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US Kitchen Nightmares, Episode 1

I'm not going to say too much because it hasn't aired on the West coast yet.

I had high hopes for this show... I love the English version. The shows' recipe for success is very simple, but effective. Gordon goes in, figures out what's going wrong, and helps them fix it as best he can in a week. Usually it involves changing the menu, and occasionally changing the staff... Alas it seems that Fox just didn't 'get' it! I could tell from the first five minutes of the show that it was likely to suck, because it took TEN MINUTES OF SHOW for Gordon Ramsay to even get to make an appearance! I stuck it out for about 45 minutes and then I'd had enough. For one thing, where was the food?! It was all people cursing at each other (bleeped out of course since it's prime time) and enough advertisement breaks to sink a ship. It'll get one more chance, and then I'll find something else to watch...

What did you think?

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  1. I agree on the food aspect, but he did appear to do what he came to do, and that was fix the place, I never liked Gordo before tonight, but thought he handled Peter quite well...must say i expected a fist fight though...lol

    2 Replies
    1. re: jword2001

      Peter, was in a few words, something else. :-) Almost a caricature of a character in Good Fellas or The Godfather (which he obviously has watched over and over again). That kitchen was the pits to work in (although next week's previews look even worse!).

      I wasn't sure there was going to be a turnaround. I would be even more impressed to see Gordon Ramsay go back in 6-9 months to see how they're still doing.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Agree on all points, Linda. I only hope Peter was doing more acting than being real (as is the case with most of Fox's so-called "reality shows").

        The more I see of Mr. Ramsay, the more I like him. I admit to not having seen the BBC originals of this show, but I'm going to make a point to find them on the satellite schedule.

        Having seen the state of this kitchen, and previews for future shows, it makes me think twice about dining out!

    2. Just finished watching here on the west coast, and I agree. In true FOX reality show fashion, they emphasized the drama and de-emphasized the food and business. Real drama doesn't necessarily mean throwing punches in the street. The opening credits were so freakin' long and pretty much all "previews" of what was going to happen in the show--so why not just use that 10 minutes to actually show us the dang show instead of just show us highlights?! Sheesh!

      There were some priceless moments that made it worth the watch, though. I particularly enjoyed the head chef's expressions when GR finally confronted Peter--hysterical! Still, I would have liked to have seen more of GR interacting with the chef and sous chef in developing the new menu rather than watch all the Peter drama. It was just too much. But, hey, it's FOX.

      I still much prefer the UK version, but I'll continue to watch this one (at least until Lost returns! hehehe) and hope that future eps are not nearly as dramatic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tachis

        I agree with much of what you say here--especially the last paragraph! What a huge difference.

        I never saw GR on the BBC version supply another kitchen with new appliances before.

        1. re: Ruffio

          Good point! Usually he helps the owners get a discount or opens some doors, but I don't recall him actually shelling out that kind of moola. Maybe that's why there were so many commercial breaks; money had to come from somewhere! It just had that whole Oprah-makes-your-dreams-come-true-Extreme-Makeover feel to it that made it a little too over the top.

          1. re: tachis

            On the BBC version he would have lined them up with a supplier who could give them a good deal on a second-hand (but in perfect working order) range/oven etc. and had it in place for their grand reopening, and made them spend the first day scrubbing out the revolting kitchen themselves to really make them realise just how disgusting it was (in other words, make them learn something and WORK for their reward!) but Fox had to bring in the kitchen fairies overnight to make it all better.

            1. re: Kajikit

              Wonder if those kitchen fairies rent out? :-)

              I thought the same thing - make *them* clean their own kitchen (or make Peter do it, since he spent the money on suits vs. a working oven/stovetop).

      2. Com'n you guys, what exactly did you expect from Fox? Besides the Simpsons, what has Fox done or what haven't they mucked up? Sorry to say it but have you seen their sports coverage or news? They're clueless.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          they do an excellent job with 24 , but most of their shows are not that great, hey since it's fox ,maybe well see Gordo do a kitchen nightmare's episode on Krusty burger!

          1. re: jword2001

            I was going to mention 24...but it's sort of turned southward. What can you say? Krusty burgers for all! Or...mmmmm donuts.

