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The Customer Isn't Always Right
May 15, 2013 3:20 AM   Subscribe

For the first time in Kitchen Nightmares history, British chef Gordon Ramsay walks off his own show. In the segment that aired this week, the difficult owners of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ - Samy and Amy Bouzaglo - are shown stealing tips from their waitstaff, admitting to firing more than 100 employees over a one year period, firing a waitress for asking a question, telling a customer who had been waiting over an hour for his food to go fuck himself (yes, the police were called during filming), and passing off frozen, pre-made raviolis and desserts as if they were homemade. The couple was so resistant to criticism that even the typically steadfast Ramsay decided he couldn’t help them and shut the show down before beginning the rehab phase.

And after viewers took to Yelp to trash the restaurant, that's when shit really hit the fan. Amy Bouzaglo went on Facebook and proceeded to have an epic meltdown, going so far as to threaten commenters with police action, and Photoshopping a Reddit thread to make it look like the police were calling users. They have since taken down the comments, claiming that their social media accounts where hacked.

Amy Bouzaglo is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, Bouzaglo made the local news for ripping a Yelp reviewer to shreds, and calling him a moron. Turns out she also used to be known as Amanda Bossingham, and in 2008 she served some time for felony bank fraud and identity theft, attempting to use someone else's Social Security Number to secure a $15,000 loan.
posted by phaedon (487 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

 
I couldn't even watch the show all the way through.
posted by empath at 3:37 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is embarrassingly tasty schadenfreude. Gordon Ramsay is the calm rational one. But the worst is stealing the waitstaff tips. That's horrid.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:42 AM on May 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


Steadfast? I don't think I have ever heard that term in connection with him. Schadenfreude for this though? Perfect.
posted by caddis at 3:47 AM on May 15, 2013


On one level this is hilarious. On anther level, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with personality disorders as entertainment.
posted by dortmunder at 3:47 AM on May 15, 2013 [63 favorites]


That was frankly the most astounding tv I have ever seen. I've encountered some puzzling people over the years but these two were an unparralelled folie a derp. Is swiping tips even legal?
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


I was trying to figure that out earlier. IANAL, I think it's only illegal if they're paid below minimum wage, but that depends on the state, etc.
posted by empath at 3:52 AM on May 15, 2013


Man, it's one thing not to tip, which is bad enough, but stealing tips from your own workers is low.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:54 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still don't quite understand the premise of this show. Does Ramsay select these restaurants against their will? I thought they somehow asked for his assistance. Each episode provides a ton of publicity and free remodeling in addition to getting Ramsay's advice, so I don't know why the owners are usually so resistant. Is it just because it's a scripted reality tv thing?
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:56 AM on May 15, 2013


"Ravioli" is a plural. It doesn't need an "s".

Unfashionably, I still like Ramsay, even though he's overworked his shtick. I shall enjoy watching this,
posted by Decani at 3:57 AM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


According to the comments on the Phoenix New Times, tips belong to the employees by law in AZ, but a "service charge" might legally belong to the restaurant.

Taking employee tips is pretty low.

ceribus peribus: no-one gets Gordon Ramsey forced on them unless they've signed the contracts agreeing to be filmed.
posted by pharm at 3:57 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amy Bouzaglo is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, Bouzaglo made the local news for ripping a Yelp reviewer to shreds, and calling him a moron.

I would bet that the Ramsay handlers knew this too. I would almost bet they used the taping and subsequent pull of the episode as a thinly veiled way to boost their own ratings of the entire series with the buzz it would create with discussions of this particular episode on various sites.......and of course, the meta-discussions of the discussions and so on and so forth.
posted by lampshade at 3:58 AM on May 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


I could barely watch that video. It's pretty bad when Ramsey seems like the soul of calm and reason in comparison
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is it just because it's a scripted reality tv thing?

Some of it is a combination of staging and editing.
posted by empath at 3:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


no-one gets Gordon Ramsey forced on them unless they've signed the contracts agreeing to be filmed.

Yeah, that's what I'd expect, too. But every week, it's:

Gordon Ramsey: "You need to change *things* about your restaurant; it's disgusting!"
Owner: "No! I like things the way they are, you're not the boss, I am!"
ceribus: "Then why are we even here? Why is this on tv? Don't you guys discuss this in advance?"

I guess the real reason is that it's suckered me into at least a half dozen viewings while I cook and eat lunch.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone ever been asked to "help" a fellow author "edit" their writing, to find out that they really just wanted you to tell them how awesome they are?
posted by LogicalDash at 4:04 AM on May 15, 2013 [84 favorites]


For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of Kitchen Nightmares, Mitchell and Webb do a fantastic job here, as usual.

That said, Jesus. I'm not sure I can bring myself to watch the Amy's Baking Company video.
posted by duffell at 4:05 AM on May 15, 2013 [25 favorites]


Wow. I just read that buzzfeed collection of the reddit madness. Fantastic stuff.
posted by Decani at 4:05 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aw and how can you make anyone named Katie cry!
posted by dog food sugar at 4:11 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Soooo...

1) appears well fitted out although there's few customers
2) feels free to chase off a lot that they have;
3) won't call the police under any circumstances;
4) only one person allowed to touch the books or EPOS system.

Lucky for them I'm not an IRS inspector, as this has money laundering written all over it.
posted by jaduncan at 4:12 AM on May 15, 2013 [120 favorites]


I doubt a money laundering operation would agree to be on Kitchen Nightmares though jaduncan.
posted by pharm at 4:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Another one who couldn't get through the first linked video! I hate watching messed up, sad, sick people. Life is too short!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


You know you're dealing with some real jerks when they make Gordon Ramsey look like Mr. Rogers.
posted by zardoz at 4:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Re: why anyone would invite Gordon Ramsey to their restaurant.

The original British version of Kitchen Nightmares had an episode which featured a soul food restaurant where the problem wasn't the kitchen or the food, both of which were amazing, but the fact that the owner couldn't keep her books right. S while she got a little help sprucing up her kitchen and menu, most of Ramsey's effort was in teaching her how to manage her business better. While I'm sure a lot of the conflict on the American show is staged, a lot of people probably thing that their restaurant is failing for some easily correctable reason, and not because their restaurant is terrible.

On preview, what LogicalDash said, too.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


I found the epic Facebook meltdown first last night, then watched part 2 of the episode. RIV-ET-ING. I'd never seen his show (not a fan of reality TV), but we sat there mouths agape, watching all 20 minutes. I sort of hate myself for it, the way you shake your head at rubberneckers passing a car wreck a quarter mile up the road, but when it's your turn you can't not look.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 4:15 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the British version of the show actually taught you stuff about how a restaurant worked, even if some of it may have been staged. The one episode of the American version was 98% drama with a heavy layer of over-the-top music.
posted by ignignokt at 4:21 AM on May 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


I wonder if this will temporarily boost their business? I could imagine young guys in particular going to that restaurant on a dare, to instigate a conflict with the owners on purpose to get into an over the top aggressive verbal confrontation.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:24 AM on May 15, 2013


I doubt a money laundering operation would agree to be on Kitchen Nightmares though jaduncan.

I'd have thought so, but how else do they even stay in business? The money has to come from somewhere, and I doubt that they are making much from making customers wait 45 minutes until they leave without paying and never come back (and leave yet another terrible review online).

Oh, and whilst using ingredients like truffle oil.
posted by jaduncan at 4:24 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


If we have a meetup there, can we bring our own five gallon drums of Donkey Sauce?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:28 AM on May 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


If you listen to the initial interview/talk Ramsey has with them, she essentially says she wanted him to come there to validate her perceived awesomeness and to 'show' all those people on the internet who said, in her mind, 'wrong' things about her just how wrong they are.
posted by ZaneJ. at 4:31 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


The owner does say "I am the gangster here" in part 2 when he is arguing with Ramsey.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:33 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Part of me wants to say, "I suspect this owner and her partner suffer from some sort of mental illness and this is really sad," but another part of me says, "Maaaaybe....but it seems fishy that a really shitty restaurant is still open even after all these egregious glaring problems, so yeah, money laundering?"
posted by Kitteh at 4:34 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not to mention taking the tips (ie money under the table).
posted by empath at 4:34 AM on May 15, 2013


Raging narcissism with a side order of the suspicion of money laundering on the side it is then.
posted by pharm at 4:36 AM on May 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


Oh, and whilst using ingredients like truffle oil.

Not that this removes the possibility of the restaurant being a laundering front, but truffle oil is not actually expensive -- at least, not the truffle oil you are likely to find at most restaurants.

Real truffle oil (made from truffles) can go upwards of $90 an ounce, yes. However, almost no restaurants use it. They instead use what is called truffle oil, but is actually oil infused with a synthesized chemical that replicates some (but not all) of the flavor of truffles, and has no actual truffle in it. This can go for $5 an ounce or less. If you're having truffle fries at a restaurant, this is probably what they're using (unless you're paying $30 for an order of fries).

That said: this woman is crazy.
posted by tocts at 4:42 AM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


the British version of the show

Now you've reminded me of the Japanese version of the show. Aired several (10 or so?) years ago. They'd take some restaurant from hell (ramen shop, sushi bar, anything and everything in between) and show you just how godawful it was. THEN... they'd bring in some guy (or small team, whatever) who would crack the whip and make these lazy-ass, inept and seemingly hopeless restaurateurs GET THEIR FUCKIN SHIT TOGETHER! It was always really, really tough on the slacker cooks and restaurant owners. These were almost always (typical to Japan) small concerns without waitstaff and whatnot, mostly mom and pop joints. There were lots of tearful scenes and harsh reprimands from boot camp-style overseers determined to whip them into shape. And of course, by the end of the show (after a week or a month or whatever had passed) these hell holes were transformed into culinary paradises, where customers lined up and the owners were transformed into happy, successful purveyors of fabulous, delicious fare! Happy endings!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:42 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maaaaybe....but it seems fishy that a really shitty restaurant is still open even after all these egregious glaring problems, so yeah, money laundering?

There are a lot of people out there who are wealthy enough to start a business, and keep it chugging along despite poor profits - a hobby business, for vanity's sake. Restaurants are pretty ideal for this purpose, I guess; few people bother to dedicate their time and money towards having the best little artisinal plumbing and welding supply store in town. And that's what the owners seem to want. Validation. To be told they're freaking fantastic. To be famous. They don't care about losing a customer, because the customer is clearly just an asshole who can't see how great the place is. It's the same with the staff turnover.

It can only go on so long before the gears begin to grind, though.
posted by Jimbob at 4:43 AM on May 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


Man ... She reminds me a lot of a manager at a bar I tended who was a trophy wife of the owner, a local state representative who inherited the bar from his family. Neither knew anything about running a bar or restaurant. It was a fairly successful college dive bar with Italian food, running on its own just fine while the absentee owner ignored it for years. Then one day he got a wild hair and decided to fix up the place to sell it, which is when he hired his wife with zero experience to manage the place and "clean house." They ended up firing nearly all the staff, driving away nearly all their regular customers and driving cash flow through the floor. In the end his brother in law bought the business, tore out all the wood floors and remodeled it with tile covering every surface, and sat on it for years while it languished. It's still there, but the crowds never came back the way they did before. With all the tile it feels like you're sitting in a giant bathroom, with acoustics to match.

I always loved the show on BBC. The US show is too over the top, but Ramsey is still great. From what I understand, his bombast is entirely for the camera, and he is known to be a genuinely friendly guy. I always thought the US show had some contrived situations and conflict, but they do actually take on struggling restaurants, and the owners are almost always the source of the problem in the end. Ramsey has to save the day by getting the owner to see the light and make changes, where everyone else working at the restaurant has failed to do so. Then they do a design makeover and re-open with a new menu. The BBC show didn't have this cookie cutter approach, but that's how we do it here.

My niece was on an episode in NYC at some Italian restaurant where she worked - the place definitely was dysfunctional, but nothing like the one in the OP (my niece was interviewed and was taped serving, but they didn't use her). IIRC, the owner makes the request to be on the show, which means (for the US show) a design makeover and sometimes a new menu, plus publicity from the taping and airing. Like a lot of reality shows they create or play up some of the tension and drama through editing, but the show works best when the owner is enough of a character where all the drama surrounds them.

I do miss the first season of the show on BBC, because the premise was the same, but the conflict wasn't played up and most of the conversations between owners and Ramsey were thoughtful, even if they were both digging in their heels. Ramsey didn't shout much at all. And the editing was more like documentary style with a pace to match. There was no predictable makeover-reveal or "come to Jesus" moment by the owner. But I worked at a lot of restaurants in my day, and it's still quite satisfying seeing someone who knows the business inside and out set things straight, including the owner's delusions which are causing the business to fail.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:46 AM on May 15, 2013 [19 favorites]


One part of me wants to watch this episode, because I can't imagine shit being so bad that Ramsay's bull-in-china-shop demeanor couldn't just bulldoze through as usual.

On the other hand, I loathe "reality" tv and its scripted conflicts and drama. I avoid shows like this as if they were radioactive. I just can't handle the manipulation and screaming.

One has to wonder, though, if this wasn't a set-up by the producers, to break the tired, predictable formula.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:46 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


My initial thought was money laundering, too, but there's also a very strong vibe of "vanity business underwritten by wealthy, older spouse whose ego is also wrapped up in it now."
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:47 AM on May 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


These events should be tracked and documented for a Masters Thesis: Is "there is no such thing as bad publicity" true?

