Ireland’s hit TV show The Restaurant, featuring Marco Pierre White, has been put on hold for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This weekend the show’s producer Phillip Kampf told the Sunday Independent that the decision had been taken because the show would be “too compromised” if they filmed a celebrity attempting to chat and connect with kitchen staff and viewers at home, while wearing a face mask.
Meanwhile, a lucrative deal that had been reached to air the show in America has also been shelved.
“We took the decision because we felt the celebrity would have to wear a mask in the kitchen, which defeats the purpose of the show,” explained Mr Kampf.
“We also know the restaurant and hospitality sector has been hit really hard too so we were trying to come up with ideas where we could lend support to the industry, but at the moment it’s just not possible for us to do it safely and I think people would think it is ridiculous if the celebrity had to wear a mask all day, which they would have to,” he said.
“The [idea behind the] show is that you get to meet a celebrity through their life-experience with food and a lot of the show is simply them interacting with the team, and I think at this moment of time we would just be so restricted that we felt it wouldn’t be worth it.”
The TV boss, whose credits include the BBC’s Noel’s House Party and Lee Evans Live at Wembley, said the dining room setting would not have posed a problem while filming. The team had planned to shoot the programme in August in the outdoor terrace of Pierre White’s Donnybrook restaurant to give the show a “summery” feel. However, masks on celebrities proved the sole hurdle.
Asked how Pierre White felt about the decision, he said: “The last time I spoke to Marco I just said, ‘Look we are holding off, we are not doing it,’ and he completely understood. We love working with him and we want to work with him any way we can but it’s just not possible at the moment.”
Mr Kampf also explained how the show’s prospects “have been hit twice”, with the stalling of a lucrative deal for it to air on US TV.
“The show had done well in places like Italy and Germany and we had been pushing to try and get it into the US for a while. We actually had the deal done, the deal was done before Christmas, so now we have to just sit and wait, really. They can’t do anything at the moment because they can’t ask any celebrity to go into the kitchen in Los Angeles at the moment.”