Two amateur cooks go head-to-head to see if they can create a restaurant in their own homes for one night. Amateur cooks Debi Backhurst and John Stephens battle it out.
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Two rival amateur cooks are converting their homes into restaurants.
We deserve a gin.
No, this hasn't happened before.
They've been given just one day and a budget of up to £200.
I don't know what to say at the moment.
Twenty strangers will be judging the results.
And it'll be entirely up to them how much or how little they pay.
It was great, and I mean that most sincerely,
until my companion here found a hair in hers.
I don't think there could've much more on my plate that would've made me not want to eat it.
What's wrong with people?
So can the cooks deliver the goods, and will either of them make any money?
Hello, and welcome to Instant Restaurant.
Two amateur chefs are pulling out all the stops
to create a gourmet dining experience.
Their guests will then decide how much they think it's worth, so can either of our cooks make a profit?
38-year-old sales manager Debi Backhurst loves nothing more than filling plates with food
and watching other people empty them.
I've always enjoyed cooking for people.
I get more pleasure, I guess, out of the actual cooking
and creating something that somebody really enjoys eating that looks fantastic.
For her culinary inspiration, single mum Debi has taken a little walk on the wild side.
The concept that I'm having for my restaurant is just really great food in a relaxed atmosphere,
with as much as possible being foraged from local hedges,
being home-grown produce and local produce.
Her rival is 42-year-old would-be comedy writer, John Stephens.
At the moment, I'm in between jobs. I've been made redundant but I'm looking into script-writing.
It's something I'm passionate about and I enjoy doing along with my cookery as well.
My food is quite simple. There's nothing posh or fine dining about it...
nice and easy, and good, honest, local food.
And, if he can't make people laugh, he's hoping a culinary icon might inspire him to great things today.
Rick Stein's a hero of mine, and his programmes and books have
given me a lot of ideas to do what I want to do.
My dream, I suppose, if I can pull this off,
would be to open up my own restaurant so to speak, my own gastro pub.
-Let's hope the dream starts here, John.
-That tastes good.
But this challenge is about more than just food.
The cooks and their helpers have to transform their homes into tempting restaurants.
Getting the right ambience will be critical, as good first impressions
may ultimately mean the difference between a profit or a loss.
Forager Debi's aiming for elegant simplicity at her Glastonbury instant restaurant
in a cosy setting.
What I'm after achieving is just a nice, comfortable,
relaxed atmosphere in which people can enjoy some really fantastic food.
To help her pull it off, she's roped in best friend Emma to look after front of house.
Quite a rustic setting,
but then there's this juxtaposition with this sort of modern look on the table,
so probably not what people are going to be expecting.
I don't know. It doesn't look too radical.
In the kitchen, Debi's dad completes the staff.
-I'm just doing what I'm told to.
-No, you're not. You're chopping potatoes, come on!
Oh, sorry. You're right, yes. Chopping potatoes.
-I think Debi will cope really well this evening.
-They're looking very good.
She's generally a bit unflappable.
It should be good. I'm looking forward to it.
And so are we. So that's one restaurant down...
and one to go, and it seems John's Somerset dining room is even simpler than Debi's
with just a nod to his food guru's home on the wall.
What I've got on display as well as my three paintings from Padstow.
Whenever I go down there, I always buy a new one.
I mean, presentation is very, very important.
It's no good doing a good meal, etc, if you're going to portray this quite shabby.
Nothing too posh.
And John's wife Nicky has bravely risen from her sick bed to help out.
I think John will cope wonderfully. He's such a strong character.
He's so organised, I think it'll go really, really smoothly.
She keeps me calm and relaxed throughout the day, which I need.
And to make absolutely sure there's no foul play in the dining room this evening,
John's drafted in local football ref Jo.
Confidence and being quite assertive is going to help me tonight
in taking the orders and keeping the party under control.
Both cooks have been given an allowance of up to £200.
As most of Debi's ingredients were donated by nature,
she's needed less than £80 of hers
and must take £8 a head to break even.
But John has needed to spend almost twice that...
£151 - so he'll want over £15 from each diner just to cover costs.
So it's a battle between rustic forager Debi
-and no-frills seafood-lover John.
Feeling quite nervous now.