        2. So true. I love Gordon and I've seen every single one of the British version. That version had heart and focused on the food. Sure a lot of the little touches needed vevamp, but it's mainly the food and the service. Last nights episode was a typical fox disaster. All that place needed was to get a new kitchen and get that Peter guy outta there. But of course, Gordon coming up with that "Family style" was brilliant.

          Anyone from that area knows about this Peter dude and who the real story behind those debt collectors?

          Oh and I'll watch this stupid show just because I'm a GR fan. But I'll be sure to tivo it next time so I can get through the junk.


            1. What a nightmare trainwreck of a show. I'm tired of shows that are perfect in their original versions on BBC having their souls completely cut out and stomped on in the name of "Americanizing" them. Since when does anyone on the BBC Kitchen Nightmares get an ENTIRE new kitchen with VIKING blazing all over the joint? Corporate sponsorship much? Disgusting. It's supposed to be about the food, the menu, the people in the kitchen. Do I need to see Petey Bag O' Donuts go Long Island postal on some 'bill collector'? Please...it makes me ashamed to be a New Yorker. And I've eaten in this place too so I was prepared to cut the show some slack.

              Don't we already have Hell's Kitchen to exploit Ramsey's fame and talent with traditional American Reality show cliches? We need another pile of crap over the top turd from FOX on top of it? I'll go back to watching the original on BBC. So much more interesting.

              1 Reply
              1. re: spicynuts

                I was laughing at the "bill collectors" bit, too. Pay your bookies, Peter!

              2. Was this the place that is/was suing GR/Fox?

                How great was it when Peter was screaming at the man who showed up in the middle of the staff meeting that he was a "fake gangster". Hello pot, this is kettle.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LStaff

                  I don't care what Gordon did to the kitchen at that jopint. Peter is nothing short of a sociopath and I'll think twice about driving through babylon let alone going there. His poor sister!

                2. I think the show deliberately chose this restaurant for the character of the owners. They were trying to showcase a real stereotypical NY Italian family. Even the "bill collector" (aka loan shark) seemed like a caricature.

                  I think this show was definitely edited to make Peter seem like the biggest @sshul possible. If he were as big of a jerk as he seemed, why was he so easily willing to reform? I would have expected him to be more defensive. Instead he said, "You said all of the things everyone has wanted to say to me for a long time. I'll do better in the future." He was totally penitent. Obviously this man was aware of his flaw from the get-go.

                  A great example of the creative editing was the crying waitress. That scene came in the middle of the show. At the end of the show he was seen hugging her and apologizing. The producers wanted to make it seem as if he didn't apologize until after he "reformed". But it was quite obvious from the background in the kitchen that he apologized to her on teh same night as her tantrum.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                    Yep, he apologized the same night. You can see that they are wearing the same clothes.

                    1. re: Avalondaughter

                      My point, too. Peter is made out to be a big, overgrown, spoiled baby used to being waited on hand and foot. Someone like that doesn't literally "see the light" and turn on a dime into being a sweetheart of a good guy overnight. It just doesn't happen in real life.

                      I don't really mind FOX playing up the personalities for dramatic effect but it would help if they did it in such a way that you could at least imagine it being real.

                      1. re: Avalondaughter

                        This is exactly the kind of b.s. that ruins what was a gem on the BBC. It is never about exploiting personalities for drama through creative editing. It is about what works and what doesn't in running a restaurant. Not that the BBC show doesn't include personality conflict and ego, but it is not the heart and soul of the show - it is an element used to illustrate how a restaurant can go bad. FOX on the other hand uses the restaurant merely as a backdrop to the same old garbage freakshow act that all of their shows are based on. Depressing.

                        1. re: spicynuts

                          I believe Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares was on Channel 4, which is a commercial station, and not the BBC, although the Beeb bought the rights to it to show on BBC America...

                        2. re: Avalondaughter

                          haha i am the crying waitress lol and i must say it was pretty humorus to watch that on TV. there was alot more reason to me crying besides what was on tv. besides him yelling at me in front of my guest and calling me a F'in moron when my clams took to long because he ate them lol and it was just stressful having those camerasss alll over the place. haha and i was embarassed by peter yelling at me like that and then i ended up embarassing myself even more. they wouldnt even let me be upset on my own lol and i tried to hold it in which caused my hiccupping cries. and for those who are wondering...thats really how it was working there. it just usually was never a big deal cause peter was nevvvveeer there.

