Gordon Ramsay has announced on his blog that Kitchen Nightmares will end after filming finishes for upcoming episodes:
I’m currently filming 4 new episodes, Costa Del Nightmares, for Channel 4 which will be my last. I’ve had a phenomenal 10 years making 123 episodes, 12 seasons, shot across 2 continents, watched by tens of millions of people and sold to over 150 countries. It’s been a blast but it’s time to call it a day.
Starting in 2004 this was the show that really propelled my TV career and I’m very grateful for the amazing team behind the series and for the support from the viewers for almost over a decade! From the first episode which aired in April 2004 with over 5 million viewers we’re now 12 seasons later and it’s been an amazing journey. In 2007 we took the show to America on Fox and they’ve just finished airing series 7 this summer. During this time I’ve visited over 100 restaurants, meeting and trying to help or in some cases failing to help, some of the most weird and wonderful people. Of course Amy’s Baking Company is a standout along with Bonaparte’s but there were good times too; the lovely sisters at La Galleria and Momma Cherri’s to name but two.
Earlier I posted that a chef that appeared on Kitchen Nightmares has committed suicide. This is the second time this has happened that a contestant that appeared on a Gordon Ramsay show has committed suicide. The first was Rachel Brown, who appeared on Hell’s Kitchen.
A lot of people are going to jump to the conclusion that this has something to do with Gordon Ramsay’s tactics on these shows. I think that’s completely false. The people who have been shown on Kitchen Nightmares have run restaurants that are failing. The emotional upheaval this must cause for people has to be tremendous. They’re at their wits end, and have asked for frank advice about how to turn things around. And frank advice is what Ramsay gives…both barrels, holding nothing back. Some of these restaurants have gone on to close, some of them remain open. Ramsay tries to help these people turn things around in a short time by trying to be brutally honest with them. It’s very sad that some people think the only way out of situations like this is to commit suicide.
Hell’s Kitchen…. Humpf. I do continue to watch this show, but I have to say, they take a very “American Idol First Few Weeks” approach to picking contestants. Some of the contestants are genuinely good. Some of them are NOT good AT ALL. The last few seasons it seems as though they’ve been picking people that have not been prepared to deal with the sort of stress and anxiety that show causes. Some of these people are completely delusional about their abilities, and I find it extremely difficult to believe that Ramsay considers them to be in the running for the restaurant prize, at all.
There are many, many cooking competitions on TV: “The Next Iron Chef”, “Top Chef”, Ramsay even just finished a third: “Master Chef”.
If they’re truly looking for a person to run a restaurant, why not get chefs of the quality they get on Top Chef? It’s all about the train wreck, that’s why. This must leave some of the contestants, who never, ever had a chance, despite getting on the show, emotionally devastated.
I will say that I have no idea what the circumstances were around Rachel Brown’s death, and I’m not blaming the show. She made it through five shows, which is a lot better than most. The problem that got her voted off was that she just had a bad dinner service.
I really do think though, that particularly for shows like “Hell’s Kitchen”, it would be a lot better for everyone, all the way around, if they had contestants that did stand a chance to win everything from the get go.
Dante and his two sons were having problems. Dean is the owner/cook/janitor. Sammy and Arthur (his sons) are servers. Mark is the host/manager, who Sammy considers an interior decorator. They’re in about $200,000 in debt at the time of taping.
Gordon Ramsay was set to arrive in Los Angeles to help the Sante La Brea, and the chef didn’t show up, which put everyone on edge.
When Gordon finally arrived, he didn’t seem to impressed with the appearance of the outside facade of the restaurant. He was even less impressed with the inside, when Dean started to give him the tour of the “newly remodeled” restaurant. There was grass/vegetation growing in aluminum trays up on a shelf. Dean grabbed one, and to Gordon’s surprise, he ate a bunch of whatever was growing in that tray! Gordon asked about the menu, and Dean said they have vegetarian and regular versions of the dishes… and the chef didn’t show up.
Gordon wanted to get to the root cause of the problems with the restaurant and Dean said it’s money. Mark spent $5,000 on a display of “product”, and Dean said Mark is just a big talker.
Mark described what he does as trying to make the restaurant look more hip, fresh and modern. He said that he wanted to make the place “look like no place you’ve ever seen”. Gordon told him that he “definitely, definitely not wrong there”. Mark took that as a compliment.
Gordon went out to the terrace outside the restaurant and orders food. First comes a Turkey Patty melt, which he said doesn’t look healthy, and ended up feeding it to a dog that a nearby customer brought in. The next thing that cam was a stir fry ….er, something… called Mofu Tofu… not even sure what that is. Either was Gordon. Finally came the blackened salmon, which is dry and “too fishy” for salmon. Gordon took that to indicate the fish might not have been refrigerated properly.
