The Restaurant (Irish TV series)

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The Restaurant
RTÉ The Restaurant.jpg
Genre Reality television
Country of origin Ireland
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 10
No. of episodes 45+
Running time 30 minutes (RTÉ) 60 minutes (TV3)
Original network RTÉ One (2003 - 2011)
Virgin Media One (2015 - present)
Original release 2000s[when?] – present
External links

The Restaurant is reality television programme produced by Vision Independent Productions in Ireland.[1] The series first premiered on public service broadcaster RTÉ One where it ran for eight seasons. After a six-year hiatus the show was renewed by the TV3 Group. The show aired its ninth season on Virgin Media One (formerly known as "TV3") from January 2015.[2]


The show premiered on RTÉ One in the 2000s. The show ran for eight seasons on the public service broadcaster after a six-year hiatus the show was recommissioned by the [TV3 Group. The ninth season aired on TV3 Ireland from 2015.[3] Each episode features a different head chef, usually claimed to have some sort of celebrity background. Sometimes politicians would participate, among them Enda Kenny, Ruairi Quinn, Michael Healy-Rae and Alan Shatter.

When it aired on RTÉ it proved to be a very successful format often beating even the likes of Neven Maguire and Donal Skehan's cookery shows in the ratings.[4]


Each episode sees a celebrity head chef taking on the culinary challenge of producing a full three-course meal with two wines. This meal is then served to the restaurant's customers and the resident critics, Tom Doorley and Paolo Tullio, who are joined each week by a guest critic.[5]

The head chef arrives on location at 10:00 on the day of filming and immediately begins working with the team. The head chef's first task is to describe their own menu to the kitchen staff. The head chef works with Workovich on starters, McAllister on the main courses and Lennox on desserts. They prepare their meal until 18:30 and diners enter the restaurant at 19:00. The head chef leaves the kitchen at 22:00 to reveal their identity to the dining room.[6] The chef's identity remains a secret to those being served their food until the end of the show when all has been eaten.[6] The critics give the meal a star rating of between one and five, which is then pulled from an envelope after the head chef joins the critics' table.

The Restaurant is voiced over by Seán Moncrieff and the restaurant is manned by John Healy, Maitre'D;[7] the kitchen staff, chefs David Workowich, Stephen McAllister and Louise Lennox and food researcher, Stephen Quin,[8] and waiting staff, waitress, Elaine Normile and waiters, Lee Bradshaw and Vivian Reynolds.[9]

During its original run on RTÉ The Restaurant moved location to County Westmeath, where filming took place at Wineport Lodge overlooking Lough Ree, in Glassan village.[6]

RTÉ also published The Restaurant - The Magazine, which included images and recipes from the series.

The seventh[10] series began on 16 November 2008, running on Sundays at 20:30. RTÉ had eight series in total.[4]

List of episodes[edit]

Old logo for The Restaurant
RTÉ Series 1-5?[clarification needed]
Head chef Details Rating Notes
Roddy Collins/Bill Hughes Details (archive) 2/5 stars New Year's Eve special
Twink Details (archive) 4/5 stars Christmas special
Tracy Piggott Details (archive) 5/5 stars
Celia Larkin Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Joe Duffy Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Paul Costelloe Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Ted Walsh Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Anna Nolan Details (archive) 4/5 stars
George Hook/Brent Pope Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Gillian Bowler Details (archive) 5/5 stars
Gavin Lambe Murphy Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Leo Enright Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Caroline Morahan Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Diarmuid Gavin Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Cathy Kelly Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Simon Delaney Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Dermot O'Neill Details (archive) 5/5 stars
Enda Kenny Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Jon Kenny Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Peter Kelly Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Dana Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Helen Dillon Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Mary Kingston Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Eanna Ní Lamhna Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Ruairi Quinn Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Amanda Brunker Details (archive) 5/5 stars
Bill Cullen Details (archive) 4/5 stars
John Waters Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Tom McGurk Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Lisa Burke Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Tony Fenton Details (archive) 4/5 stars
John McGuire Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Ruth Scott Details (archive) 3/5 stars
RTÉ Series 6?[clarification needed]
Head chef Details Rating Date of transmission
Gerald Kean Details (archive) 4/5 stars
Ray D'Arcy Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Pamela Flood Details (archive) 3/5 stars
Keith Barry Details (archive) 2/5 stars
Kevin Myers Details (archive) 5/5 stars
Mary Wilson Details (archive) 3/5 stars
RTÉ Series 7
Head chef Details Rating Date of transmission
Michael Healy-Rae Details (archive) 3/5 stars 16 November 2008
Jessica Kürten Details (archive) 2/5 stars 23 November 2008
Des Cahill Details (archive) 5/5 stars 30 November 2008
Dominic Mafham Details (archive) 4/5 stars 7 December 2008
Ciara O'Callaghan Details (archive) 4/5 stars 14 December 2008
Dermot Bannon Details (archive) 5/5 stars 21 December 2008
Tracy Piggott/Kevin Myers
5 Star Cook-off[11]
n/a n/a Christmas special
28 December 2008
Frank McNamara Details (archive) 2/5 stars ???
Kate O'Toole Details (archive) 4/5 stars ???
RTÉ Series 8
Head chef Details Rating Notes
Angeline Ball[4] 5/5 stars[4] Last RTÉ episode

2015 revival[edit]

The series returned on TV3 on 7 January 2015. The programme was sponsored by Aldi and voiced by Sean Moncrieff. The six-part series was filmed at Wineport Lodge in Glasson, County Westmeath in November 2014, with each episode running to one hour.[12] The regular food critics are Paolo Tullio and Tom Doorley, along with a guest critic each week.[13]

List of episodes[edit]

A new season began airing on TV3 on 10 February 2016. Marco Pierre White’s Courtyard Restaurant in Donnybrook was the new venue for the show, and Marco Pierre White also guested for the series as one of the judges alongside Tom Doorley, replacing Paolo Tullio who died in 2015.[18]

List of episodes[edit]

International versions[edit]

The format is sold internationally by Vision Independent Productions under the title The Secret Chef.[4] It has had three seasons in Italy.[19]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "". 
  4. ^ a b c d e "A taste of what's to come: TV3 leaves RTÉ with plenty to chew on as it pinches hit show The Restaurant". Evoke. 9 October 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Critics". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "Maitre'D". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Kitchen Staff". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "Waiting Staff". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "Star of the Day". RTÉ Guide. 15 November 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Tracy is ready to crack the whip in busy Christmas 'cook off' with chef rival Kev". Evening Herald. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "TV3 is calling out for diners to take part in 'The Restaurant'". 22 October 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Something's cooking in 'The Restaurant' on TV3". Irish Independent. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "7 of the weirdest moments from Alan Shatter's appearance on The Restaurant". Daily Edge. 8 January 2015. Archived from the original on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Ambitious Jackie bites off more than she can chew in The Restaurant". 14 January 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "'I've no idea how I spoofed three stars' - rugby ace Andrew Trimble gives cooking a try on The Restaurant". The Herald. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Roz Purcell falls short of full marks on 'The Restaurant'". 4 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "The Restaurant Returns". 10 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "The Secret Chef" (PDF). Eyeworks. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 

External links[edit]