[12/07/09 - 02:44 PM]
BBC America Dishes Up a Third Season of Last Restaurant Standing
Raymond Blanc's reality competition returns Tuesday, January 5 at 9:00/8:00c.

[via press release from BBC America]


World-renowned chef and restaurateur Raymond Blanc returns to BBC AMERICA in a third season of Last Restaurant Standing, with nine hungry couples vying for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to open a restaurant with him. Last Restaurant Standing premieres Tuesday, January 5, 9:00p.m. ET/PT

After starting with little to no professional cooking experience and two weeks of elimination challenges, six of the nine couples are chosen to take over an empty restaurant, make it their own, and open to the public within a week. Every decision, every argument, every mistake they make is caught on camera. The couples are working and living together 24 hours-a-day, under enormous pressure - and only one will succeed.

From their first meeting with the Michelin-starred maestro, the couples are put in the deep end, facing a series of increasingly tough challenges - from serving afternoon tea to over 100 guests at a tea dance to making dishes to sell at a local farmers market using only fresh, local and seasonal produce. All are designed to test the creativity and practical skills they need in order to go into business with Raymond. Get it wrong and the doors are closed. Tough times on the high street mean Raymond Blanc is not in the market for dreamers � and the pressure is on to show him they have what it takes to survive.

"The industry is under tremendous difficulty," says Raymond. "Every day restaurants are closing down. I must tell you that the customer has become demanding and picky... he wants the best value for money and expects great things. So the pressure is on us all. We must aim higher. We must do better."

Throughout this series Raymond Blanc is a regular presence in the couples' restaurants � scrutinizing their relationships, business ideas and cooking skills. No disasters or triumphs go unnoticed as the couples fight to keep their restaurants open.

Upping the pressure are Raymond's eagle-eyed industry experts: Sarah Willingham and David Moore who, as investors in this year's prize, are looking for a strong brand concept and service excellence.

BBC AMERICA brings audiences a new generation of award-winning television featuring news with a uniquely global perspective, provocative dramas, razor-sharp comedies, life-changing makeovers and a whole new world of nonfiction. BBC AMERICA pushes the boundaries to deliver high quality, highly addictive and eminently watchable programming to viewers who demand more. It is available on digital cable and satellite TV in more than 65 million homes.


Executive Producer Chloe Solomon

Producer/Director Mandy Sherwood

Last Restaurant Standing is a BBC Production distributed by BBC Worldwide



Born in France, Raymond Blanc is acknowledged as one of the finest chefs in the world. His exquisite cooking has received tributes from every national and international guide to culinary excellence.

At the age of 28, he opened his first restaurant, Les Quat' Saisons, in Oxford. After just one year, the restaurant was named Egon Ronay Restaurant of the Year and a host of other accolades including Michelin stars followed.

In 1984, he fulfilled a personal vision, creating a hotel and restaurant in harmony when he opened Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. Le Manoir is the only country house hotel in the UK which has achieved two Michelin stars for a total of 22 years.

In 1986, Raymond opened his first Brasserie Blanc � his aim was to be the best within the brasserie scene in England, serving good quality, affordable food. He now has eight brasseries across the UK.

Passionate about sharing his knowledge, in 1991, Raymond established his eponymous cooking school, welcoming both enthusiastic amateurs and professional cooks to the kitchen. And in 2008, he was awarded an honorary OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in recognition of his services in promoting culinary excellence and for raising awareness of the importance of healthy food as a central element of family life.


Sarah was recently acknowledged by Management Today and The Times as one of the "35 most successful women under 35" in the UK; she joined the Courvoisier's top 500 in 2007; Who's Who of Britain's business elite in 2008; and was voted as Business Weekly's Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2007.

In 2004 Sarah raised the finance to buy The Bombay Bicycle Club, where she turned a heavily loss-making business of six restaurants into a very profitable group of 17 � establishing the largest chain of Indian restaurants in the UK. She successfully sold them in 2007 and is currently working on a number of other business ventures.


