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Did Gordon Ramsay “nightmare” kill off Austin’s El Greco?
January 22, 2012 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Kitchen Nightmares shows Gordon Ramsay helping restaurants make miraculous turnarounds. Ramsay helped relaunch Austin, Texas's El Greco, but the restaurant still ended up closing. Some people are saying that Ramsay's interference may have been the final nail in the coffin for the restaurant.
posted by reenum (112 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or maybe these people don't understand how brutal the restaurant industry is. I haven't dug into the articles, but I cooked for 6 years of my life; I spoke to a number of different owners about all manner of things.

The thing is, you can have a good menu, reasonable prices, good staff, and even a prime location AND STILL go under. It's an absolutely heart-breaking industry; you can still fail even if you do everything "right".
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:00 AM on January 22, 2012 [28 favorites]


One of my favorite shows. I kind enjoy the British version more because it has less drama and all that.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 9:01 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I haven't watched Gordon Ramsay in a few seasons. His shows turned boring fairly quick. I will say this though. The UK version of this show is much easier to watch, not nearly as dramatic or seemingly scripted as the US version. In the UK version he appears to honestly want to help the restaurant succeed. The US version seems to be about yelling and arguing in a dirty kitchen.
posted by Fizz at 9:04 AM on January 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


I kind enjoy the British version more because it has less drama and all that.

British version was infinitely better. US version is edited badly, focuses on emotions instead on the food/business, gives the restaurant owners new kitchens as if Gordon was fucking Oprah.

It's horrible.
posted by schwa at 9:07 AM on January 22, 2012 [28 favorites]


I can't watch this show nor can I watch Kitchen Nightmares. I don't dig the 'Angry Gordon' persona. However, I loved Masterchef (can't wait for it to come back on) and actually watched a two minute Gordon Ramsay beef wellington videon on youtube the other day that I thought was excellent. He has so much to offer, it's too bad it has to be in the form of yelling 'you stupid donkey' most of the time.
posted by bquarters at 9:07 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reality TV does an amazing job at casting. In this instance, they're choosing restaurants that suck. It should surprise no one that the person that has a restaurant that sucks continues to have one that sucks.

The British version is 100 percent better. Best episode was the soul food place in Brighton, where the food was already great, and the issues were simply marketing and workflow. That seemed like a real success story.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:08 AM on January 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


watched a two minute Gordon Ramsay beef wellington videon on youtube the other day that I thought was excellent

Watching him cook scrambled eggs is also an excellent way to spend your morning.
posted by Fizz at 9:09 AM on January 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


The UK version of this show is much easier to watch, not nearly as dramatic or seemingly scripted as the US version. In the UK version he appears to honestly want to help the restaurant succeed. The US version seems to be about yelling and arguing in a dirty kitchen.

A thousand times this.

The UK version has Ramsay doing his own narration voice-overs (none of THE DRAMATIC VOICED ANNOUNCER repeatedly describing what you've just seen happen on camera), and Ramsay comes across as much more truly interested in the success of his project with each restaurant than he does in the US version.

When BBC America started showing both series, it was really jarring how horrible the US version is when played right after an hour of the UK show.

All that aside, the restaurant business is brutal, and the establishments which become part of either Kitchen Nightmares series were all having problems before, likely because of deeper systemic problems either with the industry in their area or management practices, none of which can be solved in a week.

Here's a list of all the restaurants which have been on Kitchen Nightmares and their current status. As you can see, the failures aren't limited to this one restaurant in Austin.
posted by hippybear at 9:09 AM on January 22, 2012 [30 favorites]


Classic seagull management -- guy flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits all over everything and leaves. Might make for fun TV but I can see why it would be worse than useless.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:10 AM on January 22, 2012 [19 favorites]


I consider this show a lot like hoarders. By the time the tv crews arrive, the subject of the episode is long past saving, and all that can be done is to squeeze a few drops of oggle.

What restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares have closed?

S01E01 - Peter's - Babylon, New York **closed**
S01E02 - Dillon's - New York, New York **renamed Purnima, closed**
S01E03 - Mixing Bowl - Bellmore, New York **closed**
S01E04 - Seascape - Islip, New York **sold**
S01E05 - Olde Stone Mill - Tuckahoe, New York
S01E06 - Sebastian's - Toluca Lake, California **closed**
S01E07 - Finn McCool's - Westhampton, New York
S01E08 - Lela's - Pomona, California **closed**
S01E09 - Campania - Fair Lawn, New Jersey **sold, then closed** 3 years later
S01E10 - Secret Garden - Moorpark, California

S02E01 - Handlebar - Mount Sinai, New York **closed**
S02E02 - Giuseppe's - Macomb Township, Michigan **closed**
S02E03 - Trobiano's - Great Neck, New York **closed**
S02E04 - Black Pearl - New York, New York **closed**
S02E05 - J Willy's - South Bend, Indiana **closed**
S02E06 - Hannah & Mason's - Cranbury, New Jersey **closed**
S02E07 - Jack's Waterfront - St. Clair Shores, Michigan **closed**
S02E08 - Sabatiello's - Stamford, Connecticut **closed**
S02E09 - Fiesta Sunrise - West Nyack, New York **closed**
S02E10 - Santé La Brea - Los Angeles, California **closed**
S02E11 - Cafe 36 - La Grange, Illinois **closed**

S03E01 - Hot Potato Cafe - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania **closed**
S03E02 - Flamangos - Whitehouse Station, New Jersey **renamed The Junction** **closed**
S03E03 - Bazzini - Ridgewood, New Jersey **closed**
S03E04 - Mojito - Brooklyn, New York
S03E05 - Lido di Manhattan Beach - Manhattan Beach, California
S03E06 - Le Bistro - Lighthouse Point, Florida
S03E07 - Casa Roma - Lancaster, California
S03E08 - Mama Rita's - Newbury Park, California **closed**
S03E09 - Anna Vincenzo's - Boca Raton, Florida **closed**
S03E10 - Fleming - Miami, Florida
S03E11 - Sushi-Ko - Thousand Oaks, California **closed**