There must be some uber-marketer who wants to take this place on to prove that one can sell anything, given the right spin.

how else do they even stay in business?

By being a deadbeat. The 'taking tips' part is on the record. Shouldn't be too hard to get get some of the "truffle oil" and check it for truffles.

PACER and the local courthouse should give one an idea of how many other businesses/people have "had issues" over this business. Same with the records of the State about the incorporation of the business. If these people follow the same patterns of other fraudsters I've known you should see small vendors not needed for day to day operation unpaid and having sued the owners/business. The State paperwork won't be correct or even unclear on who the owner is. And a trick I've seen more than once is via PACER - filing for bankruptcy to get creditor lawsuits to stop. Bonus points for filings in Court like: "The judgement should be vacated because we don't have the money to pay it" or the Law firm requesting to withdraw "because we have not been paid". Ownership having done jail time in the past for keeping sales tax money with the excuse in the court record "I didn't know that was illegal" just goes to show: Its easy to stay in business when you are defrauding others.

Good luck Internet Sluths on sussing out the hows and making the Masters paper 'there is such a thing as bad publicity' a success!
posted by rough ashlar at 4:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please everyone we need to stop. The police called me, they will be calling you too
posted by jessimin at 4:45am on May 15
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [85 favorites]


"Ravioli" is a plural. It doesn't need an "s".

It's being used metonymically here to mean "discrete arrangement of a finite amount of the total number of ravioli available", so Fowler would probably recommend clarity. A single raviolo, a plate of ravioli, an order of three raviolis. "Three plates of ravioli" would be nicer, but who has the time?

Seconding dortmunder, I think - this is gripping, in the way that a screaming breakup on a train is gripping, but there's an awkward hinterland for me between "These are bad people and should feel bad" and "these are people who are failing badly enough at life without having the Internet piling on, and having the Internet piling on will make their lives far, far worse and will not make anything else any better". I guess more people know not to go to Amy's Baking Company, but for how many of these people was that likely? Scottsdale has a population of about 200,000 people...

In production terms, Ramsey didn't walk off the show - the show created an entertainment proposition out of featuring a restaurant that was unsalvageable. I would imagine that when the researchers went out to check the place out that was highlighted as a possibility - "the owners are characters - should be some good showdowns", and at some point Ramsay and the producers decided that they were so unsympathetic, or so unable to stick to the script, that rather than the traditional redemptive finale they should have Ramsay walk out on them. It's a formula break - like a musical episode.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:49 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I still don't quite understand the premise of this show. Does Ramsay select these restaurants against their will? I thought they somehow asked for his assistance. Each episode provides a ton of publicity and free remodeling in addition to getting Ramsay's advice, so I don't know why the owners are usually so resistant. Is it just because it's a scripted reality tv thing?


I'd be curious too if I hadn't worked for at a restaurant where the owner would be perfect for this show. An owner so completely clueless and arrogant to even seem to begin to comprehend why his business isn't doing well. One time he talked about hiring a consultant to come and see what they could suggest and as staff we thought it was hilarious. There was just no way the guy would be able to deal with someone telling him what the actual problems are. Utterly clueless to his own action and responsibility.

One of the ways all of us staff got to through the work day was actually joking and imagining what Gordon would do if he came to this restaurant. I would daily imagine Gordon taking the piss out of him for his stupidity because it made me laugh and give me energy to earn that paycheck.

Ever since then, staging and editing aside I can totally believe that, yes the types of 'clueless' people on this show are very real.
posted by Jalliah at 4:50 AM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the British version of the show actually taught you stuff about how a restaurant worked, even if some of it may have been staged. The one episode of the American version was 98% drama with a heavy layer of over-the-top music.

The Food Network show Restaurant Impossible is decent in this vein; there's a lot of drama, but it mostly surrounds actual restaurant issues, especially related to management or bookkeeping. I'd say it's 40% actual restaurant stuff, 30% drama, and 15% heart warming resolution. The remainder is Robert Irvine's biceps, which is way lower than on his other shows.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:50 AM on May 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


There are a lot of people out there who are wealthy enough to start a business, and keep it chugging along despite poor profits - a hobby business, for vanity's sake.

I worked for one of these years and years ago - my first job in high school, as a matter of fact. It was a pet store, of all things. The rumor among us hourly folks was that the owner had made a pile of money in electronics, and let his wife run the pet store for laughs (and a tax writeoff of some kind). She was also a little nuts. Not as nuts as the woman on this show, but more in a 'we don't care because we don't have to' sort of way.
posted by jquinby at 4:50 AM on May 15, 2013


The original British version of Kitchen Nightmares had an episode which featured a soul food restaurant where the problem wasn't the kitchen or the food, both of which were amazing, but the fact that the owner couldn't keep her books right. S while she got a little help sprucing up her kitchen and menu, most of Ramsey's effort was in teaching her how to manage her business better.

There was a lot of that in the UK series - it was reality TV, but reality TV with an educational mission. They spent a lot of time going over how to manage a business and how to change business practices to support the operation.

The US version breaks down to: Bad food, dirty kitchen, meaningless interpersonal drama, and surprise makeover! Over and over and over and over and over.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:52 AM on May 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


And as of this morning, after they removed most of the over the top, all caps nonsense from their FB page, they claimed they were "hacked," and that the FBI computer crimes division is investigating (uh huh...surrrrre they are).

Signs point to mentally ill with a side of wealthy elderly spouse.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:53 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


US Kitchen Nightmares is total TV junk food.

I love it.
posted by bardic at 4:53 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, pressured speech much? You gotta hope it's coke or meth or something.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:54 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


there's also a very strong vibe of "vanity business underwritten by wealthy, older spouse whose ego is also wrapped up in it now."

This too should be rather provable via public records as to the age of the 2 of 'em. The power of 100's of bored Internet sluthes, public and private databases all looking these people's lives over. Then giving the ownership the ability to react will be like crack, meth and heroin together for the 4/chan's of the Internet.

Done right, these people will end up with a branding like "The Streisand Effect" and taught for decades in the propaganda^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpublic relations/marketing classes.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:55 AM on May 15, 2013


*All* of the Food Network is TV junk food.
posted by cotterpin at 4:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


There are a lot of people out there who are wealthy enough to start a business, and keep it chugging along despite poor profits - a hobby business, for vanity's sake.

A former employer of mine did exactly this many years ago. Bought the local "good" surf-n-turf restaurant and dumped a ginormous amount of his own cash into it, to transform it into a very expensive, very good, fine-dining restaurant, featuring a well-cultivated wine cellar. This in a small town where Olive Garden is considered by many to be the upscale, dress-to-impress dining experience.

It soldiered-on for several years, and was an amazingly good place. But, he had to support it out of his own pocket. There just weren't enough people in this area with the taste, or the wallets, to dine there regularly. Finally, I think his accountants had a come-to-jesus meeting to punch some sense into him. There's now an iHop where his toy used to stand.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, Arizona is the new Florida.
posted by bardic at 5:01 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the one hand, manufactured drama is always a possibility.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who are adequately lacking in self-awareness to invite Ramsay in believing that what would happen was that he would look around and say, "What you need to do is fight back against all these people who are attacking you." There are plenty of people who could legitimately believe that when they showed him the clean kitchen and the mean things people say about them on the internet, he would say, "All this is filthy lies and meanness, and I'm going to help you restore your reputation by telling the truth about your amazing establishment."

It's possible, in other words, that it was planned, but it's also possible that it's naturally occurring. People are weird, and given that these particular proprietors have a history that predates their involvement with the show, I'd guess a good bit of what happened is not manufactured by the show; just used to its advantage by the show.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:02 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Having occasionally watched the show, I wondered what it would look like if Ramsay decided that restaurant owners couldn't be helped and he left.

Now I've seen that scenario and it was as dry and boring as Amy's salmon burger. Or regular burger.
posted by kinetic at 5:04 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Linda_Holmes: Especially if the producers heavily implied that's what would happen when lining up the contracts.
posted by jaduncan at 5:05 AM on May 15, 2013


My vote is for money laundering combined with narcissism and a dash of starting to believe you actually know what you're doing.

There was a story not long ago about an FBI agent who created a fake movie in Boston as a sting to catch corrupt Teamsters. Only the agent got caught up in it and decided he actually wanted to make a real movie. People are funny.

Also, having spent a bit of time in the world of small business, I was shocked by how idiotic some people can be and still turn a profit.
posted by dry white toast at 5:08 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


bored Internet sluthes, public and private databases all looking these people's lives over

yeah, not something we want to be doing here. As an internet-related sort of thing, this incident may have some interest to us, but no Witchhunts R Us here please.
posted by taz at 5:09 AM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


The original British version of Kitchen Nightmares had an episode which featured a soul food restaurant where the problem want the kitchen or the food, both of which were amazing, but the fact that the owner couldn't keep her books right.

I remember that episode! For some lucky reason, I think the only two episodes that I have ever seen of Kitchen Nightmares are the Amy's Baking Company one and the Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack one, both of which are reality TV at its best.

Unfortunately, Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack has closed down. What's more, here's a really interesting piece from Momma Cherri herself about the closure and her experience on Kitchen Nightmares.

Two interesting tidbits from her episode.

One, it was a problem that almost no one in the UK knows what soul food is. The phrase "soul food" itself isn't very descriptive. Many of the potential customers were worried that "soul food" was some sort of macrobiotic religious thing. So, she had to step up her marketing outreach, giving out free samples and such. Once people tried the food, they liked it, but you had to be proactive about getting people to check it out.

My SO and I and had an "ohhh, right" reaction when we realized that soul food, being an African-American thing, wouldn't be a concept in a country where there are so few African-Americans. It's easy for Americans to forget that not everything from the US makes it across the pond. It makes you wonder what else people miss out on, simply because they either don't know what they're missing, or some superficial aspect of it gives people a negative impression.

Two, if I recall correctly, she was a kind-hearted person who tried to give jobs to friends and family who needed a gig. However, her nurturing instincts set the wrong tone for the high-stress, fast-moving workplace of a restaurant. She was never tough on them. She didn't have to be a heartless dictator, but she couldn't let things slide, either.

What's interesting is thinking about how the nurturing person can be reasoned to a place where they change their attitude at work, whereas the narcissistic lunatics at Amy's Baking Company cannot be convinced that their hateful attitude is a problem in and of itself.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:09 AM on May 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


If we have a meetup there, can we bring our own five gallon drums of Donkey Sauce?

Oh, I would love to see a Gordon Ramsay/Guy Fieri smackdown. Guy's American Kitchen Nightmares.

I envision it going a lot like the Black Knight scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with gushing donkey sauce in place of fake blood.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:28 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


I guess if you're on TV you're fair game for a bunch of Internet assholes to descend upon you at once and shit all over you for Teh Epic Lulz. "Oh my god look how poorly these people reacted to having Reddit fuck with them en masse!"

But they seem like jerks so hey, I guess in this case it's okay.
posted by Legomancer at 5:29 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess if you're on TV you're fair game for a bunch of Internet assholes to descend upon you at once and shit all over you for Teh Epic Lulz.

Well, hey, you don't have to be "on TV". I've seen it happen to people who were just "on Metafilter".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:31 AM on May 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Probably about 90% of foods that restaurants pass off as homemade fresh are premade and frozen in a factory. And most restaurants that aren't part of a chain are doing half of their business under the table.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:32 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a local pub/brew joint in Waterloo that's run by a similarly horrible person; she inherited it or married into it or something. Truly a nauseating piece of work, horrible to employees. We won't give them our business but they're kind of a fixture uptown and have been for over a hundred years, so it's kind of awkward. I suspect they're still going because the business is too big (brewery, pub, jazz club, patio) for her to actually ruin it through constant personality conflict; there's too much going on. If it was just one room and a kitchen and she was omnipresent I'm sure it would be just like this.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:32 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


most restaurants that aren't part of a chain are doing half of their business under the table

Gosh, I better start looking under the table at most of the restaurants I eat at!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:33 AM on May 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


The Amy's Baking Company episode is truly one of the most uncomfortable pieces of television that I have ever seen in my life.

There is a palpable aura of actual, factual, untreated, enabled, and suspiciously well-funded mental illness. Even though they treat people horribly, I kept feeling awful for them. They have no idea how much time, money, effort, and credibility that they're wasting. I couldn't escape the sense that the restaurant itself was a real world manifestation of a behavioral disorder. I brim with armchair diagnoses.

In the last scene, Samy has the tired, haunted eyes of a man who has spent the past six hours nodding, listening, drifting off to sleep for seconds at a time, being awoken by "are you even LISTENING?", and then getting promptly interrupted by his wife when he answers. As for Amy, she has the unholy vigor of someone who has spent the past six hours in a hateful monologue, all the while pumping furiously on a Stairmaster and testing the upper limits for the intake of lattes and Adderall.

If the restaurant really is an avenue for money laundering, then they'd be nuts (in the colloquial sense) to shine a light on the restaurant in any way. But, they're already obviously nuts for running the restaurant that way at all, so who knows.