Gordon talked to Dean, and told him that the food looked like a dog’s dinner and tasted hideous. While talking to him, Gordon started to feel sick. They went to the back of the restaurant to look where the food was being kept. The was rotten food, frozen turkey melting with frozen salmon in the same container. Gordon said it was a disgrace.
Dean and his sons is done to talk with them. The chef, Aurelio, came two hours late, and the owners confronted the chef about it. They sent him back to the kitchen to take care of things. Things are really emotional for him.
Gordon went to observe what was happening in the kitchen, and asks about the condition of the food. Aurelio said he’s “just a cook”, and Dean stepped in to say it’s his (Dean’s) fault. Aurelio said (in the one-on-on camera interview) that he can do pretty much want he wants at this place, and that’s why he never left.
At dinner service, the customers complained amongst themselves that the food is bad. Gordon went to the kitchen, and found a package of what Dean called “Unduck” – fake duck. Dean said it was popular. Next up – fake fish! “Unfish”! Gordon wasn’t impressed.
Gordon confronted the staff after service. Gordon said that nobody took responsibility for service. Gordon said the main problem was the food, and that he didn’t like conditions of the kitchen. He wanted that kitchen cleaned, and put an “F” over the “A” health inspection report, with the instructions that he’ll personally take that “F” down when the conditions of the restaurant is an “A”. They throughly cleaned the kitchen throughout the night.
The next morning, Gordon met with Dean at the top of the canyon for a pep-talk, and told him to say what he wanted to, to the staff. Dean didn’t seem into it at first, merely talking quietly about what he would say. Gordon told him he really needs to get into it, and yells as an example. Dean still didn’t get it, but in the end was really yelling about what he wanted his staff to do to change things at the restaurant.
So what happens back at the restaurant? The first person Dean confronts is his son, Sammy. Sammy thought this was great.
Gordon inspected the kitchen, and everything looked great. The “F” came down.
Next up, Gordon showed how to make some great looking dishes.
Before dinner service, Gordon gathered everyone together and told them there was a serious infraction the night before – and brings in a police officer to handcuff Dean! Of course, that was all for show – Gordon just wanted to make sure that Dean was the one giving the orders, not picking up after everyone else in the restaurant. They were all a little freaked out about this, and were relieved it was a stunt.
Food service started, and the first thing Gordon noticed was that Mark was sweating a lot. Mark said that he didn’t like wearing deodorant.
Back in the kitchen, Gordon caught Dean trying to help with cooking, which quickly stopped. Dean got more into ordering other people around.
They run out of the halibut special, and Mark takes an order for three anyway. Dean was pretty upset about this, and told him that he shouldn’t be taking orders. Next up, Gordon found that Mark was putting menus under his sweaty arms. Dean sent Mark home to get a new shirt; Gordon went out to get deodorant at a convenience store.. They meet back at the restaurant and Mark put on the deodorant.
Gordon then got the police officer to take the handcuffs off of Dean, after Dean promised to not fall back to his old ways.
Unfortunately, things still weren’t going well. A customer found hair in food, and another had cold pasta. Dean brings it back to the kitchen, and confronts to Aurelio, and argued with him.
Afterwards, Gordon has good news and bad news. Good news – the specials went quickly. Bad news – the rest of the food is bad. He told them they’re relaunching the next day.
Gordon’s staff went in and changed everything: new benches, new shades, new paint – a complete change. The new menu brought out the emotion in Dean, and he gave Gordon a big hug. He showed them the food, and it looked great. They tried it all, and they liked it.
That night at relaunch – Mark started taking orders, and Dean didn’t like that at all. He really confronted Mark forcefully, and Mark got the message. In the kitchen, Dean confronted Aurelio and they have it out. The chef didn’t want to listen, so he left. Gordon yelled after him to stop, but he kept driving away.
Gordon thought that Dean’s gone a little overboard on confronting staff. Aurelio turned his car around, and went back to tell Gordon that he was sorry. Dean saw him and they started to argue again. Aurelio said he was owed $140. Gordon gives him $100, and told him the rest comes after service. Then Gordon took Dean aside and told him that he has to take a deep breath.
Customers were waiting for their food because of Aurelio’s absence; Gordon got everyone together and tells them they have to pull together to get through the night’s service. After this, things seemed to go a lot better.
At the end of the night, Gordon said things went a lot better. He again took Dean aside, and told him that he has everything he needs to succeed, and that he wanted to place to succeed.
Kitchen Nightmare’s visited “Jack’s”, a restaurant in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Bill, Scott, and Tammer, all body builders, are partners in the restaurant. AJ, the general manger, is Tammer’s father isn’t running the restaurant the way the other partners want. (They say he’s drinking all the time and not being professional). Scott was asked to be a silent partner because the other partners said he was scaring away customers.
