Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Nov 1, 2007 09:51 PM

Gordon vs Ramsey

I have now seen a few of the Fox Kitchen Nightmares and a few of the BBC Ramsey's Kitchen. Interesting to see the differences when it is clearly the same show just sailed across the Atlantic. How much, one wonders, was Gordon just a hired gun on each and how much say did he have in the focus and style?

In the Fox shows I have seen, there is always a mano-a-mano confrontation between Chef Ramsey and a macho hothead--or the opposite, a spineless wonder who develops guts and self-respect under Gordon's tutelage. The hothead usually cools and is chastised or is exiled. There seems always to be a near-fatal contamination of foodstuffs and equipment which Gordo must roll up his sleeves to cleanse. At Fox's expense, we assume, the place is cleaned and remodeled and reopened with Ramsey's menu. Then in a restaurant newly transformed to success, the remaining staff/owners/managers praise the genius of G.R. as having saved their bacon. And their vegetables and roasts, too. We do not see him flying off silhouetted against a full moon, cape billowing in the breeze, but it would not be out of place. (I was especially tickled by the postscript on one episode where we learned that two months after the Gordon-metamorphosis to some kind of success, the owners sold the place; he should have demanded a piece of the realtor's fee.)

The original BBC version is not without the conflict and face-off, as well as mold and layers of grease, but Ramsey seems more like a smart guy who wants to help the feckless restaurateur save his/her place. Certainly he is the hero, but not a comic book superhero; and, there is more often some real affection shown between the saved and the savior.

I have to admit that I enjoy them both, however.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It is interesting that the U.S. show was on hiatus last week, and this week Fox aired a repeat. They have only shown about four or five episodes of the U.S. Correlate this to the fact that the Writers Guild went out on strike yesterday.

    "Reality" show, POPPYCOCK!

    6 Replies
    1. re: ChinoWayne

      Ummm, the show was on Hiatus because of the World Series being shown on Fox, and there being games on Wednesday. And since no one can predict how long the series would last (if it have gone more than the 4 it did, there would have been a game last wednesday) they probably only had a repeat teed up.

      It was baseball strikes not writers' strikes.

      1. re: maisonbistro

        "...they probably only had a repeat teed up."

        So now we have gone from discussing the Ramsey show to baseball to golf, seems to me like a segue for us to adjorn and reconvene to continue the discussion over libations at the 19th hole...

        Where I will still contend, there is more writing going on behind the scenes at "Kitchen Nightmares" than any spontaneous combustion. ;-)

        1. re: ChinoWayne

          Pre-empted by the world series is the correct answer. It happens every year. The Series was a sweep and the television schedule for Ramsay's Nightmares was already set I am sure. Do you think you are watching live tv btw? Episodes are in the can.

          1. re: elgordoboy

            You seem to be missing my point, that reality TV is fiction.

            1. re: ChinoWayne

              Revelatory. A great show in its original form. Good show still. Operative word "show".

          2. re: ChinoWayne

            The "writers' in reality television are not members of the Writers Guild. They call them "segment producers" and other things. They make believe that there is no story editing or scripting in these shows and have fought it when people do want the WGA to represent them, as happened on America's Next Top Model. So there are not writers on strike in reality tv. But you will be seeing more reality tv on air to fill up as much programming time as possible. Also, there might be a hold up in production if the show has other union members who won't cross the picket line. Just FYI.

      2. There's a lot that's already been said about the differences between the FOX version and BBCA version. But for the sake of continuing the conversation...

        I find the FOX version a bit--dare I say?--dumbed down. As the OP wrote, both versions have similar conflicts and issues, but the FOX version has to use that anonymous voice over to tell us what's going on as if we don't get it. And the action that takes place is underscored with dramatic music and editing to make sure that the audience understands. It's a bit cartoonish as are the "characters."