Even if it is a money laundering operation, I can still see them thinking that the restaurant is still a legitimate restaurant with good food. Of course, insulating a restaurant from regular market forces would only delay the "correction" that ABC would otherwise face in the real world. And so, much like their own union, and precisely like the William Blake poem of the same title, this is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:33 AM on May 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


I guess if you're shown stealing tips from your servers on TV you're fair game for a bunch of Internet assholes to descend upon you at once and shit all over you for Teh Epic Lulz

Yeah, pretty much
posted by theodolite at 5:35 AM on May 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


Because of my work, I was keenly aware of ABC right after the first Yelp wigout a couple years ago, and I remember thinking at the time that Amy and Samy were destined for meltdown greatness.

I was not disappointed.
posted by davelog at 5:39 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read the Buzzfeed page last night, and didn't really understand Amy's claim that she is A GREAT MOM TO HER KIDS, and WILL BE PARENT OF A HUMAN CHILD TO. Now I've seen the episode and... oh. I get it. Sons wearing catskin, meow meow meow.

Wow.
posted by painquale at 5:40 AM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Regarding tips: this is why I always tip in cash, in person to the server, even if paying by credit. Never trusted that the tip would find it's way to them otherwise.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:41 AM on May 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


I've never been clear on the role of writers in the production of a reality show.
posted by surplus at 5:42 AM on May 15, 2013


They write out the rough story arc and form the list of shots the showrunners are tasked with obtaining from the wildlife, is my understanding.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:44 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I swear I remember a news story from a few years ago about one of Ramsay's gastro-pubs being caught serving factory-made coq au vin .. but google shows up nothing. Gosh darn it.

Having said that, when I first heard Amy going on about 'internet haters' I dived for the tinfoil hat. I've met many Amys over the years and weirdly enough their lives tend to be ruined by internet haters.
posted by kariebookish at 5:44 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first season of the American Kitchen Nightmares seemed to all be "family-owned" Italian restaurants in strip malls in suburban New Jersey that were incapable of making money, which we assumed were all money laundering operations. So that aspect seems to be nothing new.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:44 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amy and Samy? Is that even their real names?
posted by Melismata at 5:45 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Real World, when the cast all goes to Africa, or when Anna Nicole Smith was alive and had a show and they would go to the zoo or whatever, there were scenarios cooked up by the show's writers. Reality shows are pretty heavily molded and massaged. Like, it's hard to believe Chef Ramsay would show up at the restaurant, find it closed (despite the fact that there was a cameraperson indoors capturing him trying to get in), and then go out and instantly locate two former staffers.

There was a narrative being fashioned here, and it was the writers who fashioned the narrative.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


"a news story from a few years ago about one of Ramsay's gastro-pubs being caught serving factory-made coq au vin"

Booya.
posted by bardic at 5:49 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


No, her real name is Amanda.
posted by pineappleheart at 5:49 AM on May 15, 2013


In re: where is the money coming from to keep this place alive, let me first out myself as a huge fan of the show. We'd ignored it for years until BBC America aired the original and my wife and I developed total crushes on Gordo in his non-histrionic mode*. The US version is almost ruined by Fox's insistence on focusing on inter-personal strife, recapping the last 5 minutes for 5 minutes and the addition of a narrator because we're all too stupid to live, but how could I stop now?

Even though I watch the show through my hands half the time, I think this was the worst one ever. It was Greek tragedy and reminded me of Chandler's line, "There is no trap so deadly as the one we set for ourselves". That money is coming out of the old guy's pocket: he met Amy when she was a drinks girl or something and he's so in love with the idea of having a young, attractive (huge cough here) wife that he is, or perhaps was, willing to do almost anything. He spent the majority of the show looking to pull the ripcord after it became clear his idea that Gordon would get through to Amy was never going to happen. Then he just looked like he was hoping Gordon had tips on faking your own death.

The Food Network show Restaurant Impossible is decent in this vein; there's a lot of drama . . .

I feel like it used to be an acceptable substitute but now it's been drama'd to death. Plus Irvine seems insistent on creating faux stress where there isn't any, mainly by screaming at the designer and Tom that they're behind when it really doesn't make a difference. Plus, WE GET IT ABOUT THE LEXUS AND THE GPS BY NOW.

* So Kitchen Nightmares = good, his Cookery Course show was terrific and the one where he tried to start a bakery in a British prison, though self-aggrandizing, was nice as well. Hell's Kitchen, The F Word and the rest, terrible. Boiling Point 1 & 2, you make the call.
posted by yerfatma at 5:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


I've never been clear on the role of writers in the production of a reality show.

I've worked on plenty of reality shows. Yeah, everything is rigged. Of course it is, who wants to spend money on something that won't work out. And it's just junk TV anyway, nobody cares, right?

When you watch something like this, and you see Ramsay walk up to a door that *surprise* is locked! And yet there's a camera inside getting his reaction! How odd, huh?

Now the shows are getting to the point of coming full circle back to NON-reality - shows like Duck Dynasty are scripted. They're just sitcoms but with non-actors, because someone figured out that if you hire regular folks instead of real actors... nobody cares! Genius!

In this show there probably really was a genuine disagreement about how to proceed, but once they decided to do a "walk off" they had to sit there and plan it out, mapping his every word, robbing any spontaneity from the scene - but people like it that way. So whatever.

The only thing that really bothers me here is the other trend in the modern reality show, the non-stop music that shifts gears every time someone gives a (out of context) reaction shot, or blinks their eyes. Really. STOP THE MUSIC FOR FUCKS SAKE
posted by fungible at 5:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


No, her real name is Amanda.

And Samy is short for Salomon, apparently. (He wrote this in the Yelp comment thread.)
posted by painquale at 5:53 AM on May 15, 2013


They write out the rough story arc and form the list of shots the showrunners are tasked with obtaining from the wildlife, is my understanding.


Pretty much - and also work out with the star and the guests what they are going to say in each scene, and also write the scene-setting voiceover which shapes how the arc is received. "Real people" shows will give the "real people" notes on how each scene starts and ends, and what beats should be hit during it...

Amy and Samy, by the looks of it, were either unable to receive notes on the arc - how their resistance to change was broken down, they reformed, reconciled with their staff and learned how to run their kitchen - or the arc was scripted as "dreadful people refuse to listen to Chef Ramsey, he washes his hands of them". Most likely, a little of both - the possibility was anticipated by the researchers but only crystallised when they started shooting.

If they had managed to follow the arc, the bad stuff which made up the whole 20 minutes would only have gone up to the second ad break or so, and the worst parts would have been cut to make them more sympathetic - a beleaguered husband and a wife who cares so much about the business that she has lost her sense of proportion, and has to have it brought back by GR's tough love.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:55 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


STOP THE MUSIC FOR FUCKS SAKE

Hey man, some of us have to pay the rent.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:58 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


On anther level, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with personality disorders as entertainment.

Welcome to reality television. Normal folks need not apply.
posted by tommasz at 5:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Probably about 90% of foods that restaurants pass off as homemade fresh are premade and frozen in a factory.

A tell here:

The signage says Ho-made or Home-Made.

And if any part of the actual food was made in a home, should not the health department shut 'em down for the lack of an inspected kitchen in the operation?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:02 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Immediate reaction on watching this was "Heck, if Amy signed up for a MetaFilter account and did an AskMe question about Gordon, the responses would be truly spectacular."

Probably indicative that am spending too much time on MetaFilter.
posted by Wordshore at 6:07 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow, I was finding the fallout interesting in a "standard crazy person who thinks the world is out to get them" sort of way, but after watching five minutes of the actual episode my eyebrows are trying to escape my face. The only reason I wouldn't run out of a restaurant like that is because I'd be afraid any sudden movements would result in a knifing.
posted by lucidium at 6:07 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Chef Ramsey reviewed Fox. "This fucking episode goes viral and you're not going to let ad viewers watch it for 8 days?"
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 6:11 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


They write out the rough story arc and form the list of shots the showrunners are tasked with obtaining from the wildlife, is my understanding.

Yeah. It's interesting seeing how well-planned the Ramsay's arrival is, as a bit of filmmaking.

He marvels at the dessert case. He goes right for a slice of cake, and he loves it. Of course that was planned. The producers would have known well in advance that the desserts looked good and tasted fine.

As a story element, it's the perfect introduction. The viewer knows that something must be wrong with the restaurant. Ramsay likes the food so far, which he rarely does. Expectations are being tweaked. It's also ominous: the fact that the restaurant serves perfectly good desserts is, if anything, a sign that the restaurant must be, in other ways, even more deeply troubled than usual.

(It also makes sense that Amy might perform better when she's baking something ahead of time and she doesn't have to deal with orders or customers.)

When the couple says that they've been responding to the "haters", Ramsay doesn't snap at them. Instead, he says, in a very teacherly/lawyerly way, "so you engaged with them", i.e. he's flagging that remark for further discussion without being aggressive or contradictory. He's setting himself up as the reasonable professional who is here to make a sober appraisal. If anything, at the outset, he's being politely deferential. For the cameras, the couple are so hopped-up that you can't counterbalance them with the "bull in a china shop" approach.

Amy talks about how she has three boys in cat bodies. On the one hand, that is really weird, but on the other hand, that remark is no weirder in and of itself than a lot of other things that people say. Simple editing could have made that seem like an amiably remark - cut to Ramsay laughing politely, cut to cute kitties, etc.

But as the couple drones on and on, there are a few reaction shots from Ramsay, showing him raising his eyebrows at being spoken over. This indicates to the viewer that something is seriously awry. This is Gordon Ramsay's show. He is a dominant, often brutal presence. Something is wrong when you don't give enough respect to the star of the show, especially when his trademark is forceful criticism.

He calls the couple crazy, in a "ha ha only serious" kind of way, and they laugh it off, but the producers, and the viewers, know that this is foreshadowing.

When Ramsay goes to the kitchen, the scene is edited as to make it seem as if they're balking at letting him see the actual kitchen itself. I wonder if the majority of "let's go see the kitchen" moments are, in real life, every bit as awkward, but here the producers have made the choice to highlight this awkwardness. They leave in every "um" and "ah".

Ramsay observes how neat and orderly the kitchen is, but the tone is not admiring. He compares it to an operating room. Since we hear this remark as a voiceover, it probably wasn't actually said when he was literally looking at the kitchen. More scene-setting that Something Is Wrong.

Indeed, the show cuts to one of the servers, who says to not judge a book by its cover. That server was very likely interviewed after she no longer worked there. At the very least, she was interviewed when she was already near the breaking point. Either way, she has the smirk of someone who already knows that the Bad Guys are about to be unmasked.

And so on.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:15 AM on May 15, 2013 [51 favorites]


Meow Meow Meow... Translation: Run, I'm crazy
posted by microm3gas at 6:18 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reality tv may not be real, but that haunted look on Sammy's (sp?) face was truth². He's been married to Amy for 10 years, I suspect those sunken, dark ringed eyes and white hair were not there when the relationship started.
posted by HuronBob at 6:19 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is swiping tips even legal?

You know, by far the worst employer I ever had regularly used the phrase, "We checked and it is not illegal" (this was not in the restaurant business, by the way). She operated on the basis that no matter how absurd or ill-conceived her schemes were, they were not going to land her in criminal court, so they were therefore sound business practice -- I believe she termed it "thinking outside the box."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:32 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


This seems to me to be an example of the cast for a reality show going waaay off script. I don't think the producers were expecting nearly the amount of lunacy that the couple provided.

It happens once in a while. The cast will rebel. I was on a reality show with my girlfriend and we refused to play along with their more blatant manipulations -- we were given some money and sent around a mall to find clothes for my girlfriend, and they producers kept trying to get us into a panic, which we blithely ignored. At one point we stopped on an escalator that was broken and started screaming "Help us! We're trapped on the broken escalator." Also, whenever the host, Debbie Matanopolis, jumped out as us, we screamed.

My favorite season of Real World was the New Orleans season. It was the first season where the cast was really savvy about what the producers wanted -- they had seen the show enough to realize, as an example, that MTV tends to cast the black guy as the crazy one. And so they purposely rebelled. One cast member developed a romance, but she didn't want it televised, and so she located every place in the city where MTV couldn't film and then took her dates there. Despite refusing to conform to the show's expectations of them, the cast was really daffy and fun, and one of them, Melissa, provided commentary on (as I recall) Television Without Pity, explaining on every episode about how the footage was manipulated to create a story that wasn't there.

I wish casts would rebel more. Obviously, it makes for good television. Or, at least, I think so, but then, I rebelled once, so I may be biased.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:34 AM on May 15, 2013 [38 favorites]


I laughed for a bit at one of the comments on their Facebook page: "It's like if Joffrey ran a restaurant."
posted by bibliowench at 6:37 AM on May 15, 2013 [47 favorites]


If you look at the comments for the Daily Beast article (5th link, "The couple was so resistant to criticism...."), you'll find that as recently as 4 hours ago, someone was posting as "AmysBakingCo" stating that the article was "all lies" and urging people to go to their Twitter account for the truth.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 AM on May 15, 2013


You know, by far the worst employer I ever had regularly used the phrase, "We checked and it is not illegal" (this was not in the restaurant business, by the way).

aka: "I've checked, and we're almost sure this plan is merely incredibly unethical."
posted by jaduncan at 6:40 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first season of the American Kitchen Nightmares seemed to all be "family-owned" Italian restaurants in strip malls in suburban New Jersey

Do they still only do restaurants that are within an hour or so of NYC?
posted by smackfu at 6:40 AM on May 15, 2013


No wonder he stormed off the set. (He was here in Burton last year, nice guy)
Yes, Twitter solve this issue. Now that place...loser.
posted by clavdivs at 6:41 AM on May 15, 2013


Also, Arizona is the new Florida

No no no its " Flordia: Surreal and criminal, Arizona: Evil yet dumb. "
posted by The Whelk at 6:46 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you don't think serving frozen prepared food as homemade, stealing wages and tips from staff, and arbitrary firings (often for refusing sexual advances) are not completely ordinary parts of the restaurant industry, then you watch too much reality TV, or maybe just don't know enough downwardly mobile children of middle class boomers. The only bizarre part of this story is that the Bouzaglos are too brazen and stupid to keep it hidden from the TV cameras.