S04E01 - Spanish Pavillion - Harrison, New Jersey
S04E02 - Classic American - West Babylon, New York
S04E03 - PJ's Steakhouse - Queens, New York **closed**
S04E04 - Grasshopper Also - Carlstadt, New Jersey
S04E05 - Davide - Boston, Massachusetts
S04E06 - Downcity - Providence, Rhode Island
S04E07 - Cafe Tavolini - Bridgeport, CT **closed**
S04E08 - Kingston Cafe - Pasadena, CA
S04E09 - La Frite - Sherman Oaks, CA
S04E10 - Capri - Eagle Rock, CA
S04E11 - Zekes - Metairie, LA
S04E12 - Oceana - New Orleans, LA

S05E01 - Blackberrys - Plainfield, NJ
S05E02 - Leone's - Montclair, NJ
S05E03 - Mike & Nellies - Oakhurst, NJ
S05E04 - Luigi's - Anaheim, CA



UK
S01E01 - Bonapartes Restaurant - Silsden, England **closed**
S01E02 - The Glass House - Ambleside, England
S01E03 - The Walnut Tree Inn - Llandewi Skirrid, Wales **closed**
S01E04 - Moore Place - Esher, England **sold, now Esteem**

S02E01 - La Lanterna - Letchworth, England **closed**
S02E02 - D-Place - Chelmsford, England **closed**
S02E03 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - Brighton, England
S02E04 - La Riviera - Inverness, Scotland **renamed to Abstract**

S03E01 - Oscar's - Nantwich, England **sold**
S03E02 - The Sandgate Hotel - Sandgate, England **sold**
S03E03 - Clubway 41 - Blackpool, England **closed**
S03E04 - La Gondola - Derby, England **sold**

S04E01 - La Parra de Burriana - Nerja, Spain **closed**
S04E02 - The Fenwick Arms - Claughton, England **sold**
S04E03 - Rococo - King's Lynn, England **closed**
S04E04 - Morgans - Liverpool, England

S05E01 - Ruby Tate's - Brighton, England **closed**
S05E02 - Piccolo Teatro - Paris, France **closed**
S05E05 - The Priory - Haywards Heath, England **sold, now La Capilla, a tapas bar**
S05E06 - The Fish and Anchor - Lampeter, Wales
S05E07 - Curry Lounge - Nottingham, England
S05E08 - The Granary - Titchfield, England **closed**

Great British Nightmare
S01E01 - The Dovecote Bistro - Devon, England
S01E02 - The Runaway Girl - Sheffield, England

posted by Think_Long at 9:12 AM on January 22, 2012 [34 favorites]


The worst part is the constantly yelling, hyperactive, disappointed, bewildered and psychotic persona that Pharaoh Ramsay plays. Contrast it with the almost likable human-thing he plays in his other shows, and it's obvious that Kitchen Nightmares is more about acting and drama than running a restaurant.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:13 AM on January 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


I read the reviews and discussion about El Greco (which I never tried) and all I can say is thank $DEITY Ramsay hasn't tried to clean up my favorite Lebanese place.
posted by immlass at 9:14 AM on January 22, 2012


Say what you want about his conduct, but Bourdain's assessment of the worthlessness of "kitchen consultants" in Kitchen Confidential was spot on.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:14 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, impressive list! I wouldn't put that out there as the 'Curse of Ramsay' though. More like ineptitude meets last chance meets financial disaster meets the usual bad fate of lots of restaurants. I hate like I mentioned his 'stupid donkey' yelling persona, but there did seem to be quite a few stupid donkeys running the restaurants every time I tuned in.
posted by bquarters at 9:15 AM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]




Inviting a British chef to tell you how to run an American kitchen is all kinds of dumb. What's next? You'll be trying to tell me that Americans defer to British Intelligence briefings..
posted by srboisvert at 9:21 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched the El Greco episode, and it seems like nothing could have fixed the place. The relationship between the head chef and his mother seemed terribly toxic, and a few hours of yelling by Ramsay isn't going to fix that.
posted by codacorolla at 9:22 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I usually eat out on Fridays with a group of friends. We ate at El Greco about 6 months ago, I guess. It was overpriced for middle of the road Greek food, though not awful. The service was ridiculously slow, however. We ate at a restaurant across the street from El Greco the night this episode was being filmed and then ate at this same place last Friday when it aired and the server put it on the TV while we ate. I'd never seen the show before but it seemed so staged. I mean really, the guy is going to be on TV and he still cooks for Ramsay using the microwave? Anyone who actually cared about their restaurant continuing would put a modicum of effort into looking good for the camera. I think this knob was on his way out already and this was a thrown fight.

The thing is, a lot of restaurants don't try and a lot of them don't even have to try, to survive. There are hundreds of Mexican restaurants in Austin and I'd say 95% of them are strictly average. They take no chances. They might as well be one big chain. Senor Frayed Vinyl Booth's Casa de Generico. Same goes for Chinese food. If El Greco's prices were lower and the service was better, we probably would've gone back, because sometimes you just want Greek food that's affordable and easy to get at. If the owner of El Greco gave the slightest bit more of a damn, he might've been okay. Austin is a hungry city and it almost seems like an effort for a restaurant to fail here (though I've seen plenty of odd exceptions).
posted by picea at 9:23 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


S01E03 - The Walnut Tree Inn - Llandewi Skirrid, Wales **closed**

Then...reopened and now considered one of the top restaurants in the UK.
posted by vacapinta at 9:24 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


My mother and I own a small lunch-counter-y place in an office building. Due to space constraints, a brutal lease, and a flagging market for commercial office tenants, we've had a rough last couple of years (which we are, thankfully pulling out of).

Every now and then, I watch Ramsay and think to myself It would be totally awesome if he'd swoop in and do the 'treatment' for us.

But, then I realize how almost every restaurant his production team picks for him to 'save' has godawful 'fundamentals'. Usually, they're half a million in debt, the owners are never present, they've got horrible cost controls, loyalty to bad people and bad vendors, and all too frequently, the owners love the 'idea' and glamour/prestige of owning a restaurant, but not the practice.

