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Sarah Willingham Interview

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Sarah Willingham is one of the judges on the TV show "Last Restaurant Standing"  I have been recapping and reviewing the show on the website weekly, and the season finale airs tonight at 9pm on BBC America.  I was lucky enough to come across Sarah's Email address, and she was kind enough to grant me an interview.  I had a lot of fun talking to her this week, and I hope you guys like the interview as much as I did!


Me:
When you first started the show, did you expect it to be as successful as it is and make it for 3 seasons?

Sarah:
I really didn't think much about it when I filmed the first series. It just seemed like SO much fun to experience the world of TV, to meet the wonderful Raymond and to laugh with my kids seeing mummy on TV. But the BBC really hit onto a great format. SO many people have this dream to leave the rat race and start a restaurant. The public has really been able to identify with the couples in each series.

Me:
This season you and David will also have a stake in the winners restaurant. Was this a decision you made? Does it cause you to inspect the teams more thoroughly?

Sarah:
David and I are great friends now and we talked alot about getting involved this time and decided that it would be fun to go into business with the winners. It definitely focussed our mind! We're all so different in our approach so it led to some great, heated discussions.

Me:
How have the past seasons winners' restaurants been doing? Do you hear from them at all? Do they have their own restaurant or is it more run by Raymond's team?

Sarah:
Russell and Michelle are still doing great. it's very much their place. They do get help from Raymond's team but they do a great job running it themselves. I see the runners up a lot more... James and Ali - such great guys. James has been over and cooked the most wonderful food for parties at the house.

Me:
Most articles I have read seem to call you the bad guy, but I don't think you are that harsh. I think you are hilarious on the show! One of the things I enjoy to see most are the faces you make on the show. Do you realize you are making them when filming, or do you watch the episodes later and laugh?

Sarah:
I laugh!!! I had no idea that I had such an expressive face - no wonder I'm such a terrible liar!!! I'm from the north of England and we're really straight talking which sometimes had led me to really criticise people, mostly out of shock of the level of incompetence and preparation. It drives me crazy when the contributors appear not to care.. it's such an amazing opportunity, one that so many people would value and yet some of them just turn up without a clue.

Me:
I've read that you have no say in choosing contestants. Do you think the contestants have gotten better each season? Might this be because of more applicants?

Sarah:
On paper this year's contestants read better than ever but I honestly think that the reality was different. Some of the ones that went out early were embarrassing.... to think they thought that they could run a restaurant

Me:
Enough about the show, and more about you!

In an interview I recently read, you said that you had a bad onion soup at a restaurant. That surprises me, because I would think if you walked in the door of any restaurant in the UK, people would recognize you and treat you better than the average customer. Is this the case most of the time?

Sarah:
I must admit I do tend to get great service in a restaurant - a wonderful side effect of having done the show :) But it's also made me more particular and I complain more than I ever used to...

Me:
I read that you moved to the country to be sure your kids knew better where their food comes from and to grow a garden. How is your garden doing? Any winter veggies? What are your favorite crops in the summer?

Sarah:
I grew up with lots of home grown fruit and veg, my dad is a BIG gardener! But Raymond totally inspired me. Last summer I took my daughter to le manoir with a basket, a little trowel and a pair of scissors... Raymond said I could take what I wanted from the garden to grow at home. I have 4 huge raised beds, lots of fruit trees and a wonderful herb garden now. I just wish the sun shone more than it does here.

Me:
Are your kids cooking with you yet? or are they still too young? If so, what do you make with them?

Sarah:
It's our favourite afternoon together. My eldest daughter is 3 so she recognises lots of smells and really helps me with everything. My son is 2 and he just makes a wonderful mess and pretends to smell it all... then copies what my daughter says. We make everything but their favourite is cakes cakes and more cakes. I'm at my happiest in my kitchen and when my family can share the pleasures of it.  I often stand back and wonder how I got this lucky :)

Me:
I am sure you talk a lot about food, but what are some other interests or hobbies of yours?

Sarah:
Is there more to life than food??? Ha ha. My spare time is really taken up with my family, whether we're painting, climbing, walking or cooking it's usually with them. But I exercise, drink wine, eat and read.... sadly not always in that order..

Me:
Do you have a favorite food website or blog? Cookbook or TV show?

Sarah:
The Hummingbird cafe cookbook is a GREAT book for cakes and cookies. I like Nigella Lawson for basics, Robert Carrier for rich, more complicated dishes and of course Monsieur Blanc! He has a great TV show at the moment... Kitchen Secrets - I'm loving it.

Me:
What is your favorite color to eat?

Sarah:
WoW! There's a question i've never considered the answer to. You know what.. I love lots of colour - varied colour. I like my plate to look like a picture before i start to eat. Failing that then brown... chocolate!!!

Me:
What is your favorite 5 ingredient recipe?

Sarah:
Can I have only 3? Raymond's chocolate moose. 90% chocolate, sugar, egg whites. It's SUCH a winner everytime I make it. It's on the BBC website at the moment. Just add good company and champagne for the perfect 5 ingredient recipe :)


Sarah was nice enough to send me this picture of her and Raymond having fun at her recent wedding.



Thanks again Sarah!


4 Comments

What a nice treat for a Tuesday morning. I'd have to agree with a enjoying a picture perfect meal before I dig in. What a great wedding picture!

love it! how cute is that wedding pic :) my dvr messed up the recording of the finale when i moved and now i dunno what to do! im afraid to look at your last recap but i dunno how to get the last episode now! anyway loved the interview. sarah was so cute this season all ready to pop with her baby. happy almost bday!

this woman is a fraud. if you took a cursory look at her business career you would know she has been associated with one restaurant 'brand' failure after the other. why not ask her about this rather than this "what's your favourite colour" nonsense?

The home loans are essential for guys, which would like to ground their own company. As a fact, that is not very hard to receive a bank loan.

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