                          1. re: daddysgrlaaf414

                            You say "was" like you don't work there anymore; have you left Peter's? He seems like a real prince, that's for sure.

                            What's happened there since the camera crew left? One of the things different about the new, US version of this show is that on the UK version, Gordon usually does a follow-up in about 1-2 months after having left, to see how things went, but I guess that's not dramatic enough for Fox so they're not doing that with the US version. Can you give us an idea of how things are now?

                            Thanks for posting.

                            1. re: daddysgrlaaf414

                              Don't be embarassed. I would have cried if someone talked to me like that too - cameras or not! I was just criticizing the exploitation aspect of it all.

                          2. I know it's edited all to hell. I know it's more drama than cooking.

                            But Gorden Ramsey is my TV boyfriend. The man is hilarious ("I just brush mine twice a day.") and there is something about him that perks up whatever show he's on. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the season.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: dalaimama

                              that brushing comment was priceless, particularly coming from a brit since the stereotype is that the british have terrible teeth!

                              i agree with you about gr - he's fascinating to watch. not necessarily 'charismatic' per se, but something just draws me in every time he's on. morbid fascination, perhaps? kind of like passing the scene of a car wreck on the freeway. you know you're probably going to see something disturbing or appalling, but you just have to look.

                            2. Watched on the west coast last night and LOVED it! Hate to say, but there's lots of guys like Peter in the NY metro area - really! It's guys like him that compelled me to move from NJ to SF 17 years ago. And I see them every time I go back for family visits (1-2 times/year). I keep hoping species like him will become extinct (like big hair), but the family facilitates that type of behavior. Gordon's handling the whole "Long-Guyland" scene very well. Can't wait for the next episode!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Concetta

                                yep, sad as it may sound, there really ARE guys like that in the tri-state area. i, too, was more than happy to migrate 3,000 miles west of those juvenile neanderthals :)

                                1. re: Concetta

                                  Exactly. I knew Peter the minute he opened his mouth. I grew up in that area with dozens of boys just like that. My mother called them princes.

                                2. I unfortunately only got to see the last 15 mins of the show. I liked the BBC version, and think I will enjoy this one as well, that is if I can remember what night it is on, and dont miss them. I enjoy Gordon, and his ranting, as I have said in other posts about him, he reminds me of some of the fanatical chefs I worked with back in the day.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                    get yourself tivo [or whatever dvr option your cable provider offers]. then you don't have to remember when it's on. just program it to record all new episodes of the series and let the machine do all the work. watch at your convenience, and [perhaps most importantly] fast forward through all those annoying commercial breaks :)

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      good tip, I do have the DVR feature on my dish, but always forget to use it.

                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                        Or go to TVGuide.com and find your cable provider and have them Email you a reminder. :-)

                                  2. One of the great things about the British version is that they tell a tight story about the restaurant's turnaround. Like any good story, they have a beginning, middle and end. The US one last night seemed to fall apart at the end. They relaunched the restaurant and then the storyline kind of fell apart. I thought the last 10 minutes were a confused montage of a suddenly contrite Peter and magically successful restaurant with lots of hugging. All in all, I think the UK version presents a tighter storyline.

                                    1. I wish I had seen it. I've eaten at Peter's a few times and never seen him in the dining room. Seriously.

                                      The last time I was there was summer of 2006 and the meal was lovely. Food was good, service was a little slow for an empty restaurant but we had a great time.

                                      1. I posted this elsewhere but this seems more appropriate.

                                        Did anyone catch them blurring out the Zagat name on the thing hanging out side the restaurant? I saw it early in the show when he was doing an outside bit, and then towards the end they had blurred it. WTFBBQ?

                                        Does anyone know how the restaurants apply for this show? It seemed Peter wasn't the one who came up with this idea since he was initially so resistant to what GR suggested. And what's the incentive - does the restaurant get paid? I see in this show they provided a ton of new equipment, but in the BBC version, I never got the impression the show gave them money, but that if improvements had to be made, the owners were paying for it. But I could be wrong. How do they apply and what's in it for them (besides the makeover/save).