In the kitchen, Aaron replaced AJ (who was previously in the kitchen before moving to the front of house). Aaron doesn’t have the authority to change the menu. The place is losing money, and they need help.
Gordon arrived via snowmobile, where he met Scott, AJ and Bill. Gordon sat which each of them to find out what they think is wrong with the restaurant. Gordon finds out 1) Scott is a silent partner, which Scott thinks is because he’s “too intense”. 2) Scott says AJ makes $100,000 a year, and drinks a lot, plus all three don’t agree with what’s happening with Jack’s.
Gordon looks at the menu, and notices that the Krab Omelet is spelled with “K”. Aaron says that it is so that people don’t mistake it for real crab. The omelet arrives, and Gordon spits it out. He questions AJ about it, who says it’s not his choice that they’re using fake crab.
The fish and chips don’t go over well either; the cod is rubbery and frozen. Next up is the Honey Pecan Salmon, which is too sweet. Gordon declares it to be one of the worse salmon dishes he’s ever eaten.
When Gordon tries to find out who’s controlling the food, AJ points at Aaron, but Aaron says he has no control. Gordon asks again, and AJ points at the owners. Gordon tells AJ it has to be his responsibility, but AJ disagrees.
That night, Gordon observes the dinner service. Tammer arrives, and Gordon talks to him. Tammer says that food is inconsistent. Tammer feels like a man in the middle between his father and his friends.
The food starts going out of the kitchen, and then comes back because it’s either undercooked, or not to the customer’s taste. The food such a problem, that they’re comp-ing meals left and right.
Afterwards, Gordon asks them all “Who’s got the final say at Jack’s?” Bill says that since AJ has been in the business 40 years, and they’ve been relying on him. Scott confronts AJ about taking a check every week, even though they’re losing money. AJ gets very upset, saying that he’s booked many groups of people for thousands of dollars.
On Day 2, Gordon goes in early to look at the kitchen and finds, pinked dyed tuna, salmon in what he thinks is Italian dressing, and risotto that is so thick that he can hold it upside down in the pan without it falling out.
When everyone arrives, he takes them through the kitchen, pointing out moldy food, beef bits in blood, discolored chicken. Gordon confronts AJ about it, and AJ blames the owners.
The staff and owners start cleaning everything, and Gordon goes out to meet with local fishermen. He even catches a perch through a hole in the ice.
Back in the kitchen, Bill realizes that the stories customers have told about getting sick were probably all true, and he’s very upset.
Gordon grabs the fish from the fishermen, and invites them later to the restaurant to have fish chowder. Gordon shows how to make chowder and a poached salmon dish. Gordon also decides to let Scott be a waiter for the night.
The orders start coming in, but the food isn’t going out. The rest of the cooks aren’t paying attention to Aaron. The other cooks just aren’t paying attention to what Aaron is telling them to do.
An hour into service, no food has gone out. Gordon finally steps in and tells the other cooks to start paying attention. The food finally starting coming out of the kitchen. During this time, Scott is getting more used to being a waiter. The new dishes go over very well, the old dishes aren’t and the customers aren’t happy.
Afterwards, Gordon tells Aaron he needs to get some authority in the kitchen. He also tells AJ that he should have his salary cut in half, because other parts of the restaurant could use that money to fix things.
Overnight, Gordon’s team made a lot of changes to the inside of the restaurant (including a big fish tank, and small fish tanks all along the walls). They put new menus on the tables and including a small bit of rope with instructions on how to tie knots with that rope. The new menu includes fish and chips and home made tartar sauce.
The relaunch night has large crowds in spite of the very cold weather. The food goes out, and the customers enjoy the food. The restaurant fills up quickly, and the kitchen backs up quickly. The fried food isn’t coming out fast enough. AJ came back to help, but Gordon says it made things worse. Scott finally goes back when he hears the cooks swearing at Aaron. Scott tells everyone that they should listen to Aaron’s order. He yelled a bit, and that really ended up helping Aaron a lot.
Now that the food is going out again, people says they’re liking it. The last order of onion rings isn’t up to standard, and Aaron gets it corrected.
The partners are impressed with Scott with what he did during the night, and Scott feels pretty good about it.
Afterwards, Gordon complements the owners on how they worked together that night. After complementing each other, Scott speaks up and says that there’s still a problem – AJ. Gordon says that AJ needs to cut back on the hours – and his pay. AJ agrees, but thinks that cutting down the hours will be recognized eventually by the partners.
After Gordon leaves, Aaron was given complete control of the kitchen. He fired two cooks and hired two sous chefs. The partners fired AJ, which was obviously hard for Tammer.
Good show, I’d be interested in hearing how things are going at Jack’s now.
(I have to say, I have my doubts about how well the fish on the walls will survive… anyone know?)
