24 October 2007

RM corporal wins The Restaurant

BBC2 ran an eight-week series called The Restaurant, in which nine couples competed to see which would be selected to run a restaurant, which would be backed financially by chef Raymond Blanc.
In the show Raymond Blanc put nine couples through their paces to see if they had what it takes to run their own restaurant. More than 1,000 new restaurants open every year in Britain; unfortunately, approximately 50% close within two years.

The Restaurant featured couples, some of whom had little or no experience other than cooking at home and throwing dinner parties, but whose dream was to run their own eatery. They had to create their perfect restaurant and then open the doors to the paying public. Their first crucial decision – who would take on the kitchen and who was best equipped to run the front of house?


During the eight-week series every decision, every mistake the couples made, every argument they had, was caught on camera. They were working and living together 24-hours a day, under enormous pressure. Each of the nine couples took over an empty restaurant, made it their own and opened their doors to the paying public.

And the winners are ... Corporal Jeremy Hooper, RM, and his wife Jane.

ZUI this article from the Royal Marines:
For past eight weeks Royal Marine Chef Corporal Jeremy Hooper and his wife Jane have been competing against eight other couples in the BBC2 show “The Restaurant” for a chance to run a restaurant backed by award winning chef Raymond Blanc. Last night Jeremy and Jane saw their long held dream come true as they were announced the winners in a closely fought final test as they cooked to impress Raymond Blanc’s mother in the French town where Raymond Blanc came from.

Raymond Blanc paid tribute to the couple’s passion for food and their extremely high standards both in the kitchen and front of house within the restaurant. He added that he hoped that they would continue to strive for excellence when they came to work in partnership with him but hoped that they would learn from some of the challenges he had set them.

Jeremy Hooper expressed the couple’s delight in the result saying, “This has been our dream for over four years, we are over the moon and want to thank Raymond Blanc, the Royal Marines, the BBC, the Ministry of Defence, in fact everybody who gave us this opportunity to get this far.”


[Commanding Officer of the North Devon Commando Logistics Regiment] Colonel [Will] Taylor announced live on air that the First Sea Lord had sent his personal congratulations to the couple in the form of a “Bravo Zulu” signal, a traditional Royal Naval salute marking a significant successful achievement by a member or unit of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. Corporal Hooper is now taking a 12 month career break approved by the Royal Marines to set up a restaurant in Oxfordshire in partnership with Raymond Blanc.

Corporal Hooper, aged 32, joined the Royal Marines in 1996 specialising as a driver of 4 tonne trucks and bulk fuel vehicles before serving on operations in Iraq in 2002/3. He transferred to the chef’s branch only three years ago, training in the catering basics at HMS Raleigh’s Catering School in Torpoint and going on to learn field craft cooking for thousands of troops on operations. Soon after he was deployed to Afghanistan, serving meals to troops in the desert base of Camp Bastion. Last Christmas Jeremy was delighted to meet well known chef Gordon Ramsey who came out to Afghanistan to cook Xmas dinner for the troops.

The MoD Defence News has more here:
Royal Marine chef Corporal Jeremy Hooper and his wife Jane, a trainee teacher from Devon, won BBC Two's reality TV show 'The Restaurant' last night [17 October].

The couple will now join forces with Raymond Blanc, the programmes host and one of the country's top chefs, to open a new restaurant in Thame in Oxfordshire, close to Raymond's renowned Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons.

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