Regarding tips: this is why I always tip in cash, in person to the server, even if paying by credit. Never trusted that the tip would find it's way to them otherwise.

That won't stop most tip theft, at least how it's practiced in Canada. In Ontario, not only is it legal to pay your servers less than minimum wage, but it's also legal to force them to turn over an arbitrary percentage of gross sales from their tips, usually around 4%, but sometimes higher. The tip-out is ostensibly to share the tips with the kitchen and non-tipped front of house, like hostesses and the like, but has degenerated into an excuse for first managers, and now owners as well, to take an increasing share of the tips. In some especially egregious places, the tip-outs are a high as 10%, with most of that going to the owners and managers.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


If you don't think serving frozen prepared food as homemade, stealing wages and tips from staff, and arbitrary firings (often for refusing sexual advances) are not completely ordinary parts of the restaurant industry, then you watch too much reality TV, or maybe just don't know enough downwardly mobile children of middle class boomers. The only bizarre part of this story is that the Bouzaglos are too brazen and stupid to keep it hidden from the TV cameras.

Clearly we need more Reddits.
posted by Legomancer at 6:50 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do they still only do restaurants that are within an hour or so of NYC?

You didn't actually read any part of this thread, did you?
posted by hippybear at 6:56 AM on May 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Amy and Samy? Is that even their real names?

Maeby.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


Interesting seeing this positive review from PBS in Arizona, including the Red Pepper Ravioli. I know the Kitchen Nightmares show was probably already filmed and out of their hands by that point, but I do wonder why they didn't just stick to those small, kinder, local shows. I guess it was just hubris.
posted by CaveFrog at 7:00 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


One cast member developed a romance, but she didn't want it televised, and so she located every place in the city where MTV couldn't film and then took her dates there.

"I thought I could use Angie's camera to make Tracy behave, but he found a loophole and now to close it I need $80,000 to buy the rights to Uptown Girl."
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


In the midst of one of the arguments, Samy actually says to GR "I am a gangster" so it's not really a stretch to wonder if there's more to the place than meets the eye.

I would imagine that the place was picked on the basis of the terrible reputation but sold to the owners on the basis that there were minor improvements and it would be good publicity. Amy had obviously convinced herself that the place was almost perfect so would have no fear that it would turn out different. One imagines Samy didn't have much say in the matter, gangster or not.

It was quite pleasant to see someone get the better of GR, though. He was no match for her.
posted by unSane at 7:06 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What was funny was that being aware of the fact that they were obsessed with people's opinion, GR went into the main room and shouted that there was a problem (frozen food / tips). Kinda snap therapy.
posted by nicolin at 7:20 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why am I not surprised this occurred in Arizona? Did she deploy the minutemen on Ramsay?
posted by incandissonance at 7:21 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


We need a mashup - G.R.G.R.R. Martin - A Game of Kitchens, where the characters are super critical of each other's cooking, decor and business practices. Combat is resolved by who can get their face to wrinkle the most while shouting G-rated insults.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:23 AM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


"When you play the game of thrown spatulas, you win or you die."
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:24 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Amy: SILENCED ALL MY LIFE
posted by peagood at 7:36 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the midst of one of the arguments, Samy actually says to GR "I am a gangster" so it's not really a stretch to wonder if there's more to the place than meets the eye.

So...Mr. Ramsay. We tink it might be better for yous health if you, y'know, got outta town. Today.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:37 AM on May 15, 2013


So her real name is Amanda. There is something fishy about Amandas these days. It could be a Fringe storyline.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:39 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amy: SILENCED ALL MY LIFE

People probably frequently use earplugs.
posted by jaduncan at 7:40 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Turns out she also used to be known as Amanda Bossingham, and in 2008 she served some time for felony bank fraud and identity theft, attempting to use someone else's Social Security Number to secure a $15,000 loan.

Uh, did Ramsay actually do a background check on these jokers before signing them up for his show? I think he probably did, and I think Ramsay engineered the whole thing so he could get some free publicity for a stale show.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:46 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, now they claim that not only were hacked, but they fear for their safety and can't open their front doors because they have gawkers.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:47 AM on May 15, 2013


A Dramatic Reading of... Amy's Baking Company's Facebook Page.
posted by Wordshore at 7:52 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "I was on a reality show with my girlfriend and we refused to play along with their more blatant manipulations ... Also, whenever the host, Debbie Matanopolis, jumped out as us, we screamed."

RuPaul's Drag Race?
posted by boo_radley at 7:56 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a spicy pre-cooked and frozen meatball!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:56 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uh, did Ramsay actually do a background check on these jokers before signing them up for his show?

Time served in 2008 for a white-collar offense committed ten years ago is probably not a big enough flag regarding someone's ability to run a restaurant. It's important for Reddit, though, because criminality justifies monstering. Which is also one reason why the money laundering/gangster suggestions are getting traction.

(I feel like the first thing they teach in gangster school is not to tell people you are a gangster in front of TV cameras if you are in fact a gangster.)

The same thing happened with Paul Cristoforo, when he did the video games equivalent of tell Gordon Ramsey to shut up and do what he says. And, for that matter, Anita Sarkeesian, although in her case the criminality was the fraud she was perpetrating in the minds of her opponents by asking for money for a web series, when web series cost no money to make. The criminality justifies open season, basically.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:57 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the things I really love about the internet (for the time being, anyway) is that having money does not in any wise mean getting your own way.

WTF U MEAN UR RICH? I BETR SHUT UP THEN!!1

LOL J/K
posted by Mooski at 7:57 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was expecting Gordon to be knifed by Amy. Seriously knifed. She is insane.

The desserts are not baked by Amy. They are purchased by Amy. On the Facebook feed, the photographs are stolen from others.

There are fixed cameras hung all over the restaurant. This may explain the interior shot when G shows up to a locked door.

If the internet pressure continues, soneone will come to harm. Amy needs medication and rehabilitation, if not a rubber-walled room. Samy's mental health is no great shakes, either.

Helluva thing, untreated mental illness. I am a little disappointed this has been a MeFi thread: I thought the mods had decided long ago to not support "laugh at the crazies" posts.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:58 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


RAMSAY

Two A's, no E's.

Thank you.
posted by notyou at 7:58 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is something fishy about Amandas these days. It could be a Fringe storyline.
posted by Brocktoon

"Again, they discover the eyes were obtained from organ donation, and they find a connection to a woman called Amanda (Anja Savcic), a ballerina who had committed suicide. They also note the care that the culprit performed the work, and speculate that the person they are looking for is showing some compassion for his victims, calling for emergency help and using the serum to hope that they are given the proper care in time."

Get the Amber pastry bag!
posted by clavdivs at 7:58 AM on May 15, 2013


This episode was every low-wage-employee-of-a-tyrannical-and-unfair-boss' fantasy come true.
posted by history_denier at 7:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was waiting all the time for Ramsay to find out that the cakes were brought in, too. I'd love to see his reaction to that after all his praise for them.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


This episode is an alternate ending to Casino, where Ace decides quitting the Tangiers and giving Ginger a restaurant will fix everything.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


RAMSAY

Two A's, no E's.

Thank you.


Like Ramsay Bolton, if that helps anyone remember.
posted by kurumi at 8:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


I thought the mods had decided long ago to not support "laugh at the crazies" posts.

This is more a weird-situation-becomes-media/internet-phenomenon thing at heart, has been my read on it watching it develop all day yesterday. I'm not exactly hot on the whole thing, but to the extent that what you're talking about is totally valid indeed, it's more of a "hey, here's a random trouble person to look at" rather than "thing completely storming the internet right now".

But if folks want to talk about the mefi side of it in detail, you know the drill, off over to the grey and everybody else carry on.
posted by cortex at 8:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was waiting all the time for Ramsay to find out that the cakes were brought in, too. I'd love to see his reaction to that after all his praise for them.

I am Gordon's complete lack of surprise.
posted by jaduncan at 8:05 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


In Ontario, not only is it legal to pay your servers less than minimum wage, but it's also legal to force them to turn over an arbitrary percentage of gross sales from their tips, usually around 4%, but sometimes higher.

Wait, isn't Canada too nice to pull some U.S. bullshit like that?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:06 AM on May 15, 2013


They've deleted all of their ranting facebook posts now. But one helpful commenter has linked screenshots to all of them.

(Also, it always baffles me how people can say "I am a child of God" and then have literally the next statement be a hate and swear filled diatribe and not have any sort of internal dispute over that. I know cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing but I will never understand the more egregious examples of it)
posted by triggerfinger at 8:17 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


dortmunder: "On one level this is hilarious. On anther level, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with personality disorders as entertainment."

The reason I love Kitchen Nightmares (although in small doses because it's pretty shouty) is that it is a perfect little compact narrative of Greek tragedy. The protagonist is blinded by hubris to his or her own failings, and will cause his own downfall if he can't be saved from himself. Their very attempts to escape their fate lead them closer and closer to downfall.

Only Gordon Ramsey's intervention can stop the Fates from spinning out the protagonist's inevitable, self-caused downfall, and give the tragedy a happy ending by opening the protagonist's eyes to his character flaw.

I'm a little less into it, though, since Ramsey started curing alcoholism last season because that's not so much a hubristic character flaw as a serious illness.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:19 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Despite our national obsession with the small business owner as the strength of our nation or whatever, I'm more surprised that other people are surprised by small business owners, especially small business owners in the restaurant space, being bugnutty jumped-up little half-smart-at-best thieving creeps.

Basically, I think it's safe to just assume that anyone who owns a restaurant is Joffrey.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:22 AM on May 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Amy Bouzaglo is no stranger to controversy. In 2010, Bouzaglo made the local news for ripping a Yelp reviewer to shreds, and calling him a moron.

I would bet that the Ramsay handlers knew this too. I would almost bet they used the taping and subsequent pull of the episode as a thinly veiled way to boost their own ratings of the entire series with the buzz it would create with discussions of this particular episode on various sites.......and of course, the meta-discussions of the discussions and so on and so forth.


Publicity stunt gets publicity. Film at Friday @ 9pm.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:22 AM on May 15, 2013


Eyebrows McGee: "since Ramsey started curing alcoholism last season because that's not so much a hubristic character flaw as a serious illness."

what.
posted by boo_radley at 8:22 AM on May 15, 2013


My wife was reading through their Facebook page last night, where there are/were a bunch of photos of cakes. Except, the cake photos were shamelessly lifted from other websites.

That's not the act of someone trying to quietly hide money laundering. That's an egomanic, or someone with other mental issues. Her husband dumped a ton of cash on the restaurant, shields her from the negative comments from customers, and supports her wild-eyed claims that she's amazing and everyone who disagrees are a bunch of haters.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:26 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


A while back, there was a show with a similar premise to Kitchen Nightmares called I Pity the Fool, hosted by none other than Mr T himself.

I wish it'd been Mr T instead of Gordon Ramsey at Amy's Baking Company. That would've been sweet.
posted by item at 8:28 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of Kitchen Nightmares, Mitchell and Webb yt do a fantastic job here, as usual.

Mitchell and Web are hilarious, a fact I discovered the day they were removed from Netflix.

That's numberwang!
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:32 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I feel bad for anyone who has worked for them.
posted by zarq at 8:32 AM on May 15, 2013


The difference between US episodes of the show and UK episodes is astounding. I boggle.
posted by elizardbits at 8:34 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I watched a lot of the UK Nightmares when they first started off, and subsequently picked up the US versions too. I'm sure I saw something on the credits for the US that some scenes were re-recorded for dramatic effect (or words to that effect), which I never noticed on the UK version.

Anyway, I was really only going to say, I went to Momma Cherri's Soul Shack. It was after the show had been on TV (and the food looked great!), and they had moved to the bigger restaurant - it was a bit chaotic - I don't think they were prepared enough to deal with the extra customers, which does tie in with the link above. The food (and the service) was a bit hit and miss. It was still a shame to see they had closed down. However, I did find it quite interesting to see how many of the featured restaurants are still operating or not.
posted by thingonaspring at 8:34 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, isn't Canada too nice to pull some U.S. bullshit like that?

Well, on the plus side, the sex industry here is steadily being integrated into the legal economy, and becoming much less exploitative. Ten years ago, being a sex worker meant more exploitation than being a server in a restaurant. These days, for a certain subset of the the children of the middle class, working in a restaurant you are probably more likely to be raped and/or robbed by your employer than if you are a sex worker. Anecdotally, someone I know very well is finding her new job to be much freer of unwanted sexual advances and wage theft from her employers/managers now that she works in a sex club, as opposed to family restaurants.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:35 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I suspect this owner and her partner suffer from some sort of mental illness and this is really sad,

It is my firm belief that anyone who wants to be on a reality show is mentally ill.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:40 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is my firm belief that anyone who wants to be on a reality show is mentally ill.