                                        And I too was disappointed they didn't cut some of the stupid fighting and instead to the follow-up like they do in the BBC version. But perhaps it hasn't been enough time since it's aired for them to do a surprise/return visit.

                                        I also already have a problem with the Fox/editing team. I really wish they'd quit trying to "create" drama in the editing room and just let the show be what it is.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                          Re: how restaurants apply for the show - I'd bet a dollar that it was Peter's sister who applied. She's the one really running the restaurant and her frustration with her brother was evident in spades.

                                          Re: the incentive? They got a brand new Viking kitchen stove (how many burners were on that thing?) and a humongous Sub-Zero fridge while the walk-in was being repaired (after Peter finally called in for repairs). A 60" commercial-sized Viking stove/oven is pretty damn expensive, as are Sub-Zero fridges. (At least I think it was a Sub-Zero.) Probably in the range of $15,000 worth of brand new kitchen equipment, if not more. That's a HUGE incentive when one of your restaurant's "managers" are buying $3,000 suits with the money that's supposed to be going back into the business. :-)

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I know, but they didn't know in advance they would be getting a new kitchen, so other than the publicity, which certainly isn't all good, especially in this case, what's the incentive to apply? I agree it must have been the sister.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              That show was HILARIOUS, what great casting, Peter was such a cartoon. Peter must either be an aspiring actor, or just a total schmuck (I'm guessing total schmuck), either way it was fun watching. As for the BBC version purists, Gordon's insight, values and personality still came through and at least he gave the all suffering sister some hope for the restaurant, and we did see that Gordon, for all his histrionics, knows what he is doing and played Peter as good as any top director or shrink.

                                              My ONLY disappointment was the fact that not only did they bleep Gordon's cursing, but they blurred his lips at the same time. I love to see Gordon give it to some dolt who does not want to get with the program.

                                            2. re: rockandroller1

                                              there is a link on the website for people to apply

                                            3. I love watching Gordon Ramsey on all of his shows -- even with all the contrived flaws. He seems to be a big hearted pussy cat underneath all the bravado. Remember he gave Julia a full cooking school scholarship even though she lost Hell's Kitchen. (I was sorry to see her crying about not winning on the last episodes -- because she certainly won that scholarship!) I think you've got to give GR a lot of credit for what he does.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Jill Brazil

                                                I'll give GR all the credit in the world... he seems to be a good guy and he's passionate about what he does, but I'm afraid that Fox has emasculated what was a brilliantly conceived, carefully understated, show concept for the sake of drama. And I'd forgive them if they actually showed anyone doing any actual cooking, but I'm not holding my breath! I'm afraid this is another BBC show that other countries just don't know how to make properly...

                                              2. My friends and I have waited for this for months now and I must tell you I was on the edge of my seat "with some great chardonnay" the whole time and we loved every single second of it. We had to re-wind and watch scenes over and over again. From people who are in the business as we are this is true life. We have worked with people like this.Peter's really do exist and yes they act like him. GR is great and we love the BBC Version also. Fox shows us really how people are. GOOD JOB GR AND FOX! this is my new favorite show for sure. I only wish GR would go back for a revisit. I cannot wait for this season of Kitchen Nightmares LOVE IT !!

                                                1. Total sensational garbage. The UK version is stark and tense, this was cut like a music video. And what's with the hokey ending where everyone confesses how much they've changed? About as moving as a Hallmark card.

                                                  I hate towing out the old "Britain does it better" cliche, but it's unavoidable here.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: SxCx

                                                    Yup. BBC America on Thursdays. I just saw a rerun last night and even the reruns are MUCH more interesting than the US garbage.

                                                    They actualy made some good food!! How about that!

                                                  2. I almost wish I could look at this show without thinking of the British show. As has already been mentioned, the naration is different, the giving away of free stuff, etc. But I think what bothered me most was that he fixed things like a fairy godmother--Here's a new kitchen, Here's how you will do family style, Here's the recipes. On the British version, he works with the owners to develop one or two dishes, together then works from there. It seems to me this is more akin to a makeover show than to the british version.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: dagoose

                                                      it was fantastic from start to finish ... remember its entertainment
                                                      I loved it so much and so did my other foodie friends.
                                                      go FOX and GR
                                                      ORLANDO LOVES YOU..

