Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 15:40 UK

TV restaurant winners step down

Jane Cooper, Raymond Blanc and Jeremy Cooper
Winners of the BBC's Restaurant programme with Raymond Blanc

A couple who won a restaurant in a BBC television contest have announced they are handing over control of it.

Jane and Jeremy Hooper, from Cornwall, beat eight couples to win the BBC Two series The Restaurant, hosted by French chef Raymond Blanc.

The couple opened Eight at the Thatch in Thame, Oxfordshire, last November.

Announcing their decision the couple said: "We feel that we did not have the chance to make our concept work in the environment of a pub."

The couple recently celebrated the birth of their first child.

In a statement they added: "We feel very disappointed that this hasn't worked out.

The past year has been very rewarding and I have enjoyed working with Jane and Jeremy
Raymond Blanc

"Having said that, we were thrilled to win the prize and we have learned a lot.

"It has not proved possible to continue at Eight at the Thatch.

"But we have not lost our dream and still plan to start our own restaurant before too long, probably in our home county of Cornwall."

Mr Blanc said in a joint statement that he was happy that the couple had been given a chance.

"Jeremy and Jane worked very hard to make a success of Eight at the Thatch," he said.

"I am happy that we were able to give them this chance and delighted that they have gained the experience and the confidence to start a new business.

"The past year has been very rewarding and I have enjoyed working with Jane and Jeremy.

"I would like to congratulate them on the birth of their son Joseph and wish them the very best for the future."

'Admirable winners'

Peach Pubs, founded by Lee Cash and Hamish Stoddart who were involved at Eight at the Thatch as business consultants, will run a gastropub at The Thatch.

The BBC said: " We wish Jane and Jeremy every success in the future.

"Their flair and commitment made them admirable winners of the first series."

Series two of The Restaurant begins filming shortly, for transmission later this year.

Restaurant winners open new venue
06 Nov 07 |  Oxfordshire


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