Come now, come now. The presenters are very well paid.
posted by jaduncan at 8:42 AM on May 15, 2013


Bunny Ultramod may have an opinion on that, entropicamericana.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:43 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


This was horrendous. That Gordon Ramsay came out of it looking like the calm, sensible person shows how dreadful these people were. I think they genuinely expected him to come in, taste the food and tell them all the 'haters' are wrong.

When Amy said she made the desserts herself I thought there might be a small potential for her to succeed at running a dessert cafe, but then it turned out that those were bought in too.

And I suspect the reason the owner refuses to allow the wait staff to use the POS machine is so that it looks as if he's taken all the orders himself, thus 'justifying' his appropriation of all the tips. I'm sure the IRS will be interested in the additional income he's 'earned' this way, and I'm sure Samy and Amy will welcome with open arms an IRS audit of their business.

The thinly-veiled racism was awful too - a significant percentage of restaurant kitchen staff are from Mexico or the Dominican Republic, so Amy's comments that people who applied for jobs were 'dirty and lazy' spoke volumes about her attitudes.
posted by essexjan at 8:45 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod may have an opinion on that, entropicamericana.

No offense to Bunny Ultramod. Also, I don't understand the "I volunteered to be on this reality show but don't want to be filmed" mentality.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:50 AM on May 15, 2013


According to the news clip linked in a previous comment, it's 98 degrees at 9:00 in Arizona. Whether AM or PM, that's enough to make anyone go crazy.
posted by meowzilla at 8:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


We need a mashup - G.R.G.R.R. Martin - A Game of Kitchens, where the characters are super critical of each other's cooking, decor and business practices. Combat is resolved by who can get their face to wrinkle the most while shouting G-rated insults.

Dinner is coming.
posted by scalefree at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2013 [29 favorites]


Why didn't Ramsay ask what the wait staff was paid in hourly wage? Or, rather, why didn't they air that question because obviously he asked it. While I hardly doubt that ABC is ripping off the staff, I find it fishy that this obvious question was omitted. Did the owners disclose this in any of their crazy internet meltdown?
posted by mullacc at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2013


I'm betting they found most of those pictures of baked goods on Pinterest. At least, that's where I first saw them.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2013


The difference between US episodes of the show and UK episodes is astounding. I boggle.

The lower drama UK incarnation of the show is much more interesting, IMHO, as Ramsey isn't in permenant Hells Kitchen mode and it's not so much edited for maximum drama overload at all times, which allows it to be a little bit about running restraunts and food, which can be interesting.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


mullacc: "Why didn't Ramsay ask what the wait staff was paid in hourly wage? Or, rather, why didn't they air that question because obviously he asked it. While I hardly doubt that ABC is ripping off the staff, I find it fishy that this obvious question was omitted. Did the owners disclose this in any of their crazy internet meltdown?"

From their facebook page:

We do not feel the need to make any excuses for our behavior on tonight’s show.
However we would like to make the following statement:
We do not, nor have we ever stolen or taken any of our servers ,waitresses, or waiters tips at Amy’s Baking Company.
We pay our staff members anywhere between $8.00 to $14.00 per hour to ensure that at the end of the week regardless of it being busy or not, that they go home with money and a well paid paycheck. As do many other restaurants.
They are aware of this when they are hired.
I would challenge any of our employees past or present to come forward with proof that we have ever done such a horrible thing.

So please enjoy the show!
Amy & Samy


Since they quite obviously DO steal the tips, I don't really trust their stated policy of paying their employees between 8-14 an hour. Especially with turnover that high....I bet they pay some shitty training wage and then fire them before they have the chance to even talk about a raise. But this is all speculation. I wouldn't trust them at all, since they just lie constantly.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I watched a lot of the UK Nightmares when they first started off, and subsequently picked up the US versions too. I'm sure I saw something on the credits for the US that some scenes were re-recorded for dramatic effect (or words to that effect), which I never noticed on the UK version.

Yeah, I saw this with Channel 4 airing an episode of the US version of Wife Swap, and prefacing it with a disclaimer of "unlike the UK version, some scenes were created for entertainment purposes." Which I guessed meant 'scripted', because otherwise 'created for entertainment purposes' is kind of the whole point of Wife Swap, surely? But it could also mean 're-recorded with more yelling' or 'stitched together out of a bunch of unrelated clips in the editing room', I suppose. Wonder what the boundary line is on manipulative editing before Channel 4 feels like they have to stick on a disclaimer?
posted by Catseye at 9:09 AM on May 15, 2013


Since they quite obviously DO steal the tips,

The tip stealing^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hre-allocation - is this a self admission or a charge by a 3rd party?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:09 AM on May 15, 2013


I dunno what the ^H stuff in your comment means, but yeah, in the show the owner says he takes all the tips for himself, and says it to Chef Ramsay's face.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:11 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


It means he's accessing MeFi using an old, super-dumb terminal, or thinks it looks cooler than strikethrough.
posted by iotic at 9:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


lazaruslong: "what the ^H stuff in your comment means"

so this is what it means to feel old.
posted by boo_radley at 9:15 AM on May 15, 2013 [79 favorites]


Old Usenet joke, lazaruslong.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:18 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


^H

Backspace character - Control H for certain terminal types.

in the show the owner says he takes all the tips for himself, and says it to Chef Ramsay's face.

Missed that, and saw at one point the tip-taking was in a yelp review so I was wondering where in the game of Internet telephone the claim was coming from.

Carry on then with the outrage and matching pictures to Pinterest and finding old court cases.

(and thanks for the clarification LL)
posted by rough ashlar at 9:18 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hah, cute. (no worries)
posted by lazaruslong at 9:19 AM on May 15, 2013


in the show the owner says he takes all the tips for himself, and says it to Chef Ramsay's face.

In another discussion about this show elsewhere, someone pointed out that he didn't just say this, he says it on three separate occasions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:23 AM on May 15, 2013


twisi : a woman with serious self-esteem problems hasn't got any children with her husband. Mr Husband tries to make up for her distress by indulging her with realising her fantasies. She likes cooking, and she desperately needs to get some recognition. They open a restaurant. The whole stuff backlashes due to her amateurism. GR comes in. The producers of the show think that's a good idea to highlight the couple's issues. Still, he wants to appear to be the Good Samaritan. Strange, that stuff rings a religious bell somewhere in my mind...
Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
posted by nicolin at 9:24 AM on May 15, 2013


Yeah, he seems to be saying pretty unequivocally that the servers get hourly pay instead of the tips, in that scene:

Ramsay: "Wow, ten-dollar tip. That's nice -"
Owner: "Yeah."
Ramsay: "- for you -"
Owner: "Of course, yeah. Why not?
Ramsay: "Do you think the girls deserve some tips tonight?"
Owner: "No. They get hourly."
Ramsay: "And so do you think if I went and asked every customer, if they leave a tip -"
Owner: "Yeah"
Ramsay: "- that it goes straight to the owner? And not to the server, do you think they'd be astounded? Let me ask that table there. Sir, the tip that you left, the young lady, server. The owner takes the tips."
Customer: "That's horrible."
Owner: "No no no no no, okay -"
Ramsay: "Don't [bleeped out] with me."
Owner: "I [will?] [bleeped out] with you, who the [bleeped out] do you think you are?"
[cut to kitchen, cut back]
Ramsay: "I'm fed up. I'm getting sick and tired of your [bleeped out]"
Owner: "Don't speak with me like a villain -"
Ramsay: "Well then -"
Owner: "I am the gangster, not you."
Ramsay: "Answer my question. Tell the customers they're going to get their tips."
Owner: "No, they [don't?]"
Ramsay: "They should be told that you're taking them."
Owner: "Yeah"
Ramsay: "Because this servers deserve them."
Owner: "Do you want to speak with me? Do you want to [bleeped out] with me?"

There's obviously bits cut from that argument, so I suppose the owners could make the case that he didn't actually claim that and the show made it look like he did by cutting to an unrelated response? But it doesn't look like it.
posted by Catseye at 9:24 AM on May 15, 2013


Also, Yelp may have come out the worse in all of this. Why haven't they locked down the ABC review page?

There were like 30 reviews before 5/14 and now there are almost 1000. That completely undermines Yelp, which wasn't exactly oozing credibility to begin with.
posted by mullacc at 9:24 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


While I'm no fan of Yelp, ^this^ quite a bit.
posted by Kitteh at 9:25 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


so this is what it means to feel old.

Dude, kids these days don't even understand that every ASCII artwork is in fact a map of Australia where Perth has not been helpfully labelled and that we should all do that
posted by mightygodking at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


Since they quite obviously DO steal the tips, I don't really trust their stated policy of paying their employees between 8-14 an hour. Especially with turnover that high....I bet they pay some shitty training wage and then fire them before they have the chance to even talk about a raise. But this is all speculation. I wouldn't trust them at all, since they just lie constantly.

If some other, presumably honest, restaurant were to offer wages in the 8-14/hr range in exchange for tips going to the owner, would that be okay? At the high end of that range, I could see a lot of employees preferring that arrangement, especially if that means they get paid a constant wage in Scottsdale's slower summer months.
posted by mullacc at 9:28 AM on May 15, 2013


I think she should run for Congress.
Seriously. If you thought that Congress was full of apeshits before, well...
I think it would have loads of beneficial results, if for no other reason than to unite all of Congress against her. There. That's compromise.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:28 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Catseye: Yeah, there's a couple other instances where he straight out says they don't get the tips though. So even if that conversation was edited dishonestly, which I somehow doubt, it crops up multiple times in other places with no edit points.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:28 AM on May 15, 2013


The best episode in the US series was the Capri in season 4. Those twins were Schadenfreudeingly compelling to watch.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:29 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish casts would rebel more. Obviously, it makes for good television.

There was one guy on "Ice Road Truckers", the southern guy I think, who was fired from the trucking company mid-season and then went on something like an 11-part YouTube rant on how bullshit the whole thing was. Was pretty good, though he probably could have summed it up in only one or two parts.
posted by Melismata at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I saw were two normal, if naive for getting involved, people in a highly manipulated, stressful situation being cajoled and bullied by Gordon Ramsay and his production team, as is his/their standard m.o., to elicit emotional reactions in the name of "good" television. Worse still the focus/blame is almost entirely placed on Amy who appears to have done nothing worse than defend her cooking when told it sucks. As for the server who was sacked, her attitude was blatant and if she spoke to GW like that in his kitchen she'd be out the door twice as fast. The fact that this show, and it is a show despite GWs protestations otherwise, has led to the participants being barraged by insults and jibes online to this extent is a disgrace and I really hope this doesn't end up with one or both of the two folks on the receiving end coming to any self inflicted harm. I've watched the UK and US version for years and someone involved should be pulling the plug on shows that the participants are obviously unsuitable, unstable or emotional unequipped for the ordeal.
posted by Callicvol at 9:32 AM on May 15, 2013


I don't understand the "I volunteered to be on this reality show but don't want to be filmed" mentality.

Think of it this way: a deluded restaurant owner thinks things are pretty OK, but would like some help sprucing up the place, and national TV coverage for free is FANTASTIC. Enter Ramsay, who shoves reality in their face, forcing them into some quick changes or a complete restaurant re-theming and overhaul.

Things were OK before, so why change it for some outsider? You lose face, because you as a restaurant manager/ head chef/ whatever were failing at your job. You lose face on national TV. But if you can send Ramsay away? Then you're more powerful than Gordon, who bends for no one.

No one says "oh shit, cameras!" when Ramsay first enters. They don't want to be filmed as things fall apart, but that's why most people tune in - the failures, and then the redemption.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:32 AM on May 15, 2013


It's pretty common on the show for Ramsay to ask the owners to grade their food on a scale of 1-10, and I don't think I've ever heard a number below 7. Most give it a 10.

So yes, I think that the theory that most owners think he'll come in and find that the reason for the restaurant's failings aren't due to the restaurant itself is pretty spot-on.
posted by mkultra at 9:32 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


That completely undermines Yelp, which wasn't exactly oozing credibility to begin with.

Perhaps Yelp thinks pageviews == publicity and there is no such thing as bad publicity?

Or perhaps Yelp's legal has gotten a call from Prenda law making a threat of a lawsuit and said legal department is off at the pub celebrating and forgot to tell compliance to lock/pull the page?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:33 AM on May 15, 2013


wow, i thought the H^H^H stuff was some sort of bridge metaphor i wasn't getting.
or some sort of "spilled drink on keyboard and now it's fritzes out" sort of thing.
i am really glad someone explained it.
posted by sio42 at 9:34 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Worse still the focus/blame is almost entirely placed on Amy who appears to have done nothing worse than defend her cooking when told it sucks.

The flaw in your argument is that the food she served GR apparently did suck. Even before she got the negative feedback, which understandably would have shaken her.
posted by mullacc at 9:35 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Worse still the focus/blame is almost entirely placed on Amy who appears to have done nothing worse than defend her cooking when told it sucks.

