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Gordon, Gordon, Gordon

I'm thinking, every week now, we can just copy/paste what we wrote about the previous show. The formula is wearing thin on me. Very very thin - and I am huge Ramsay fan. I really am.

The leprechaun in the kitchen did a sudden turnaround, never saw that happen before on the show, the menu was ditched and recreated, that's new....

I can't quite put my finger on how it's so different from the British version, but it is, and I'm bored with it.

Formulaic, boring and uninspiring.

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  1. What about the saucy little food critic who didn't know how to pronounce mulligatawny? The waitress (Melissa?) should not have corrected her, of course, but she probably enjoyed needling the little twit in front of her friends.

    1. Coudn't agree more. Just finished watching the ep and it was incredibly disappointing. Like you, I'm a huge fan of Gordon, but it seems like the American version of Kitchen Nightmares has gotten weaker and weaker each week. This episode made less sense than ever with the chef's rapid 180 degree turn.

      Unfortunately I don't see much future for this show, which is a shame, because I love the BBC version.

      21 Replies
      1. re: Suzy Q

        Love both shows-but I think what doesn't make sense is such an ambitious reopening like tonight. Inviting all those people seems to be beyond what any restaurant can do with a new menu,new procedures,and new tasks. Overwhelming but I am sure that is done for the benefit of tv drama. And that food critic was so young if she was a food critic it may have been for a high school newspaper.

        1. re: foodseek

          She's the critic for Dan's Paper, from what I gathered, which is a weekly that covers the East End of Long Island.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Dan's Paper is the local free giveaway for the Hamptons. People do read it but it is not taken too seriously.

                1. re: coll

                  "And to add drama to the show, the producers decided to make us wait over two hours for our table. We politely asked them if we could just review the restaurant another day, but were encouraged to act irritated. The cameras were rolling and all of us signed a waiver saying we wouldn't sue the show if they portrayed us as idiots. "

                  Let's see - they *could* have left, but they didn't. They signed a waiver in case they were portrayed "as idiots"....and they still didn't get the clues? Even Professor Plum in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe could have figured out they were going to be shown up as idiots! How about they just didn't want to lose their potential for their 15 minutes of fame?

                  And I really wish "writers" such as this would edit their own material and learn how to spell Chef Ramsay's last name - there is no "e" in his last name!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Sounds like she is saying 'It's not my fault they made me do it."

                    I wonder if she really takes herself seriously as a 'journalist'. Certainly from reading the review she's not much of a critic.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Hey Linda, wouldn't YOU love to be a "food critic" in the Hamptons, you could hang out with Lizzie Grubman and all her jet-set friends and with Ina Garten and all her boutique-y friends...

                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                        CW, actually I wouldn't - I'm not into the "beautiful people" scene! Nor would they want me in their scene! LOL

                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                          The first time Ina started laughing I'd be cramming a napkin down her throat, fingernails on a blackboard.

                          1. re: Scrapironchef

                            Two redeaming factors (although in all honesty I burned out on everything on FoodTV a long time ago), Ina can cook, and Jeffrey is a teddy bear, who is lucky to come home to a hot meal.

                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                              LOL... "teddy bear" is about right. He's not very masculine for sure, but he does well to be her foil on the show. Better than those "rent-a-friends" she is always pretending to entertain. They annoy me to watch.
                              I would love to eat her food though. She knows her stuff here for sure.

                  2. re: Withnail42

                    Considering the bad grammar of the piece, I wouldn't think the paper had much prestige.

                    "All four of us, myself, Sabrina Mashburn who used to work here as an editor last year and now attends school full time at Stony Brook Southampton, Victoria Cooper, our Coordinating Editor and Kelly Merritt, our Art Director, at the time were very excited to do the review."

                    Okay, repeat after me, "All four of us, Sabrina Mashborn, Victoria Cooper, Kelly Merritt and I, were very excited to do the review at the time." After you say that, go on and tell us who these people are.

                    1. re: Avalondaughter

                      THANK YOU! I thought the same thing, or close to it..."Myself" wasn't excited to do the review. Arrrgggghhhh!!!

                      And obviously if either Sabrina or Victornia had any real editing chops, one of them would have told the reviewer to rewrite that sentence! LOL

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        The person who wrote the article wasn't the reviewer, it was Dan's (the paper owner's) son, recalling their fun evening. He writes a few articles in every issue and they are all written just like this. It has always grated on my nerves too.

                        1. re: coll

                          Either way, the editors of that paper aren't doing their job. Unless they're not allowed to edit the owner's son, despite the lack of decent writing capabilities.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            The owner IS the editor! It's a small paper.

