Rancid scallops, arrogant head chefs, and dangerously dirty kitchens...these are just some of the horrors that await celebrated UK chef, Gordon Ramsay, in Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Famous for his explosive personality, fiery temper, and colorful language, Gordon attempts to save a different restaurant from financial ruin every week.
Preview of the American Kitchen Nightmares series.
As part of the Great British Food Fight season, tough talking, inspirational chef Gordon Ramsay takes on two struggling ventures at once; one in Sheffield, the other in Devon.
The venue is The Runaway Girl, a tapas bar-cum-nightclub in Sheffield city centre on the brink of collapse. The restaurant is losing money by the bucket-load and the two best friends who run it are at war with each other. The owner Justin Rowntree won't listen to reason, and his head chef and best friend Ritchie has had enough. To make matters worse the credit crunch has hit and there is fierce competition from corporate chains.
The Dovecote is a bistro in the heart of rural Devon run by a family at breaking point. The restaurant is on its last legs - they've run out of customers, money and hope. Enter Gordon, who on his first visit to the bistro is confronted with hideous wallpaper, vacuum packed lamb and a pig-headed head chef and owner who can't face up to his mistakes. Gordon has a torrid time putting them on the road to recovery, but come the autumn, they are sticking to his rules and business is looking brighter.
While previously successful, the Mayfair has fallen on hard times, which Ramsay attributes to owner Jack's refusal to fire head chef Juan, awful hygiene standards (which results in Ramsay closing the restaurant down for the first day for an extensive cleaning), and insistence on filling much of the restaurant with useless junk. Ramsay initially sees Jack's son John as the right man to take over, but quickly loses faith on finding out that not only has the car hire business that John runs separately been a huge failure, he's invested €40,000 of his parents' money into it too. After forcing John to promise to shut down his hire business and eventually repay his parents, and getting Jack to get rid of his hoard, Ramsay renames the restaurant Jack's Chicken Shack and creates a new menu focused around fried chicken. The service that follows initially goes poorly thanks to John's poor handling of the order system, but he eventually gets the hang of it, and service is successfully completed.
In his revisit, Ramsay is encouraged to find that the restaurant is still busy, Juan has been moved to barkeeping duties and replaced by a younger chef (also called Juan), and cleanliness standards have been maintained. However, he makes John write an IOU to his parents when he reveals that he hasn't paid them back any money yet.
As soon as he arrives at the restaurant, Ramsay is outraged by head chef Steve and the staff cooking themselves a sirloin dinner, and accuses them of taking advantage of owners Tim and Debbie. However, Tim is discovered to be a big part of the problem due to his interference in service, refusal to allow Steve to set his own menu, and careless handling of the business side of the restaurant. While Ramsay has further criticism for Steve's lack of local product knowledge and not even being able to speak French, he and the kitchen staff prove their skill by cooking good dishes after Ramsay takes them to a local seafood market, only for Tim to berate the staff when he sees the results, accusing them of holding back and even threatening to fire them. Despite this, the reopening night goes well, and Ramsay tells Tim that so long as he doesn't interfere with the running of the kitchen, he can make Le Deck a success.
No revisit is shown in the episode, though an epilogue caption reveals that the restaurant is still doing well, while Steve has left and returned to the mountain resort where he previously worked, leaving sous chef Stuey to take over as head chef.
In a Kitchen Nightmares first, Ramsay works with a restaurant that has opened only 8 weeks prior to his arrival. Owners Milan and Gina are new to the restaurant industry and their inexperience leads them to lean on head chef Neal to manage the restaurant as well as run the kitchen, putting heavy pressure on Neal. Ramsay notes that the restaurant’s menu is too complicated for a small brigade and discovers Neal fails to delegate to his assistant chefs, which heavily slows down service and causes Neal to be extremely stressed while cooking.
In order to demonstrate the difficulty that Neal and the servers are under, Ramsay has Milan and Gina work a service with only six guests, which forces them to see the negative impact of decisions they had made, like the broken dumbwaiter and the complicated menu. He also implements a new menu around sharing plates, which takes pressure off the kitchen. During the relaunch, the service initially starts off very strong. However, when the sharing plates run out, Neal buckles under pressure and reverts to his bad habits. Fortunately, Ramsay is able to get Neal back on track, saving the service and impressing a local food critic.
No revisit is shown in the episode, but it is said that the restaurant is taking in 5,000 pounds a week, Neal and Emily are managing the restaurant, and the owners have taken a step back.
Initially, Ramsay is put off by the fact that siblings Joe and Terry Quelcutti seem more interested in running the establishment as a bar rather than a restaurant, which has caused chef Terry’s food to be abysmal. However, he identifies a bigger problem: server Joe’s inability to keep cool during service leads him to regularly confront guests he’s meant to be serving. In order to improve the siblings’ abilities in the front and back of house, Ramsay has them work a lunch service at Quique De Costa, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the area.
Ramsay relaunches the restaurant as Quelcutti’s Tapas with a menu focused on Spanish tapas and quality wine. During service, Joe’s panicky nature initially causes him to take too many food orders and get short with Ramsay; fortunately, Joe is able to regain his rhythm and the service ends well. Upon revisit, Ramsay returns to find the restaurant is making money and the siblings are finally able to pay themselves a wage.