Awhile back, before anyone ever read my website, I used to write a weekly review of the TV show Last Restaurant Standing. I enjoyed watching the show, it was always good and interesting, but never great. I had no plans of reviewing the show this year. I actually didn't even know there was a second season. Watching TV last night, I saw that the 2nd and 3rd episode would be on. I checked it out and I was very impressed by the new season! The show is much much better than it was last year! The couples were more serious about the food and much more accomplished. They went into the show with strategies and solidified restaurant concepts, and it is going to be a tough battle to decide the winner.
So here I am the next morning with a review! But first, a plea to all of my fans. Watch this show! It's gonna be no fun if I'm just sitting here reviewing the show and nobody cares. If you guys start watching you can laugh with me about the people on the show and write funny comments and stuff. Last year I reviewed the show because no one else was. I thought it would get me some hits, and it definitely did. This year, I am reviewing the show for a different reason. Because I love it! And I want you all to love it to. Do I sound like they paid me to say this stuff? Cause they didn't. anyway, ya'll got TIVO. Set it up. Don't worry about missing the beginning, the first episode was before they got their restaurants and Raymond Blanc got rid of the worst couple. Then in the 2nd and 3rd, NO ONE went home! So you guys didn't really miss anything! What you DID miss, I will tell you right now. On to the review!
If you aren't familiar with the format of the show, one week they have a normal restaurant service where the inspectors come around to check on the couples and see if everything is running smoothly. There is usually a different focus each time like for example, increasing value, or promoting your brand. at the end, raymond chooses the 3 worst couples to go into a challenge. the next weeks episode is the challenge where the bottom 3 couples face off to see who goes home. These challenges could be stuff like catering or serving food at a food court.
Towards the beginning, I like to do this in a format where I talk about each couple individually. They gave me plenty of material in episode 2 and 3. this was a welcome contrast from last year when they tended to focus on only 3 or 4 couples per episode and the others you had no idea what happened. Another welcome change is the all around focus on the food. The couples have more food experience and everyone is generally talking more about the actual food this time around. The inspectors even seemed to like a lot of the dishes!(a change from last year) Everyone's favorite inspector, Sarah Willingham seems to have loosened up a bit and is more honestly displaying her feelings on the food and atmosphere of the restaurants. She even cracked a few jokes!
Here are the couples, and the notes I jotted down about them. You can click their names to check them out on the BBC America website and learn a little more about their cooking and restaurant experience.
Caroline and Chris thought they would impress Raymond by naming their restaurant "Ray White's" an English version of his name. This is kinda ballsy to me because if the food sucks it will only cause Raymond to want to shut them down faster
Mike and Harriet are the father daughter couple of this season. They seem very close and work well together, BUT they both were clueless in the restaurant. One night they took orders 2 days early to avoid chaos, but chaos was not avoided and many left unfed. Mike even tried to weasel some money for booze out of people after he made them sit around for 2 hours with no food! In their restaurant, "The Blue Goose" she is the chef and he is the front of house. Neither of them have any experience other than entertaining dinner parties at their home hosting as many as 24 people. Raymond chose them to go into next weeks challenge, so they have the chance to go home.
Michele and Russell named their restaurant "The Cheerful Soul". They weren't very impressive and that combined with totally overbooking and causing massive wait times sent them to the challenge next week.
As you can tell from the picture, Alasdair and James are the "dude" characters of this show. I am rooting for them at the moment because I like their concept and food. At their restaurant "The Gallery", they have art on the walls and in the food. Their dining room doubles as an art showing, with modern paintings all over the place. The food was artsy too with modern offerings and pretty plating designs. Sarah was the inspector at this restaurant and she loved the food she ate but was a little surprised with the difference between what she received and what was on the menu. The menu said "Scallops, Beetroot Puree" and what came out was a beautiful dish with many components including what looked like a loose salad of microgreens and multiple sauces. Since the purpose of the challenge was to convince customers of the high value of your dishes, they were hurt by this error, but were still not chosen for the challenge.
Lindsie and Tim's Restaurant "True Provenance" is all about the origin of your food. however when Lindsie was asked by the judges what breed of pork they were serving, she replied with "belly" Raymond told them to really drive home this concept they need to be more careful about sourcing their food. They left a 1 year old baby at home and this seems like it will be an issue for them in the future. At one point Tim said "Lindsie's only job today is to get through with out crying about our baby" then of course they cut to her crying in the other room. For some reason I enjoy the tears of contestants on this show. The girl who cried most last year, ended up winning the whole thing!!! So watch out for Lindsie folks!
The award for worst concept idea ever goes to Laura and Peters Restaurant "the Welsh Wok". Even Raymond hates this idea of Chinese-Welsh Fusion. Worst of all, they aren't even fusing the dishes! One menu item will be Welsh and the next will be Chinese. Or they will serve a lamb shank, with a side of stir fried veggies and soy sauce. Then peter couldn't even get his rice right and there were all sorts of jokes about an Asian chef not being able to cook rice. This couple seems doomed to me, yet they aren't in the challenge next week! Hold on to it while you can, Laura and Peter.
Stephen and Helen are a few years older than the rest. While I would never go to their restaurant, I think they have a decent concept. They are opening "Nel's", a family restaurant. They claim as food lovers, they are nervous about bringing kids to any decent restaurant and if they do bring them, they feel shunned or looked down upon. They wanted to open a place with good food where all are welcome. I think this is a great idea because there are a lot of ageing foodies out there with kids who want a nice place for the whole family. The main issue the inspectors had with the restaurant, is that while the kids loved the food, the parents weren't that happy with it.
Richard and Scott are the worst. Just go to their profile and read down to where they mention that their dogs are the babies they will never have. Or how Scott trained as a chef but now fulfills his food passion by serving people food on an airline. What? Their restaurant is called "Sorbet & Seasons" (What?) to which Raymond replied in that accent we all missed soo much: "I love sorbet.., and I love the sea-sons.., But you gave me nee-their" Oh Ray, Glad to have your passionate yet hilarious one liners back. But it's true people. No seasonality and only one melty sorbet on the whole menu at a place called "Sorbet and Seasons"??? And the guy judge David Moore flat out said the sorbet sucked. Raymond urged them to add some sorbets so they brainstormed for awhile and came up with a fennel sorbet, and an avocado CRAB sorbet (WHAT?!) then for some reason they scrapped this plan and instead made a soup that they called sorbet on the menu thinking the judges would see that and be satisfied that they added a sorbet. Of course the judge ordered it and called them out. Raymond sent them to the challenge.
You guys! You aren't too late! Get on the LRS train now! You can still catch this last episode next week BEFORE the new one where Sorbet and Seasons, The Blue Goose, and The Cheerful Soul will go head to head to head to see whose restaurant gets shut down! On Sunday, you or your DVR can catch episode 2 and 3 at 11AM and noon. Next Tuesday they are replaying episode 3 at 8, and the new episode at 9. Did I mention that I don't get paid by BBC America? do not.