my service even though it was against the wishes of Raymond, but I doubt they would ever admit that to him haha!

TFIMB: What IS the most common thing people say to you now that it is over? Do people come up to you on the street?

Martin: We get recognized a lot, so many people say "where do I know you from?" and were a bit star struck sometimes which is a really weird feeling The viewing figures were not massive over here but of the people who did watch most loved it, people would say "Is it you?" to which the only reply can be "yes I am me" most people have been so supportive though. Were going to Florida later this year so if anyone does bump into us, please come and say hi.

TFIMB: Do you think you were treated fairly in the competition? What about by the shows editors?

Martin: Yeah at the end of the day it wasn't a competition to find the best restaurateur's it was a show to find partners for Raymond so nobody could really argue with the outcome! We didn't do that well in the competition our preparation was non existent and we just didn't know what we were getting into, I think if we were all to get together again all 9 couples and give it another go we would be much closer to the big prize! We didn't do as well as we could of done and some of the other couples did so much better the twins were awesome! It was heavily edited but you just have to accept it and move on

TFIMB: Are there any secrets or rumors that went on in the house? The viewer did not see the house very much; it seemed to me like they should have just let you stay home!

Martin: There is no way we could have stayed home for starters we live 200 miles away from oxfordshire! The house was massive although we were only allowed in about half of it, as for secrets there weren't many apart from there was actually an old couple living in the house as well at the same time! They don't own it they just lived there and keep it running but they segregated the house and lived in one half and we lived in the other

TFIMB: Did you make any friends on the show? Anyone you still keep contact with?

Martin: We all got on really well considering the pressures involved, I think in a situation like that you kind of need each other, there weren't any people who we didn't get on that well with. We made a lot of friends for life really. We keep in touch with most of the gang were all on facebook and chat and stuff and just keep an eye on what each others up to! Myself Emma and Molly had dinner with inspector John Lederer the other night he has been great with us and he's such a down to earth bloke for a high flying executive and were meeting up with the sameheads Jess and Laura next week there great girls two of our best friends.

"The Sameheads"

TFIMB: Do you have any plans to open a restaurant now that the show is done?

Martin: We had plenty of offers when we left the programme to run pubs and go into joint ventures with several pub companies etc. But we thought long and hard about whether a job which brings so much pressure and is 24/7 is really what we want? And the answer is no it isn't Emma has a job at a bank now and Im still at prison but we have a family life, financial gain is not the be all and end all, I work one day a week at one of Raymond's restaurants in Manchester which isn't too far from where we live in Bolton and that's enough for me to enjoy the flair side of cooking. Maybe one day we will open up somewhere but for now being a husband and a Dad is first and foremost.

TFIMB: What was your favorite challenge? What made it your favorite?

Martin: Strangely enough the ready meal challenge! Although we were evicted it was definitely our strongest performance we kind of had a feeling we would be going home and in a way the pressure was off, It didn't actually show it in the programme but when asked by one of the supermarket buyers" what separates your dish from the others already on the market" we replied "The difference was that we used local and seasonal ingredients and they flew theirs in from New Zealand" the lady buyer from Marks and Spencers was so impressed she told Raymond that they were to scrap their recipe for "Lancashire hotpot" and use British and seasonal produce in there products. which obviously made us very proud but as this was the episode we were sent home all that was cut from the show!

TFIMB: Martin - we don't get to hear much about your prison cook background. What sort of food do the prisoners get? Do people at work joke with you now because of the show?

Martin: Their food is obviously somewhat basic, cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and then lasagna, curry or a pie or something for evening meal. There was plenty of fun poked at me its not ideal to be seen crying on tele and then going into work the next day and having to face these big alpha male types but I'm confident enough to just get on with it and I'm not ashamed of anything I did on the show, I am still there doing the same old job it isn't great but its steady and the hours really suit our lifestyle really its everything owning a restaurant isn't but I am happy there and at this stage of my life its doing me just fine!

TFIMB: What is your favorite color to eat?

Martin: Black! no not burnt there's something about black foods that have a rich intensity Marmite, coffee, good quality chocolate, treacle and Guinness are all deep in flavour and have an almost bitter richness about them that suit my palate

TFIMB: Do you watch /read a lot of food entertainment? If so, what is your favorite...

Celebrity chef? A French chef called Jeanne Cristophe Novelli, we were fortunate enough to meet him a few months back and he recognized us which was very surreal he's a lovely bloke as well!

Food show? We both watch "Kitchen nightmares" its obviously a bit of a stitch up but it makes great theatre!

Food blog? Why "The food in my beard" of course

Cookbook? Rick steins "A French odyssey" Im not into fancy food and this book is about simple peasant foods and its really inspirational

Magazine? I don't read foodie mags but a lot of British supermarkets have there own free monthly magazines with recipes in and I flick through, you get a lot of ideas from them!

TFIMB: Has your life changed at all since doing the show? how?

Martin: Things have returned to how they were in some respects but in others it hasn't being involved in "The Last Restaurant Standing" is something we both very proud of and grateful for, it has given us so many fantastic memories it was a surreal experience and although were back in our normal jobs doing normal things our lives will never quite be the same because of it.

TFIMB: What else would you like to tell the world about you?

Martin: My god nothing I think the world knows enough! Thank you for your time.

I want to thank Martin and Emma for this great interview! Good luck in the future, congrats on your upcoming wedding this weekend, and maybe we can get your Lancashire hotpot recipe up here soon!

1 Comment

Great interview. Good questions, Dan!

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