In the limelight: Aiden Byrne, Russell Norman and Simon Rogan to star in restaurant industry TV shows

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gordon ramsay, Television

Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan are the latest chefs to move from behind the stove to in front of the camera
Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan are the latest chefs to move from behind the stove to in front of the camera
The TV industry's interest in the inner workings of the restaurant world shows no sign of slowing down after the BBC announced it had commissioned two new shows about the process of launching a restaurant which will star Russell Norman, Simon Rogan & Aiden Byrne.

The Restaurateur and The Restaurant Wars, both working titles, are expected to hit our screens later this year and are the latest in a line of recent programmes which have drawn the attention of viewers to the business of running a restaurant.

Both shows, which will air on BBC Two, are focused on the challenges of launching a new hospitality business: Russell Norman will impart his tips to six people opening a restaurant for the first time, while TV cameras will follow both Byrne and Rogan as they chase Michelin stars with their latest Manchester projects.

Alison Kirkham, BBC commissioning editor for Features & Formats, said she was 'delighted' to bring three new faces to the channel: "BBC Two has a real heritage in food and business. Both of these new programmes will show the real challenges facing the food business and the real passion behind those who are keeping the industry thriving."

Russell Norman will star in The Restaurateur

The Restaurateur 

Russell Norman will star in The Restaurateur, a series featuring six 60-minute episodes.

The show will focus on six of the 1,000 new food businesses which are reportedly launched in the UK each year by first timers. The series, produced by Twenty Twenty TV, will follow Norman as he shares his 'restaurant rulebook' with the six restaurateurs in the final months before they open the doors to their new venues and the critical first month afterwards.

The first-time restaurant owners have been recruited by the TV production company through Twitter and through selected adverts and articles in the trade press, including on BigHospitality.

Twenty Twenty is still searching for first-time restaurateurs to take part in the new show - send an email to for more information.

Norman, a restaurant industry expert who has enjoyed recent success with Polpo and is planning to expand his empire further,​ took to Twitter to explain the show would be business-focused.

Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan will star in The Restaurant Wars

The Restaurant Wars

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, two Great British Menu regulars will be pit against each other in The Restaurant Wars, a series of three 60-minute episodes made by newly-formed production company Brassy TV.

Described in the press notes as 'the ultimate food fight', The Restaurant Wars will be set in Manchester and will be a behind-the-scenes look at the setting up of both Rogan's restaurant in The Midland Hotel​ and Byrne's latest fine-dining project with Living Ventures, Manchester House.

The show will supposedly follow both men as they compete to open a world-class restaurant in a recession and win Manchester's first Michelin star for 30 years but Byrne has said the show is not designed to be combative. 

Food and business

Whichever angle the two new TV shows take they are both examples of the growing demand for programmes on the restaurant business and professional chefs as opposed to shows focused just on food or domestic cookery. 

Norman, Byrne and Rogan are following in the footsteps of Raymond Blanc,Jason Atherton,Marco Pierre White​ and Gordon Ramsay​ who have all put the hospitality industry on the small screen alongside shows such as the Great British Menu​ and MasterChef: The Professionals.

"Tom Edwards, BBC commissioning executive for Factual Features and Formats, said: “Food and business are two of the most popular areas in programming so it’s great to be bringing them together for both these new formats and to launch such exciting new faces.

"Both series promise to deliver the kind of intelligence, passion and great storytelling with which BBC Two excels," he added.

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