First restaurant of the new season! The Handlebar. Before I get into the summary of what happened, I need to say something. Parts of this write-up are a bit disjointed and seem to jump from situation to situation…. well, that’s because that’s the way the show was.
Bill and Carolyn his wife bought the Handlebar in Mount Sinai, New York a year ago, seeing it as a good business opportunity. A year later, they were in trouble because the restaurant wasn’t filling with customers.
Gordon arrived, tried the food, and immediately realized that was the problem. In the sit down with Bill, Carolyn, and Melissa the head chef. Much to Gordon’s surprise, Melissa says that she’s really not interesting in being a head chef!
The food being served later that night wasn’t good. Frozen broccoli was served, radishes being served with steak, and burnt French Fries.
A good look at the back rooms was a surprise, it was really, really filthy. Billy really didn’t want to hear any of Gordon’s criticism, and walked off. Billy was REALLY mad at Gordon for speaking to hi in what he felt was a disrespectful way. He ended up driving off, after calling Carolyn to say he was going to throw in the towel.
The servers and chef ended up cleaning the refrigerator, and they got a plan together to get things going again. Gordon gave Melissa a quick demonstration on how to make clams with a homemade tartar sauce, and home made potato chips.
During dinner service, Billy returned. Service started to stack up, and the customers were waiting quite a while. The customers even started yelling at each other.
Finally, Billy and Gordon talk about what happened that night, and decided to have a staff meeting after dinner. They cut down the menu to make it simpler.
The Kitchen Nightmares team went in that night and revamped the whole restaurant. (I have to say, I’m pretty impressed to see how much they did).
They transformed into a Gastropub, the first on Long Island.
As a way to relaunch the restaurant, Gordon got Dee Snider (from Twisted Sister) as part of a motorcycle rally promotion, and they handed out fliers for the relaunch with a simplified menu.
The restaurant filled up and the food was going out well to start. They had a quick break and Dee Sinder came in on a motorcycle they want to auction for the March of Dimes.
After that, the kitchen started to fall apart. Food was coming back because it was undercooked, and things weren’t looking good. The main problem was the Melissa wasn’t using the other two cooks in the kitchen. Once she did this, the kitchen started working better. The restaurant ended the night on the high note. The next few days were busy too, and they started to do better.
By the time Gordon left, the Handlebar had turned the corner.
I was happy to see that the restaurant turned around, but it really seems like the show needed to go into a bit more depth about how they changed the menu and got the kitchen going again.
Kitchen Nightmares returned Thursday with a two hour recap on how the old restaurants from last season were doing this year. The narrator is still, well, narrating, but Gordon Ramsay talked directly to the camera too. This very much like the English version of the show, Ramsay’s Kitchen nightmares. They really need to let Ramsay take over all the narration.
Kitchen Nightmares Restaurant Updates
Finn McCools – Buddy had a heart attack (!) but besides that, they took Ramsay’s advice because of that they were able to turn the restaurant around. Gordon tried the food, and liked it.
The Olde Stone Mill Steak House – The restaurant is still open, and doing much better than before Gordon first arrived. They’re keeping up with the bills, and things are getting better. They have many customers during the week and a wait on weekends. There’s even a favorable write-up in the New York Times. Dean and Barbara (the owners) seem much happier too. The NY Beef Industry Council even presented an award to Dean while Gordon was there.
The Mixing Bowl Eatery – The business has improved, and the restaurant made the Top 20 in Long Island in 2007. No more signs or coupons. Word of mouth is driving the business. Billy and Lisa are much happier, and are happy they didn’t sell the business, which they were thinking of doing when Gordon was first there. Gordon presented them with a plaque with his seal of approval.
Dillon’s (now renamed Purnima) – Business is up. The consultant Gordon brought, Vikas, is still there, and the place is spotless. A COMPLETE turnaround from what it originally was like. They’re making between $18,000 and $20,000 a week.
Campania – The business is busy and “things are going easier”. Joe, the owner/chef, says that the number of customers have doubled. The bills are being paid, and everyone is happy. They’re selling a LOT of meatballs too. The mayor and deputy mayor presented Joe with an award, and declard February 13,2008 “Campania Ristorante Day”. Gordon even walked out with an order of meatballs!
Peter’s – Gordon didn’t revisit Peter’s, but they’re still around and doing well. Not sure why Gordon didn’t come back personally.
TV Squad is reporting the first episode of Kitchen Nightmares won’t be of a new restaurant, it’ll be going back to the places Gordon Ramsay tried to save last year.
This is similar to what they have done on “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”, the British version of the show. The main difference is in the American version, all the restaurants will be show, while in the British version they do a long recap of a single restaurant, and spend the last few minutes talking about what happened since the original filming. They rename these shows “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare’s Revisited”.
Should be interesting to see how well they fared – or didn’t.