                                                      1. re: Eddie Nickell

                                                        You go, Eddie! Fox should be happy they have at least one fan!

                                                        Who knows, maybe there's another three or four of 'em out there...

                                                        1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                          I have to agree, this US vs UK version talk is somewhat tiresome and overblown. Sure the new version looks a lot hammier and sensationalized relative to the UK one, but what did you expect? This is Fox after all. I still enjoyed it and still felt the essential formula was there, with GR coming in and seeing a unique dysfunctional unit and trying to do what he can to fix it up. I agree I would've liked to see more of him talking to the chef and how he came up with the dishes, and that he is treated a little bit like a 'fairy godfather', but big deal. It's still entertaining and better than most drivel on the TV.

                                                          1. re: jeanki

                                                            Is it possible that the reason there wasn't much more talk of the menu and discussions with the chef is because the problem didn't lie with the chef? The chef was supposedly really good. The flaws in the food seemed to be due to a low budget (Peter's overspending) and poor equipment. Maybe GR's thoughts were that there was nothing fundametnally wrong with the menu and that it was the kitchen and the presentation that needed improving.

                                                            Let's see what happens on this week's show.

                                                            1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                              good point but i still think it would've been interesting to see GR and the chef even talk this part out so we could find out that the chef was good firsthand. (like one of the best parts of the BBC series was when GR eats Momma Cherri's food and comes back to see her and says he actually loved her food and cleaned the plate. you root for her that much more as a result, and we could've rooted for this chef too.)

                                                    2. I love the BBC Kitchen Nightmares, though I honestly have trouble understanding some of the heavy accents (like the chef at the seaside hotel - in an episode that just aired this past week).

                                                      I was looking forward to the Fox version with some concern that they would sensationalize it and they did not disappoint on that score. Hell's Kitchen was a tip-off to what was to come. Reminded me a lot of the forced drama of The Restaurant (the Rocco DiSpirito thing). I grew up in New York and did know guys like Peter, but WOW! was he over the edge or what? You have to wonder if the kitchen equipment was his payback for letting them show how big a jerk he is.

                                                      Throughout the show it was impossible for me to keep from thinking how 'Jerry Springer' it was (especially in comparison with the British version) and how telling it was of the way Fox programming is, for the most part, these days. But it's that train wreck thing........ I'll probably keep watching with fascination.

                                                      1. I felt that it is better than Hell's Kitchen, admittedly thats not saying much.

                                                        Peter seemed more like the boss on The Office than a mafioso, in my opinion. A total clueless idiot who doesn't understand that everyone who works with or for him totally despises him and thinks he's an idiot.

                                                        1. episode 2 I'm offended the Indian chef says things are kept "simple for the American pallet"....I wonder could someone from India used to all of the spices, and different things they eat ,truly appreciate a good cheeseburger, fries,and a cold soda?, i doubt they would get it!, does this make us,or them better, or more sophisticated as implied?, no just different!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jword2001

                                                            BRAVO FOX AND GORDAN...WHAT a great show tonight.. i love it this week was better than last week. more like the uk series..love this show so much

                                                          2. There was just an article on CNN about Gordon Ramsey's childhood. He wrote about how abusive his father was to his Mother and the children. Apparently, he is very active (with his wife) in domestic violence prevention charities. I thought it was interesting to read the man known for his explosive temper saying how careful he is with his own children. I guess it's soothing to hear that he doesn't behave like that at home. I'm a fan. He makes for some good TV.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                                                              I caught the majority of his appearance on Larry King (CNN) the other night. What I saw was a much more 'normal' Ramsay. If you take him at face value he sincerely believes that his drill instructor tecnique is real-life in the restaurant kitchen world and that's a shape up or ship out reality. Could be, though, that he appeared 'normal' because he was unable to insert copious expletives as he normally does.

                                                              I did think if was funny that he has another show on TV, in England, called "The F Word". Kindof a no-brainer title for one of his shows.