New chefs on the box

simon rogan 2012 - simon_rogan-0821.jpgThree top chefs and restaurateurs have been tempted to the small screen by the BBC, filming two new series to be broadcast next year.

The Restaurant Wars will follow Simon Rogan (pictured, right) and Aiden Byrne as they launch ventures in Manchester. Rogan has already had success with The French by Simon Rogan at The Midland hotel; he will launch the hotel’s sister restaurant, Mr Cooper’s, this summer. Byrne, on the other hand, is preparing to open a £5m warehouse conversion in the city, showcasing his cooking in a theatrical way.

‘Manchester is a city that's so far been unimpressed with fine dining,’ said the BBC, referring to the city’s lack of Michelin stars. ‘It is also a city undergoing a lot of change.’ Over three 60-minute programmes, the series will chart Rogan and Byrne’s quests to create a Michelin-starred establishment.

russell norman 2013 - Russell-Norman.jpgMeanwhile, Polpo’s Russell Norman (pictured, left) will guide six novice restaurateurs through the launch and first weeks of their new business, with one hour-long episode devoted to each case. Norman, who has success story after success story tucked firmly under his belt – including Soho stars Polpo and Spuntino – will open his ‘restaurant rulebook’ and share his years of experience with the first-timers. The show has the working title The Restaurateur.

Filming has not yet started, so Square Meal asked the ever-charming Norman whether he will be adopting a no-nonsense Mary Portas/Gordon Ramsay-style persona for his TV debut. ‘Er, no I won’t,’ came the quick reply…

Both series will air in 2014.

This story was published in May 2013.