I've been running a place and kept it in the black for 25 solid months now, and will be debt-free on it by the end of this year.

All I really want Ramsay for is a snazzy remodel (as I'm terrible with the whole 'decoration' thing).
posted by The Giant Squid at 9:28 AM on January 22, 2012 [32 favorites]


Reality TV does an amazing job at casting. In this instance, they're choosing restaurants that suck. It should surprise no one that the person that has a restaurant that sucks continues to have one that sucks.

The casting on the US version seems extremely biased toward showcasing restaurants in New Jersey and Long island that are run by Italian-American families who fit the loud and angry stereotype.

Another thing that makes the UK version so much better, is that Ramsey doesn't give the owners anything for free. The owners are always deep in debt, so Ramsey sits them down and tries to teach them what they can do to stop hemorrhaging money and attract more business. But there is never a magic fix for the business. It's always about the owners adhering to enough discipline to stop losing money and hopefully start breaking even. It really dis-sways you from ever thinking that owning a restaurant someday would be a fun idea.

In the US version, the show will remodel the restaurant's kitchen for free. There's a lot less focus on how to run a restaurant and a lot more focus on fighting. Ramsey is also a bigger celebrity in the UK, which may why the British owners are more likely to defer to him, whereas over here, he's a game show host on Fox.
posted by riruro at 9:29 AM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


No surprise Sebastian's in Toluca Lake closed. That dude was a nut case. He cared more about selling franchises and frozen food in grocery stores than making a decent meal for his current customers.
posted by reenum at 9:32 AM on January 22, 2012


"Another Ramsay TV chef suicide"
posted by Flashman at 9:34 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I moved away from Austin in 2003. I don't recognize the building that El Greco is (was) in. Is it roughly near Changos but on the other side of the street?
posted by jayder at 9:36 AM on January 22, 2012


Seeing that La Frite closed makes me sad and guilty. Their sign was one of the droplet ones along that stretch of Ventura Boulevard... But I confess I never actually ate there.
posted by usonian at 9:36 AM on January 22, 2012


Droplet? WTH, autocorrect? Distinct.
posted by usonian at 9:38 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


S02E03 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - Brighton, England

Hah. Not closed. Good for her. That one felt like Ramsay actually helped in the key areas that were needed.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:39 AM on January 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


If you come across the scene of an accident and find someone unconscious with no pulse and not breathing, you call the emergency services and then you clear the airways and get to CPR. There is a chance that CPR may keep them going long enough but the odds are they will die. Just because you were they doing CPR does not make it your fault that they die. Similarly it sounds like most of the places Ramsey features are knackered, maybe in a few cases they will pull through but mostly they will die, that does not necessarily make it Ramsey's fault.
posted by biffa at 9:39 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bad or doomed restraunts have a vibe. I don't know if I could pin it down to any one thing ( besides excessive pastels ) but you can spot Owner Not Caring from a mile away. Those were kind of rare in the UK version but every single US one was Way Past Saving.
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I ate at Momma Cherri's back in 2003 when picking up a degree from Sussex. For an American with southern roots, it was deeply satisfying to get some decent fried chicken and cornbread (even if it was a just a little bit off from the standard prep) in the UK.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:44 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


A quick look at the list of restaurants and their outcomes posted above indicates that around 40% of the restaurants survive. Given that all these places are on the verge of closing when he shows up, I would say that's a pretty good average. He can only do so much to change owners' behavior. People resist personal change mightily.
posted by txmon at 9:44 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


S02E03 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - Brighton, England

I would totally go to there.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on January 22, 2012


My favorite episode was the UK "Campaign for Real Gravy". It just felt like everyone was trying really hard to save it. They sold the restaurant/pub but opened another one and it's still going, complete with the campaign.

S04E02 - The Fenwick Arms - Claughton, England **sold**
posted by tatma at 9:54 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The same thing happens with Food Network's Restaurant Impossible -- go read the reviews for the show's restaurants and almost every time people say it's just as bad or worse.
posted by spiderskull at 9:58 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forgetting not Restaurant Makeover, which, probably because Canadian, is a lot lower key.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:07 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah I prefer the off-brand Restaurant Impossible. The star is a bit shouty, but he's still much nicer than Ramsey, and very sensible. That show picks truly awful places, so almost always makes a big improvement.
posted by w0mbat at 10:10 AM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Live by the fword, die by the fword.
okay it's not quite the same series but it's still all about leatherface
posted by davemee at 10:12 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


The fact is restaurants fail all the time -- something like 80% fail in the first year. And even established places reach their best-before data eventually. In fact, it can be harder for a well-loved, established place to turn it around. Once you piss of your real regulars enough, and by the same token turn away any new blood, you are doomed.

The restaurant biz doesn't operate by any normal rules of trade. Ramsay is a dick, but probably all he did was put of the inevitable.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:14 AM on January 22, 2012


I moved away from Austin in 2003. I don't recognize the building that El Greco is (was) in. Is it roughly near Changos but on the other side of the street?

Yeah, it was in the back of a newer condo complex with ground-floor retail. Mangia also moved into that building, and closed within a year or so -- despite being popular and having a visible street-side space. Stuff around campus comes and goes all the time.
posted by lunalaguna at 10:15 AM on January 22, 2012


The Giant Squid: "My mother and I own a small lunch-counter-y place in an office building. Due to space constraints, a brutal lease, and a flagging market for commercial office tenants, we've had a rough last couple of years (which we are, thankfully pulling out of).

Every now and then, I watch Ramsay and think to myself It would be totally awesome if he'd swoop in and do the 'treatment' for us.

But, then I realize how almost every restaurant his production team picks for him to 'save' has godawful 'fundamentals'. Usually, they're half a million in debt, the owners are never present, they've got horrible cost controls, loyalty to bad people and bad vendors, and all too frequently, the owners love the 'idea' and glamour/prestige of owning a restaurant, but not the practice.

I've been running a place and kept it in the black for 25 solid months now, and will be debt-free on it by the end of this year.