What about the bit where she does not actually cook anything after all? She is purchasing things that someone else cooked and is repackaging them, claiming them as her own cooking.

If you don't think that that's blameworthy, I have no idea what to tell you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 AM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


The US show usually throws a ton of free shit at the resteraunt as well, so there's that.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on May 15, 2013


Since they quite obviously DO steal the tips, I don't really trust their stated policy of paying their employees between 8-14 an hour. Especially with turnover that high....I bet they pay some shitty training wage and then fire them before they have the chance to even talk about a raise. But this is all speculation. I wouldn't trust them at all, since they just lie constantly.

Minimum wage in Arizona is $7.80 per hour. So paying a worker $8/hr is essentially just minimum wage. Note that Scottsdale is a particularly affluent suburb of Phoenix and, as such, the cost of living there is probably higher than the statewide average. The business owner is allowed to pay three dollars less than minimum wage to tipped employees, but: "If, however, an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages do not equal the Arizona minimum hourly wage, then the employer must make up the difference." And further: "The employee must actually receive the tip free of any control by the employer. The tip must be the property of the employee." I'm sure these owners have convinced themselves that they're doing their employees a favor by providing a "straight" wage instead of one that's dependent on tips, but they may, in fact, be costing themselves money since they could possibly provide a smaller hourly wage if the employees were making enough in tips.
posted by kjh at 9:36 AM on May 15, 2013


What I saw were two normal, if naive for getting involved, people in a highly manipulated, stressful situation being cajoled and bullied by Gordon Ramsay and his production team, as is his/their standard m.o., to elicit emotional reactions in the name of "good" television.

And then there's the "revenge" dishes, taking the servers' tips, and blowing up at any and all criticism. Oh, and claiming pre-packaged frozen foods (in her restaurant) and other people's cakes (online) were her own creations.

I really hope you aren't surrounded with "normal" people like this, because while they might be made more terrible by crafty video editing, there are some uninterrupted moments where there is no excuse for what they say and do. None.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 AM on May 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


I AM GODS CHILD. PISS OFF ALL OF YOU.

BRING IT.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:38 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't there a single food supply company that stocks all of the restaurants in the country by now? You'd think that at some point Ramsay would taste his order and say "Oh crap, it's another outlet serving the reheated Acme Foods menu".
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:42 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Note that Scottsdale is a particularly affluent suburb of Phoenix and, as such, the cost of living there is probably higher than the statewide average.

What a BS argument. And apparently you live in AZ, so there's no excuse. This place is on Scottsdale & Shea within easy commuting distance of neighborhoods encompassing almost the entire range of income levels. It's not comparable to the relatively remote and ultra-ritzy enclaves in North Scottsdale.
posted by mullacc at 9:45 AM on May 15, 2013


And further: "The employee must actually receive the tip free of any control by the employer. The tip must be the property of the employee."

How many different lawyers will be representing the past 100+ workers in complaints over that part of their employment?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:45 AM on May 15, 2013


What can you do to help someone like this? I can't imagine any conversation which wouldn't end up in either crazed "you're out to get me too!" screaming or "yeah yeah, you're totally right, whatever" denial.
posted by lucidium at 9:45 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the love of all that is holy, use ^W to delete an entire word.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:46 AM on May 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


No offense to Bunny Ultramod.

None taken. We did our on a lark and it took a single afternoon, and was preposterous enough to seem entertaining. But I am, in fact, a bit bonkers.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:47 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I saw were two normal, if naive for getting involved, people in a highly manipulated, stressful situation being cajoled and bullied by Gordon Ramsay and his production team, as is his/their standard m.o., to elicit emotional reactions in the name of "good" television.

So who made the recent nutso posts, comments, and threats on social media sites such as Facebook/Yelp/Twitter/Reddit?

Gordon Ramsay's production team?
posted by elsietheeel at 9:49 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Surely everyone involved can be in some way awful?
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:50 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


So who made the nutso posts, comments, and threats on social media sites such as Facebook/Yelp/Twitter/Reddit?

Well, if you believe the "totally normal but naive" people, they were "hacked".
posted by elizardbits at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ha, ok sorry I missed the video of the first half, yowch, ok they're pretty crazy. The fact remains, it's a hugely manipulative show and the editing, goading and plot setups make the whole thing a disaster for the people involved if they're as "troubled" as this pair. The repercussions this may have on their lives makes me a little queasy.
posted by Callicvol at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2013


Isn't there a single food supply company that stocks all of the restaurants in the country by now?

3-4 nationals and various regional. Population density will determine how many you have. There there is a walk-in self serve national (restaurant supply depot).

Like how the banks have a 'these are people who do not pay their bills' list, the foodservice has a similar national listing service. So far as I know that is about the only 'single as in 1 only' national restaurant service. Being on that list will put the hurt on ya.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2013


mightygodking: "Dude, kids these days don't even understand that every ASCII artwork is in fact a map of Australia where Perth has not been helpfully labelled"

If Joel Furr shows up, I'm out of here.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:58 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


ceribus peribus: "Isn't there a single food supply company that stocks all of the restaurants in the country by now?"

Sysco is one of the biggest. They can and do supply both packaged and fresh foods to their customers. But ultimately they're not the problem. Yes, it's more ideal to only use locally sourced, fresh food. But not all restaurants in the US are located in areas where that's 100% possible or are capable of offering strictly seasonal menus.

The most frequent problems Ramsay runs into are easily identifiable:

* Incompetent cooks / wait staff / house staff or management
* Large menus that put too much strain on the kitchen staff
* Food storage / turnover issues
* Specific food ingredient / preparation issues (for example, making sauce from scratch vs. buying pre-made or relying too heavily on the microwave -- both of which typically stem from some sort of incompetence problem)
* Cleanliness-in-the-kitchen issues
* Marketing shortcomings, usually caused by the restaurant's self-inflicted negative reputation.

Nearly every episode shows him trimming the restaurant's menu down to basics, shaping up a complacent staff and changing their local reputation.
posted by zarq at 9:58 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a BS argument. And apparently you live in AZ, so there's no excuse. This place is on Scottsdale & Shea within easy commuting distance of neighborhoods encompassing almost the entire range of income levels. It's not comparable to the relatively remote and ultra-ritzy enclaves in North Scottsdale.

Well, I don't live in, on, or anywhere near Scottsdale, Phoenix metro, or Maricopa County, so that's excuse enough for me. Sorry to offend you. When I hear "Scottsdale" I think "affluent," but that was barely even an aside. I just wanted to make the point that paying your employees a whopping $8/hr isn't anything to brag about in Arizona.
posted by kjh at 9:59 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I honestly wonder if the servers made a quick calculation based on the quality of the food that getting paid hourly might be a better deal in the end...

I also love how the producers added some deliberate shots during high tension of Amy grabbing knives from that magnetic knife strip--I swear they added in a subtle little Psycho sound effect right as she did it too as the icing on the repackaged cake.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:59 AM on May 15, 2013


We need a mashup - G.R.G.R.R. Martin - A Game of Kitchens, where the characters are super critical of each other's cooking, decor and business practices. Combat is resolved by who can get their face to wrinkle the most while shouting G-rated insults.


No, I think it would have to be more intense- like two competing event companies have to plan similar events on a similar day, while actively trying to sabotage each other (turning vendors against their opponents, trying to monopolize specific materials, planting spies among the cater-waiters, etc.). The winning company goes on to another round, while the loser...just...isn't there anymore.


I call it Winterfell Wedding Planners.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:01 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just wanted to make the point that paying your employees a whopping $8/hr isn't anything to brag about in Arizona.

There is pretty much nowhere in America where this is something to brag about.
posted by elizardbits at 10:01 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is pretty much nowhere in America where this is something to brag about.

Leeds North Dakota comes to mind as a place where that would be brag-worthy.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:07 AM on May 15, 2013


I call it Winterfell Wedding Planners

Brace yourself. Dinner rush is coming.
posted by bibliowench at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been watching this blow up over the past few days. If you go to ABC's Yelp reviews and sort by date, someone (Samy self-identifies that he is writing in some of the responses) representing ABC has been making unhinged responses to negative reviews since 2010.
Comment from Samy b. of Amy's Baking Company 8/22/2010 « Hide

I was sure you would "find" your way to YELP after leaving. Perhaps next time you should all order your own entrée if one is not large enough to share. Perhaps you were hot because you were dressed like it was winter outside. The restaurant was 75 degrees. I apologize that you did not enjoy your experience, and the meal did not come with all you can eat bread. Perhaps in the future a better bet for you would be the Olive Garden. I hear they have all you can eat bread sticks and salad....MEOW

Comment from Samy b. of Amy's Baking Company 9/2/2010 « Hide

I have not contacted you in your personal life!! You are INSANE!! I have only contacted you thru YELP.Perhaps it is the little voices in your head that are scaring you. I am not trying to scare you, but I am trying to PROVE to everyone you were lying in your "fake review" and you are still lying. You have never been to ABC. You were never a customer. Just admit it and be quiet!!!

posted by jamaro at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would totally watch Olenna Redwyne's Kitchen Disasters.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wanna watch Hannibal's Kitchen Disasters more than anything.
posted by elizardbits at 10:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I honestly wonder if the servers made a quick calculation based on the quality of the food that getting paid hourly might be a better deal in the end...

Well, again, the total pay received after tips must be not less than $7.80/hr. From my own experiences with less-than-stellar food in a restaurant, customers tend to understand that it isn't the server's fault when things go bad, and feel especially generous when they see that the work environment is (ahem) stressful. Take as an example the folks on the show who (tried to) give the server a $10 tip. Can't be sure what their tab was, of course, but I'm guessing that was a healthy percentage. As an employee I'd rather have the option of taking the risk.
posted by kjh at 10:14 AM on May 15, 2013


I call it Winterfell Wedding Planners

I had an Event Staff shirt made for 'Walder Frey's The Twins, Westeros' Premier Wedding Destination' last week.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:14 AM on May 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


Probably about 90% of foods that restaurants pass off as homemade fresh are premade and frozen in a factory. And most restaurants that aren't part of a chain are doing half of their business under the table.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:32 AM on May 15 [+] [!]


I would suggest "*citation needed" here, but with a decade and a half of restaurant work in my past I've got enough anecdata that this seems pretty accurate to me.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:18 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wanna watch Hannibal's Kitchen Disasters more than anything.

He was a valuable and respected member of the community, with a loving family, and you killed and dismembered him for his kidneys, which you've baked into a traditional steak-and-kidney pie, using steaks cut from his wife's leg... and it's not cooked all the way through! It's RAW! You donkey! You zero! You've given up, haven't you? Where's your commitment? Raw human-steak-and-kidney pie. The gravy's like water! How dare you?
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:22 AM on May 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


ceribus peribus: "Isn't there a single food supply company that stocks all of the restaurants in the country by now? You'd think that at some point Ramsay would taste his order and say "Oh crap, it's another outlet serving the reheated Acme Foods menu"."

There are a couple of major national ones and scads of regional and local ones. I don't think it's that weird that Ramsay, an actual chef, wouldn't be able to name check terrible frozen food brands on first taste. It's enough that he can call them out for the frozen awfulness.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:22 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Their Yelp comments make for amusing reading... especially when it gets reblogged to the Phoenix New Times with the original comments from Amy, the restaurant's owner.
posted by markkraft at 10:24 AM on May 15, 2013


Dude, kids these days don't even understand that every ASCII artwork meetup picture that doesn't quite work is in fact can be turned into a map of Australia where Perth has not been helpfully labelled.
posted by maudlin at 10:25 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


1 1/2 stars on Yelp, btw.
posted by markkraft at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2013


Oh, and you *know* that Gordon Ramsay is angry, when he gets quiet and starts speaking calmly and rationally like a normal human being.
posted by markkraft at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


One of the unspoken truths of this show is that if Ramsay wasn't 6'2" and built like an athlete, the entire show wouldn't work. This is because there are at least two moments in any given episode where you can tell one of the loony restaurant owners is ready to physically attack him, but quickly does the mental math to realize they'd get their ass beat.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I had never seen this show until recently. I watched a Kitchen Confidential episode because the subject was a restaurant in the town where my family is from. (The "Prohibition Grille" in Everett, WA.)

Between that and this thing, I have two big feels:

1. It really puts you off wanting to eat at restaurants again. I guess you have no idea whether your food is fresh as in "bought within the last 24 hours" or fresh as in "we bought this muffin at Costco and I'm reselling it to you" or worse, "we bought these trout fillets last Friday."

I never realized how much of a trust exercise it is to eat at a restaurant.

2. How do restaurants manage to lose so much money for so long? The owner of the Prohibition Grille said she was losing $2k a week, and had been for years. How is that even possible?
posted by ErikaB at 10:30 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Terrifying suggestions: Gordon Ramsey takes over from Dan Savage.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The wisdom when opening a restauraunt is to have two years of expenses in the bank before you sign a lease. Because that's how long it takes to build word of mouth. In that context, $2k a week is just $100/k a year which is in the neighbourhood of chump change for running a modest restauraunt.

