Many moons ago, I used to run pubs and hotels – as I’ve mentioned once or twice before. It’s still something that I’d go back to, depending on the right circumstances and so on. In fact, it’s something we’re both talking about as an idea – although not just ‘any old’ pub/restaurant. Although I’ll leave that for now.
Anyway, as a result of that, I do find myself interested by programmes like (among others) BBC’s “The Restaurant“, where nine couples compete to win the chance to run a restaurant in partnership with Raymond Blanc. It’s kind of like “The Apprentice”, but for the restaurant business. My initial plan was to watch it as research, making sure I wouldn’t make any really stupid mistakes.
However, it also leads me to be exceptionally rude and sweary. Sadly, ‘The Restaurant’ has fallen into the same kind of Reality TV trap as The Apprentice, in that the people they’ve got on there aren’t really interested in running a business, but are more interested in being on TV- and that’s also evident in the selection process, where the competitors have quite obviously been selected for their road-crash style fuckups rather than their ideas or restaurant skills.
I’m not saying I’m surprised by this, by the way – more like vaguely despairing, but not at all surprised.
In the current series we’ve already had the couple who (on camera at least) couldn’t find a proper can opener, and thus tried opening a can (and a coconut) with a razor-sharp chef’s knife, using a rolling-pin as a hammer to knock the knife in. I had to look away at that point, because I couldn’t help but wonder whether we were about to see the first on-screen amputation.
We’ve also (somehow still) got a pair where the chef doesn’t cook – and in fact appears to be actively terrified of cooking. How – and indeed why?!? – do you select a pair for a restaurant/catering-based show when the person doing the cooking side of things is (frankly) an utter bell-end whose previous ‘cooking’ experience has been – um – making cocktails in a bar?
I just think it’s a shame – and a waste – of a good idea to have ended up with it being so obviously made-for-TV. I know, it’s a TV programme – but there could’ve been so many opportunities for having something that promoted innovative food, ideas and menus, and instead it’s just another sad Reality TV staple.