All I really want Ramsay for is a snazzy remodel (as I'm terrible with the whole 'decoration' thing).
"

This is the best thing about this thread. That's great to hear, The Giant Squid. Good luck!
posted by Splunge at 10:24 AM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


From that list of closings (fascinating) - Downcity in Providence, RI is also closed.
posted by quodlibet at 10:24 AM on January 22, 2012


The UK version of this show is much easier to watch, not nearly as dramatic or seemingly scripted as the US version.

US reality TV has always seemed a lot more superficial and cynical than UK reality TV. It's choppily edited, scripted for drama, constantly repeated and recapped, events are rearranged and placed out of sequence etc. But UK TV is becoming that way as well, especially with the success of The Hills and Jersey Shore clones such as TOWIE, Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea. It's a horrible trend to watch. The most cynical piece of TV I've seen for a long time is the UK version of 'The Biggest Loser', which is just hateful and irresponsible from start to finish.
posted by Summer at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2012


From the article it sounds like they weren't following the menu. Ramsey wouldn't have told them to cut corners or make canned shit.
posted by empath at 10:30 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


HAS GORDON MET HIS MATCH?! WE'LL FIND OUT ON THIS KITCHEN NIGHTMARES.

/every US episode of Kitchen Nightmares I have ever seen

I do shout IT'S FUCKING ROTTEN at friends from time to time though so the legacy is strong.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:31 AM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]




Kittens For Breakfast:
Classic seagull management -- guy flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits all over everything and leaves. Might make for fun TV but I can see why it would be worse than useless.

From Think_Long's numbers, the survival rates for the restaurants on his show are, in the US: 18 / 43, for the first four seasons, 22/47 for all 5. In the UK, it's: 5 / 24.

According to this article from 2007, the failure rate of restaurants over three years is about 60%. Which is to say, a 40% success rate; franchisees are about the same as independents (43% still going after 3 years), but the numbers aren't dramatically different one way or the other.

This suggests that the US numbers, at least, are at a minimum inside your error bars for the overall average, and the combination of that and the fact that they're being selected specifically because they have chronic problems (i.e., they're strongly predisposed towards failure at that point) implies that on the U.S. show at least, Ramsey is on average actually helping.

The linked article doesn't provide UK statistics, and I don't see any reliable ones in a casual search, so I can't evaluate that even if it makes for better TV.
posted by mhoye at 10:35 AM on January 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Having said that, I didn't actually check to see what year those seasons were - that's the reason I separated out U.S. season 5, they may just not have had time to fail yet - so there's plenty of room to argue my conclusion.
posted by mhoye at 10:37 AM on January 22, 2012


Yeah, it was in the back of a newer condo complex with ground-floor retail. Mangia also moved into that building, and closed within a year or so -- despite being popular and having a visible street-side space. Stuff around campus comes and goes all the time.

That's interesting. Sounds like a terrible location (I've seen that condo complex ... But on the back side of it?). Plus, it seems like it was right near Milto's which has been there since the late eighties at least and serves Greek food too.
posted by jayder at 10:39 AM on January 22, 2012


S04E06 - Downcity - Providence, Rhode Island

Closed...
posted by Ruki at 10:40 AM on January 22, 2012


This show is bad not just because it's US reality television, but specifically because Fox sucks. They are not good at their jobs.

During the last season of Hell's Kitchen, one mistake stood out. (There were many.) It came immediately following a routine competition when Ramsay was about to reveal the winner. As per usual, the show was edited so that it cut to commercial just before the reveal, to leave the audience in suspense so they'd stick around through the commercial break. Problem was, the edit was done so sloppily that although the actual audio was cut, you could see the contestants' reactions to what Ramsay was saying. One contestant breaks out smiling, the others look disappointed. Duh.

It's not a show-ending mistake, but it's just such an easy thing to get right that it's incredibly glaring when it's done wrong. These kind of mistakes pervade Fox from Hell's Kitchen to The X Factor and onward. From a television-production standpoint, I am constantly disappointed by the level of competence exhibited on the Fox network. It's subpar. They are not good at their jobs.
posted by cribcage at 10:41 AM on January 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


The vast majority of restaurants don't last for more than two years. As someone who tried to run a restaurant, let me just say that my first piece of advice for anyone who wants to own one is "Don't do it."

My second and third pieces of advice would also be "Don't do it." Really. It's going to swallow your entire life and probably spit you out the other side as a broke and broken alcoholic. If you like to cook, get a job as a chef. If you like to party, get a job as a bartender. Don't even think about opening one up unless you've managed one, and if you're not willing to put in a couple of years to train yourself in the real world before you open up something of your own, you are doomed anyway. You'll be working 16 hours a day for years if you want to own one of any size.

If you make it to number 4, it's this: If you absolutely want to do it, and you don't care about not having a life, and being chained to this unwieldy beast full of regulations, expiring inventory, expensive equipment failures, long hours, unreliable staff, thieves, alcoholics, drug addicts and dealers, cutthroat competition from independently wealthy hobbyist restaurateurs and multinational chains with enough cash to kill you with price attrition... decide how much money you're willing to throw away in the beginning, and stick to that number. Every horror story can be cut short early: before you put things like a home on the line for the success of a restaurant, look for a buyer, and if you can't find one, swallow your pride and close it down. It's a lot easier to say goodbye to tens of thousands of dollars than it is to lose your home and go into bankruptcy, or to dig so deep that a building full of strangers loses you your friends, your family, and your future.
posted by deanklear at 10:47 AM on January 22, 2012 [31 favorites]


Huh, I wonder how many patients were successfully helped by Dr.Frasier Crane.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:48 AM on January 22, 2012


Huh, I wonder how many patients were successfully helped by Dr.Frasier Crane.