Just because it's wise doesn't mean it's always done, though.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:36 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I have two big feels.
posted by Melismata at 10:36 AM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Kitchen Nightmares may be the most perfectly disturbing television show invented. No writer could match the depravity seen in This clip of an identical twin's emotional breakdown while struggling to clean a grill.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 10:43 AM on May 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Different show, but Food Network just the same. It filmed on the block here, and the film crew had the production services tent, as well as a prop tent with a rudimentary wood shop. The makeover part involved installing hastily assembled painted-on-one-side furnishings more suited to a stage production. I'm not signing up to be featured unless Subzero or at least Bed Bath and Beyond sponsor the furnishings.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:45 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, those Yelp reviews are just....just...holyshit.

i need a liedown
posted by Kitteh at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2013


Artw: "Terrifying suggestions: Gordon Ramsey takes over from Dan Savage."

Why would that be terrifying? You'd be trading one raging narcissistic, fat-shaming asshole for another.
posted by zarq at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jesus, Chinese Jet Pilot. That ... I ... that clip. I want to laugh so hard but I feel so awful about that. But ... "It's making it dirtier?!" ha ha ha it's so perfect.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was expecting Gordon to be knifed by Amy. Seriously knifed. She is insane.

There was one shot (I think Gordon was in front, sharing with the customers) where they cut back to the kitchen and Amy was pacing and muttering. They framed the shot so that a wall mounted knife rack was pretty much dead centre; I figured she was going to grab one and charge out of the kitchen. Good editing choice, I guess. But yeah, I think there's some mental health challenges going on here.

As far as the episode goes, I think Ramsay figured out early on that being his usual combative self was going to end in big problems - he strikes me as a pretty perceptive guy for reading those cues. Instead, this became the big chance for the show to do something a little different and break formula - I haven't watched it in years because it is so formulaic; this time they could finally live up to "This week, Chef Ramsay faces his biggest challenge yet!" hype. This show, I think, was more about serving Kitchen Nightmares needs than ABC. And that's probably a good thing, because I don't think ABC's most pressing need is advice from a chef right now.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:02 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


wow, i thought the H^H^H stuff was some sort of bridge metaphor i wasn't getting.
or some sort of "spilled drink on keyboard and now it's fritzes out" sort of thing.
i am really glad someone explained it.


I'm old enough that I remember doing the equivalent of instant messaging, pre-internet, where I could watch the other person type in real time, and they could watch me do the same. In the past, I've thought that surely instant messaging would start doing that sooner or later -- it was always captivating to watch other people type, wondering what they were going to say before they'd finished, watching them correcting their mistakes, typing something when they weren't done yet to put rude words into their mouths -- but it has never happened.
posted by davejay at 11:11 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


They have a Facebook, with this posted to it...
posted by markkraft at 11:13 AM on May 15, 2013


davejay: "I'm old enough that I remember doing the equivalent of instant messaging, pre-internet, where I could watch the other person type in real time, and they could watch me do the same."

ICQ used to be able to do this in the mid-90s, and I remember it fondly. Ah well.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:18 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just love it when a couple can't trust each other enough to have separate facebook pages.
posted by HyperBlue at 11:19 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I actually started experiencing the beginnings of a panic attack watching Amy in those two clips, because it was giving me flashbacks to my abusive marriage. That looked a lot like untreated Borderline Personality Disorder, and it strikes me as more scary than funny.
posted by jaguar at 11:22 AM on May 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


Looks like Amy is going massively viral.

Check this out...
http://amysbakingcompany.com
posted by markkraft at 11:26 AM on May 15, 2013


How do restaurants manage to lose so much money for so long? The owner of the Prohibition Grille said she was losing $2k a week, and had been for years. How is that even possible?

Creative bill-juggling, an occasional influx of cash (enough to temporarily placate your loudest creditors), an ability to make your business look potentially viable on paper (which can get you bank loans or lines of credit.)

Plus a lot of suppliers will take a "bird in the hand" approach for a looooooooong time - the business may be behind on their bills, but as long as they're paying something fairly regularly you might as well keep supplying them, because late money is still better than no money.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:27 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


http://amysbakingcompany.com

Just for clarification, that's a domain that a Redditor bought yesterday after ABC had been using it, switched to a shorter one, and let the old one expire.
posted by crapmatic at 11:29 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like Amy is going massively viral.

Check this out...


Wow. Sister seems unhinged, but hacking her website to put up a whitehouse.gov petition to have her committed is such an asshole move. Way to go, whoever.
posted by palomar at 11:29 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


A thought.

Just because they have some serious mental and emotional issues, and my former brain damaged Siamese could run a restaurant better than they could, doesn't necessarily mean they weren't hacked. Just like winning Powerball, the chances are infinitesimally small. However, a bored Redditite with knowledge of such things? And/or a pissed off former restaurant worker wanting to wreak Internet Justice? It could be possible. (And it's not like these two are computer geniuses to begin with. Bet you a shiny quarter at least one password was a beloved childcat's name.)
posted by spinifex23 at 11:30 AM on May 15, 2013


Ahh, never mind about the hacking part. Still an asshole move, though.
posted by palomar at 11:30 AM on May 15, 2013


I wanna watch Hannibal's Kitchen Disasters more than anything.


*Mads Mikkelsen voice*

"Following the unfortunate and mysterious disappearance of the owners of Jimmy and Gina's Thai-Mex Fusion Gastropub, I had my team transform the space into a charming rustic bistrot featuring an extensive wine list and an exceedingly tender pan-seared calves liver. I have re-named it À la Méduse."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like Amanda Bossingham / Amy Bouzaglo has interesting ties to another well known con artist lawyer...

Filed 6/28/06
PAULETTA JAMES,

Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
ROBERT SHAPIRO et al.,

Shapiro became critical of her work after January 14, 2003. She complained to Getz on January 23, 2003 via e-mail. That same day, she overheard Shapiro tell Amanda Bossingham (Bossingham) to lie to the Federal Court in Arizona about the amount of money she previously paid to Shapiro in legal fees.
posted by markkraft at 11:48 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is going to be a meetup at Amy's Baking Company, right?
posted by essexjan at 11:51 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


There was a story not long ago about an FBI agent who created a fake movie in Boston as a sting to catch corrupt Teamsters. Only the agent got caught up in it and decided he actually wanted to make a real movie. People are funny.

The Last Shot
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:56 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


A local news station tries to interview them.
posted by essexjan at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not too comfortable with making assumptions and Internet diagnoses of their mental health. It's possible they have actual medical issues, and it's possible that they are just huge assholes, and it's possible that there's a grey area in between, or none of the above. I'd rather we didn't jump to immediate BPD / Manic / whatever assumptions.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:00 PM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


You're right, lazaruslong. Mea Culpa.

However, the restaurant owners do have more issues than a New Yorker subscription.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:02 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


BTW... Anyone looking for something that's not just a job, but an actual career?
posted by markkraft at 12:07 PM on May 15, 2013


If Joel Furr shows up, I'm out of here.
The Internet Is Full.
Go Home.
The wife and I loved the BBC version of Kitchen Nightmares, but couldn't stand the US version (at least the first season) because it was such an over-the-top over-dramatized super-FOXified bastardization of the original.

There are SO MANY great shows on British television that just get completely ruined in the transition to a US audience. One example - the Trinny & Susannah seasons of What Not To Wear - simply awesome. So awesome, that in fact TO THIS DAY I find myself unable, as a guy, to just ogle someone and instead think "She needs a better bra, and ugh, that skirt..". The US version? Watched two episodes, never went back.
posted by mrbill at 12:12 PM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


One example - the Trinny & Susannah seasons of What Not To Wear - simply awesome. So awesome, that in fact TO THIS DAY I find myself unable, as a guy, to just ogle someone and instead think "She needs a better bra, and ugh, that skirt..". The US version? Watched two episodes, never went back.

Stacy and Clinton are demonspawn. They are the worst people on television and I hate them more than anybody else on television - more than Bill O'Reilly, more than Simon Cowell, more than Nancy Grace, more than Tim Allen, more than anybody.

...well, maybe not hate, but man they are so irritating.
posted by mightygodking at 12:14 PM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I watched the TV interview essexjam posted and it seemed more like these are clueless idiots who have no idea how the Internet works. I wouldn't doubt that people have hacked and can hack FB pages, but I don't think they're important as they think are to warrant such a thing.
posted by Kitteh at 12:15 PM on May 15, 2013


The thing is, these people are so blisteringly crazy that there'd be no point to hacking. The stuff they say with sincerity is so much funnier than anything the internet could make up.
posted by kafziel at 12:20 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


But wait, there's more!

Having announced that all of their social media accounts had been hacked, Amy and Samy started a "new," "clean" Facebook page four hours ago. It doesn't seem to be helping.
posted by bakerina at 12:26 PM on May 15, 2013


WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN
posted by Kitteh at 12:31 PM on May 15, 2013


My wife is cooking order now but I need to make something clear. You say we stole images. This is lie. I made all these pictures. When we were hacked the hacker stole our photo from website and facebook pages, then posted to other internet sites and put fake dates on them. This is why some images you think we 'stole' say 2007 or 2005 on other websites. This is no true. Do not worry the FBI cyber crimes unit is investigating all this theft and will hopefully soon find the hacker who is trying to discredit our business.

Oh my god y'all it's a real live BEFORE YOU SAY I AM STOLING THIS LET ME EXPLAIN YOU A THING.
posted by elizardbits at 12:36 PM on May 15, 2013 [44 favorites]


For the love of all that is holy, use ^W to delete an entire word.
You can use ^W for dramatic effect, but unlike ^H I don't think anyone ever accidentally revealed deleted text in an email with ^W. A terminal wouldn't know what to do with ^W. ^H yes, and ^U, probably.

posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:43 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


FBI SAY OUR CASE IS PRIORITY SO SHUT UP REDITORS AND YELP
posted by Kitteh at 12:45 PM on May 15, 2013


A local news station tries to interview them.

Thanks for posting that.

This saga is interesting because it's a window into how "real" at least one reality show is. You always wonder about that: how much is real, how much is the result of subtle nudging by producers, how much is just flat-out staged. For instance, I can't watch Mystery Diners because as far as I can tell it's completely staged, and badly. Someone on AskMe talked about being featured in an episode of a home-buying show where they really did buy the home, but prior to taping, so going to view other homes was purely for the film crew. Yet I've heard secondhand accounts from Top Chef and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that what you see is what really happened, albeit with a lot of editing.

Reality television is a spectrum. It's also been around for awhile now, and it's hard to understand the lack of savvy (or even awareness) from participants. In a perfectly logical world every restaurant owner would welcome Gordon Ramsay with a smile, with whitened teeth for the cameras. "We're so glad you're here! We feel we've been working hard, but we could use a fresh set of eyes to help us provide a better experience for our customers. We can't wait to try your ideas."
posted by cribcage at 12:45 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reality television is a spectrum. It's also been around for awhile now, and it's hard to understand the lack of savvy (or even awareness) from participants.

Case in point : the latest episode of The Apprentice (UK) starts in 10 minutes. Surely the contestants have seen the show before - I don't see how they couldn't have. Yet they seem to have learned nothing from the mistakes of the candidates from previous seasons. Nothing at all.

Last year's UK Apprentice was bland, to say the least, lacking in drama and characters, and I was bored by week 5. But this year the candidates are gruesome, egotistical nasty pieces of work. I will watch every episode.
posted by essexjan at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why would anyone think the "new" Facebook page is real?
posted by dhacker at 12:53 PM on May 15, 2013


Why would anyone think the "new" Facebook page is real?

Fair point. I should have thrown an "apparently" in there, instead of just taking ZDNet's word for it.
posted by bakerina at 1:04 PM on May 15, 2013


cribcage: "Someone on AskMe talked about being featured in an episode of a home-buying show where they really did buy the home, but prior to taping, so going to view other homes was purely for the film crew."

House Hunters. Here's the thread.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:08 PM on May 15, 2013


HGTV Canada wanted to film some people checking out my former condo, which I still had possession of but was already sold to someone else, for an episode of Urban/Suburban. (I didn't take them up on it)

It just makes sense. I wouldn't want to disrupt my home sale by having a film crew in there, and most buyers wouldn't look at only 4 houses before buying. Having them tour 4 houses that are already sold (one of which is sold to them) is just easy for everyone involved.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:18 PM on May 15, 2013


Can anyone tell me which favors clash in the bacon, blue cheese, truffle, mushroom combination? That I can't figure it out is the most disturbing aspect of the whole debacle.
posted by reverend cuttle at 1:27 PM on May 15, 2013


If I remember correctly, Ramsay said at one point that garlic and truffle oil don't mix.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:29 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can anyone tell me which favors clash in the bacon, blue cheese, truffle, mushroom combination?

When I heard that burger described my immediate reaction was "just because those are all things I like, doesn't mean I should put them all in my mouth at the same time." That burger is a forkful of carmelized onions away from having ALL OF THE STINKY FLAVORS.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:39 PM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


The trend graph on the Yelp page is kind of interesting. A straight drop until March of 2013, then a bubble up, then a spike waay down to nothing. I'd be interested to know what caused the bubble.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:40 PM on May 15, 2013


reverend cuttle: "Can anyone tell me which favors clash in the bacon, blue cheese, truffle, mushroom combination? "

The problem is that those are four strongly flavored/odored ingredients, all thrown together. They'd all be battling it out for your taste buds. Any two would work, and possibly the right combination of three, but all four?
posted by Runes at 1:42 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


any two of those flavors would be fine, putting that many STRONG PUNGENT FLAVORS into any one this is a recipe for making a huge mush that tastes awful. Kinda like how pasta should have a maximum of three flavors thing.
posted by The Whelk at 1:43 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ramsay hates truffle oil:

"One of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to chef," Ramsay said. "I can't believe you've just done that. I think you just put your apron up in flames."