Each cook will be judged by ten strangers, drawn from different walks of life,
who will hopefully arrive with their appetites
and leave with full stomachs and empty wallets.
It's exciting, I think!
Debi's restaurant gets off to a flying start.
-It's nicely set out as well.
-It's fantastic, especially when you walk into the room and you feel... wow!
It's laid out very nice. It's very homely, quite cosy, too.
Everything's laid out beautifully, tables are nicely laid out, there was a nice welcome.
I felt a freshness as I went into the room, so that was good.
But while Debi's guests settle in, over at John's,
there's an unexpected problem. Two of the ten strangers
who arrive for dinner discover they actually know John,
so we've no option, but to turn them away.
It's unfortunate that I know a couple of people that are due in here tonight.
It's now gone from ten down to eight people.
It might be seen as a bit of a bonus for me, but I was quite happy to cook for ten.
John's stroke of bad luck means that, with only eight mouths to feed,
his total takings will be reduced so, in the interests of fairness,
we'll recalculate his earnings as if he had a full sitting of ten diners.
-Come on in.
-Thanks very much.
While the remaining eight, who have no prior knowledge or axes to grind, are welcomed inside Chez John.
What can I get you to drink?
I'm pleasantly surprised, actually.
-It's a nice menu.
It's looking pretty good.
Mmm, all very positive in public, but how about in the privacy of the back garden?
Catering tables and plastic school chairs aren't what you'd expect.
It was very stark. It was obviously someone's front room,
maybe what you'd get at a wedding reception, you know, a cheap wedding reception.
There's no table decorations and the tablecloth is paper.
It would've been a bit nicer if it had been a cloth.
Well, John did say he wanted to keep it simple,
but it looks like the diners would've appreciated a few more frills.
Debi's rustic charms seems to have done the trick with her diners,
but now it's all about the food, so what's on the menu?
For starters, Debi is offering baked figs with Dolcelatte cheese
and walnuts, wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of home-grown salad,
or smoked haddock and Hampshire watercress soup served with poached quail's eggs.
The fig starter's always gone down really well.
I've got a friend who's got a fig tree so I've managed to scrounge those off of her,
I've picked the walnuts myself, and the quail's eggs which I've never cooked before
are from an acquaintance, so it could be a bit of a gamble, but it'll be fine.
Absolutely brilliant. I've got some stiff competition there, definitely.
So, while John starts to fret,
Debi pops to the shops hunter-gatherer style
in search of the first few ingredients for her starters.
I've got three of the walnuts here.
Hopefully, that'll be the last few needed for the starter with the figs.
In the kitchen, after finishing the spuds, dad Roland is now going slightly nuts, unlike his daughter.
I think she's coping quite well. She doesn't seem to be sort of panicking...yet.
But we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?
And that, I think, is her nuts for the starter.
So I'm just cutting a little star in the top of the figs
and then I'm going to put some of the blue cheese and walnut mixture into it.
Once stuffed, the figs are wrapped in prosciutto and are now ready to be baked to order.
Also well in advance of opening time, Debi began her other starter...
the smoked haddock and watercress soup.
So I've got potatoes, onions, celery in a little bit of butter.
Just added a bit of white wine.
There'll be a bit of water going in just while that cooks down and then, right at the last minute,
I can add the watercress, the milk that I cooked the fish in, and flake the fish into it.
Sure enough, with the diners seated and placing orders,
in goes watercress to the fishy milk and it all gets a good blitz.
That's tasting good. Needs a little bit of pepper, I think.
I'd be quite happy to pay certainly, sort of...
£4 for a good bowl of soup with a nice piece of bread.
Well, let's hope the diners feel the same way.
How are those orders coming along?
Yes, can I have the soup, please?
Five of Debi's diners are tempted by the soup, so she gets cracking on the quail's eggs to go with them,
even though she's never poached these fiddly little tiddlers before.
I'm trying to open these little blighters in the steam.
Maybe a trial run would've been a good idea.
Hope those bowls are warm.
-And surely that titchy egg's been poached by now.
-Looks like a bullet.
I got sidetracked.
Mm, don't get distracted, get poaching.
Finally, fishy watercress soup with an egg on top.
Now, let's get them out there and see what the diners think.
It was very thin and watery.
The fish chunks were rather large to get on the spoon.