              1. re: Suzy Q

                I believe the second season is being filmed now, hopefully they will look at some of the feedback and make some changes to improve the show. The news was reporting last night that they were here in Chicago yesterday interviewing restaurant owners who want Gordon's help. I'd love to find out which restaurant they choose before they film so I could have the opportunity to try them before and after.

                1. re: LabRat

                  Given what they usually find in the kitchens of the places they choose are you really sure you want to do that?

                  1. re: Scrapironchef

                    Good point, but I'm willing to take one for the team to test out how much Gordon can really improve a restaurant. I just hope they don't do a place I currently frequent!

              2. The BBC production is more endearing while Fox being Fox, the production is all about sensationalism.

                When I watched tonight's episode, I couldn't believe that the "food critic" said what she did!

                Well, I found her review and now have a better understanding as to why... Fox being Fox!


                3 Replies
                1. re: snoballz

                  "The chicken wings tasted just as they should and the mulligatawny was creamy and warm."

                  wow that's a great food critic. i guess i should have seen it coming when she mentions her apertif of choice is jagermeister.

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    She's as much of a food critic as any of us. I took a look at the Dan's Papers archive. She writes about things like snow fencing on the beach and Rudy Giuliani.

                2. They ‘referred’ to a famous incident in the UK version. In the first season he had to run outside to throw up.

                  I do have a few questions about the show.

                  Why dose the son/chef drive a plumbers van?

                  Why dose a restaurant that is always empty suddenly fill up whn the dad is stuck alone in the kitchen? And why does Gordo think he should be better at a job he has never don before?

                  For that matter where did that sickly deaf assistant chef disappear when the dad was alone then only to reappear the next night?

                  What kind of ‘food critic’ announces their presence when going to a restaurant and pushes her weight around making sure that everyone knew who she was? And on opening night with a new menu? No real critic does that. (Perhaps it was just me but she seemed more of a spoiled little rich girl than anything else.)

                  I also love what it said on the sign ‘Finn McCools- since 2006’.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Withnail42

                    Regarding that "critic", I thought the same thing. That has got to be the most unprofessional critic of all time.

                  2. I agree though I don't think it's Gordon or Fox. Sticking with a formula is typical of shows trying to grab a large audience on ad supported TV. Survivor is pretty much the same show every week. Despite funding differences, different start times and taking the wrong international flights, contestants on the "Amazing Race" always seem to magically arrive at almost the same time for the finish line each episode. Even the Tonight Show is pretty much the same, not to mention every show that has emulated them. TV execs make very good money not sticking their necks out if they find something that works, even if it's not that good.

                    1. I realized during last nights show that the Kitchen Nightmares formula is actually pretty close to the Supernanny formula:

                      I. We see dysfunctional family in action.

                      II. We see Nanny Gordon walking down random city street coming to the rescue.

                      III. Nanny Gordon meets family and everyone is excited about changing the way things are.

                      IV. Nanny Gordon spends day one observing dysfunctional family. (Although I've never seen Nanny Jo throw up after eating.)

                      V. Evening of day one, Nanny Gordon sits down with parents for a reality check - what's wrong and what needs to change.

                      VI. Parents believe Nanny Gordon is no expert and his suggested changes won't possibly work.

                      VII. Several days of tough love ensue. We see continuing dysfunction. Struggle and rebellion. At least one parent continues to believe that Nanny Gordon is an idiot and refuses to cooperate.

                      VIII. In the last three minutes of the show, everything is magically resolved, changes have taken hold, peace reigns.

                      IX. One parting shot of family saying goodbye to Nanny Gordon. Tears and Hugs.

                      Don't get me wrong, I watched Supernanny everyweek too. I love watching dysfunctional families/ kitchens. Now I would love Ramsey to turn out a kitchen version of Wife Swap. Brilliant!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jennywinker

                        One thing nanny is missing is V.a, the skin shot.
                        Gordon changing into his chef jacket.

                        BTW - Love BBC, Hate Fox versions.

                      2. i told my wife yesterday before the show was going to come on that i was no longer watching it, but i WAS going to keep watching the british version. why, she asked?

                        and i just started babbling...here's more coherent reasons i've stopped.

                        > the big re-do. i don't want to watch them receive a brand new kitchen and a new makeover. if they do it, have the PEOPLE do it.
                        > bad editing and focus. bad editing where there's lots of misdirection of timing (and only obvious when there's pre- and post- big makeover...i know there's some on the british show, but it's a lot less).

