This is the part of the show where the viewers start getting paid off for sticking with it so long. The last episodes of this show were really good last season and I expect the same this year. We have narrowed the field to only serious couples and we finally get to see more of Raymond. If Ray was just going into everyone's restaurants from the beginning, it wouldn't be as exciting. The way they set it up, we get the feeling that he is this king who never leaves his castle. He sends his judges out to weed out the bad couples, and when the best are left, he comes off his throne to make the final decisions.
This week we see Raymond at his best, in the restaurants poking his head around. Grabbing spoons and tasting random sauces in Helens kitchen. Saying he "feels like Mr. Bean" as he cuts into a boiled egg. Sampling food with absolutely no facial expression or "tell" to read his opinions on the taste. Giving quick lessons on flavoring and taste of a beet dressing.
The day starts out with a seemingly arbitrary cooking demo. They didn't show this all that much. We do see Jalasdair messing up a bunch and Sarah calling them a nubtease... Tim and Lindsie had a bit of an advantage here because they were at a farmers market where people care a lot about food. no one cares about food at the regatta, and the only people who care about food at the mall were a bunch of "hoodies" as David calls them.
Later on we see Raymond visiting the restaurants. Helen and Stephen are first. Stephen blows his cool like an excited schoolgirl running around telling everyone "Mr. Blanc! Mr. Blanc! Mr. Blanc is here! If only Helen had been there to give him a stern talking! Ray is wicked creeps sneaking spoons of all the sauces and condiments. At judging he said the fish pie had a nice topping but was juicy and gross inside. He tells her he was impressed by the restaurant in general, and the why Helen was running things in the kitchen, but the food was still not great. Also why was she using frozen broadbeans with "billions of broadbeans growing across the UK right now just begging to be picked?" Because of these mistakes, they will be in the challenge next week.
Michele and Russell again had the backseat in this episode, but we do get to see much more of them than usual. I am beginning to like Michelle's attitude and voice (the British Fran Dresher?) and Russell's quiet demeanor. Ray comes to their restaurant pretty late at night and Russell has shut off the burners. They get the food out, but it takes a really long time. At judging Ray says he did not like the front of house and Michelle runs off crying. Ray wasn't even that harsh on her! Anyway they are in the challenge so we should finally see more of them next week.
When we first see Raymond at "The Gallery", Jalasdair's restaurant, he has snuck in the kitchen. He tells James they will run out of beef and of course a few hours later, they do. They ran out of everything pretty much. Luckily Raymond gets to taste the food. Ray loved the food but hated the whole front of house operation. They are in the challenge.
At True Provenance, Raymond enjoys the service. He seems not too impressed when he gets an overly boiled egg. He goes in the kitchen and shows Tim how to properly season a beetroot dressing. In the end they are the winners of the week.
I enjoyed the show last night and cant wait for the few remaining episodes!