The quail's egg was a waste of time.
-I enjoyed mine.
-I'm glad you did.
Not the egg bit.
I wasn't too impressed, to be honest.
It was a little bit on the cold side and it was very runny.
Oh, no, cold bowls sank the soup, and some fairly full ones are heading back to the kitchen.
That's not good.
Doesn't look like they've even tasted it.
Bit disappointed. Thought they might've tried it a little bit more.
Not the best of starts.
Can't see Debi getting her £4 a bowl there.
Maybe the baked figs will be more fruitful.
The fig was beautiful.
-Fresh. It was lovely.
-Mm, it was.
The contrast of the flavours between the fig and the cheese were beautifully balanced.
It could've done with a little less cheese and a bit more fig so that,
when I ran my tongue round my mouth AFTER eating the starter,
I could still feel both flavours. That would've been... I'm being fussy but that would've been perfect.
Yes, you are being a bit fussy.
Still, a fussy fig thumbs-up is better than nothing.
Back at John's, referee Jo's either booking someone
or taking orders, so let's see what they're kicking off with.
Seafood-lover John is hoping to impress with either
scallops in Somerset dry cider with smoked bacon,
or Portobello mushroom late summer salad
with a red wine vinegar, chilli and garlic dressing.
I do enjoy my scallops.
They're lovely and fresh,
mixed with bacon and some dry Somerset cider - perfect.
With the salad, I had Italian Portobello mushrooms,
a lovely mix all blended together - great.
Both those starters sound wonderful, and if the water wasn't so cold, I'd dive for the scallops myself.
To ensure his late summer salad doesn't live up to its name,
John got stuck into it early by chopping fresh chillies,
garlic, pepper and red onions,
and by fresh, what I really mean is raw.
Raw garlic, yeah.
I don't personally find that strange, to be honest with you,
but here we go.
Oh, that could pack a punch!
The Portobello mushrooms will be cooked to order.
John's also planning to rustle up a home-made bread.
Well, that's if he can find a paddle for the bread machine.
Hm, not under there.
Not under there either!
Maybe someone's hidden it out in the garden.
It takes a few seconds to get it ready. It's just...
Ten minutes later, and still no joy.
I think it's just cut your losses.
But has this missing paddle left John up a certain creek?
Plan B is to serve up ready-made rolls.
Great idea! And, after a mouthful of raw chillies, I doubt whether anyone will taste the difference, anyway.
So three mushrooms and two scallops.
His second starter - scallops with bacon in dry cider -
-needs cooking to order at the last minute.
don't overcook them, for God's sake.
Mm, fat chance of that because now there's another problem.
Yeah, the hob isn't producing as much heat as it should be.
That one's fine and we've totally lost that one there.
So the hob's been nobbled, but John battles on.
After a quick sizzle in the pan,
the scallops are returned to their shells, then sprinkled with bacon and cider.
I think they look lovely.
Yes, reasonably pleased with that.
Then out they go.
Jo, can you pop in there and see them eating it
and see if they're pulling any funny faces at all.
Do you want me to see if they want a carrier bag or something?!
No funny faces, but what do they think?
The scallops were presented loose in the shells.
It was quite difficult to keep them under control.
Hmm, they do seem quite lively.
I had the scallops to start with.
I've never had them before, that's why I tried it.
I thought they were really nice.
I didn't like how they were presented, though.
It was good, John. The feedback was good.
-Lovely, thanks, Jo.
-I asked if there was anything else they wanted, and they were happy with what they had.
Well, that's a good start, but did the mushroom and raw chilli salad set the diners alight?
It seemed, to me, to be very heavy on the vinegar dressing
which didn't really sit well with me,
and the raw onions I'm not too keen on, so...
yeah, you know, it was OK.
I've got loads of garlic chunks.
It looks like what you have at lunch time every day.
-It does, actually, yeah!
-That you make yourself.
It's not hard to make a great salad, so I think, on all, it was average.
Average? Oh, John's having a tough time already.
Two diners down, a bread paddle that's gone AWOL and half his cooker out of action.
I wonder what's going to happen next.
Mind you, Debi's diners weren't exactly ecstatic about her soup,
but there's a long way to go, so what's on offer for the mains?
