RTE charges guests €30 ... to eat meals cooked by amateurs
RTE could find itself in hot water with the return of RTE cooking show Heat, after it emerged that paying guests would be charged €30 for a dinner cooked by amateurs.
The second series of the Hell's Kitchen-style cooking programme is also expected to attract the ire of vegetarians, after it warned that they won't necessarily be catered for at the restaurant as menus will be at the cooks' discretion.
The executive producer on the Loose Horse production, Trish Canning, has defended the decision to charge diners and claims it has nothing to do with the recession.
"We choose to charge people because we feel that it makes the dining experience more realistic," she said.
"It's important in terms of both the chefs taking part, and those who come in, that they're coming in to actually sample the food and not just for the sake of being on a television show.
"It's got nothing to do with this recession business, customers also paid in the last series, but the price was at the discretion of the participants.
"We found that this wasn't working because the prices were varying from anywhere between €10 and €50 and that wasn't fair," she added.
However, Trish does admit that they had a number of newly unemployed people with lots of time on their hands applying to take part in this series.
The TV executive also revealed that viewers are set to see sparks fly between the two mentors on the programme -- Kevin Thornton and Kevin Dundon.
Dundon, well known for his outspoken manner, has an expanding culinary empire which he runs from Dunbrody House, while Thornton is renowned for ruling his Stephen's Green Michelin-starred Thornton's restaurant with an ironed fist.
As the series unfolds, the celebrity chefs, who previously starred in Guerrilla Gourmet, will find their tempers brought to the boil by the antics of their students.
"To say that they had some creative differences during filming is a polite way of putting it," said Trish.
"It definitely gets a bit heated on the set between the two Kevins when things go wrong in the kitchen
"Their styles are quite different and it's going to make for some great television," she added.
The programme will see the two celebrity chefs face off on a weekly basis as they instruct and mentor amateur chefs to cook a three-course dinner in the intense kitchen trial.
The dining room and kitchen will be handed over to the amateurs and split down the middle with one half devoted to each contestant, while the two Kevins watch and cajole from the sidelines.
The diners will then decide who goes on to compete in the next round with a chance to become Ireland's Heat champion.