Huh, I wonder how many people died at Chicago Hope Hospital.
posted by liketitanic at 10:57 AM on January 22, 2012


Dinner Impossible's Chef Robert Irvine does a way better job with his competing show Restaurant Impossible. For starters he imposes realistic limits on his effort: $10,000 & 48 hours. For anyone with a restaurant it changes the show from "I just wish some wealthy benefactor would give my place an Oprah makeover!" to "Hey! We could totally do that." And some of his redesign ideas work & some have to be scrapped and reconsidered on the fly. It makes the host & the show more approachable, more human. From an entertainment perspective I much prefer Robert's high energy but not negative emotion persona to Ramsey's asshole shtick. Plus he gets the owners involved in the decision making; you really feel he's on their side, not just bigfooting around because he can. This last one applies more on his other show but I really love it when the pressure's on & things are falling apart. That's when he kicks into high gear supreme efficiency mode & just turns into a machine, keeping track of all the details, making sure everyone else is on track & quality is being maintained even as he's shifting from position to position. It's artistry.
posted by scalefree at 10:58 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I always assumed that anyone desperate enough to allow Kitchen Nightmares in was already about a millimeter from going under anyway. It's a wonder to me that any of them actually turned around.
posted by tyllwin at 11:02 AM on January 22, 2012


clvrmnky: Ramsay is a dick

The thing is that he's really not. The Fox version of Kitchen Nightmares is scripted and edited to make him look like one and that's exactly what makes the show boring and predictable.
posted by peeedro at 11:08 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I remember one of the early episodes was a total horror show with a mould in the fridge and a 'chef' who was an idiot straight out of catering college who could not tell beef from lamb. Not surprisingly the place went under virtually as soon as the show went out. The owner kicked up a fuss in the tabloids claiming that she'd been misrepresented and Ramsey had put her out of business. Probably a good thing before she poisoned someone tbh, though they addressed it in a follow on program (of course Ramsey said it wasn't his fault) Presumably later closures were not so newsworthy.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:19 AM on January 22, 2012


I am reminded of the old maxim: "How do you make a small fortune in the restaurant business? Start with a large fortune."

A couple of the restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares seem to be run by hobbyists who are more in love with the idea of being a restauranteur than with the idea of preparing the nice food for the nice people. (The La Riveria or La Laterna episodes, for example.)

I'm glad to know the Campaign for Real Gravy still survives--they were trying, even though they had a crippling addiction to buying interesting plates. And I do hope the tiffin service at the Curry Lounge continues, I was ravenous when watching that episode.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:21 AM on January 22, 2012


To me, Restaurant Makeover is just as bad as the US Kitchen Nightmares. There is always, but always, the same ridiculous drama in the reno portion of the makeover: we don't have enough time, our supplier of seat covers or whatever didn't come through, and we need a bit of the kitchen budget. The designer screams at the construction crew, and I cringe. It's so tiresome.

The kitchen portion is better. I like David Adjey and Lynn Crawford well enough, but Massimo is just terrible.

Whatever happened to David Adjey's Restaurant 101? I thought that show had promise, and I think I saw only one episode on TV (the Rum House in New Orleans).
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:22 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


During the last season of Hell's Kitchen, one mistake stood out. (There were many.) It came immediately following a routine competition when Ramsay was about to reveal the winner. As per usual, the show was edited so that it cut to commercial just before the reveal, to leave the audience in suspense so they'd stick around through the commercial break. Problem was, the edit was done so sloppily that although the actual audio was cut, you could see the contestants' reactions to what Ramsay was saying. One contestant breaks out smiling, the others look disappointed. Duh.

At some point they are just going to have ONLY previews and recaps, with no "real time" show whatsoever.

Also there's a HUGE difference between UK Ramsey and US Ramsey. With UK Ramsey you get the impression you know his stuff, but US Ramsey is basically a parody of himself, all shouting and bluster and showing off for the camera, leaving very little that is likeable or of interest.

Which is a shame, because Kitchin Knighmares in the UK is actually kind of interesting and a proper US version would have been too.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or what peeedro said.

(Though he is kind of a dick, just not that much of one. Though presumably the dickinating is done with his permission.)
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on January 22, 2012


Restaurants fail all the time. Even the best ones. Even the best ones where everyone goes. See the legendary Angeli Caffe, a Melrose Avenue institution (1984-2012).
posted by infinitewindow at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2012


/every US episode of Kitchen Nightmares I have ever seen

The fact that every episode plays out in exactly the same way is compelling circumstantial evidence that the whole thing is scripted from beginning to end.

He never works with a single restaurant owner who gratefully receives every suggestion? Not even once?

Still, one of my favorite shows. [Yes, the UK version is better. As is Restaurant Impossible.]
posted by Trurl at 11:33 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in the early seasons of the UK show, you could actually learn things about what separates a good restaurant from a bad one just from watching, even as a non-resteraunteur. The US version is all drama and no education at all.

But the UK approach to reality television seems to be something more to my tastes anyway. Take The Choir, the three series (or is it four now) about Gareth Malone setting up singing groups in unlikely places. There's no drama, there's no ominous announcer voice, there's just this man working hard to do something unlikely. If there's any conflict at all, it's between the people and their preconceptions. Yet, it's the single most life-affirming bit of reality television I've ever seen, full of realization and joy.

It would also never survive on US television.
posted by hippybear at 11:34 AM on January 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


S01E06 - Sebastian's - Toluca Lake, California **closed**

We ate there shortly after the show aired, as it was right down the street from us and we'd driven by a million times without going in. The place was about half-full of other people who seemed morbidly curious, like we were, to see if Sebastian would have some sort of psychotic meltdown in the dining room. He didn't (though he did stroll around on a cell phone talking at a reasonable volume about business being up slightly after the show aired), and the food was all right, but the service was terrible in that sort of cheerful-but-incompetent way where you have to ask your sweet, smiling waitress eight times for water. We weren't too surprised that they only lasted a little while longer after that.
posted by scody at 11:42 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The vast majority of restaurants don't last for more than two years. As someone who tried to run a restaurant, let me just say that my first piece of advice for anyone who wants to own one is "Don't do it."