        The BBCA version is so understated, which I think has much more impact. No anonymous voice over, just GR narrating from his point of view. No dramatic music. No over-the-top editing. And the personalities of the people involved are more 3-dimensional. It feels more like a documentary than a typical reality tv show.

        Anyway, while my preference is for the BBCA version, I still like watching both and find both very entertaining.

        7 Replies
        1. re: tachis

          Since the Fox version of Hell's Kitchen uses similar overly dramatic music, editing and voiceovers, you've got me wondering how much better the UK version of HK may be!

          1. re: Debbie M

            Is there a UK version of Hell's Kitchen?? I don't think so. Only the UK Kitchen Nightmares.

            1. re: maisonbistro

              Yes, there was. We just haven't seen it here.

              Gordon, however, was only in the first season; I thought it he did more. Marco Pierre White was featured in the lastest season.

              1. re: Debbie M

                Thanks. I cannot imagine MPW doing a show like that, from what I've heard about him - whacko nut job seems mild.

                1. re: Debbie M

                  I think it is called Gordon Ramsey's F Word. It's different from Hell's Kitchen in that he brings in a team of home cooks (one week it was a group of sisters who were raised on a farm) and they have to prepare a menu for a dining room of patron who would either pay or decline to pay for each course.

                  1. re: Gingerleen

                    No, the F Word is a separate show.

                2. re: maisonbistro

                  Ramsay's TV empire:

                  Boiling Point
                  Beyond Boiling Point
                  Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
                  Hell's Kitchen (UK)
                  Hell's Kitchen (US)
                  The F-Word
                  Kitchen Nightmares


            2. I've thought the same thing. Leave it to Fox to somehow throw it over the top.

              I do watch both but certainly prefer the BBC version. I don't recall them pull and of the editing 'techniques' that are so common in the fox version.

              Ramsay has said openly he did the American version of 'Hell's Kitchen' to get exposer in the US prior to opening his restaurant(s). What I liked about the BBC show was while there were issues and disagreements over all it was about one chef helping out another. There is professional discourse in that show. Where with Fox Ramsay seems more intent in playing a character.


              1. I always loved getting up relatively early (I believe 10:00) on Saturdays to watch the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares. While I agree that Ramsey was more honestly helpful on the Brit version, that didn't mean he was any nicer. Don't exactly remember, but I believe he helped cause a chef's heart attack or infarction or something in one episode.

                Funny stuff. :))

                7 Replies
                1. re: Bostonbob3

                  Lots of great shows on early on BBC America, including Rick Stein, of whom I have to confess I'd never heard before. I also think he's quite helpful on the British version, though when I have it on and go into another room I always think that some electronic device of mine has gone on the fritz, until I realize that all the bleeping is coming from the TV!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I like Rick Stein. And, having eaten at his restaurant, I like his food.

                    His two latest BBC series (France and a more general Mediterranean one) would travel across the Atlantic very well. His ones before that not so well as they focussed very much on small local producers (with him then cooking their product). The series was called "Food Heroes" and it;s greta when I go to my local farmers' market to see at least one stall with "official" signs announcing they are a Rick Stein Food Hero (great black puddings, by the way).

                    His very early series are seafood related - this being his restaurant's focus.

                    1. re: Brit on a Trip

                      After viewing a season of his seafood show on PBS years ago, I knew that if I ever was any place where Rick Stein was cooking, I would eat anything he cooked. The man knows his seafood.

                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                        I think that is the difference with show like that as opposed to our friends at FN. With Stein you see a man who has a real passion for what he does and the ingredients he uses. That comes through. As opposed to an FN stooge where something is really just being demoed.


                        1. re: Withnail42

                          Like comparing Beluga caviar to salmon eggs from the bait shop...

                      2. re: Brit on a Trip

                        Food Hereoes is the one that I've been watching - just enjoying his adventures around the U.K.

                    2. re: Bostonbob3

                      If you're talking about the guy from Oscar's Restaurant who collapsed, I think that was more due to his alcoholism than Ramsey.