I'm watching Gordon Ramsay rip into a restaurant owner who hasn't a clue. His parents left him the restaurant/pizza place, but I don't think they taught him anything about running the establishment.

A customer has just become ill from the seafood from his kitchen and Gordon has ordered the kitchen shut down with everything in it thrown out. An ambulance was called for the customer.
A vegetarian customer finds a bone in her tomato sauce.
Owner: but that's the way we've always made it, with pork bones and (whatever that was) for flavour. 
Gordon: you cannot serve this to a vegetarian customer!!
Gordon has asked all current customers to leave.

The owner typically stays out of the kitchen entirely and spends all his time in the front making pizzas, the place is also a pizza takeaway place. 

The owner is still running the place exactly as it was since the 1960s. 
Nothing has changed, not even the menu. 
Fresh ingredients are bought, processed then frozen to be served later. 
The food is bland and/or bad. 

Finally, the owner is asking Gordon to help him, but still having to think about changes that are so necessary. 
All the kitchen staff have confessed to being embarrassed to work there. 
(the show is from 2013, so I'm not saying anything not already known).

Okay, right now, Gordon is emptying the upstairs freezers, so much food, SO MUCH frozen food unlabelled, undated, freezer burned, frozen mouldy meatballs, even frozen pasta and all so old. 
There are more freezers down in the cellar....
Frankly, I'm horrified.

This is very sad to watch, the owner looking at many, many tables filled with many dozens of large containers of frozen goods removed from the freezers, not even knowing how old it all is. He doesn't want to change the menus because everything is as it was when his parents died. Some time in the 80s, I think.
Gordon is pleading with him to let go of the past. 

The owner is talking about giving up the restaurant, change is so hard for him, but after wiping away tears, he is going to let Gordon help him try to change and start over.

Aha! we're in Brooklyn! I had no idea.

(I KNOW this is (hopefully) rare and doesn't happen everywhere, but it is one reason why I almost never eat at restaurants. Apart from the cost, which I simply can't afford too often.)

Right, day one of the freshly decorated restaurant, new menus, new foods, everyone is excited, but will the owner be able to lead his team? Or will he collapse under the pressure? Remember, this man has avoided his own kitchen for many years. Does not know what, how, why things go on in there.

Day three, first customers arrive......and the owner is making a mistake or three, food is not leaving the kitchen fast enough, it is plated ready to go, but no-one is picking it up, because owner J is busy chatting to customers. 
Gordon is pushing him, as is needed, to keep on top of things, the restaurant looks like it might be turned around, people are enjoying the food, making favourable comments.

Weeks later, things are still going well at Mama Maria's.


  1. I watched one similar and sister, a different one by the sound of it. What you have described is very similar and terrible..

  2. I don't like watching Gordon...he makes me tense, although, he did a show with kid chefs once and he was quite nice with them.

  3. Gordon Ramsey is a loud, foul mouthed, obnoxious egomaniac who really KNOWS how a restaurant should be run!!

  4. Every one of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmare shows is almost exactly the same...and I watch them all. Love them, his style hooks you!

    Also love "Hell's Kitchen." No one can say "This is R A W!! quite like Gordon.

  5. I watched it too and it got me to wondering about the food we eat out and what goes on behind the scenes.

  6. Of course there are some horrendous practices carried on in some eateries throughout the world and we read in our papers often about such places being fined, closed down etc., by the relevant Health Departments. But the majority of restaurants/eateries are spotless.

    Throughout my working life I worked in and was the chef in many such establishments. Healthy practices, hygienic handling of food and all areas pertaining to the job at hand were of uppermost importance in my mind and to theory and practice. What went out of the kitchen represented me and was a part of me; what went on in the kitchen represented me.

    If I wasn't prepared to eat something, I sure as hell didn't expect the public, too. The food and the preparation thereof had my name on it!

    And this response of mine is turning out to be almost as long as my last post on my own blog so I'd better shut up now!

  7. Sigh.
    I fear it is true more often than we like to think. Some kitchens are immaculate (probably better than a lot of home kitchens). Others? Not so much. Particularly those that have gone into the business for a quick buck...

  8. Margaret-whiteangel; would that be Hotel Hell?
    I watched that straight after the restaurant one, a brother and sister with no communication whatsoever, hotel going downhill, only one room booked, people coming for a Mothers Day lunch and saying the food was just like hospital food when you've been put on a bland diet.

    Dleores; I don't like the series of shows he did with far too much swearing in them. I'll turn those off right away, but he does good shows with kids and doesn't swear.

    fishducky; not always foul-mouthed, but I agree with everything else you said. He knows that restaurants must move with the times and give people what they are expecting from a night out.

    joeh; this one last night was a Hell's Kitchen episode, I have to say the amount of stored, frozen food in there was staggering!

    tracy; one of the biggest reasons I don't like to eat out. And also why I clean out my fridge and freezer at least twice a year, sometimes more.

    Lee; that's the right attitude; if you wouldn't eat it, you wouldn't expect customers to eat it. (We were supposed to work like that at Coles, if we wouldn't buy it ourselves, we shouldn't sell it to others)
    I worry about the number of restaurants here in Adelaide that have been warned by health inspectors to clean up their act, but they are never named. How do I know which ones to avoid?
    I really should get back to your blog and start reading that post.

    Elephant's Child; I'm grateful to be able to say no one ever got sick from my kitchen, unless it was from over-eating.


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