For her main course, Debi has gone for a peppered monkfish risotto
with asparagus, sorrel, Parmesan and lemon.
Or there's ballotine of chicken,
boned, stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes
and local buffalo mozzarella, and rolled into a parcel,
served with veg from the garden of course,
as well as vichyssoise, courgette and carrot ribbons,
rosti Dauphinoise potatoes,
pea-shoot mash and a cream and wild mushroom sauce.
Wow, that's a plate and a half!
The peppered monkfish risotto is a personal favourite.
The chicken dish, whenever I've cooked it for people,
it's always gone down really well.
I really like the sound of the risotto.
A very brave thing to do, and good luck to her.
Whether it's brave or foolhardy only time will tell,
but at least Debi was well-prepared,
starting her monkfish five hours
before her diners were due to arrive.
After her shaky soup, her mains really need to impress,
especially as, by her standards,
this monkfish cost a small fortune - £15.
The fact that I've got all of the other ingredients out of various hedgerows,
a lot of those ingredients I haven't had to buy,
it's given me a little bit more to be able to put monkfish on the menu.
Just taking the outer membrane off of the fish.
It's the bit that tends not to get pulled off completely when they take the skin off and it can be
a little bit chewy
and when you cook it, it'll make it tighten up.
Once cooked, it'll be flaked into the risotto, which she's ambitiously hoping to cook to order.
Something she's not leaving to the last minute is the chicken
which she beats into submission a full two hours early.
What I'm doing now is hammering the chicken so it goes nice and flat, gives it an even depth to it.
I can then stuff it with the mozzarella and sun-dried tomato mix.
I'm going to roll it in cling-film and then poach it
before finishing it off in the pan just before people eat it.
Oh, just before people eat it - that's an awful lot of last-minute cooking,
and the last thing she wants is to keep paying guests waiting.
And it turns out this isn't her only gamble.
As Debi doesn't actually eat meat, the first time anyone will taste her chicken dish
will be when she serves it up to the diners.
In terms of knowing what it tastes like, given that I'm not going to be the person doing the tasting,
it is done by smell.
I can sort of understand, if things smell a bit sharp,
maybe they need a bit of sugar or perhaps some salt.
You do just have to trust to instinct on a lot of it.
Well, let's just hope her instincts are right.
With the starters done and dusted, the orders are now in for the mains,
and Debi starts cooking the risotto, which will take at least half an hour.
It's not working as quick as I'd like it to.
Hopefully, they'll understand that and appreciate it accordingly.
Let's hope so, but as the risotto bubbles away slowly, the monkfish starts cooking...
-maybe a little too fast?
-THEY ALL COUGH
And before you can say "burnt monkfish", the diners get a little preview
of what they're about to eat.
The smoke got to me a little bit.
Um, a bit sharp on the old throat.
Possibly thought it was the risotto, possibly...catching on the bottom.
Oh, if only it was. It'll be quite some time before this is in any danger of burning.
The peppercorns are getting a little bit hot.
Well, at least it's only the peppercorns going up in smoke
and not the fish, but as the air starts clearing, it dawns on Debi just how up against it she is.
Timing's a little bit, um...
creative, I think. Yeah.
It'll be good food and it'll be worth the wait.
I think the frustrating thing is,
er, if you have to wait and the food's a bit average,
-but this is going to be good.
-Well, let's see, shall we?
Because finally, after an hour's wait, the risotto is ready to go out
to the two people who actually ordered it and, unfortunately for Debi,
one of these is the chap who fussed about the figs.
The risotto was OK. It would've been better
if it was a couple of degrees hotter, but our table did get served first,
so perhaps we were on the winning side there.
The overall flavour was extremely nice
but, as I say, it wasn't quite hot enough.
So two diners down and eight still hungry, but at 8.30pm
Debi's only just started the monumental task of plating up
the five different veg options that go with her chicken dish.
Er, any chance of giving her a hand, Emma?
Emma gets the hint and stirs in the mushrooms for the sauce,
but Dad refuses to get ideas above his station.
Debi, you've got to remember I'm only the kitchen skivvy.
I'm not the mushroom shaker.
EMMA LAUGHS It wasn't in my job description.
At 8.50pm Emma's mushroom sauce is getting thicker...
while, outside, the diners are just getting thinner...
