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"Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares"


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<P>Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is a new 4 part series beginning on Channel 4 on Tuesday April 27. Executive Produced by Pat Llewellyn of The Naked Chef & French Leave fame, each hour long programme shows Ramsay's efforts to turn around the fortunes of a struggling UK restaurant in just two weeks. At the end of each week’s show, Ramsay revisits the restaurant to see whether his advice has been adopted and if the restaurant has improved.

The four kitchens featured in the series are:

  • Bonapartes, Silsden, West Yorkshire
  • Moore Place, Esher, Surrey
  • The Glasshouse, Ambleside, Cumbria
  • The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

<P>“I’m delighted to see Gordon back at Channel 4, “ comments Sue Murphy, Channel 4 Head of Features. “This series captures the passion for which he is renowned and points in the direction of the struggling restaurateurs who’ve asked for his help. What they and the audience get is the Full Ramsay.’

<P>‘This series is different’ adds Gordon Ramsay. ‘I’ve opened up the doors to my kitchens in the past, now there’s going to be some serious criticism of how other people run theirs. I’ve only got two weeks to turn things round so I won’t be mincing my words and if they can’t cut it, they won’t know what’s hit them.’

<P>A book, Ramsay's Kitchen Heaven, accompanies the series and is published by Penguin in May.

<P><table align=left><TD><A HREF="http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0718147316/egulletcom-21"><IMG SRC="http://images.egullet.com/u16710/i5850.jpg" border="0" alt="cover" hspace="3" vspace="3"></td></table></A>

<br><br><br> <br><br><br>

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

eGullet.com UK News Team

E-mail uknews@egullet.com with press releases, news reports, and food-biz gossip

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The times has an article about this.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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I do hope this show makes it to BBC America. I love'd GR on the "Cooking School" and "Dinner with Friends" series. And of course the Cook's Tour episode. We can't get enough of the man over here.

"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H. L. Mencken

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What a wonderful recipe for tv: take one utterly incompetent chef in a kitchen that, as GR himself said, is an 'effing disgrace'; one restaurant owner completely lacking ideas, vision, direction or a sense of what food is or should be about; add Gordon Ramsay, a touch of spice, stir and whip vigorously and what do you get? Absolutely rivetting telly!

I mean, how could you go wrong? This poor dumb chef couldn't even cook an omelette. When he tried to cook a simple bistro meal for his parents and grandparents, he blew the whole thing hopelessly. The opportunities for GR to go absolutely ballistic, with full, unexpurgated expletives, were immense and the great man did not disappoint.

This was brilliant primetime entertainment, certainly, and a nice variation on the reality tv shows which we have had a surfeit of recently. But the real worrying thing is that such inept chefs are serving such rubbish - and downright dangerously unhygienic - foods up and down the country. Throughout the show, the hopeless restaurant featured was compared to its successful competitor down the road. In the end, the hapless, hopeless chef got the push. Where did he end up? Working for that same competitor down the road (no doubt hired because he can now put on his CV that he did a 'stage' with GR). Who had the last laugh? Certainly not the paying customers.

MP

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What was amazing (apart from Gordon's use of "fuck", "fucker", "fucking" or some derivative thereof roughly every 6.5 seconds) was the way the young "chef" aspired to culinary greatness -- twizzling sauces around his dishes, stacking scallops and black puddings, making pilgrimages to see Gary Rhodes -- yet had a complete and utter contempt for food. A very memorable programme.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I wasn't enormously convinced: I felt the programme had a lot of French Leave about it - engineered set pieces which Ramsay wasn't quite a good enough actor to pull off. Was that scallop off? I dunno, but Ramsay certainly wasn't sick (he drank from a bottle of water and then coughed) and thought the pasty little head chef agreed that it was rancid, Ramsay could have convinced him of anything.

I just don't like Big Gord as a character; I'm not too bothered about his aggression, it's the pseudo-mateyness which grates (and idiotic things like his penalty celebration, throwing the scallops in the river etc.). In spite of the fact that he has built a reputation as an accomplished swearer, he is remarkably inconsistent in his pronunciation (peripatetic youth, perhaps): Fooking, Fokking, Fucking, Facking... He is trying all too hard and it's a little embarrassing. (But at least not as embarrassing as his constant references to his sex life in interviews.)

