Oct 9, 2007

Kitchen Nightmares

Top Chef is over, and I’m not feeling withdrawal symptoms. That’s because FOX will be showing the fourth installment of Kitchen Nightmares starring Gordon Ramsay. This momentous event occurs every Wednesday at 9 PM EST.

In this reality based show, our shouting chef Gordo fixes ailing restaurants, and the results are riveting. Before tasting the food in one of these godawful restaurants, Gordo says this little prayer: "May the lord above not poison me." When he viewed a vegetable samosa at Dillon's, Gordo's reaction was priceless: "It looks like a dehydrated turd." Hah!

However, not everyone is as enamored of the new series as moi. Reality TV Calendar disses the American version of this BBC show, saying,

Watching this week's FOX show, I felt a little underestimated as a viewer. FOX assumes that people are tuning in only for the temper tantrums and that we want to see the exact same things several times in an episode. And considering the general audience - American triple-bacon-extra-cheesy-burger-eaters - they are probably right from a marketing standpoint. I'm not sure that most Americans really care about the business aspects of the show - they really are only there to see Ramsay bite off the heads of lazy managers, unambitious chefs and neglectful owners.

The author has a point. I think this show could survive without the “Dumbing Down for America" touches. Regardless of the FOX producers shenanigans, Gordo demonstrates the following qualities as he makes over restaurants that are on the brink of closing:
  • He has taste in decorating interiors
  • He has moxie
  • He knows the restaurant business, including customer preferences
  • He knows food
  • He has a no nonsense management style in the kitchen
  • He can and will fire bad employees
I adore this show. In the first episode, Gordo slaps “Peter,” of Peter’s Restaurant down, telling the overgrown, self-important bully to grow up, stop wasting precious resources (like taking money out of the till) and “work” for a living. In the second episode, which I found difficult to watch because of the roaches and filthy restaurant conditions, Gordo actually saved diners’ lives. Well, he potentially saved diners’ lives. The only reason Dillon's, the Indian/American restaurant in question, was allowed to serve food to unsuspecting diners was because the New York City Department of Health failed to do its job. And that scares the pants off me considering how often I've eaten in NYC.

I did not pay as much attention to the third installment of this show (The Mixing Bowl) because as I was watching it, I was preparing for Top Chef the Finale. FOX is playing it smart, however, – you can view the episodes you missed on their site for free. Yes, dahlings, FREE. That is a word that warms the cockles of my thrifty Dutch heart.

So, as you wait to watch the Top Chef reunion and to see who won Fan Fave, turn your dial to FOX and watch our bleeping, foul-mouthed Gordo in action. It's worth an hour of your time.

Click here to watch the videos of the previous three Kitchen Nightmare episodes.


Elizabeth said...

After nosing around your various websites I'm impressed and also coming away with a better understanding of Jane Austen. At first the fashion, food, Austen sites seemed like an odd grouping. But after a little thought I realize how she uses food (ragout vs. fricasee) and fashion (how much lace to show, mud on hems as unseemly) to firmly describe and skewer. I wonder which of the Bravo choices would have been her favorite.....

Ms. Place said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, for "getting it."

In addition, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in want of a reading audience will start a blog, or two, or three ..."

Doralong said...

I still prefer the BBC version, but you have to love watching the man work, he may be a bitch, the the bitch always has a point..

Not that I'd ever want to work on his line, mind you.

Mother Hubbard said...

I'm with doralong. The original Brit Kitchen Nightmares is not to be trifled with or Americanized. Gordon's tantrums for the Beeb seem to have context; in the US, they just seem to be for drama and shock value. I will continue to watch the original to see the real Ramsay in all his passion.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who likes this show.

Honestly? I didn't care for Hell's Kitchen because I felt so sorry for the contestants. The reality is, I didn't give Ramsey a chance.

He's not a bastard like I thought. In fact, he's quite a good guy down deep.

I think this show is fantastic! I only wish they'd actually set the schedule up earlier so that my Wednesdays were lined up: ANTM, Ramsey, then TC.

I don't watch much TV. But I could devote one night to it. And that line up would have kept me glued to the TV.

I think it's a great show!

RVA Foodie said...

I ran into a Brit on the NY subway recently. The only thing I could think to talk about was my newfound appreciation for Jamie Oliver. The guy was puzzled, telling me that Ramsey is the only chef of any importance back in the UK. No way, I told him, the guy is an abusive sadist and nothing more. Strangely, on the plane home, I watched a BBC episode of Kitchen Nightmares and it was really good. Ramsey was convincing and used more than just bluster to make his points. I stand corrected and impressed. But... I still won't be tuning in to watch his new FOXTV show. Life's too short.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the BBC version. Would really like to now.

Calady said...

I am loving this show and Gordon. Thanks for the post

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

Always liked the BBC version of his show. I like him. I have been taking a wee break from the 'shows'.

"In addition, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in want of a reading audience will start a blog, or two, or three ..."

That is beautiful. You are clever.