Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Dec 12, 2007 06:21 PM

LOVED the latest installment of Kitchen nightmares

Very curious to see if Michel is still in business. And I don't get why that sous chef was still working there. He had kitchen legs. He knew what it was all about.

The formula still bothers me though - chef hates Gordon, chef disses Gordon, chef has an epiphany, chef adores Gordon (well, in this case he said he still hated him, but you know...).

Man was that guy full of himself or what??

All that was missing from this installment though was an overbearing parent or goomba lurking around doing nothing.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I just watched it too. I liked the front of the house folks, and the sous. The "Food Critic" magically liking Gordo's special, while assumingly not going to like Michel's, After hating the app, was a little suspect.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chileheadmike

      Agree on the FOH staff and the sous - although I didn't like when Jane sat down with the various tables to ask how things were. Too chain-restaurant-y for me. But she definitely seemed to know her job.

      The sous chef could *so* have his own restaurant - he had that kitchen humming when Michel left to go talk to the restaurant's guests - the only time things were moving smoothly in the kitchen was when the sous chef was running the show!

      I did notice that they didn't have a "3 months later, the restaurant is doing great and has dug itself out of a hole" OR " has closed down because of inability to pay their bills" after-comment.

      But it looks like The Secret Garden Restaurant is still in business:

      Either they're not allowed to change their menu online until after the show has aired, or he's gone back to his old stuffed and crusted menu items! I don't think I saw one thing of Chef Ramsay's new menu on the website.

    2. Secret Gardens is still open, though it seems they went back to their old ways (quoting from article in their local paper Ventura County Star - (“People complained; they come to our restaurant to linger,” said Michel, who has since reinstated many of his original dishes.)

      Full article link here, which is mostly Michel & his wife trying to do some PR damage control: -- umm, good luck with that against a nationally-broadcasted show.

      I agree that Devin the sous chef seemed very competent with running the kitchen and should get his own place, hopefully his remarks on-air won't get him fired . . . (or maybe that's a good thing).

      Was curious that there's no "afterwards" postscript for this too; thus far, Gordon's trips to LA have not fared well... with Lela's closed and Sebastian's reverting to that crazy frozen sauces menu.

      Finally, wondering who that food critic was who seemed so open to being filmed...


      4 Replies
      1. re: AquaW

        hey, but he worked with Thomas Keller!

        That newspaper "article" looked completely ridiculous. He's 300k in debt from this restaurant and "decides" to go on this show just so he can have a cookoff with Gordon Ramsey? This guy actually thinks he's a better chef! There was not much focus on the food per se, so perhaps his strawberry and shrimp cocktail salad is the bomb.

        What's funny is they serve "12 course tasting menus" there. hah. I'd love to see that.

        1. re: AquaW

 Michel originally applied to be on Hell's Kitchen? Ohhhh man I would pay good money to have seen Ramsay eviscerate him there. I think Gordon's much rougher on the HK folks than he is in Kitchen Nightmares.

          Agreed 110% on Devon needing to get the heck out of Dodge. He seemed to be a competent sous chef, but I don't think there's room for him in the kitchen with Michel's ego.

          I just love all of these chefs (Sebastian, I'm looking at you here too) who think that they can "teach Ramsay a lesson" or that they know more than him. Um, okay, whatever - when you have as much success as Ramsay has had, then perhaps someone will listen to you, too. Whether you like the man or not, he clearly is doing something that appeals to a great deal of people.

          1. re: AquaW

            FYI, here are the health department inspections:


            18 violations in 2007 (one inspection and one follow-up two weeks later). It wasn't all producer tricks and editing...

          2. I also wondered about that critic. Was she like the critic who really wasn't in the Hamptons. They never said where she worked.

            It seemed like the editors stopped even trying.
            Example 1:
            Gordon in the kitchen-poses question.
            Michel in kitchen answers Gordon question.
            Gordon still in dinning room responds to Michels statement.
            Michel still in kitchen responds to Gordon.

            Example 2:
            After the restaurant is redone Michel talks about how great the new decor is and how great the public response to has been. The only trouble is Michel is clearly sitting in to 'old' pre-redesigned dinning room.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Withnail42

              Re the critic: They never said where she worked because she is not a food critic, per se. (Although, to be fair, anyone who eats IS a food critic.) She is, however, a very talented pastry chef who was invited (along with myself and others at the table) by the producers to attend the after-the-makeover meal. I haven't talked with her yet to see if she even saw the show, but I bet she'll be surprised by the title they gave her! And, yes, judging by the numerous continuity errors, the editors did stop trying (if, in fact, they were "trying" in earlier episodes). I got dizzy just watching the tablecloths appear/disappear off the tables during both the pre- and after- makeover dinners, for one thing. Long story short: This is guilty-pleasure entertainment, not journalism/documentary filmmaking.

            2. I'm not sure the actual ending wasn't Ramsey storming out and getting on a train. It seemed odd to me he would just reappear within 5 seconds of nearly maming Michel and in time to get the "critic" her entry. That editing just seemed really weird - I wonder if the ending scene isn't actually the pep talk before the re-launch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wingman

                As seen in previous posts here, and on previous episodes, this show seems to be all about editing - the good and the bad.

                I watch because I really Gordon, I love what he's made of himself, his work ethic and well, not too bad on the eyes either.

              2. Since this was filmed before the writer's strike, my suspicion that this show is at least partly scripted was only reinforced by this episode. An ass like Michel is just too much to believe. He's got that many employees, who haven't all walked out ages ago, for a restaurant that is serving 10 people a night? In what world is that believable? Admittedly, he's lost a lot of money, but since he has evidently been losing money for years, $300K seems awfully low. With that staff and his level of business, he'd be gushing red ink.

                Also, where did all those people miraculously appear from on the third night?

                Fox is clearly pumping this up for simple-minded drama.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Pete Oldtown

                  "Fox is clearly pumping this up for simple-minded drama." Yep, simple minded, ambulance chasing drama, good old American entertainment.

                  What I would really like to know, if that chef has over $300 grand sunk in to a restaurant that is quieter than a morgue, and he pulls in to the parking lot in a late model Mercedes, who is he boinking or what is he dealing out the back door?

                  1. re: Pete Oldtown

                    Reality Shows can be largely scripted because the "writers" are given the title of "segment editor" or "story editor" and are then not considered writers at all. They don't belong to the Writer's Guild, either.

                    My assumption was that FOX wanted to see how Kitchen Nightmares would fare and only filmed so many episodes. Not to mention that Ramsey can only be so available between the Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares US, Kitchen Nightmares UK and the F Word...oh, and that pesky running businesses thing.

                    Basically, the segment editor can manipulate situation (i.e. a bus full of people, asking leading questions that can lead to confrontation) or when "reality" happens in the form of a comment or accident, ask to have the comment re-done or the accident to take place again for better effect.