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Showing posts with the label Last Restaurant Standing

Channel Surfing: Laura Vandervoort to Return to Smallville, Terra Nova Comic-Con Confusion, Nikki Finke on Tilda, Doctor Who and More

Welcome to your Wednesday morning television briefing. They have... returned? V star Laura Vandervoort will reprise her role as Kara on the CW's Smallville for the series' tenth and final season, reports Entertainment Weekly 's Michael Ausiello. But don't get too excited, Supergirl fans: Vandervoort is only expected to appear in one installment of the Warner Bros. Television-produced superhero drama, scheduled to air in October. ( Entertainment Weekly 's Ausiello Files ) Just what is going on with FOX's Terra Nova at Comic-Con? After the official San Diego Comic-Con 2010 schedule was announced over the last few days, 20th Century Fox Television opted to pull the panel for its upcoming prehistoric/time-travel drama starring Jason O'Mara from the convention. "Since production on the Jason O’Mara starrer isn’t expected to start until September, the producers don’t have any footage to show the fans in San Diego," writes Entertainment Weekly 's

Fallen Souffle: The Winners Revealed on the Season Finale of "Last Restaurant Standing"

I'm not even sure what to say about Last Restaurant Standing at this point. Last night's season finale of Last Restaurant Standing ("The Banquet") proved to me that the producers have irreparably damaged this once promising and engaging format. It's rare for me to go from obsessively loving a series to loathing it from one season to the next but the third season of this culinary competition series (which airs in the UK as The Restaurant ) has been so shockingly dismal and so poorly produced that it took all of my energy to keep watching it to the (very) bitter end. Yes, a winner was named last night for the third season and I can't help but be shocked and depressed by the results, which proves the producers--and quite possibly Raymond Blanc himself--were more interested in concept and uniqueness than in finding partners who could actually, you know, cook. Just to get to the point: Raymond offered a restaurant to the woefully inadequate JJ and James. Whi

Broken Airplanes: Let Them Eat Cake on "Last Restaurant Standing"

It's sad to say that I'm now completely fed up with and frustrated by BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing (which airs in the UK under the title The Restaurant ), with which I had been previously obsessed. After two fantastic seasons of culinary competition, the series has completely gone off the rails this season, bringing in unqualified contestants (some of whom don't even bother to cook) and throwing all sense of production values or carefully coordinated challenges right out the window, along with the series' once winning format. Last night's episode of Last Restaurant Standing ("The Cake") was shockingly awful. Besides for the fact that I found it inconceivable that this group of shoddy wannabe restaurateurs had made it this far in the competition (we're nearly at the end!), I felt like the series was even further undermined by the producers themselves, who created an illogical challenge for the teams--cater a tea dance in under five hou

Rabbit, Rabbit: Seasonal Ingredients and an Upset Badger on "Last Restaurant Standing"

I'm still scratching my head over the format changes that happened between the second and third seasons of BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing (which airs in the UK as The Restaurant ). I'm especially heartbroken that the series' producers opted to get rid of the intense and drama-laden Challenge in every other episode. Forcing the three lowest-performing couples to fight for the chance to remain in the competition, the Challenge element offered further opportunities to see these couples' strengths and weaknesses on display as well as see how they coped with added pressure and were able to adapt to constantly changing scenarios. Losing this competition element means that Last Restaurant Standing has effectively been cut down in size (there are only a handful of episodes this season) and we're already now down to the final four couples. Which is shocking in and of itself as I don't feel like I know any of them particularly well. At this point in other

Concept Calamity: Opening Night on "Last Restaurant Standing"

I'm not quite sure what to make of the couples assembled for this season of BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing (which airs in the UK under the title The Restaurant ). As always, they are a motley lot comprised of people who believe that they can open a restaurant because they give good dinner party and those who seemingly have no knowledge of food, no culinary training, and no common sense. Last night's episode of Last Restaurant Standing ("Opening Night"), the season's third, finally had the couples getting the keys to their very own restaurant spaces, picked at random and representing a number of diverse locations all around the city of Bristol, from quayside eateries to balconied high-traffic spaces. To me, this is where any season of Last Restaurant Standing should really begin. I appreciated what Raymond Blanc and the producers attempted with the first week auditions and the second week's trial by fire on the line of three high street restaur

Restaurant Wars: An Advance Review of Season Three of BBC America's "Last Restaurant Standing"

I've long been captivated by BBC America's culinary competition series, Last Restaurant Standing (a.k.a. The Restaurant in the UK), which returns with its third season tonight. While Last Restaurant Standing returns tonight, the series is a slightly different beast than in its two previous iterations. While chef/restaurateur Raymond Blanc and judges Sarah Willingham and David Moore all return and the overall premise of the series--"couples" compete to open their own restaurant--remains the same, there's something slightly different going on here. For one, Last Restaurant Standing 's format has changed, reducing the episode count and sucking out some of the series' nail-biting tension. In the UK, previous seasons of the competition series aired twice a week, with one episode devoted to the couples running their individual restaurants, amid frequent complications sprung on them by Raymond Blanc, and the second devoted to the Challenge, a gauntlet of f

BBC America Announces January Plans: "The Inbetweeners," "Last Restaurant Standing," "Demons," "Top Gear"

