Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Wish I Was As Thin As That Sauce...

I've been watching The Restaurant for years, sniggering at the pretentious commentators and sometimes in awe of the food that the celebrity chefs created in the kitchen.  Usually however, I was very grateful to be at home watching from a distance  Last summer, I was invited to participate in the latest series as a featured diner which involved an audition interview - I was almost expecting to outline where I see myself in five years time*

Our Celebrity Chef, Rory Cowan from Mrs. Brown's Boys
with The Restaurant maĆ®tre d' John Healy

A few weeks later, with hair and makeup firmly in place, we lined up at Marco Pierre White's restaurant in Donnybrook to walk down the red carpet, stop and smile for the camera and look very glossy and poised. Naturally, myself and my dining companion Paul got a fit of the giggles and could barely keep a straight face as we were sent back to the gate to begin our walk all over again. Can't bring us anywhere.

Just before the fits of giggles

Once inside. we turned off the mobile phones and got miked up by the very sound sound guys before being forced to sample the wine selected by the mystery celebrity chef.  I say forced, you all know that's a big fat lie.  I was very smug to discover that I guessed the white - possibly because it's the wine I consume the most of : Sauvignon Blanc/Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France.  As for the red, I hadn't a clue (it was an Argentinian Malbec).  Wine guessing over, we were ushered into the dining room where our table faced the critics table in the middle of the room.  To be honest, you do completely forget that the restaurant is filled with microphones and cameras and you also forget that the kitchen team can hear and see everything you say.  Yep.  Everything.  And the guest chef wasn't backwards in coming forwards with his opinions on our critiques.  Although he let me away with the pepper sauce comment - thanks Rory.

The Critics :
Tom Doorley, Ross Golden-Bannon and Marco Pierre White

In most episodes, it's all about the entertainment factor rather than haute cuisine and none more so than our experience.  Our menu started with prawn cocktail or halloumi,  fillet steak or John Dory and finally, creme brulee or gateau arc en ciel.  As we were a table of two, we got to try everything and it was an truly interesting experience.  Why not watch it on the TV3 Player and tell me what you thought. Were the stars fair or harsh (we agreed with the critics - do you?).

* Hopefully on a mosquito-free beach somewhere warm coccooned by my Euromillions jackpot winnings.  With Ru, of course.

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