                        bad focus on what made the show popular in the uk - the food, the management. NOT the infighting. and how about revisits? the big momma show in the uk was hugely popular, and i don't think there was any fighting (or minimal, at all) in that one.

                        one example was in the last episode, with sebastian, where one moment he's getting the fox cameras out of there and cursing out gordon, the next he's totally thrilled with ramsay being there.
                        > the american voice over guy - ugh.

                        and what i didn't say, but thought: too fomulaic. the british one is a bit, but this is much more so.

                        i haven't seen the new british season yet, but will soon. but goodbye to the american version.

                        1. I have to agree with you, mb. Very disappointing. Tired of these idiot chefs who say "Chef Ramsay doesn't know what he's talking about" (one of the biggest WTH? moments, unless they're *told* to say that by the producers); tired of the "chef" storming away, only to come back in a few minutes/hours/the next day having had an epiphany and realize Gordon *does* know better than they, and then everything works out (except for Sebastian, of course!). It's really too bad. I suppose I'll watch the rest of the U.S. version's season, but look forward to the British version - any idea when that starts up again?

                          And "leprechaun" is a perfect description - I was trying to think of who/what he looked like. :-)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            linda - new british season has 2 new episodes aired, and one revisit 1 year later (fenwick arms). the next week is another revisit, than a new episode...

                            1. re: bob gaj

                              Ahhh shoot - I'll have to check the BBC-A listings online to see if any are going to be "power-repeated" in the next few weeks so I can play catch-up. Thanks, bob

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                linda - no problem, but sorry, these aren't going to be on bbc-america for a long time; i was talking about channel 4, uk.

                                there are (i believe) 16 shows from the british version before this new season...

                                (i'd also suggest checking out heston blumenthal's two british series about in search of perfection as well).

                                1. re: bob gaj

                                  So to see the new episodes *now* I'll have to fly over the pond and visit my stepbrother and his family. :-) (Don't I wish!) Guess I'll just have to wait then. Thanks for letting me know, bob.

                              2. re: bob gaj

                                I haven't seen the American version, but I'm puzzled! Why don't they just do it the same as the UK version, which is so good?

                                The only thing I don't like is the revisits. It seems like they just re-run the old episode, tacking on 5 minutes at the end for the update. Not much new.

                            2. Agreed on all points. Last night's ep hardly held my attention. I even talked on the phone for about a half hour, came back to the show, and didn't really feel like I missed anything significant. That said, I'm probably going to keep watching it as there's nothing else much better on at the same time!

                              Anyone notice how the previews at the end always tease "Gordon encounters his most challening case ever!" or "his most troubled restaurant ever!" Seriously, how can each episode possibly show a worse case than the week prior if it's essentially the same dang show?!

                              I'm surprised that GR actually threw up (or so they would have us believe). Considering some of the other stuff he's had to choke down--I'm thinking the tainted fare at Dillons--the shepherds pie didn't seem nearly as bad. But I was on the phone, so maybe I really did miss something here!

                              And for the record, I really can't stand the voice over guy.

                              1. The formula is getting to be a bit of a grind, I'll admit. I'm feeling dumber every week after it's over. I did in the end hope that this place would be able to turn around and become a success (unlike Sebastian's), if only for the fact the father supposedly invested his entire savings in the place, and he looks like a candidate for a major heart attack, though this didn't happen like they implied it would in the teaser. The location of the restaurant doesn't look too promising though - looks like it's on a major road on the edge of town where people will more likely just zip by, without stopping.

                                edit - business has improved 35%?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: wontonton

                                  Good article, but Arrrrggghhh! on the use of "homely" instead of "homey". Shame on that editor.

                                  "The next morning Finn McCool’s was transformed into a new, homely bar and restaurant, and the Walsh family is delighted."

                                  "That, coupled with a combination of a classy new menu and the warm homely décor, business has improved 35% and that is before the show has even aired."

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    In British/Irish English, "homely" doesn't mean "ugly" -- it means simple/pleasant/homey.

                                    From Merriam-Webster.com:
                                    In American English, the adjective homely describes someone between plain and ugly. That sense does not exist in British English, where homely retains its homey connotations, describing something "unaffectedly natural; familiar; kindly" or "simple;" and gets no less positive than "lacking in elegance or sophistication."

                                    1. re: mcgeary

                                      Interesting. Didn't realize that, mcgeary, thanks.

