HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Gordon Ramsey Nightmares, USA version

Stopped in at a local restaurant last week, hadn't seen the owner in some time. When I asked what's new, he told me that Gordon Ramsey is making a Kitchen Nightmares show there and also other places aroound the country, they're shooting in March and airing in May. Wish I could pick up the BBC version but this will be better than nothing.
PS I volunteered to help out while they're filming but I'm sure that won't happen!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. love that show! i read somewhere they advertised for interested restaurnats. glad to hear it's airing soon(ish) but i wonder about that return-to-check-on-the-place bit at the end of each episode. how much time are they giving the restaurant before he comes back to check on them, a month? (based on the soot - air dates: March -May) perhaps they're changing the format a little. at any rate, looking forward to it!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nuxvomica

      The ad ran a while ago on Craig's List Los Angeles.

    2. Great show. I have a poor quality DVD of the first season...my SO and I watch it quite often. I'm not sure how much I'd advertise that my restaurant is going to be featured on Kitchen Nightmares, however!

      6 Replies
      1. re: peetoteeto

        He told me it's because he's new, not bad! But he did own another place for many years, so he's fudging it.

        1. re: coll

          The idea of the show is that the restaurants are doomed to fail without an intervention.

          If the food's good, then there must be business problems. Unless maybe he's just cooking up imaginary problems to get on the show.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I wouldn't be surprised!!!! Or because it's an Irish pub and it'll be around St Patricks Day?

            1. re: coll

              The "before" situation is always that the restaurant's facing bankruptcy, either from a well-deserved lack of customers or because expenses are out of line.

              Ramsay spends a week trying to straighten them out, then goes back a month or so later to see if the place has turned around.

        2. re: peetoteeto

          I have all 4 seasons on DVDs too but mine are excellent quality. LOL. Ramsay’s kitchen Nightmares is one of my favorite shows. Mainly because it contains a huge amount of practical business advice. Not just for running a restaurant. The lessons Ramsay outlines can apply to any type of business. I’ve watched the show many times on dvd and keep finding new pointers and ideas. Very useful.

          1. re: toptvchefs

            Is there any way to get DVD's of the shows? I don't have tv, cable, or satellite but would love to see it.

        3. So exciting! They used to air them on FoodTV Canada and I was addicted.

            1. My hope for this show is that they don't "Americanize" it so much that it's just Gordon running around yelling at everybody, a la Hell's Kitchen. The one thing I love about the UK version of Kitchen Nightmare's is that Ramsay comes across compassionate, excited and willing to get into the muck of things (How often do you see 3 Michelin star-chefs do you see peeling potatoes?) .

              So far the previews have me less than enthusiastic, but we'll see.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Rocknrope

                I don't see the yelling of HK as being anything to do with America, do you? Sounds like the US -HK is the same as the UK-HK, yes? (Sorry - added that for effect.)

                By the way, have you all heard that there's already a lawsuit filed by the owner of one of the US restaurants, claiming much was staged?

                1. re: cackalackie

                  They posted the affidavit for the lawsuit somewhere and it sounded kind of ridiculous. They were trying to use GR's behavior on episodes of Hell's Kitchen as evidence of his nature etc. I think he won a similar lawsuit in the UK.

                  1. re: cackalackie

                    That could be the case, as I haven't seen the UK-HK. Perhaps I made the generalization that America tv shows seem to enjoy creating the caricature of a personna and running with it (The slut, the goody-two shoes, the jock, the brainiac, the foul-mouthed chef. ;))

                    1. re: cackalackie

                      Sounds like sour grapes. The BBC show simply forces the owner/chef to realize the incompetence that surrounds them (sometimes its themselves!) and to take action if they want to stay in business & make money. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes it dosn't.

                      Article about the case:

                      Case docket:

                  2. Just saw tonight's episode on BBC America (of the UK series). He turned around a place in Spain's Costa Del Sol - La Parra de Burriana. He says that he has 2 weeks to do each place, and then comes back in about a month. This one looked very well done - but I understand that he's being sued by one of these places.