If I was in a restaurant and in a rush, I probably would have complained.
It is a huge challenge...
I don't know what to say at the moment!
How about, "Pull your finger out, Dad, and give us a hand?".
Shout when you need me to take something.
If you were in a proper restaurant, you probably would find it was a bit too long between courses.
I was very conscious, then, of the length of time it was taking me to plate.
I didn't want things to go cold, so that's been my big nightmare.
Well, let's hope it doesn't come back to haunt you, Debi.
And those huge glass plates aren't exactly helping with the speedy service either.
8.55pm guests arrived at...
6.30pm so a little bit longer than I would've liked for
the gap between the starter and the main course.
Mm, I think an hour and a half is longer than anyone would've liked.
Right, before anything else, I think we deserve a gin.
It's a bit cold.
-It's out, it's gone.
-Bags, I don't have to do washing up!
-And it better not come back.
-So what's the verdict?
-We waited for ages for the food and it was cold when it came out,
especially on the potatoes, it was really off-putting cos it was really cold.
The actual food was delicious, but unfortunately it was cold.
I don't think it was helped by the plates that it was served on.
They were very large glass plates and I don't think
there was any possibility of warming the plates beforehand.
It's lovely, but it is cold.
The chicken was cold, the potato was cold...
so it wasn't enjoyable, but obviously I ate it, I was quite hungry.
Oh, dear. But back in the kitchen, the gin's obviously working because no-one suspects a thing.
It sounds jolly out there now that it's quiet in here, so hopefully
they're having a good time.
Sadly, the noise isn't one of joy.
It's because someone's just discovered something they can't remember ordering.
I've just got a hair on my chicken.
It's definitely not mine.
I don't think there could've been much more on my plate that would've made me not want to eat it.
What's that? SHE GASPS
No, a piece of fluff!
I think that's a piece of fluff off a tea towel, actually.
What? A tea towel made of hair?
I reckon they brought it in with them and it's a plant.
See? There's an answer to everything.
Yes, but the only questions that count are how much they think the meal is worth...
and can John do any better?
For his mains, he's serving his pride and joy, catch of the day...
sea bass, bream and mussels in a rich fish stock.
Or there's rack of lamb served with sweet potato mash,
carrots, leeks, basil and pea puree, roast potatoes and a red wine jus.
Loosen your belts, diners!
Seafood is my signature dish, my favourite food.
Lamb is a firm family favourite, always goes down well.
Both the main courses sound really interesting,
but not combinations personally I would cook.
John prides himself on only using the finest local ingredients.
I've got a good fishmonger I use, I got a good butcher's I use as well, good relationships.
He's spent £35 on his rack of lamb, but has gambled almost twice that on his second main to try and lure his
diners towards the freshly cooked fish and seafood option.
That's not, you know, half as much as it should be.
It's going to be a lovely dish and it's for them to enjoy.
John originally planned to use monkfish.
The monkfish today is not as fresh as it should be.
Something's gone wrong with that.
I did a test last night and I did one this morning as well,
so monkfish is off, and I've replaced it with sea bream.
Let's just hope this attention to detail is appreciated.
After switching fish, John then started his stock well before noon.
Got lots of celery, carrots, leeks in there.
Got bream carcass in there, etc.
Bass carcass in there as well. A few bay leaves in there.
Onions, etc. Bit of olive oil to start that off with.
That'll cook down for about two hours and then, just before the end, I'm going to finish off the Vermouth
just to give it a bit of lift.
Ooh, maybe that missing bread paddle's in there as well.
This is one of my favourites, you know? I really do like this.
Well, let's just hope your diners feel the same.
Put the wine away otherwise we'll start drinking that.
After two hours bubbling away, the stock should be ready.
It's very watery, very...
-No oomph to it at all.
Did you forget to chuck some in?
I don't think I boiled it rapidly like I should've done.
I turned it down too soon, I think. This hasn't happened before.
While the fish stock is left to oomph up a bit, John draws up elaborate plans for his lamb.
So on here, you've got the two...
..lamb chops there, one there, OK?
And you've got your roast potatoes, pea puree, sweet potato, onions,
leeks and you've got your drizzle in there of red wine, redcurrant sauce.
And obviously the little rosemary sprig there.