My background is filmmaking about which you could say pretty much exactly the same thing (ie: the vast majority of independent feature films NEVER get seen past the night of the "premiere", let alone make a tenth of their money back). Which is why I, someone who's on the record for NEVER watching so-called reality-TV, have found Kitchen Nightmares so compulsively watchable. Because BIG DEAL failure is compulsively watchable -- people reaching for their dreams and blowing it, usually through a lethal combination of ignorance and arrogance (coupled with vanity, of course). Which makes the second half of most installments (the part where the restaurant tends to get its shit together) way less interesting than the first. Just give me the failure part -- it's so damned educational.
posted by philip-random at 11:44 AM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


liketitanic: "Huh, I wonder how many people died at Chicago Hope Hospital."

Depends. Did Jeffrey Geiger have his pants on that week?
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:54 AM on January 22, 2012


I've only seen a handful of the British episodes, but one thing I took away from them was how Ramsay always advises restaurants to trim down their menus, to give diners fewer choices, not more.

The way he explained it, it made a lot of sense: a huge menu can lead to "analysis paralysis" for diners; it sends the message that there's no way you're able to make all this food from scratch and you're probably serving it from the freezer to the microwave to the table; and it allows you to focus on what you're really good at making.

This has been surprisingly relevant advice for my own life, even though I'm not a restaurant owner. For example, when I'm working on web development projects and my client wants an overstuffed menu of a different sort...
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:10 PM on January 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


He follows the apple model basically.
posted by empath at 12:23 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


S02E03 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - Brighton, England
Ramsay did a followup segment 2 or 3 years later when Momma Cherri's was a big success and she'd opened a second location but Ramsay chastised her for letting the quality of the cooking drop below what he'd originally tasted. Momma was remorseful and things were reformed apparently. Good tv!
posted by Bwithh at 12:28 PM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


The British version made me so depressed that I couldn't eat in restaurants for a while. It revealed why so many things just don't feel "right" in the places I frequented. Even now, 5 years later, it's made me really picky about where I eat out since things that I wouldn't have noticed before are really glaring.

That show made me a snob, but in a good way. I get a lot more out of dining out now and eating a higher end meal once a week is a lot more satisfying than consuming lower end garbage nightly and I really appreciate it when a the service and kitchen in a restaurant are on point.

The American version is fun to watch passively but the focus on drama and the guy with the Announcer Voice are really grating. There's nothing to be learned from it, but it's a nice guilty pleasure. I'm not surprised that most of the restaurants have gone under since they were all in dire straits anyway and a bunch of them are in horrible locations.

Restaurant Impossible is much more enjoyable since they cover the more interesting design aspect in addition to the kitchen and Irvine works with the cooks to create new menus and get feedback. It's a lot nicer than Kitchen Nightmare's black box approach.
posted by mikesch at 12:52 PM on January 22, 2012


Like everyone else, I liked the UK version and loathe the US version. It seems to me that every US version of a sucessful UK reality show pales in comparison.

By which I mean, I miss Ground Force and Changing Rooms and wish there was an flea market/auction show as enjoyable as Bargain Hunt on American television. We got Trading Spaces, which never lived up to its British inspiration; to my knowledge there's never been an American version of Ground Force, although I suppose Yard Crashers is similar; and Storage Wars which is just terrible.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:54 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


@Bwithh: I think Momma Cherri had further problems after that because she never figured out business fundamentals and food costs. She expanded but was losing money on every customer. I remember a followup interview with her where she complained that they should have given her more financial counseling.
posted by mikesch at 12:58 PM on January 22, 2012


I'd just like to say that idest and I are eating at Ramsay's place in Royal Hospital Road on Wednesday. We've been there once before and it remains one of the three best meals we've had in our lives. And we've been to a lot of great restaurants.

He can shout and swear and be a dick as much as he likes, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Decani at 1:18 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gordon Ramsay replied to my letter. (Self-link)
posted by cjorgensen at 1:18 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that every US version of a sucessful UK reality show pales in comparison.

I would argue that MasterChef is an exception to this. Although, the US version is more similar to the Australian version than the UK version.
posted by asnider at 2:03 PM on January 22, 2012



I would argue that MasterChef is an exception to this. Although, the US version is more similar to the Australian version than the UK version.


And in this case the U.S. version still really pales compared to the Australian version...
posted by gyc at 2:40 PM on January 22, 2012




It seems like a lot of commenters haven't actually watched the show. Ramsey is a dick and yells a lot on "Hell's Kitchen" but hardly ever on "Kitchen Nightmares". It's sensational, but he has a heart of gold to actually try and help these people work out nearly hopeless situations. Considering the state he encounters the restaurants in (the dysfunction, the lack of customers, the DEBT) it's not too surprising that many of them fail. El Greco in particular.
posted by quarterframer at 2:47 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the article it sounds like they weren't following the menu.

Yeah, I didn't see anything in the linked articles - I didn't read the comments but I don't know that I'd completely trust them - that suggested Ramsay's changes were to blame. Indeed, they talk about moving from authentic ingredients to canned and prepackaged stuff, and not doing that is rule #1 for Ramsey.

I do shout IT'S FUCKING ROTTEN at friends from time to time though so the legacy is strong.

It's RAW!!! is what gets the most mileage 'round here, although I also like "Bin it!" since that's something we Americans would never say.

I too like the UK version better than the US version, but I like both, and Hell's Kitchen as well, although I realize how ridiculously and horribly produced and edited the US shows are. Want to fight about it? I'll go outside and fight you.

And I actually like Restaurant Impossible less, in case you still don't want to fight me. Irvine just seems like Ramsey lite to me, edited more honestly I'm sure, but he's not as humorous or as interesting as Ramsey to me. And I actually HATE the $10k/48 hour renovation parameters. That seems (especially the 48 hour part) more contrived than anything on the Ramsey shows. Yes, if you are a restaurant in the red that is looking to renovate, time is a huge issue....but in real life, if the carpenter is tied up and has to come Thursday instead of Wednesday, I don't think that's what's going to be the difference between going under and staying alive as a restaurant.
posted by mreleganza at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's RAW!!! is what gets the most mileage 'round here

A favorite in my household as well. Often accompanied by "You're going to kill someone!"
posted by Trurl at 3:26 PM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've managed restaurants. Successful, busy places. One was on a Visa commercial (and they don't take American Express). High exposure, high volume, California cuisine. The company I worked for had 3 main partners. One was a front of the house wizard, one was a financial genius and the third was one of the best chefs in the nation.

