Raymond Blanc has named Michele English and Russell Clement as the winning couple in the second series of The Restaurant.
The couple from Colchester, Essex, who ran the Cheerful Soul restaurant during the series, beat Alasdair and James to The Restaurant winners title after a cook-off aboard the Orient Express, which was screened on BBC2 last night.
They will now go into business with Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc.
The Restaurant judge David Moore said of the winners that Russell "rose out of each one [challenge] and showed tenacity…people wanted to work with him".
Co-judge Sarah Willingham said of the winning couple that she "felt all the way through that they had taken on board what we had said. We saw nothing but improvement from them".
Michele, who worked front of house, told local press: "The moment we found out was filled with suspense. We were dumbstruck, we didn't know what to say. It's something we have wanted for a long time and we are so happy."
Chef Russell added: "I am thrilled to have achieved what we set out to achieve after what has been a long and sometimes difficult journey. I am so looking forward to new and exciting times."
Read David Moore's Minute on the Clock interview for more on The Restaurant and see our exclusive interview with Raymond Blanc on spas, stars and TV shows and the next 15 years at Le Manoir Quat' Saisons.
By Chris Druce
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