Once again the seasonal classic 'The Restaurant, 5 Star Cook Off' is back. There have been more than 50 guest chefs in "The Restaurant's" kitchen but only 9 have walked away with the highest culinary accolade, the coveted 5 stars, from the table of critics.
For the fourth time, we have invited back two '5 Star' Chefs and put them head to head in the kitchen at Wineport Lodge in Athlone. This culinary cook off is fought over 3 courses and at the end of the meal, the critics will vote for their favourite dishes. Both 5 star chefs have proven they can cook impressive and original food under pressure, but there will be no stars at the end of this day in the kitchen - for the cook off, there will be just one winner.
The Christmas 'The Restaurant' is delighted to welcome back two chefs for the 5 star cook of who have more in common than just their cooking skills. Both chefs are journalists, making this 5 star cook off a battle of the red tops versus the broadsheets. Going head to head in the kitchen are Irish Times journalist Fintan O'Toole and Sunday World journalist, Amanda Brunker.
Joining regular critics Tom Doorley and Paolo Tullio at the critic's table to judge the winner of the cook off is wine expert, food journalist and presenter of "Food and Drink", Jilly Goolden.
A new Christmas special hits our screens this year. For the first time, we bring back two 3 chefs who left the critics table disappointed with their result, and desperate to get back in the kitchen to regain some culinary kudos from our table of critics. It's "The Restaurant - 3 Star Cook Off".
Both of tonight's chefs invested time planning their menu, practiced their dishes and put in a tough day's work in the kitchen, prepping their dishes and serving the diners. But while they were aiming for 5 stars from the critics, they left with a decent, but disappointing, 3 star rating for their efforts.
So this year for the first time, 3 star chefs get a second chance to get back in The Restaurant kitchen to prove to the critics they were worthy of more. Both will have to come up with a new 3-course menu - one dish each per course- and the judges will vote for their favourite meals and the best of 3 courses wins the cook off.
Both chefs are competing against each other to win the cook off and there can only be one winner.
In 2007, Today Fm broadcaster Ray D'Arcy received 3 stars from the critics The Restaurant while "The Daily Show's" Dáithí Ó Sé left the critic's table with his 3 stars in 2009. Tonight, both of these chefs are going back in the kitchen with new menus to try to "wow" our table of critics. And both chefs have more in common than broadcasting to the nation every day. Both have hosted "The Rose of Tralee," so tonight's cook off sees The Restaurant's first "War of The Roses."
Our special guest critic at the critics table for the first "3 star cook off" is Michelin star restaurateur Derry Clarke. He will join regular critics Paolo Tullio and Tom Doorley.