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I'm afraid I turned it off, for two reasons:

1. The set-up was too extreme - the chef was clearly completely incompetent.

2. I find GR an utterly repulsive macho boor.

It would have been more interesting (and rather more representative) if he had been trying to turn around a chef with some talent who was nevertheless failing (perhaps due to customer base, inexperience, staff problems or the like). The culinary equivalent of John Harvey Jones troubleshooting.

W.

Edited by Winot (log)
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I expected GR to be much harder on the young fella. I kept thinking he was pulling his punches. But as GR himself has said: "you can only give the real bollockings to those you love. Otherwise it doesn't mean anything."

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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i'll say it again, i loved the show. but that said, my favourite tv moment of last year was wife swop's lizzie, so i have a track record of being a mean old, peeking through the fingers voyeur.

"he always wanted to be a chef. he said "mam, i'm booking a ticket to the good food live show and i've going to meet gary rhodes"

*cries with laughter*

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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I expected GR to be much harder on the young fella. I kept thinking he was pulling his punches.

C'mon, Moby, the kid was easy pickings and he got a major league roasting. In the full public glare of primetime broadcasting, this was one brutal public humiliation, the modern equivalent of being put in the stocks for the public to see and jeer and toss rotten scallops at. GR makes those US marines-type boot camp sergeants who shout at everyone and who are trotted out for reality tv shows seem like boy scouts. Of course he was laying it on thick. It's part of his carefully calculated bad boy image, and I agree, at times it did not seem as if he really meant it. But that didn't make it any less humiliating or uncomfortable for the 'kid-chef'.

Of course, let's be honest. For most of us, safe in the comfort of our middle class sofas watching on our widescreen Sonys, smugly wrapped in our own foodie knowledge and superiority, it was just as easy for us (and I certainly include myself in this) to snort and sneer at the kid-chef's culinary ineptitudes, if not eff and blind with quite the panache of GR. And there was certainly a dig at northern provincialism, too, it seemed to me, where the only food the punters (two old boys in flat caps picked out 'randomly' to give the taste test) really want are prawn cocktail, steak and ale pie and chicken bloody kiev. Talk about patronising!

In the end, I have to say it left something of a rather sour taste (in between the chortles). It was apparent that GR really didn't give a flying f**k about the kid or his career; he was simply a televisual vehicle for GR to rant and rave and strut about at in the arrogant and superior manner of the celebrity chef-deity, whose restaurants are the shrine at which so many now worship. Amusing, entertaining, riveting, certainly: but ultimately, like so many meals these days that promise much but don't deliver, rather tasteless and unsatisfying.

Looking forward to the next episode? You bet I am!

MP

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I think as a first show, they put this out for laughs, really. Pull up the numbers stuff. I think GR was quite gentle and probably appropriately so, given the level both the owner and chef were at. They didn't even know how off they were.

It will be more interesting when he gets a good chef who could be better. I hope we see one at some point, though the programme title kind of sets it up differently.

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This isn't the first time that Gordon Ramsay has done a makeover on a wannabee chef.

There was a programme called "Faking It" a few years ago in which a burger flipper had to pass himself off as a chef -- at a much higher standard of cuisine and customer -- and had about a month to retrain himself. Gordon was one of the retrainers.

What I found interesting was that the burger-flipper genuinely engaged in what he was being taught -- he worked hard, put up with the fuckspeak and abuse, and in fact did remake himself: not only did he fool a roomful of food critics, but he ended up changing careers and becoming a real cook.

The "chef" last night started out in a fantasy world, believing that he would become a television chef, creating "artistic" dishes, when in fact he couldn't even clean his kitchen. His response to Gordon's tirades was consistently passive: he would try to comply but would consistently lapse back into bad habits. Through incredible effort, they filled the restaurant one night; a month later, the kitchen was filthy and the bookings back to 4 customers. No "transformation" had in fact occurred, and in this sense I guess Gordon failed in his mission.

What Gordon was shouting at the "chef" was sound: establish a relationship with your manager! Clean the kitchen! Care about the quality of the products you cook! Find a few dishes that your customers enjoy and make those well! Take charge of what you're doing! Forget about cheffy fantasies!

Nothing wrong with any of that advice.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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This isn't the first time that Gordon Ramsay has done a makeover on a wannabee chef.

There was a programme called "Faking It" a few years ago in which a burger flipper had to pass himself off as a chef -- at a much higher standard of cuisine and customer -- and had about a month to retrain himself. Gordon was one of the retrainers.