                    Here's the episode guide for the program on BBC America's page:

                    This is Fox's site on the US series - not much info there:

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: applehome

                      I saw last night's BBC-A premier as well. Quite good, and probably one of the longest times I've seen it take for the chef to get it out of his thick head that what he was doing wasn't working.

                      Ramsay is actually there for only one week, not two, so he doesn't have much time with each place.

                      I was cracking up when he was describing the kabobs and a table full of "donkey d*cks"

                      1. re: Rocknrope

                        When I saw those horrible swinging kabobs coming out, I was thinking "oh my god, it looks like a schl*ng!"

                        And then GR said the exact same thing. Couldn't believe it wasn't bleeped out.

                        1. re: weezycom

                          Since BBC-A is available only via cable systems and satellite in the US, they don't fall under FCC regulation. Gordon can say whatever the bleepin 'ell e wants to!

                          1. re: LabRat

                            That still doesn't prevent them from bleeping him!

                            1. re: cackalackie

                              Yes they still censor some of it, but not all. The ones I've seen elsewhere have not been censored at all.

                        2. re: Rocknrope

                          I don't run a resto anymore, but if I was in trouble and GR came to help me I might just listen to him.

                          Before he arrived I might even rent the previous seasons and take a look. No way would I have a 72(!) item menu or a kitchen that dirty.

                          The sad part of the whole thing was that my wife and I paused the show to read "new" menu, if we were looking for a placce to eat we'd probably skip this place and look for more seafood.

                          1. re: Scrapironchef

                            Shopsin's in NY has hundreds of menu items and they do just fine.

                            1. re: Leonardo

                              With one chef? All done with a deep fryer and a griddle? Badly?

                              1. re: Leonardo

                                Calvin Trillian's love aside, I believe the restaurant is now closed. With all due respect, if you've seen Kitchen Nightmares no one on that show had a desire to be Shopsin's. I can guarantee you for the "hundreds" of menu items (let's face it, 30+ kinds of pancakes is cheating it and is basically batter with whatever thrown in), if you really wanted to get the best of something in town (let's say Banana Pancakes), Shopsin's wasn't the absolute best place to get them. It was a great place to visit as a tourist and much of the charm was in the atmosphere. They are clearly an exception to the rule, although I doubt Shopsin's was ever constantly on the verge of bankruptcy and desperately adding menu items in hopes of luring new customers.

                                In watching Kitchen Nightmares, you will find that GR's message regarding too many menu items is incredibly consistent and makes complete sense. If you have 30 + menu items that require a ton of ingredients, you open yourself up to three big problems: 1) you do a lot of things decently but nothing extraordinary which means that you're not likely to get people talking about how fantastic you are and coming back; 2) due to the huge ingredient list, you will either have to use sub-standard items (read: premade sauces and the like) or if you use fresh, you'll kill yourself with food waste; 3) the more your kitchen has to switch gears when they cook, the more likely you're to get behind, the more likely your service will suffer.

                                It's really a brilliant series that we're fortunate enough to get on BBC America. I do hope that they don't tinker with the formula too much to get the Fox factor going. As others have noted, there are many fantastic business lessons to be learned from this show - and it's amazing to see how blind people can be in trusting the wrong sorts of people with their dreams of owning a restaurant.

                                1. re: Stephmo

                                  Nicely put, Stephmo. One of my favorite neighborhood restaurants seats perhaps 110 when packed (which is often) and has perhaps 25 items on the menu. Another neighborhood joint -- that I've always been a little disappointed in -- seats at best 45, is usally 2/3rds empty, and has 40 to 50 menu items. I always look at that menu and wonder how the restaurant can stay in business with that many items on offer and such a scant amount of people to eat it.