                                2. Expect more amped up drama next week. The restaurant featured next week is called "Lela's Fine Dining" and is located in Pomona, California. This establishment is located on 2nd Street in the old downtown area of Pomona, which saw its heyday about 60 years ago and was closed off to cars about 30 years ago in a fruitless attempt to become an outdoor pedestrian mall. The biggest claim to fame of 2nd Street is that its storefronts were "dressed" by Hollywood and it was used for scenes for "The Cat In The Hat". Lela's has never been discovered by any local Chowhounds, probably in part because it has only been open for apparently three months or so, and probably in part because locals would not associate downtown Pomona with anything approaching "fine dining".

                                  Google lists a website for Lela's: http://www.lelasfinedining.com but it is DOA. CalPoly, Pomona's student newspaper has an article about Gordon's visit to Lela's:


                                  This line from the article probably describes it best:

                                  "I had to come in here and say, 'Look, no one is going to spend $27.50 on a meal in Pomona. You want to have people who come in here once a week for a hamburger rather than once a month on special occasions,'" said Ramsey.

                                  Believe me, as a long time local in this neck of the woods, I can attest, Gordon knows what he is talking about.

                                  As I have commented before, the Fox rendition of "Kitchen Nightmares" is great drama, contrived, amped up, caricatured, but nonetheless, entertaining drama.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: ChinoWayne

                                    Believe me, as a long time local in this neck of the woods, I can attest, Gordon knows what he is talking about.
                                    Yes, but guaranteed the chef or owner will say to the camera next week that Gordon doesn't know what he's talking about until they realize that he *does* know what he's talking about. :-)

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Maybe we should take one of your recent posts, and combine it with some of the others along the same vein, and produce a "score sheet" of the formula. We could print it out and then every week we could check each attribute of the forumula that is present and tally up the "scores" from week to week and then we would have an objective quantification of the "drama" value of each show...

                                      Oh, wait, I'll bet the producers have already done that.

                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                        But you could post Kitchen Nightmares Bingo words/scenes. Everyone could make up their own card and then whoever gets bingo earliest during the show wins. F*** is the free spot, of course.

                                        1. re: weezycom

                                          Now I LIKE that idea, now playing at the local Elks Club/VFW/et al, Gordon on the big screen and "Kitchen Nightmare" scenes on the cards in the bingo parlor. I want the bar concession.

                                        2. re: ChinoWayne

                                          I'm thinking a drinking game, bIngo is for sissies.

                                      2. re: ChinoWayne

                                        Apparently they have a myspace ( a very out of date one though as it seems ) Here is the menu pre-Ramsay visit:


                                        Lamb with chocolate-mint sauce? What?

                                        1. re: Pumpkin_Head

                                          They spell "lamb" as "lam" on the menu they post? Chocolate mint sauce with lamb, a sauce of melted Andes chocolate mints? Chicken breast with "burr" blanc sauce? Bay shrimp nachos with tomatillo, pepper jack, green onion, guacamole and chive sour cream?

                                          Just because you can come up with some cash, sign a lease, and buy some groceries, doesn't mean you should open a restaurant.

                                          This should be interesting next Wednesday.

                                          1. re: ChinoWayne

                                            I got a kick of out of "crustini"

                                              1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                Well, according to last nights episode Krusty Burger was shut down because he locked his employees inside the restaurant at night. So he IS probably looking for a job....

                                            1. re: Pumpkin_Head

                                              What a trainwreck of a menu!

                                              I rather like the idea of Roasted Egg Plant (sic) and Terimisu (sic), myself.

                                              Terimisu. Doesn't she wait tables at the Japanese lunch spot downstairs?

                                          2. But each week we get some closeups of disgusting food Gordo finds in the kitchen! Last night's highlight was either the artichokes or the bacon.

                                            1. Best Week Ever's blog did a brilliant "Every Episode in one Blog Post" write up:

                                              I'll still watch it every week!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Not too much car placement is this ep either, huh?

                                                1. Is this show perchance available to watch anyplace online? You are killing me with teasing tidbits that make me want to see it.....

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. well, i said i wouldn't watch the u.s. version again, but this week's one is campania in my hometown (fair lawn), nj .

                                                    the funny part is when the refer to fair lawn as an italian community...it's got some italians, yes, but it's main (any minority) is jewish, NOT italian.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bob gaj

                                                      the bergen record did a GREAT live blog of the show, pointing out the inaccuracies and faults of the program...such as where they filmed the meatball giveaway (clifton - corrado's - a good 15 minute drive unless you're doing it at midnight), the bad shots of fair lawn, the actors(?) and comped food, and a bunch of other things like that.

                                                      they've got an interview with the owner shortly. it's at:

                                                      i said to my wife, the place looked the best of the u.s. kitchen nightmares, with most of the complaints (from gordon) being on slow service and how to run a business.