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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.

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  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: http://www.venturacountystar.com/news... -- 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

          Wow...so 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.

                  2. MY FINALE WRAP UP

                    Favorite chef-to-Ramsay remarks for the season:
                    "Well, that's just an opinion. That's just your opinion."
                    "The customers LOVE this dish" (cue cricket sound in the dining room.)

                    Favorite Gordon Ramsay - Supernanny common element:
                    I love how, at the beginning of both shows, they show the dysfunctional group that is going to be scrutinized, then show Ramsay/ Nanny Jojo walking through the streets of the town to get to location of said dysfunction.

                    Favorite deja vu:
                    Michel this week panics during the post-makeover service and relapses to his steak and potato haystack dish. Just like Sebastion panics and tries to revive one of his "20 unique flavor combinations."

                    Best argument for why, like a train wreck, we don't want to watch but we can't turn away:
                    "This is guilty-pleasure entertainment, not journalism/documentary filmmaking." Oh, and it's funny as hell. Seriously, who can't wait for next season of Hell's Kitchen.

                    Oh and just one more thing that can't be forgotten about this week's episode: the Ramsay taking his chef jacket off - bare chest shot - putting his polo shirt on. What next, a sexy calendar?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jennywinker

                      I'd buy it!!

                      Hubba hubba -

                      Goomba could be March

                      1. re: jennywinker

                        Isn't he shirtless at some point in just about every episode? I never really paid attention to it, but my wife tends to think so.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          Pretty much - when he changed into his chef's jacket to head into the kitchen. I always get a chuckle out of that.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            I worked in kitchens for many years..... Almost all kitchen staff wear t-shirts under their jackets. It is cooler and an extra layer of protection. Not as 'hot' I guess.

                      2. So I see everyone here jumping on Michele--I'm not so sure in this one. He makes innocent statements and Ramsay just starts yelling off his rocker. This was the worst of it I've seen. Watch carefully, and see how Ramsay jumps on tiny little things, while if you were just listening to the chef (not the voice over, not the editing, music, Gordon, etc.) he seems like a decently reasonable guy. I also find it interesting that the claims to be so far in debt and still drives around a mercedes. Yeah, the restaurant made no money the last 7 years, but nobody has repo-ed his car? I don't think so.
                        I like this show, but this one I found to be the most transparent in terms of the tweaking they do to follow the editorial story board and the psychological warefare on the chef/owner.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: dagoose

                          First of all, he's french, he's male so it's Michel (though if you had subtitles on, they did write Michele more than once). This guy was so arrogant and full of himself - I didn't need the voice-over to see that. Running a restaurant is about the customers and the food, not about the chef. Michel was all about Michel - he even said as much.

                          1. re: maisonbistro

                            I agree. He wasn't at all reasonable. He fought tooth & nail every single idea, suggestion, and change Gordon made. He was ultra-defensive and in total denial that there was even a problem. He was easily overcome with anxiety when the disorganized kitchen caused chaos in FOH, and took out his resulting rage on all employees. Perhaps others have a different bar by which to measure "decently reasonable".

                            BTW: the health dept inspection from Feb. is pretty disgusting.

                            1. re: Leonardo

                              It annoys me no end that in almost every episode of KN, there is a moment where someone from the restaurant resists Gordon's suggestions. WHY did these people invite KN to the place? If they're so smart, why aren't they rich?

                              I wonder if it's like Judge Judy et al., where the monetary compensation makes up for being ridiculed on national TV?

                              1. re: coney with everything

                                I've been wondering why they go on this show too. Maybe they think the PR will help them. If they honestly believe their food is good in spite of the lack of customers they may think thatt Ramsay will say something like "your food is wonderful, new tableclothes will fix you right up" and the national coverage will be good for business. Also, they may do it to get the goodies like a new sign, stove and redecorating.

                                Finally, these owners would not have had a chance to see the show before booking. They may not have even seen the British version. If the show continues it will be interesting to see whether the next crop of owners is better prepared. But then, I always wonder why someone who gets on to Survivor doesn't practise fire starting before filming starts too. No one ever seems to. Maybe the new crop of restauranteurs will continue to ignore the unspeakables in the cooler. They were scraping the dessert mousse out of the pan with their fingers!

                        2. I have been in the Secret Garden, not to eat - I was looking for someone to quote in a story about the train (it is right across the street). I had the same exact experience as Ramsey in the intro...I wandered about, looking for someone, and it took me quite a while to find a person to speak to.

                          No matter what else the show was about, those moldy cooler shots were pretty disgusting.

                          1. I'm already sick of the formulaic way in which they approach each week....
                            1) walk in try to find person in charge
                            2) sit down and look at menu
                            3) mock confusing/complicated/dirty menu
                            4) ask if the crab is fresh
                            5) hate every single dish
                            6) inspect filthy kitchen swearing and saying "i *******ing ate this!!"
                            7) meet owner(s) to establish dire financial situation and increase drama
                            8) witness trainwreck dinner service
                            9) next day.... institute new menu to be implemented in 3 hours
                            10) magically, dining room is packed with VIPs/food critics/busloads of vinyard goers
                            11) dinner service with new menu starts good, but ends badly because of owner's stubborness. Lots of yelling optional but recommended
                            12) design team swoops in the dark of night and transforms the restaurant
                            13) the team ooohs and ahhhs about new design
                            14) they give it another try and everybody pulls together to impress the VIP.
                            15) Everyone learns a valuable lesson about teamwork/respect/egos
                            16) thanks to gordon ramsey and his straight talking genius, the place is SAVED!!!
                            17) tune in next week where you will see the next train wreck.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: chrisinroch

                                Everyone likes a happy ending. If someone could come in and tell me how to increase my profit line I'd put with the short term potty mouth.

                              2. LoL, coney_with_everything, you are too funny! Unfortunately, I missed the first half of this episode. My boyfriend and I watched the end, and laughed our way through it. My boyfriend is a non-foodie, but thinks that Gordon Ramsay is the ultimate chef. The way he says it, "If a chef can scream at people like that, curse them, throw things, and make people cry, but people are still lining up to work with him, eat at his restaurants, he must be pretty great." Well said, dear, well said. I don't know though. I'm trying to decide who would win in a fight: Gordon Ramsay or Anthony Bourdain?

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: linz_e_moore

                                  Ah good question.

                                  At this point I am leaning slightly towards Bourdain. It's a case of still waters run deep. And the fact that he hangs with Marco Pierre White, who currently isn't talking to Gordo, and he known to have made Ramsay cry. For his part I could see Ramsay being the fast and furious type and burning out quickly.

                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                    Bourdain would win. Those blowhards can never fight, but I think Bourdain is a scrapper. He is also quite tall.

                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                      I'd like to see a cage match. And I'd put my money on Ramsay.

                                      1. re: jennywinker

                                        Gordo would kick Tony's butt. And Tony would be the first to tell you that. Unless, maybe, if it was a knife-fight. Gordon is one BIG guy.

                                    2. re: linz_e_moore

                                      Don't forget Bourdain went to Ramsay's restaurant in one of his shows--was it the one based on the Cook's Tour book? I think I remember they were very friendly, and Tony loved the food.

                                      Yes, I'm very late here, but we in the UK just had the Michel episode the other day! The US version of KN is really terrible!