Kitchen Nightmares Sneek Peak: j. willy’s bar & grille, South Bend

The next season of Kitchen Nightmares starts in the Fall, but we’ve got a tip about one of the places that will be featured.

Gordon will be visiting j. willy’s bar & grille in South Bend, Indiana. A local paper covered the news.

What did Gordon think once he got there?

“This is a dynamic team,” Ramsay said, pointing to the j. willy’s crew. “We have the most amazing decor, the most amazing ribs, and the most amazing barbecue sauce.”

(Thanks to John)

Hell’s Kitchen Episode 3

You know, I like Gordon Ramsay. Not for his antics on Hell’s Kitchen, which are pretty much way over the top, but because of the BBC version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. He’s tough, but he cares about helping people out of tough spots.

If you missed the show, you can watch it before reading further.

So, say what you want about the guy, but some of Gordon’s soft touch came through last night when Jason had a meltdown trying to remember the menu. Gordon actually talked him back into the dinner service, but Jason still blew it in the end.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there are only about four people on that show that even come close to making it to the end. The rest of them don’t look like they’re going to make it.

Kitchen Nightmares: Sebastian’s

Gordon Ramsey
Kitchen Nightmares finally heads to California, and lands at Sebastian’s. This restaurant is having problems. The owner has fired 49 people in the last year, has 23 combinations on the menu, and an estimated 6 months before it shuts down.

When Gordon first gets into the restaurant, he spent quite a bit of time with the menu. Between the 23 different combinations and the menu pictures, it didn’t go over very well. Gordon ordered calamari which Sebastian said was fresh, but the waitress confirmed it was frozen. The Popeye pizza didn’t go over very well (watery), and either did the New York strip steak (looked like dog food).

After the initial food, Gordon talked to Sebastian about the frozen calamari, and the flash frozen pizza dough. Even thought Sebastian’s is a pizzeria, the owner said it was famous for the menu. As usual the owner doesn’t really like what Gordon had to say.

Dinner service didn’t go well either. A customer found a hair in her food, nearly all of the food was frozen and reheated, and about $300 of food was “comp-ed”. Still, the owner maintained that the restaurant was something that could be turned into a franchise, and would be the launching pad for his name.

Gordon finally decided to change the menu and go with fresh pizzas for the menu, and brought in some folks to help teach the staff how to throw pizza dough.

The restaurant transformation was pretty big too, and it really looked great. They even brought in a new mixer to make the new dough.

After this, Ramsey brought out the new menu: pizza, steak, and wooden oven cooked chicken. Sebastian (the owner) thought the “strength” of the restaurant was the old menu, and really didn’t like to see that the menu was gone. I don’t mean a little upset, I mean REALLY mad.

The restaurant’s dinner service started really well, the customer’s loved the new menu, the staff ran the kitchen well…. but Sebastian was still unhappy about the menu change. In fact, he changed to the old menu during service.

At this point, Gordon pulled Sebastian aside and told him that he didn’t believe in him and that he thought he was going to go back to his old ways. Sebastian was very mad, and confronted Ramsey calling him all kinds of names.

Meanwhile, the kitchen ground to a halt, but Ramsey came back and got things started. Sebastian talked to the camera about trying to accept the fact that he was failing, and trying to comes to term with the change. Sebastian came back ready to go. The service got back going, and the customers were happy.

Overall the change went well, but Gordon wondered whether things would continue that way after he left.

I think the changes were good, and that place could do very well if they stick to that new menu. They sure seemed to have a lot of customers.

They flashed “Kitchen Nightmares Now Casting – Call 866-226-2226” on the screen at the end of the show. Anyone have any idea what that means? There’s no cast on the show! It’s just restaurant owners, their staff and Gordon. …Well, and the announcer. Was that supposed to be a call for new restaurants?

Again, they did something that they’ve done for the last couple of shows: It ended abruptly, and they didn’t a “this is how they’re doing now” segment. It would be great it they did that.

UPDATE I was able to recover this posting after losing it the other day (thanks to Google’s cache), but unable to get back the comment section. Sorry about that folks.

Kitchen Nightmares – Seascape Inn

Gordon Ramsey

The Seascape Inn really went through big changes. The usual changes to restaurant we’ve seen before: new menu, new decor, and cleaner kitchen. But this time the owners also fired the head chef and sous chef. The main reasons? The kitchen was filthy and the chefs didn’t care.

From the looks of it, they really shouldn’t have waited until day five to bring in a new chef. Everything went into the dumper during the dinner service with the wait staff getting confused and the front of house didn’t communicate with the back of house.

One good pep talk to Peter the owner, and with some help from Jon-Baptiste (who runs Ramsey’s restaurant in New York), they finally figured things out.

