Last Restaurant Standing returned last night in a big way! As you would expect from a new season of your favorite reality show, the stakes are raised, and the contestants are better. It was a breath of fresh air to be reminded of the natural feeling of the show, compared to the over the top pacing of most reality shows in the United States. So just how are the stakes raised? This season, the winners will not only go into business with Raymond, but also both other judges; Sarah Willingham and David Moore. Sarah and David are no longer helping Raymond choose a business partner, but choosing one for themselves!
As with the beginning of most reality shows, it's hard to keep up with who's who, so I snagged some pictures of the BBC America site, and a few off my TV, to help. I have also created some convenient nicknames. Raymond and the judges have also helped us further by narrowing down the field considerably!
Barney and Badger I am nicknaming these guys "Army" Because of their combined 35 years of service. Also they showed up in fatigues in the episode and just look like military guys. The episode didn't focus too much on this couple, but we did see a major issue with some store bought stock. Raymond knew they wouldn't have time to make a good stock, but it didn't stop this team from using one... from a can. After reducing it for an hour, it ended up super salty, so they tried to balance it with sugar. The sauce ended up terrible, but it wasn't enough to send them packing.
Chris and Nathan are the "Posh" team (as they say over there.) Reminiscent of last seasons Alasdair and James, these guys seem to know what they are doing in the kitchen. They take a risk to cook a pork wellington in a short amount of time, but fail misrably. Fortunately, they turn the error around and make a good pan fried pork dish.
Daisy and Nadine want to bring Nigerian food to the world, so that is what I will call them. They start out on a mission to find goat for the meal but are having trouble. The butcher tells them no one has goat in the area, and they make a crack about Bristol the city they are in at the moment, saying that in London you could find goat anywhere. Nice burn ladies! There is a nice moment in the show where they talk about their current jobs of subway announcer and midwife, both exclaiming that it is time for something new. Sarah gives them one of her patented looks when they explain that they are boiling lamb in water, but fortunately the spice and flavor is there, despite the chewy tough lamb.
I don't have a nickname yet for Janet and Sean, but did he say they met when he was 17 and she was 13 and it was love at first sight????? Creepy. They own a flower shop together and have always wanted to open a restaurant. With a mind set on gravlox, a dish that takes a few days to cure, they decided to get store bought and arrange it on a platter. This didn't fly well with the judges, but for some reason they made it to the next round.
What can I say about JJ and James that can't be said in this sweet graphic I made on the left? I don't even need to make a nickname for them, cause Raymond already did. "The Winkers" He actually said stop winking at me during the show! It was awesome, as was the 5 minute montage of them winking and doing fancy bartending tricks.
Sarah and Joe made a mushroom tower appetizer as their signature dish. Sarah is a food stylist who eats mostly vegetarian. The food was good, but when asked about the restaurant concept, the mother and son couple stuttered and had no answer. This is why they are NOT moving on to the next round.
Frances and Lucy were not really featured this episode. The main thing was overcooking some fresh peas and having frozen ones ready as a backup. I hope to see more from this couple in the coming weeks.
Natalie and Sandy were the first mother daughter couple on he show. Notice I said were. After endangering their fingers and making Sarah cringe trying to open a coconut with a knife and a rolling pin, they moved on to the same method with a can. This was too much for Raymond and he swooped in to save the day. You cant be throwing knives around with a pregnant Sarah nearby! (PS Congrats Sarah!!! But I hope this doesn't mean you will have to leave the show early!) Speaking of leaving the show early, Raymond kicked these two off after one bite from their dessert. Right in the middle of the episode! Another shocking first for LRS. If they had been Food in my Beard readers, they wouldn't have made this mistake! You don't think the knife debacle could have been bad enough to merit an early departure? Just look at the picture below.
Rebecca and Stephen cooked chocolate fondant, often called lava cake here in the States. Raymond was impressed by Stephens ballsyness to cook one of Rays own signature recipes. I don't think Stephen really even knew this or meant to do it, but it worked out to his benefit. It turned out to be overcooked and not melt out like lava, but Raymond was still impressed.
Glad this show is back on the air, and glad to bring you guys fun recaps every Wednesday. Did anyone watch last night? Anyone?? Any favorites? People you hate? Things you caught that I missed? Check out the BBC America site for more info on the couples and everything else about the show.