Very pretty, but how's that stock doing? Any more oomph?
I don't think I've got enough fish in there, to be honest with you, so I might add a bit more fish to it.
Yes, it's lacking that punch.
It's getting there, it's better.
Oh, now it lacks punch. Best leave it a while longer, I reckon.
Any better two hours later?
Right, OK, the stock's done.
I'm 80% happy. It's not bad.
I think I could have used more vegetables.
He's a perfectionist, this man, but then it is his signature dish.
The rest of it will be cooked to order, just like the lamb,
but with two burners down on his cooker,
that leaves John with an awful lot on his plate.
The lamb rack with sweet potato. Thank you.
A few hours later and the mains orders are coming in,
-but has John's fishy gamble paid off?
What's wrong with people?
After all his efforts, only one guest has actually ordered the fish,
and even then, they don't fancy the mussels.
Ah, that's an awful lot of time and money down the drain.
Only one seafood dish so far.
Yeah, I'd like to have seen a few more seafood, but never mind.
So, with practically a whole flock of lamb on order
and only two rings still working,
John's now go a whole lot of meat to cook and hardly any cooker.
I mean, it is, you know, it could be looked at as a gamble, but, um...
the proof's in the pudding, really, so to speak.
And the diners will know they're getting a good meal here.
Hope he's right because, with half his cooker out of action,
he can only cook the lamb for one table at a time,
which means someone's got a lot of waiting to do.
So that's the first batch done.
Oh...or is it?
Yeah, I'm quite happy with that.
Hope the diners will be.
The lamb's cooked nicely.
Thank you very much.
Normally, I wouldn't eat lamb, but that's pretty good.
I ate the first sort of two pieces of lamb and I was astounded cos I was really enjoying it.
It was well-cooked, medium rare, it was just the way I liked it.
The third piece unfortunately was looking, sort of, semi alive.
Still had a pulse perhaps!
That's definitely not cooked properly.
I know that the menu did say medium rare,
but it was more like medium raw, um, and I'm afraid I couldn't eat it.
I probably would've sent it back if it was in a normal restaurant, but I don't know...
here, we're just being too polite, I think.
Perhaps we should've said, can we have it better done.
-So are you saying you would send that back if you were in a real restaurant.
I can't even cut it. Yours is actually tough.
Mine's very tender even though it's slightly under-done.
But there's one fan in the room, sort of.
My lamb was cooked how I like it.
Wasn't keen on the roast potatoes, um...
but the rest of the veg, apart from not being very hot,
was pretty good. Nice presentation.
I should've had the sea bass without the mussels, shouldn't I?
Too late now. So how's John taking it back in the kitchen?
Very disappointing. Some have eaten them, some haven't,
so I can see what the response is going to be to that.
At least he got to taste it. One table's still waiting for theirs.
Yeah, a little bit concerned that the second lot have had to wait a while.
But, um...learn from that.
We've been waiting for an hour now.
Yeah. I think you're starting to get a bit disappointed, are you?
I am, actually. What about you?
It's getting me down a little bit.
If you wouldn't mind just sending my apologies.
Say five, six minutes, the next lot will be out.
-OK, guys, it'll just be a few more minutes. The chef sends his apologies.
So, after referee Jo flags up a little bit of extra time...
The lamb's good. That's what they said.
She gives John a slightly distorted picture of the latest score.
But even though John's only had one order for his fish, he's determined to make it
the best fish dish anyone's ever eaten.
Nice bit of bream there.
When you're doing this, keep it down, keep your fingers down on it.
Always do the skin side first.
Oh, looking good.
The baked sea bass...
It's baked in a little bit of olive oil and some white wine.
One lucky discerning diner is hopefully about to get the fish supper of his life.
Ready to go, Jo. Thank you very much.
Who's having the seafood?
So, after all that effort, we're all dying to know, what's it like?
It was cooked to perfection, I would say.
Oh! A man of few words.
And what about that last bit of lamb finally limping into the dining room just before nine o'clock?
I wouldn't be able to eat it, not like that.
The main, I was really disappointed with.
It did say medium raw on the menu, but it came like more raw,
and the vegetables were cold, and I didn't eat any of it.
So that lamb could've skipped back to the field and only
one order for the fish, but it wasn't much better at Debi's.