BBC America has today announced their scheduling plans for January 2010, unveiling new programming additions and the return of several series to the lineup. (Sadly, still no mention of Season Two of Ashes to Ashes , however.) The digital cabler has announced launch dates for comedy The Inbetweeners , drama Demons , and unscripted competition series Last Restaurant Standing , as well as the launch of Season Thirteen of Top Gear . Having seen the first two seasons of comedy The Inbetweeners , from creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, I can tell you that you'll likely be bowled over as much as I was by this raucous teen comedy when it finally premieres Stateside on Monday, January 25th at 9 pm ET/PT. Two back-to-back episodes will air in its initial outing before it relocates to its regular timeslot on Wednesday evenings. (You can read my advance review of the first two seasons of The Inbetweeners here .) Culinary competition series (and Televisionary obsession) Last Restaurant

Channel Surfing: Idris Elba Tackles Brit Mystery, ABC Encodes "FlashForward," Vincent Kartheiser Dances Around "Mad Men," and More

Welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. The Wire 's Idris Elba (last seen on the small screen in a multiple-episode story arc on NBC's The Office ) has landed the lead in new BBC One crime thriller Luther , where he will play John Luther, a "near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can’t always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions." Series, which has been commissioned for six episodes, is written by Neil Cross ( Spooks ) and each episode will invert the familiar tropes of crime drama on its head: the murderer will be revealed at the beginning of each episode and the focus will be the dynamic between Luther and his perpetrator, who aren't quite so different from one another. "Luther is a challenging and exciting character because he’s so complex," said Elba. "While he’s capable of great kindness and loyalty, sometimes he steps over the edge of madness – simmering with anger and rage." Luther will air in autu

Murder on the Orient Express: The Final Teams Go Head to Head on the Season Finale of "Last Restaurant Standing"

The dream has been achieved for one team. On last night's season finale of BBC America's deliciously addictive culinary competition series ("First Class Service"), the final two teams faced off against each other as the prize--the chance to open a restaurant with famed chef and restaurateur Raymond Blanc--was within their grasp. But before Raymond Blanc would make one couple his partners in a future restaurant venture, he would be putting both teams through their paces with one of their toughest challenges yet as Blanc tasks them with devising and serving a lavish five-course meal to the passengers aboard the famed Orient Express. No mean feat this. The well-heeled clientele of the Orient Express expect the very best in cuisine, service, and atmosphere and, if that weren't enough for the teams to worry about, they also have to contend with the fact that they are preparing this meal in a small, cramped kitchen aboard a moving train. In other words: this could be

The Sea Bass is Actually Oysters: Teams Struggle to Get the Details Right on "Last Restaurant Standing"

I thought that last night's episode of BBC America's deliciously addictive culinary competition series Last Restaurant Standing ("Masterclass") was a fantastic way for the three remaining teams to prove their mettle to the master chef himself. For far too long this season, the chefs--and indeed their front-of-house counterparts--have been able to hide in the confines of their kitchen without Raymond looking over their shoulder too much. No more. This week, Raymond put each team through a mini-masterclass, with the chefs cooking with him in the kitchens at the exquisite Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons (and undergoing an impromptu blind herb taste test) and the front-of-house staffers working a busy lunch service at perfectionist David Moore's London restaurant. It was a suitable challenge for both teams, who would have to make sure that they got all of their details right, whether that meant cooking their turbot to the very point of perfection or making sure the c

Petit Fours, Cherries, and Radish Seeds: Customer Delights and Disasters on "Last Restaurant Standing"

As a restaurateur, you do need to be prepared for anything, whether that's the appearance of vegetarian, a celiac, or a group of discerning--or rowdy--diners. You need to keep your cool, keep the dishes flying out of the kitchen, and keep the quality up. You can't be distracted or indeed derailed by unusual requests. On this week's episode of BBC America's deliciously addictive culinary competition series Last Restaurant Standing ("Tricky Customer"), the past came back to haunt the three remaining teams as Raymond tasked the couples with creating some special offerings in their restaurants and... and accommodate a slew of customers with some strict dietary needs at the very last minute. With only three teams left in the competition, the pressure is on each of the couples to perform well above expectations, even when Raymond Blanc throws a spanner in the works and pushes, say, a table of vegetarians and vegans into your restaurant at 8 pm on a weekend. In th

"Last Restaurant Standing" Update: Nel's Stephen and Helen

Longtime readers of this site know of my near-obsession with British culinary competition series Last Restaurant Standing , currently airing its second season on BBC America. Fans of the series will know how much I adored Season Two contestants Helen and Stephen, who ran family-style restaurant Nel's and were eliminated from the competition in last week's episode . While I had a feeling that this supportive and determined couple would unfortunately not end up becoming partners to restaurateur Raymond Blanc, I couldn't help but be charmed by their can-do spirit and innate confidence. I had wondered just what Helen and Stephen had gotten up to since the second season of Last Restaurant Standing had wrapped, so imagine my surprise when I received the following message from Stephen himself. "Hi Televisionary This is Steve from Nel's. Been loving your blogs and reviews of the show. Now it seems that we have been eliminated from the show in the US its safe for me to

"Scalloops" and "Mayognaise": The Art of Food on "Last Restaurant Standing"

Scalloops. Mayognaise. No, these aren't some bizarre ingredients to be discovered in the pantry of some molecular gastronomist but rather the most unintentionally hilarious bits from last night's episode of culinary competition series Last Restaurant Standing ("Cook Book") on BBC America. This week's episode found three couples entering Raymond Blanc's latest challenge: to conceptualize a cookbook that ties in with their restaurants' brands, work with three sensational food photographers, design the layout, and pitch the book to buyers from three of the UK's biggest book retailers. At stake: a chance to end up in the final three teams competing to open a restaurant with Raymond Blanc. So how did the three teams do when under pressure? Let's discuss. Russell and Michele. I'm still not sure that Michele has what it takes to make it in the cutthroat restaurant world. She's far too fragile--brittle, even--to really run a successful restaur