It's that kind of team that makes a successful restaurant. That and awareness.

One day, the front of house wizard walks in unannounced - during a busy dinner service. He's in the place maybe 2 minutes. Walks up and tells me that I have a light bulb out in the main dining room, one booth has gum wrappers underneath and the glass on the front door has fingerprints on it. He then sits down at the bar orders a drink and takes the place in like he was a customer. Stays maybe 1/2 an hour and leaves. On the way out he says "Good room, I like it". A high compliment from him.

The chef would stop in and taste everything. And I mean everything. The stock, the herbs, check the line, say hi to the the dishwasher - go over the kitchen with a fine tooth comb. The place had best be spotless. One of the best chefs I have ever seen. Amazing food.

The financial guy could have run an investment firm. Freaking numbers god. He knew every dime that was spent in that restaurant - and the nickels and the pennies.

The team was the reason for their success. Each partner brought a speciality to the table that - when combined - made for a very strong foundation.

I think Ramsay would be better suited with a threesome entering the restaurant . Him as chef AND bring in a front of house guru - as well as a financial wiz. If this team entered the picture - I think you'd see more of a success rate with the restaurants featured on the show. It's rare that one person can handle all three jobs at the same time. Especially when he's yelling fuck every third word.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 3:29 PM on January 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


From the first comment; "The thing is, you can have a good menu, reasonable prices, good staff, and even a prime location AND STILL go under. It's an absolutely heart-breaking industry; you can still fail even if you do everything "right"."

This is one of those things that's oft repeated but seldom true in my experience. I have trouble thinking a single place that's gone under doing everything right. Places that go tits up are always problematic in some regard, in my experience. Does anyone know a restaurant that was "perfect" and is now defunct?
posted by Keith Talent at 3:30 PM on January 22, 2012


I think Ramsay would be better suited with a threesome entering the restaurant . Him as chef AND bring in a front of house guru - as well as a financial wiz. If this team entered the picture - I think you'd see more of a success rate with the restaurants featured on the show. It's rare that one person can handle all three jobs at the same time. Especially when he's yelling fuck every third word.

He has brought one of his maitre'd from one of his restaurants to help with the FOH on a couple of occasions, but yes that is not an everyday occurrence. And his money man used to be his father in law who he's suing for embezzlement, so I doubt he'd be bring him on the show.
posted by gyc at 3:36 PM on January 22, 2012


Does anyone know a restaurant that was "perfect" and is now defunct?

I can't speak to every detail about what went on behind the scenes, but L.A.'s wonderful Angeli Caffe, as mentioned upthread, seems truly to have done everything right and still had to close due to wider economic forces: "Kleiman said she had tried to sell Angeli but couldn't find a buyer to continue running it under the same name and she was bleeding money by staying open, hit by the recession and the changing restaurant landscape around Melrose Avenue."
posted by scody at 3:44 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I scream while I'm microwaving 2 minute noodles and they come out fucking amazing.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:01 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm also a Ramsay fan, especially after eating at Royal Hospital Road a few years back. Best fucking meal EVER. And we asked all his staff about him, and the level of genuine warmth and enthusiasm they showed for him spoke volumes. Every person had nothing but positive comments about him and his leadership. I believe them over scripters and editors at FOX.

His US shows are not nearly as interesting as the UK versions, but are still preferable to the rest of the crap on TV right now. I feel for the restaurants that end up closing but there's always a pretty clear reason why. And it's never Ramsay.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:09 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do shout IT'S FUCKING ROTTEN at friends from time to time though so the legacy is strong.

I'm partial to "It's BURNT! You DONKEY!"
posted by briank at 5:00 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nthing "IT'S RAW! IT'S ROTTEN!" and "You... could have killed someone!"

A relative of mine is a partner in a restaurant/venue. Just today we were commiserating about working crazy-long, thankless hours on our birthdays.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:01 PM on January 22, 2012


There is a building wave of imitators in non-restaurant settings. Bar Rescue. Tabitha Takes Over (hair salons). Those two are awful.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:19 PM on January 22, 2012


I was at a press thing one time, and Ramsay put the critics through a gazpacho test where people would raise their hands and name one ingredient at a time, and whoever named the last ingredient would win. I named the last ingredient after all the other ones had been guessed. (It was vegetable stock.) This was my greatest achievement of that year. (Not really.) (But he called me "dahling," and that was rather good.)

I agree with those who have noted that he puts on quite a show of being a jackass on Hell's Kitchen, is somewhat less of a jackass on Kitchen Nightmares US, and is almost entirely not a jackass on Kitchen Nightmares UK.

And my vote for Most Useful Ramsay Saying is "It's not COOOOOOOKED!"
posted by Linda_Holmes at 7:09 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


The thing about Kitchen Nightmares is that it's a little packaged Greek tragedy every week, where the hero is going to be undone by his own hubris -- whether it's the owner who spends all his time schmoozing at the bar, or the chef who thinks his food is spectacular, or the family who hasn't changed a thing in 35 years including cleaning the gross out of the fridge. But! Before the hubris can destroy them, Gordon Ramsey swoops in and rescues them so the tragedy can have a happy ending -- which is clearly only temporary because, dudes, it's a Greek tragedy. The hubris is going to win.

My favorite one is where he cured the owner of alcoholism in an hour of television.

I'm also fascinated by the "hey! We've noticed!" effect, where when suddenly something comes to the public eye and everyone starts reviewing it and almost without exception it ends up at 3 stars -- free amazon app store apps, any restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares ...

On Masterchef last year they had an episode where they fed children, and Ramsey was talking to the children, down on their level, and they were lighting up and really responding to him. I've read he has four kids, but it even came across on TV that he's really, really good with kids. They really, really like him and he talks to them really well. I would totally watch a show about him and children, he could teach picky eaters to love weird food or something.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:27 PM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've read he has four kids, but it even came across on TV that he's really, really good with kids.

