The star chef saves failing restaurants from culinary hell
Go behind the scenes at struggling restaurants with Gordon Ramsay, Britain’s most celebrated gourmet. One of the world’s top chefs (with 12 Michelin stars to his name) and three-time winner of a Catey award (the British hospitality industry’s highest honor), Ramsay knows restaurants top to bottom. And he needs every bit of his expertise to rescue these real-life culinary and commercial disasters in just one week.
Foul-tasting food, chaotic kitchens, misguided menus — Ramsay confronts them all, along with incompetent cooks, boneheaded servers, and painfully obstinate owners. He handles staffers with his profanity-filled, in-your-face style that suffers no fools and spares no egos. Also includes four episodes of Kitchen Nightmares Revisited, in which Ramsay returns to these restaurants on the brink to see whether his shock treatment worked. After just a few episodes of this International Emmy®-winning reality series, you’ll never dine out quite the same again.
DVD FEATURES INCLUDE production notes and biography of Gordon Ramsay.
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares shares the same sense of tension as cooking contest shows, Iron Chef or Top Chef, but somehow this series beats them all, if you’re looking for something more than a straight view of the chopping block. Whereas the aforementioned programs portray a chef’s extreme duress from the chef’s point of view, Gordon Ramsay offers the best of both worlds by offering an outsider’s business perspective while tying his apron on a few minutes per episode to teach his audience how to cook. The premise of the show is simple: a master chef studded with Michelin stars visits struggling restaurants to business consult and jump start their menus. Scenes alternate between his meetings with the restaurant owners, Ramsay teaching the kitchen members how to cook decent food, and Ramsay in his hotel, venting about his clients’ low competency levels. Started in Britain in 2004 and picked up by Fox television in 2007, this first season of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares takes place in small town England and Wales. As such, one will learn more than ever thought possible about lamb shank, mushy peas, haddock, Yorkshire puddings, and other hearty foods indicative of that culture. The series opens with a nightmarish glimpse into a filthy kitchen at Bonapartes Restaurant in Silsden, England. Ramsay tries to slap the lazy chef into shape, with sad results. Episode two, “The Glass House,” is slightly less disturbing on a hygienic level but exemplifies how structural problems amongst employees can drag a business into the mud. “The Walnut Tree Inn,” set in Llandewi Skirrid, South Wales, and “Moore Place,” set on a golf course in Esher, England, focus on how tradition can choke out customers who crave new, innovative menus. These two episodes feel especially indicative of the British Isles, as the restaurateurs struggle with how to maintain their reputation while rejuvenating notions of how people want to eat. In “Moore Place,” for example, Ramsay recommends Americanizing the menu, to break from the local pub competition. It’s a brilliant business strategy, and it works. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares also works because of follow-up episodes titled Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Revisited, in which he tests how long-lasting his suggestions are. If one is interested in not only a straight cooking show, but also in the many facets of running a restaurant, this program is highly educational and fun to watch. —Trinie Dalton
Stills from Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (Click for larger image)