David is the long-standing creative force behind London's Pied � Terre restaurant, which opened in 1991 and has two Michelin stars. He began his career under the leadership of Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons. In 2007, he opened a sister restaurant, L'Autre Pied, with business partner, Shane Osborn, and Chef Marcus Eaves from Pied � Terre.

In the past year, as well as working on his first cookbook, David has also backed an ex-Pied � Terre chef, Tom Van Zeller, in opening his restaurant.



Barney and Badger (Gary and Barrington) are former military men, with a combination of 35 years in army service, who see modern English cuisine as the order of the day. They want to create "a relaxed and informal dining experience", but they intend to operate both front and back of house with military precision. On the menu in their self-named eatery, Barrington and Badger, would be signature dishes including pan-fried sea bass, slow-roasted pork belly and lobster-stuffed chicken.


These best friends want to serve top-class Modern British cuisine in a mid-priced restaurant with a youthful, lively vibe. Chris is currently a chef at a weight-loss boot camp and Nathan is a hairdresser. A typical dish from their restaurant would be lamb rump with 3-pepper ketchup and sweet potato chips. Also on their menu are a coconut and amaretto parfait and a strawberry strudel with white chocolate ice cream.


Although not Nigerian themselves, these best friends would like to open a rustic Nigerian restaurant called D'Soir�e and with their motto, "greatness achieved through excellence", they want every customer to leave with a smile on their face. Daisy is a self taught cook who currently works for the transportation system in London and Nadine is a midwife. On the menu would be classic Nigerian dishes such as okra soup, pounded yam, jollof rice and fish with plantain.


Partners in life and in business, this couple are hoping to incorporate Swedish cuisine into their menu (Janet lived in Sweden in the '80s) with an emphasis on seasonality and an aim to update their menu regularly. Together, they own a florist and the couple's love and knowledge of all things floral will be a main feature within the interior d�cor and also in the food. Edible flowers are something Janet would like to incorporate into savory and sweet dishes to give their restaurant extra panache.


Currently co-owners of a cocktail bar in London, JJ and James are hoping to expand into the culinary world with The Picnic Club � a picnic platter concept where diners would be invited to choose classic picnic snacks and grilled items, which are brought in hampers to their tables to create the "perfect picnic spread". Food will be classic style British food but the presentation will be Tapas and Thali in style � mini scotch eggs, corn on the cobs, pork pies, quiches, etc, with an extensive selection of home-made sauces available to accompany the dishes � such as apple and pear, red-wine gravy and fresh tomato chutney.


This mother-and-son partnership are sure that their solid relationship will help them succeed with a French-English menu � comprised of simple dishes packed with lots of seasonal produce. Sarah is a part-time cook with 12 years experience in the restaurant trade and Joe has also been a head chef, a head waiter and now works at a successful garden center. Their menu includes warm reared beef with salsa verde and new potatoes, and raised field mushrooms roasted with spinach, peppers, garlic and goat cheese.


Longtime friends, Frances and Lucy�s concept is for rustic, farmhouse dining with "a touch of modern elegance" using only locally-sourced food. Currently studying biology, Frances spends her spare time working for a catering company and running a small catering business of her own while Lucy has worked as a waitress during the holidays since she was 16. On their menu would be whole baked bream, herb-crusted rack of lamb and grilled rib eye steak, with an extensive wine list and staff fully briefed on which wines best accompany which dishes.


Mother and daughter dream of serving English-Indian fusion food celebrating the '40s and the Days of the Raj, called Missy BaBa, after Sandy's nickname. Natalie has 12 years experience in sales and marketing in luxury four star or above hotels � as well as being a qualified interior designer and her mother, Sandy is a bank manager. A daily special will be on offer, with signature dishes such as Missy BaBa's chicken feast and saffron rice, pan seared shrimps with fresh chilli and steamed mussels with cream and lemongrass.


Married couple Rebecca and Stephen want to serve simple, tasty, traditional British fare that caters to the whole family in a smart, clean and colorful restaurant. Stephen has worked for 12 years in the catering industry and is currently catering manager/head chef at a private hospital. Rebecca is a former real estate agent who loves selling and loves people. On the menu would be lamb cutlets, beef and ale pie and sausage and mash.

  [december 2009]  


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