The Restaurant returns for series three

by Lisa McGarry

World-renowned chef and restaurateur Raymond Blanc returns to BBC Two on Thursday 29 October at 8.00pm in his third series of The Restaurant, with nine couples hungry for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to open a restaurant with him.

From their first meeting with the Michelin-starred maestro the nine couples are in at the deep end facing a series of increasingly tough challenges. All are designed to test the creativity and practical skills they need to display before they get the keys to their own restaurants. 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, 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 – scrutinising 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.

The filming of the series takes place in Bristol in the competitive market of a typical UK high street, with couples eager to prove they can cut the mustard in this culinary minefield.

Executive producer Chloe Solomon says: “The ability to grow is what Raymond is looking for. He is driven by an incredible work ethic and is inspirational – in part because he knows a dream is not enough – success depends on sound business sense and hard work, as much as creativity.

“Having nurtured more Michelin-starred chefs and front of house managers than any other chef it is an undeniable privilege for our couples to learn from one of the best.”