I remember that programme as one of the best bits of TV I've seen in a long time, and whilst I enjoyed last night's programme, still preferred the Faking It one because I empathised so much more with the young chap. I seem to remember that he wouldn't say boo to a goose, and had real self confidence issues. To see his transformation through commitment, hard work and real support was marvellous - loved it when he actually won the competition!

On the other hand, I wanted to stick that Tim's head into the disgusting deep fat fryer - repeatedly. Still good television though and am looking forward to the next programme :smile:

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You know, by shear coincidence I was in the UK this week and caught a bit of Kitchen Nightmares just before passing out from jet lag. Compared to American reality TV, I found it to be fucking brilliant. I suspect that this level of incompetance is rampant in small restaurant land, but would never be detected or even suspected by the average paying customer. Yeah, the fact that the "chef" had NEVER made an omelette was rather impressive. :blink:

It almost makes me want to stay in the UK. :lying:

Edt: spalling.

Edited by GG Mora (log)
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Here goes,

As someone who has seen and heard what he is like in person I can inform you off the following.

1) It wasn't put on for the cameras.He's a chef not an actor and he very well knows it.

2) Was he sick after eating that scallop?....well no, But I do think the work is

"GAGGED".

3) Yes he is a bastard in real life, but a bloddy good one at it.

4) Who really cares, he's worth over 20 million and is loved to be hated.

Anyway, no longer working near him and doing things for myself now!!!!! :biggrin:

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GR was on a chat show over here last Friday and said that next week's restaurant was worse. He also said that Tim was a knobhead and no more but the next guy asked him outside...

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OK who else watched last night's episode? Compred to last week, GR was positively (disappointingly?) tame, well-behaved, even, dare I suggest, well-intentioned.

And the FUCKOMETER™ hardly even registered.

At one point, the great man even said,

<shock, horror>

GOOD, GOOD, GOOD!!!

</shock, horror>

The only time he managed to rouse himself (and this did seem rather a set up - you could almost imagine the Assistant Producer, clipboard in hand, counting up the 'fucks' and seeing that there weren't quite enough) was when the milque-toast restaurant owner Neill plucked up the courage to suggest that GR's caesar salad was, um, er, 'too big'. Not that it was bad, not that he didn't like it, simply that it was 'too big' and he couldn't finish it. GR went ballistic and turned on the poor quivering, pale-faced fellow with characteristic rage, but by then his cover had already been blown. In encouraging the young trainees, in getting them to work as a team and produce what he even acknowledged was excellent food, in praising them and cajoling them and demonstrating how it was possible to get the best out of them (not by shouting or swearing or abusing) he actually revealed himself as someone who really did care - he actually revealed himself as a 'Nice Guy'.

Gawd, where, will this end, I ask? At this rate, we'll soon be seeing his craggy face in our living rooms on Sainsbury's ads ("lubbly fucking jubbly"), holding babies and running for Parliament.

MP

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He is starting to take over the world....(well, the media/person-in-the-spotlight- right-now world)

The Independent - Hell's Kitchen

I thought last night's programme was so positively tame that it felt like a different show - and what about the gratutious 'Gordon takes off his shirt' shot?!

Someone at work mentioned that the shirtless shot was actually written into his contract - apparently something to do with his gay following. Probably not true, but a good story anyway.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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On the 'Big' Caesar Salad issue - Have you seen his recipe for it? I was flicking through his new book yesterday, looks quite nice, but it's got Bacon in it (glazed with maple syrup!) and a poached egg.

It's not a Caesar salad.

S'pose a Gordon Salad doesn't sound the same though. Although 'Salad Gordon' has that 1930's Hotel dining feel about it!

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Living in America, I haven't seen Kitchen Nightmare yet, but I am a big fan of GR from Cook's Tour, Faking It (a wonderful episode!) and other articles, etc. There was a great interview with him in the UK Daily Telegraph. Here's just a little selection about the slacker scallop chef:

"Bollocks, I didn't humiliate him," says Ramsay. "He made a f------ w------ twat of himself all by himself. I was frustrated and depressed at his lack of effort."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wine/main.jhtml...%2Fftgord04.xml

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I actually preferred the second episode. In the first show there was a lot of swearing and a hint of Gordon's passion. As John suggests, the second episode highlighted much more clearly Gordon's passion for both producing great food and looking after staff who repay him with talent and hard work. I'd work for him at the drop of a hat if he needed what I can offer!

All the best,

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