Cold plates, cold food and a hair in the chicken.
Or was it a bit of tea-towel fluff?
Can either of our cooks redeem themselves with desserts?
Debi's diners have got the choice between a pink grapefruit praline with a tuile biscuit
or a home-made pear liqueur chocolate pot served with lemon and lavender shortcake.
The pink grapefruit praline is an absolute foolproof family favourite.
The chocolate puddings I've been perfecting over the last couple of weeks
just to get the right balance of chocolate in there.
Pears and nuts are from trees up the field, and
the lavender's out of the garden, so what could be better, really?
Neither of them really get me going, to be honest with you.
Oh, well, it's just as well John's not on Debi's guest list tonight, then.
And while he was in HIS garden looking for the paddle from his bread maker,
Debi was in hers picking lavender for her biscuits.
In terms of getting the right balance, a little bit by eye.
That, in terms of quantity,
by the time they've been picked off the stalks,
is going to be absolutely plenty for the volume of biscuit dough.
Back in the kitchen, she crushed the lavender and added butter, flour,
eggs, sugar and lemon zest, before putting it all in the oven.
She also hand-picked the cob nuts for her crunchy grapefruit praline...
Yes, they really are very ripe now.
Then handed them to her dad and told him to get cracking.
She won't tell me how many of the cob nuts that she requires, so
I will just carry on until she tells me to stop.
When he had eventually done enough, the nuts were added to sugar over a low heat until they caramelised.
It's just a brilliant, brilliant easy dessert to make.
Fingers crossed it'll go down well.
The praline will be combined with whipped cream and pink grapefruit segments.
Debi's second dessert, the liqueur chocolate pots, features a boozy pear compote.
The alcohol I'm adding has got pears in it, some honey
from a friend's bees, and some vodka that they've been soaking in.
I think I've probably made this about a dozen times in the last month.
Lashings of chocolate are added to lashings of cream!
I do now think it is absolutely spot on,
but we'll find out tonight.
So, after the main event, can Debi salvage her evening with these luscious lovelies?
I'm thinking that hopefully the puddings have done the trick
and it will be the thing that they remember when they go away.
They were nicely chilled, they were ready to go,
they were served on time and they taste absolutely fantastic.
The chocolate pears, very nice, but the vodka is so, so strong that
I think, had I been breathalysed, I'd be three times over the limit!
My chocolate pudding was very good, actually.
Normally, with a meal where you finish with something very, very sweet,
you think, "Oh, it's very sickly," but it works quite nicely.
Apart from the liberal dose of pear liqueur,
it looks like these might have just done the job, even for the fusspots.
Texture's right, flavour's right, a little bit of pear on the bottom, which is fine,
and the biscuits go well with it.
Result! And the praline?
It's really good, actually. The dessert is delicious,
it's quite fresh, crunchy and quite light as well, in a way.
The grapefruit's sweet, but sharp.
It's very nice, it's a very good combination.
And the lavender shortbread biscuits?
They smell beautifully of biscuit.
Lovely fresh biscuit. I'm eating mine very carefully.
I'm trying to get the flavour of lavender as well as the lemon.
I really do like the biscuits.
Ah, well done, Debi! Looks like you sweetened the deal with your guests.
But can John do the same with his?
His meal is rounded off with apple sponge cake and custard or...
lemon tart with extra-thick cream.
The one I love most is the apple sponge cake.
Brings back happy childhood memories for me
and also, when I do make it, there's never enough left for seconds.
They do look like puddings made by someone who's not a big pudding fan,
and I think mine were a lot more imaginative.
Not only more imaginative, but also cooked on the day,
whereas John made his the night before, which is against the rules.
Reason being is my wife hasn't been too well so I've been a little bit short for helpers.
This should've been done on the day but, as I said, due to circumstances, I did it last night.
It's too late now to go through the whole process of the apple sponge cake and the lemon tart
to get it how I need it to be, especially with the home-made pastry as well,
so would Nadia impose a penalty on me for this?
as Nicky has been ill, I promise to have a little think about it.
So we'll never quite know what's in them, but his diners are about to find out.
Oh, it's looking good, but not for long.
It should be hot, shouldn't it?
-Does need to be at least warm, but it's cold.