The rest of the week was spent organizing a new menu with local seafood, and they even started a local chowder cook-off that was judged by the mayor.

So, what happened after all of this?

Five months later, the restaurant was sold.

Now, if you’ve read my other posting about “Kitchen Nighmares” and “Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares” (the British version of the show), you know I like the show.

I do have some suggestions about it though.

One of them I’ve said before: Let Ramsey narrate the show. They do it in the BBC version, and it’s great.

Next, the show doesn’t need such a long introduction. We KNOW he’s there to save a restaurant, why spend a big chuck of the show telling us that?

What makes this worse, the final 10 seconds of the show let us know that everything that was done was for nothing! No other explanation than “Peter got an offer he couldn’t refuse”. Come on! The BBC version tracks down the people later, and we find out who’s moved on, where they’ve gone, what’s happened to the owners if they place got sold… What’s the big deal? Even if they can’t get the old owners on camera, have SOMEONE tell us what happened. Getting people sucked in to the show for an hour and then just dumping the “They sold the restaurant” message at the end just as the show ends is a BIG turn-off. Keep doing that sort of thing, and people won’t want to watch! Why should they?

Kitchen Nightmares – Episode 2 – Dillons

Gordon Ramsey
This was the episode that brought Kitchen Nightmares national headlines even before the show premiered last week because of the lawsuit brought against the show by a former restaurant manager, and I can see why. That place was disgusting.

How in the world, with three managers running around, plus the owner of the place, could they have let things get into that state, we’ll probably never know. The kitchen was dirty, there was rotten food, bugs… It was a mess. If there ever was a place that needed help, that was it. I can’t imagine what the people that were sitting in the restaurant at the time must have been thinking when a manager told them they weren’t going to be serving dinner that night.

Martin, the general manager, ended up quitting on camera after overhearing Gordon telling the owner that he didn’t need as much management staff as was there. It was quite a confrontation.

The place ended up being better in the end than before Gordon was there (not that it would have been tough), but I was really, really surprised the place was still open by the end of the show. Probably the two best things that happened to that place were hiring the consulting chef, and redecorating the inside of the restaurant.

One thing is certain: This show will make you think twice before going out to eat.

Kitchen Nightmare’s Episode 1 – Peter’s Italian Restaurant

Gordon Ramsey
Great premiere episode of Kitchen Nighmares, the American version of Gordon Ramsey’s British Show “Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares”.

Quick summary:

Gordon went into Peter’s Italian Restaurant to find the kitchen on its last legs, rotten food, and a broken fridge. Most of the people in the restaurant considered Peter (one of the co-owners) part of the problem.

As is usually (but not always) the case, Gordon was able to turn the place around. I was quite surprised to see that Peter changed so much. I have to give Peter a lot of credit, I think he’s really helping in the restaurant’s success. Hopefully they’re still doing well.

You can really tell that Gordon cared about what happens at the restaurants he’s trying to help, and despite what others have said on other blogs, he definitely shows a much softer side than his appearances on Hell’s Kitchen. Running a kitchen, and helping to bail out someone else’s kitchen are to very different things, and these shows show that difference.

You might be wondering what the main differences are between the American version and the British version of the shows are.

The biggest difference was that in the British version, Gordon does the voice overs for the show himself. They have someone else doing the voice overs for the American version of the show. Personally, I like it better when Gordon does them because it feels like he’s leading you through the process.

The second big difference is that I don’t recall ever seeing Gordon revamping a kitchen like he did on the show tonight. New ovens, a stand-up fridge, new plates, etc. There might have been one BBC show where he did this, but not to this extent.

All in all, I wonder if this show is going to last, only because it seems like more of a show you’d see on Food Network or Bravo. I hope it does stick around though, because I really enjoyed it.

Gordon Ramsey’s Reaction to Kitchen Nightmares Lawsuit

Gordon Ramsey
TV Week has a story in which Gordon Ramsey reacts to the recent lawsuit over his new (not even out yet!) series, ‘Kitchen Nightmares’.

“The idea of bringing moldy food in and planting actors is a f**king joke,” Mr. Ramsay said. “There’s a man who got very scared and very embarrassed about his lack of professionalism. For a man to waste lawyers’ time and taxpayers’ money to get upset about something you’re the cause of…”

The BBC version of Kitchen Nightmares is a great show. Can’t wait to see the American version. I remember the first time I saw it on BBC America… My first thought was “They could never do this in the US; they’d get sued!” Sure enough…

Kitchen Nightmares starts on Sept 19th on Fox.

Via TV Week. Thanks to John for pointing me to this story.