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The Restaurant RTÉ One, Sunday, 8.30pm

Ray D'Arcy 3 stars

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Ray D'Arcy, survived 8 years in a TV Den with 2 Aliens, a Sock and a Turkey - but can he survive one day in a kitchen with 3 chefs, a menu and a table of critics? Broadcaster and TV presenter Ray is leaving behind the comfort of his Today FM studio, to immerse himself in the world of the restaurant, armed only with his recipes.

Ray first hit our screens when he presented 'Jo-Maxi' back in the 80s's. Two years later he replaced Ian Dempsey in 'The Den'. Since then, Ray has presented many shows on RTE including 'Blackboard Jungle', '2 Phat', 'You're a Star' and for the last three years, the hugely popular 'Rose of Tralee'. Ray continues to present his morning radio show 'The Ray D'Arcy Show' on Today FM.

When Ray cooks at home, he likes to let the true flavours of the ingredients speak for themselves on the plate and he has little interest in over-the-top food thats smothered in sauces. "I do the simple things well, I think that people get lost in sauces and complication and architecture, when it should really be about the food and the ingredients"

Ray loves his main courses, but accepts that people must be served starters first, but they are not his favourite part of the meal. He is serving 'Salt and Pepper Squid' and 'Chorizo and Rocket Salad' for his starters. Ray hopes to keep the preparation and cooking time for his starters to a minimum. "Starters can be a little bit of an irritant because you have to do them, but they interfere with the preparation of the main course. Both the starters I do are very simple and very quick"

For his main courses, Ray has stuck to personal favourites that always work for him at home 'Smoked Haddock, Poached Egg with Champ' and 'Roast Loin of Lamb with Rosemary and Anchovies'. He is a little concerned that the critics may not love them as much as he does "I think the meat is pretty straight forward but the fish option is, I think, slightly different. It will be interesting to see how the diners and the critics react to it"

When it comes to pudding, Ray never orders it in restaurants. So he had to do quite a bit of research and practise runs before he finally chose 'Mary's Apple Cake' and 'Baked Pears with Ginger Cream' for his menu. "I don't usually eat desserts when I'm eating out so I don't cook them normally. So I rang my mother and she suggested something that we had as children, which is an apple cake. And then I looked for something seasonal and anytime I have had poached pears they tasted really nice so we're going to go with some sort of baked pear dish".

Ray D'Arcy
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