He not only has four children, but he raises animals at his house for slaughter and involves his children in the process of raising and butchering and eating them. A valuable and rare life-lesson in this modern age.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


picea, "Senor Frayed Vinyl Booth's Casa de Generico" is brilliant.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:13 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


This BOWL is DIRTY! This is a DIRTY BOWL!
posted by mendel at 8:38 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


He revealed to the world that Jeremy Clarkson eats lobster shit.
posted by Artw at 8:49 PM on January 22, 2012


He not only has four children, but he raises animals at his house for slaughter and involves his children in the process of raising and butchering and eating them. A valuable and rare life-lesson in this modern age.

Very much this. Obviously, it's sort of a First World Project, but the respect that he shows for the animals they've raised--even as they're about to be slaughtered--seems very genuine and whatever else is wrong with the man he deserves some credit for that.
posted by Cyrano at 8:55 PM on January 22, 2012


He's filming 'Hotel Hell' right now, which is essentially the same premise, just focused on small, independent B&Bs (American-style, not UK-style) and inns.

This past week, he was very close to where I live most of the week, working on an overhaul of the River Rock Inn [printable page to avoid signin firewall]. The hotel's Facebook page also reveals a lot about the process.

It looks, for example, as if the inn advertised to get Facebook friends to apply for reservations at the venue. And while that's fine, a group of friends probably isn't the best bunch to ask for unvarnished, honest feedback--the kind you might need when trying to rescue your business.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:38 PM on January 22, 2012


I work at Wheatsville Food Co-op, right across Guadalupe from where this was filmed. Chef Ramsey came over and did some interviews at Wheatsville. He seemed very nice in person. We all got a big hoot at him dropping the microwave off the parking garage.

That condo building is kind of depressing. It is a new building, but very drab. The pizza place, Mangia, was a loss to the neighborhood. Wheatsville did keep the huge green Mangiasaurus, which is still on our roof. El Greco never seemed very integrated into the neighborhood. Tom's Tabooley, which is just a block away, is a much happier middle eastern place to eat at.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:50 PM on January 22, 2012


I've owned restaurants, and in the UK version Gordo (that's what we call him in our house) voices my own inner dialogue every single time I walk into a crappy restaurant ... including the 4star-ers. "What the f**k is that?" "10 minutes, no menu, no water ..." "What's that hanging on the bloody wall?!" "Look at the dust!" "Ugh, rubber calamari..." "Hostess spending all her time on the cellphone, not a glance in my direction, I'm still waiting to sit." I would love to see him do a take-down of some of the more legendary eateries. Guess that won't happen, but it would be fun to see him chastising David Bouley for a greasy hood over the grill. Plus, he's kinda dreamy.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:23 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dinner Impossible's Chef Robert Irvine does a way better job with his competing show Restaurant Impossible. For starters he imposes realistic limits on his effort: $10,000 & 48 hours.

You must be joking. It's exactly those limits that make Irvine's show little more than a game show. The re-decorations are, uniformly, horrible, cheap-looking and completely impersonal in that "cribbed from the Crate-and-Barrel catalog" way. And Irvine's menu "fixes" always seem to be coming from the same damned menu, no matter what the restaurant's specialty.

Drop the stupid time-and-budget game-show-ish conceit, and you'd have a captivating show about rescuing a restaurant. Otherwise, it's just "beat the clock" with shoddy decorations.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:26 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is a building wave of imitators in non-restaurant settings. Bar Rescue. Tabitha Takes Over (hair salons). Those two are awful.

I don't mind Bar Rescue. It's still very formulaic, but I think it has a little better content:recap ratio than the US Kitchen Nightmares.

I've only seen Robert Irvine in that challenge show he had a few years back. He seems to have quite a relaxed relationship with reality -- makes him a good fit for the genre I guess.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:23 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those articles are really heavy on editorial and facebook quotes and really light on actual information.

What did he do that forced the place to close? What went wrong during the shooting of the show?

One of the last links implies that he took fresh, in-house food off the menu and put on canned soup and bulk pre-made crap, but isn't that totally against what he does in the show?
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:48 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


They should do a Reality Swap show where he trades places with Tim Gunn.
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on January 23, 2012


They should do a Reality Swap show where he trades places with Tim Gunn.

I would watch the hell out of that.
posted by meese at 7:51 AM on January 23, 2012


We are all about the Ramsey-isms... which include Ominous Voiceover Guy as well. I can't tell you how many times we've gone to a restaurant and one of us leans over to whisper, "It's 45 minutes into dinner service, and the guests are getting restless."

I am also very fond of "IT'S RAW!!!!!" but for some reason I also go for "THE WELLINGTON, MADAM!!!!"

Really, anything that ends with "MADAM!!!!!!!!"
posted by Madamina at 8:01 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a building wave of imitators in non-restaurant settings. Bar Rescue. Tabitha Takes Over (hair salons). Those two are awful.

Not seen Tabitha. I've seen Bar Rescue. That guy makes Ramsay look like a modest, proper schoolmarm. It's a horrible, predictable show.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:24 AM on January 23, 2012


I actually liked El Greco a lot. It's much better food than Tino's. I was rather stumped why it closed, but this episode will likely add some context. And some F-bombs.
posted by spamguy at 9:54 AM on January 23, 2012


Ramsey's advice should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt, considering his how his own restaurants have been fairing.
posted by asok at 10:58 AM on January 23, 2012


"It looks like a bison's penis!"
posted by illenion at 2:46 PM on January 23, 2012


Ramsey's advice should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt, considering his how his own restaurants have been fairing.

High-end restaurants catering to investment bankers having profits slashed during the height of the credit crunch/financial crisis? Must all be Ramsay's fault.
posted by gyc at 3:16 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Southaustinfoodie blog makes it look like a boring Greek place. Austin is pretty competitive. There is a strong local food culture, and people are informed. A restaurant like El Greco could fail anywhere for any number of reasons outside Ramsey's control. I still think his 'Mr. Angry' routine is grating, scary and depressing. He's like someone's redfaced rageoholic soccer dad.
posted by shushufindi at 5:01 PM on February 5, 2012


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