Did everyone do their homework and catch up on Last Restaurant Standing?? Last night's episode was the first "challenge" of the season, where the 3 worst couples had to dance for their lives and try not to get eliminated. In the challenge were Richard and Scott of "Sorbet and Seasons," Mike and Harriet, the father daughter team running "The Blue Goose," and Michele and Russell, the couple running "Cheerful Soul." Their challenge was to work at a food court at a highway rest stop. Raymond wanted to see creative and exciting yet simple food, and of course wanted the teams to make money. He said marketing would be very important to this challenge to pull people in and have them choose your food over the plethora of options in the food court.
The 3 couples chose their other teammates from the rest of the group and set off. They had the opportunity to ask managers about volume and type of food served. They also could scope out the area and talk with patrons. After this they needed to come up with 5 dishes: 3 mains, 1 kids and 1 dessert, and take pictures of them. This is one challenge that I would be good at don't you guys think?
Lets start with "The Cheerful Soul." They find out that it will be about 200 meals between 11-3. Michele and Russell seem to be doing random other housekeeping chores and not focusing on cooking the meals for the marketing pictures. When Russell finally gets to it, he only has time to take pictures of 3 things. We later find out that they made up for this marketing blunder by later handing out stickers to children, and Michele trying to cheer up weary travelers by telling them to eat at the cheerful soul. Sarah also seems to really enjoy the food. For viewers of the first season, the focus on the food was refreshing.
At "The Blue Goose," Harriet took some advice from Helen, a former food photographer, to use pre bought food items to take the pictures. It is a good idea not to take advice from the helpers during the challenge, because they do not have anything at stake. Even still, this team has the best marketing, placing blue footprints in a path on the floor from the entrance of the rest stop to the restaurant. They also rented a blue goose costume (even though it was really an emu) and had one of the guys wandering around doing a shtick that I like to call "British Shenanigans." One area they went wrong was that they only served fish. They asked the manager what the most popular item was and he said fish and chips, so they stuck with it. When making fishcakes for the kids meal, they couldn't get the consistency right, so they added a bit of flour. Then they ran out of time so they breaded it and deep fried it rather than pan frying. On the menu, this item was labeled healthy?!?! When Sarah sat down to eat it, she said it was so dense she could play tennis with it. Then she finally took a bite and said "That is absolutely awful... and now I have to swallow it!" Way to step up your game Sarah! Keep it up and you could be the next Toby Young!
Ahh yes, that leaves us with "Sorbet and Seasons." First of all, they asked all the wrong questions of the rest stop manager. They said how many people come here a day, and he replied with over 2000, but was talking about total people in the whole rest stop! They bought 20 whole chickens to make coq au vin for 2000 people, and only ended up selling something like 13 plates. The next issue was that Richard, the cook of the team, started puking everywhere and was unfit to be in the kitchen. Scott had to run the whole operation with minimal cooking experience. Their third blunder was that they were told to make individual portions, but they instead decided to have a huge pot of the stew and ladle it out individually. Lets see... what else? They tried to make a carrot cake but QUADROUPLED the recipe and made it in this big hotel pan wondering why it took so long to cook... and then burnt it. Judge David Moore said their coq au vin tasted more like chicken and gravy.
At Judging, we hear a lot of what we expect to hear. "Cheerful Soul" was bad marketing and good food and Raymond doesn't think they have the drive and enthusiasm needed. "Sorbet and Seasons" all around sucked, and "The Blue Goose" had good marketing with so so food. They also get chided for only having fish. We find out that the fish was the most popular, but the next 4 popular dishes were all beef and that 70% of rest stop sales are beef. The big shocker was that their plan of taking pictures of someone else's food was illegal. Raymond dismisses everyone rather abruptly to make his final decision when Michele, a very quiet and reserved person so far, totally bugs out at Raymond and starts screaming and runs off. When Raymond brings them all back in, he applauds Michele for finally showing him some emotion! Raymond loves bugouts. As we all expect, Richard and Scott's restaurant "Sorbet and Seasons" will close its doors. Poor guys, we could have had a lot of fun together this season, you messing up terribly and me making fun of you. But alas, it was not meant to be.
So... Did you guys watch it?? What did you think? Anything I missed? Something I said that you don't agree with? Let me know!