The first episode of a new series of Channel 4’s A New Life in the Sun aired this week. I gave up watching British television when I moved to France, but I’m prepared to make an exception for this.
Well, this and A Place in the Sun, Escape to the Château, No Going Back… You get the idea.
It seems I can’t get enough of TV tales of people who’ve given up everything in Blighty to chase their dreams overseas. I can’t think why.
In the programme, we met Hugh and Denise Davies who swapped Essex for Monpazier in Dordogne and have launched a brewery in the village and a B&B in nearby Beaumont-du-Périgord. Then there was Andrew John and Brennan Street who are preparing to open a boutique hotel in Andalusia.
I’m hooked already.
I also enjoy the shows where an expert takes you behind the scenes of a failing business and – ta dah! – turns around its fortunes. The Hotel Inspector is a good example of the genre.
Cauchemar en Cuisine is another. It’s the French version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. It’s broadcast on channel M6 and is fronted by Michelin-starred chef Philippe Etchebest.
Don’t be fooled by the smiley face in the promo shot. Most weeks the former rugby player has people in tears.
The premise is the same every episode – and so is the solution:
- Don’t try to be all things to all people
- Don’t serve frozen meals
- Keep the place clean
- Communicate with each other
- Allocate responsibilities
- Don’t use fuchsia as your primary colour.
OK, I may have made up that last one, but the décor in each restaurant he visits is usually pretty shocking.
“We have been talking about putting ourselves forward for A New Life in the Sun when we buy a business property”
I guess I enjoy shows like this partly because I am trying to pick up tips for our planned cheese-and-wine bar/shop. So, while we don’t plan to open a restaurant as such, much of the advice is valid for any kind of hospitality business.
Damon and I have been talking about maybe putting ourselves forward for A New Life in the Sun when we buy a business property. It would be great publicity.
As it happens, we’re back in the South West right now having second viewings of the two properties we saw recently. One is in the Lot valley and is good to go and the other is in Dordogne and needs gutting.
I think one of them offers us the greater possibility of success. And who knows, if we make an offer and it’s accepted, you may even be able to watch the highs and lows of our venture on Channel 4…
Watch this space.
Photos © Channel 4 and M6