-The custard's nice.
That's cold as well on my plate.
And what on earth's going on at the next table?
It was great, and I mean that most sincerely,
until my companion here found a hair in hers.
Um, so now I don't really want to finish it.
It was lovely, but I'm afraid I've seen that now and I can't eat it.
Who'd have thought it?
Debi and John must use the same tea towels.
A hair in the sweet. Not very good.
How much more can one man take?
After her triumphant puds, Debi is rewarded with a round of applause from her guests.
But it's been a bit of a day for John,
and he gets a decidedly lukewarm reaction from his.
But now it's time for the diners to decide what their evening's been worth.
It's entirely up to them how much or how little they pay,
and neither of our cooks has
any idea what that could be, so have they done enough to make a profit?
Debi spent just under £80
so she must take £8-a-head to break even.
So how did her diners rate their evening?
I enjoyed the evening, but the food let it down a little.
I've enjoyed this evening. It's been really well done.
We've had a lovely time. It's been really pleasant and very, very nice.
The food was disappointing. It was cold.
But Debi's still feeling upbeat.
I'm still hoping I'll be somewhere in the region of £180 to £200 for the ten people.
John spent nearly twice as much as Debi - £151,
so, assuming he had ten diners,
he will need over £15-a-head to break even,
but after all that went wrong, is there any chance of that happening?
If I was in a restaurant, I wouldn't have paid a penny.
I would've left and I would've made a complaint about the food.
I think it was really brave of the chef to put himself under that scrutiny, have us into his house,
and to cook for us, and so well done. 100% effort, excellent.
How's it gone? Absolute nightmare.
I am so proud of you guys.
Through the highs, through the lows,
you've got to the end of the evening.
-And, John, wow, what a night you had.
-Yes, very interesting.
If you had to sum up the night in one word, what would you say?
Well... Oh, dear, what word would I use?
The word "disaster" might come to mind? Would you agree with that, John?
I don't know, but I'm...
having treatment for it anyway, basically.
No, it was a good experience for me and that's what I did it for, to see if I could cope with it.
-Now, you are a very jolly chap. You didn't look all that jolly on the night, though.
-I don't think I heard that lovely laugh much, I must say.
-Um, yeah, I can look miserable, but deep down I'm quite happy.
-I mean, to have two rings go out...
-I really felt for you.
My wife's getting a new cooker for Christmas, so some good came of it!
How was it for you, Debi?
Just absolutely exhausting.
-And your lemon and lavender biscuits...
Oh, they were so lovely. I could almost taste them.
I was hoping for some to come back, but they didn't.
I was hoping you might bring a few round for me.
So obviously the next question has to be,
would you do it again?
-I would, yes.
Oh! And, John, how about you?
-I'd do it again, definitely.
I'd change the meat menu, cook something different with that.
-But, yeah, I'd do it again, definitely.
-What do you mean?
-Would you not have meat so they'd have to order your fish?
-That's a good one, yeah. Fish all around.
But there is a serious business here.
Would you like to know if you made a profit?
-OK. OK, Debi, I'm going to start with you.
You spent £79.37 and your diners donated £159.
So that means you made £79.63, so that is your money.
-Thank you very much.
-Well done. Thank you!
-Now, John, are you ready?
-I'll give it back to you, shall I? I think that's the way it's going.
We are going to let you off your little teeny cheat.
Yes. The puddings, so to speak.
-But your wife wasn't well, so we're allowing that.
Now, on the night, you only had eight diners, so we've done the maths and rounded everything up
-as if you had ten diners.
So you spent £151.04. That's because you spent an awful lot of fish.
Your diners donated £100, so you owe someone 51 quid!
Yes, one second.
Who do I make the cheque payable to?
Oh, a great sport.
You've both been absolutely brilliant.
And you have been too, so I'll see you next time on Instant Restaurant.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email: [email protected]
Nadia Sawalha presents as two amateur cooks go head-to-head to see if they've got what it takes to create a restaurant in their own homes for one night only - and make a profit. Debi Backhurst likes to help herself to nature's bounty from hedgerows and the garden. But has she got what it takes to make a profit when she takes on John Stephens who dreams of running his own gastro-pub? And how will they cope under the pressure of opening their own Instant Restaurants for one night only?