                                  1. re: weezycom

                                    There's a restaurant here in Tuckahoe, New York that subjected themselves to Gordon's new show. I was in there and briefly discussed the taping with the chef (feel funny even calling him that). He’s seems to just think the show was a documentary and is “fun tv”. Man is he in for a surprise once the show airs.

                                    See para. 3 in this post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425778

                                    Amazingly enough, the place still sucks even after Gordon did his thing. I have a strange feeling these guys never saw any episodes from the UK. After Gordon leaves the place, they're usually left standing around with their tail between their legs.

                                    What these restaurants don't understand is that for Gordon to even pick the place, it's got to be bad. Really really bad. Gordon took this place in Tuckahoe and showed what a bumbling fool the chef is and proved that just because you’re a daytime soap actor, it’s not qualifications to run a restaurant. Think he can really take an idiot and teach him how to run a kitchen in 7 days? I spoke to this guy and he was still clueless, even after being mentored by Gordon.

                                    Sorry Gordon, there’s just no helping people that just don’t care.

                                    I will say that watching the show should be required viewing for anyone planning to open a restaurant.

                                    Anyone see the new trailer when the guy comes running after Gordon in the street yelling “I’ll kick your ef-ing british ass!”? This U.S. version is sure to be a hit.

                                    1. re: billyparsons

                                      I've seen the trailers a lot recently. I can't believe how....different it seems to the British one. Perhaps it's partly due to the fact that the yanks don't know much about him - what to expect....

                                      Can't wait!

                                      1. re: cackalackie

                                        This show starts this week! The British Kitchen Nightmares is one of my all-time favorite shows; GR is much more human and well rounded in those episodes than the unwatchable Hell's Kitchen. The ways each restaurant reflects a dysfunctional dynamic and how he actually has to come in and play motivational speaker and shrink to these various staffs is absolutely fascinating. Granted his message gets a little repetitive after a while: Do a simple menu with fresh ingredients so you can keep up with orders, but it's mind-numbing in how many different ways people cannot follow this common-sense recommendation. GR butting heads with American-style narcissism should be fun to watch.

                                      2. re: billyparsons

                                        Just curious...which restaurant was it in Tuckahoe?

                                        1. re: MRS

                                          I think I heard 'the olde stone mill'

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Fox...so you know it will be a bit different from the British version (more on the rants and raves, I'm afraid less on the humanizing side of GR).

                              1. re: Stephmo

                                Any info on the lawsuit? Funny that for all the ones he did in the UK, he never got sued - he does a couple in the US, and bang...

                                I've really enjoyed the UK ones. He works hard (or seems to - maybe it's just TV). He often leaves people with recipes that become their trademark dish. And he has certainly shown a creative ability to do things (parades, call in some local "stars", give food away) to pull in new clientele. He absolutely understands the business side.

                                1. re: applehome

                                  Tonight is the episode with Peter's Italian Restaurant. Check out the teasers on youtube. This version blows away the UK series. You have to see the kitchen blow their stack!

                                  1. re: applehome

                                    Although he wasn't sued directly, GR sued the London Evening Standard for libel after they wrote an article interviewing the owner of Bonapartes who alleged GR had faked some of the scenes (which was a similar complaint by the recent US lawsuit by some Indian place in NYC). GR won the UK suit.

                                    I saw the affidavit online of the US lawsuit, and, fair trial notwithstanding, their complaints don't seem that legitimate. Talk about biting the hand that feeds them.

                                    1. re: applehome

                                      Umm...he DID get sued in the UK by the owner of Bonaparte's, which Ramsay won. The judge threw out the US lawsuit from the restaurant Dillon's.

                                      1. re: Rocknrope

                                        No - I don't think so. As Jeanki says, it was Gordon that sued the newspaper, and won 75,000 pounds and a retraction/apology. I see nothing on-line or anywhere saying that the (ex) owner of Bonaparte's, Sue Ray actually sued him. The NYC suit was thrown out of court.

                                        Here's a link to a BBC article: