Episode Six: Restaurants
We need to talk about Frank.
From Episode One he’s been cocky, smug, confident and prepared to bitch about the other contestants behind their backs. Told by the judges to be more of a team player, he was happy to appear to be supporting his fellow designers – but no-one was fooled by his act.
His achilles heel, however, was Nicki. On more than one occasion he has commented on how much he loves her work, and so his delight on being paired with her for a restaurant makeover task seemed the most genuine thing we’ve seen from him so far.
Host Fearne Cotton, who cleverly co-ordinated her eye makeup with her shirt
The challenge this week was for the four remaining would-be designers to work in pairs to make over two adjoining restaurants in Bristol. Budgets were tight, time was tight – in fact the only thing that wasn’t tight was Nicki and Frank’s choice of workwear, with them both sporting an identical dungaree look.
Frank’s idolisation of Nicki was a sight to behold – for the first time he was happy to let someone else take the lead, and not a bitchy comment was uttered. The brief was to come up with a Mediterranean scheme, replace the uncomfortable chairs, and if possible squeeze in a couple of extra covers. On a budget of £3000.
Tapas Bowl lighting
Decisions were quickly made (mostly by Nicki) to spend a large chunk on lighting (it’s her ‘signature style’ apparently), including lights made from tapas dishes, and an illuminated concrete letter ‘B’ that cost over £300 (plus £80 for the plug!!!). No money was left for the tiles that the client had asked for, but Frank saved the day by putting tile-patterned lino on the walls instead. Frank loves lino.
The lino wall
Next door, Cassie (World Champion at Rubbing People Up the Wrong Way) had begun the task by demanding to be team leader in a task where there was no designated team leader and in which both designers were supposed to be working together. Ju stood her ground, but this didn’t stop Cassie from trying to take over. Luckily one of her ideas was to create a tile mosaic on the wall, and making this kept her occupied for some considerable time.
The 'before' interior of Ju and Cassie's restaurant....
...and 'after' (including the mosaic wall)
Team Ju and Cassie also decided to go beyond the brief and tart up the exterior of the restaurant (a good idea, as the paintwork was decidedly tatty). Spotting this from the next door restaurant, Nicki began to wonder if they should do something similar – but as she’d spent most of their budget on lighting there was very little she could do. In the end she used some of the leftover interior paint on parts of the outside of the restaurant and achieved the seemingly impossible by actually making it look worse.
Frank and Nicki's scheme (including expensive 'B' light)
Guest Judge Thomasina Miers (owner of Mexican Street Food chain Wahaca) joined Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin to peruse the finished projects, and immediately loved the green and white scheme produced by Cassie and Ju (although she had reservations regarding the number of tables they had squeezed in). She was less enamoured by Nicki and Frank’s scheme – criticising both the restaurant exterior and the incredibly uncomfortable chairs (yet again they had pulled off the ‘making it worse than it was before’ trick).
This week's judges
Inevitably it was Frank and Nicki who were summoned to the Sofa of Doom, and it was at this point that Frank’s façade began to crumble. His hero-worship of Nicki was such that he couldn’t contemplate that he would be saved over her and so he began to wring his hands, stumble over his words, and weep like Andy Murray watching the Notebook.
So when Michelle turned to Nicki and told her that she was going to be the one to leave (mostly due to not being adaptable enough), Frank well and truly lost it.
Will we get Weepy Ever-so-Humble Frank next week? Or will he be back to Cocky-and-Arrogant Frank? I can’t wait to find out!