"A sure sign of someone who doesn't know what they're doing," Bastianich continued. "Do you know that truffle oils are made by perfumists that have no white truffles in them?" He added: "Generally if you go to a restaurant and you see white truffle oil on the menu, it's a good reason to run away."


They're not alone in this critique:

It bears a passing resemblance to truffles at first whiff, but it quickly devolves into metallic, gasoline-scented notes, particularly at the concentrations that chefs seemed to use it in in the '90s. That diners actually put up with the stuff for as long as they did is perhaps one of the greatest examples of mass pyschosomosis in history.

Fortunately, most diners and chefs these days have come to realize it, and truffle oil is becoming more and more scarce. I chatted with a couple of chefs who went through the truffle mill in the '90s about their current thoughts on the matter. Michael Anthony, of New York's Gramercy Tavern is diplomatic about the issue, saying that "I decided a number of years ago to stop using truffle oils. Once or twice a year, usually for New Year's Eve, we create a blow out menu which will include fresh truffles. They are a rare, expensive treat and it only seems sensible to celebrate them by tasting the real thing."

posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:43 PM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


You'd think that at some point Ramsay would taste his order and say "Oh crap, it's another outlet serving the reheated Acme Foods menu"

If the restaurant even appears on his show, Ramsay is already saying this. That American food culture has lost itself to the hungry preprocessed prefabricated centralized globalized maw of capitalism is the overarching thesis of the show.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 1:58 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, and the actual company is called Sysco.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:08 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The problem is that those are four strongly flavored/odored ingredients, all thrown together.

Well, honestly, there's a certain trend of foodie/consumer that like this sort of thing. It does explain the popularity of create-your-own-burger restaurants like Slater's 50/50 and The Counter, where you can put together bacon, bleu cheese, truffle oil, garlic, and then also odd a fried egg, onion rings, bacon infused buns, jalapenos, with sriracha mayo.
posted by FJT at 2:09 PM on May 15, 2013


The trend graph on the Yelp page is kind of interesting. A straight drop until March of 2013, then a bubble up, then a spike waay down to nothing. I'd be interested to know what caused the bubble.

Black-hat SEO.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:10 PM on May 15, 2013


Well, honestly, there's a certain trend of foodie/consumer that like this sort of thing.

There are also people who like chocotinis, but that doesn't mean the drink isn't an abomination.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:14 PM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


FJT: "where you can put together bacon, bleu cheese, truffle oil, garlic, and then also odd a fried egg, onion rings, bacon infused buns, jalapenos, with sriracha mayo."

yo man for $10 I will just straight up yell right into your open mouth.
posted by boo_radley at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2013 [49 favorites]


"A sure sign of someone who doesn't know what they're doing," Bastianich continued.

I will take Gordon Ramsay's word on food. I'm less inclined to accept the gospel of somebody whose career laurels have been associations—with Ramsay, with Batali, with his mom.
posted by cribcage at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of the BBC version is when Gordon would shamelessly change his clothes on camera. Such fan service, but freaking awesome.
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:28 PM on May 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


boo_radley: "Eyebrows McGee: "since Ramsey started curing alcoholism last season because that's not so much a hubristic character flaw as a serious illness."

what.
"

Oh, sorry, I missed this earlier. I can't remember which episode but it was a parent/child restaurant situation, and the father was a DRUNK and the family and staff around him were so used to enabling him and working around him that they didn't confront him. Gordon Ramsey came in, sussed the situation, and gave the guy a serious tough-love talking to -- it was actually fairly moving -- about how he was an ALCOHOLIC, not a hail-fellow-well-met social drinker and not a wine aficianado, and how his restaurant was going to fail and he would lose his family if he couldn't face up to it, and the dude broke down and cried and agreed to go to AA. Ramsey was admirable, but FOX's packaging of it was appalling; they were totally asking us to treat it like a feel-good, thirty-second "cure" of alcoholism brought about by magical Gordon Ramsey. It left me with a really sour taste in my mouth because this really serious medical and family issue was treated as a minor, light plot point just to create drama. Ramsey and the family treated it as this major, MAJOR thing that they were finally going to confront; FOX plotted it as "and he never touched alcohol again! Ta daaaaaaa!"

Also I am always delighted when I stumble across a Gordon Ramsey show on TV where he happens to be dealing with small children, because he is really very good with children! He lights up around them and is great at talking to them, and they really respond to him. I understand there's some kind of Masterchef Junior happening next year (and I really like Masterchef -- it's less shouty and the dishes people make seem accessible to a home cook like me) and I don't know what that will be like, but I would definitely watch a show where Ramsey taught children about cooking and nutrition. In fact, I'd have my kids watch it. Ideally one that was educationally-aimed and less reality-TV-y and without a lot of shouting, but at least some shouting for when the kids had bad attitudes.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:34 PM on May 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


Gordon Ramsay's television programmes in the UK have all been broadcast on Channel 4, not the BBC.

Eyebrows McGee - Ramsay did an excellent Ultimate Cookery Course last year that's definitely suitable for children.
posted by humph at 2:44 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


That looked a lot like untreated Borderline Personality Disorder

Bingo. I was coming here to say the same thing. It would be arrogant of me to play sofa-psychologist but she reminds me of nearly every BPD person I had on my caseload. Classic.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:46 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Do you know that truffle oils are made by perfumists that have no white truffles in them?"

but what if i were to cram white truffles into these perfumists
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:52 PM on May 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


If you look at the comments for the Daily Beast article (5th link, "The couple was so resistant to criticism...."), you'll find that as recently as 4 hours ago, someone was posting as "AmysBakingCo" stating that the article was "all lies" and urging people to go to their Twitter account for the truth.

While I don't believe that their Facebook page was hacked, the Twitter account—and hence the comment in question—is clearly fake. (Content-based evidence aside, note that it was created May 9th, which is also when the episode first hit the 'net.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:52 PM on May 15, 2013


> fan service, but freaking awesome

If you like Gordon Ramsay, you'll love Famous Chef! (Index of Famous Chef Chainsawsuits, sort of obsessed with Kris Straub lately.)
posted by gilrain at 2:53 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Also, it always baffles me how people can say "I am a child of God" and then have literally the next statement be a hate and swear filled diatribe and not have any sort of internal dispute over that. I know cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing but I will never understand the more egregious examples of it)

You are still a good person.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:04 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel bad for Samy, because it seems like he was really just trying to make her happy with the restaurant, and probably thought he was protecting her feelings at first until it became clear that he'd gotten way more than he bargained for. You see a sort of extinction burst as he goes from threatening to call the cops on a customer, to screaming that "he's the gangster!" to finally just telling Ramsay that, Yes, she fired 100 people. Of course, he had to go back to defending her.

"It was Greek tragedy and reminded me of Chandler's line, "There is no trap so deadly as the one we set for ourselves""

Or Chandler Bing's line, "Could there be no trap so deadly as the one we set for ourselves?"
posted by Room 641-A at 3:12 PM on May 15, 2013 [30 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: "Also I am always delighted when I stumble across a Gordon Ramsey show on TV where he happens to be dealing with small children, because he is really very good with children! He lights up around them and is great at talking to them, and they really respond to him."

I've showed my kids a couple of his instructional videos and they were mesmerized. Like this brilliant Broccoli Soup Recipe. I then attempt to recreate the dishes with them. The soup turned out wonderfully, as did the scrambled eggs.
posted by zarq at 3:14 PM on May 15, 2013 [35 favorites]


(Not that any affection he has for his wife excuses his behavior or tip policy.)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:20 PM on May 15, 2013


Ramsey was admirable, but FOX's packaging of it was appalling; they were totally asking us to treat it like a feel-good, thirty-second "cure" of alcoholism brought about by magical Gordon Ramsey.

Ugh. He's usually pretty forthright about this kind of thing, what with the junkie brother and all.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, that was the most bone-jarringly creepy thing I'll watch all day.
posted by forgetful snow at 3:24 PM on May 15, 2013


A former waitress is answering questions on an IAMA on Reddit right now.
posted by Houstonian at 3:33 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The soup turned out wonderfully, as did the scrambled eggs.

Yes. I now make my scrambled eggs Chef Ramsay-style and people are floored by them.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:48 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes. I now make my scrambled eggs Chef Ramsay-style and people are floored by them.

The best thing about this thread is that I finally learned how to scramble eggs like that. I've had them a few times in a couple of really good hotels but haven't come across how they are done. I made some for dinner and yep, they are pretty much exactly like the fancy hotel ones I had. Yay.
posted by Jalliah at 3:59 PM on May 15, 2013


I can't recommend that Cookery Course show enough.
posted by yerfatma at 4:02 PM on May 15, 2013


Those scrambled eggs look great, and I think I'll try the recipe. The one change I might make is one that was recommended in Cook's Illustrated: for every three eggs, add an extra yolk. There's no reason to think that the natural white/yolk ratio would be the ideal ratio for scrambled eggs. It makes the eggs creamier and a nicer color, and might eliminate the need for so much butter or creme fraiche.
posted by painquale at 4:02 PM on May 15, 2013


This sign is apparently now posted on the door of the restaurant.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:10 PM on May 15, 2013


and might eliminate the need for so much butter or creme fraiche.

I don't understand this sentence. I try to find ways to add butter or creme fraiche, and this does not seem like it would help with that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:12 PM on May 15, 2013 [25 favorites]


flapjax at midnight:
"There were lots of tearful scenes and harsh reprimands from boot camp-style overseers determined to whip them into shape. And of course, by the end of the show (after a week or a month or whatever had passed) these hell holes were transformed into culinary paradises, where customers lined up and the owners were transformed into happy, successful purveyors of fabulous, delicious fare! Happy endings!"

I am sure you are thinking of Tampopo.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:19 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The armchair analyses of Amy and Samy crack me up. I feel like I'm reading the Inkblot Internet.
posted by cribcage at 4:25 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I note this image shared on Amy's FB feed: "A Successful Woman Is One Who Can Build a Firm Foundation with the Bricks Others Have Thrown At Her."

A highly unscientific survey of my own FB feeds associates the sharing of this brand of "strong woman" glurge with women who, inevitably, lead trainwreck lives, punctuated with status updates like "YALL DONT EVEN KNOW . . . you just messed with the MAMA BEAR . . . do **NOT** TEST ME!!!"
posted by Countess Elena at 4:33 PM on May 15, 2013 [25 favorites]


I am sure you are thinking of Tampopo.

Tampopo is one of my all time favorite Japanese movies (just watched it with the family a few nights ago, actually!), but, no, I am in fact thinking of a TV series! Just don't know the name of the series, unfortunately. It was fairly entertaining.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:38 PM on May 15, 2013


ricochet biscuit: "You know, by far the worst employer I ever had regularly used the phrase, "We checked and it is not illegal" (this was not in the restaurant business, by the way)."

The worst employer I ever had regularly used the phrase, "Don't tell anybody, but ..." and what followed was some lie she had told her insurance company to defraud them, or her landlord, or some scheme to mess with a competing business owner, or she'd tell me some racist joke or salacious rumor, etc. She knew what was legal and ethical, and when it suited her and brought her benefit without obviously diminishing her reputation or just amused her, she did what she wanted and simply did not care. She had some mental health issues and was aware of it, but she had never really dealt with them and had become entrenched in her denial and defenses. I felt bad for her, but there was nothing I could do but get far away quickly before I ended up on her bad side, which is where everyone ends up.

Not a restaurant, either.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:46 PM on May 15, 2013


I note this image shared on Amy's FB feed

Let's use ALL the fonts!
posted by jason_steakums at 4:48 PM on May 15, 2013


Too bad Kristin Wiig was on SNL last weekend, she'd have made a great Amy. Here's hoping Nasim Pedrad steps up on Saturday.
posted by juniper at 4:53 PM on May 15, 2013


It's enough that he can call them out for the frozen awfulness.

That's the various chemicals used to keep the food tasting closer to "correct" when thawed. Besides the breakdown of Sysco/Reinhart/McClain on suppliers - I wonder how much of the pre-packaged stuff they get is only from a few vendors. McCain seems big in the fried appetizer market, so I'm guessing there is just a couple frozen whatever makers and one might be able to spot 'em because that is what gets carried.

Most of the time you see a multi-page menu that has alot of fried foods, you are paying for them to have a hot vat of oil and knowing where to by the item so they can sell it to you.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:22 PM on May 15, 2013


Anyone else getting a strong Michele Bachmann vibe from Amy?
posted by raztaj at 5:25 PM on May 15, 2013


Anyone else getting a strong Michele Bachmann vibe from Amy?

Very much so. It's that "Now, put on the Winner's Face. Lips - curled (upwards). What else? Eyes, open. Wait! Close the bottom eyelids slightly. There. Smiling." thing.
posted by lucidium at 5:45 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


My takeaway from reading a bunch of the Yelp reviews is that The Pita Jungle next door to ABCs sounds like a pretty good place.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:47 PM on May 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have been watching this blow up all over the internet, and my first thought was to ask Elder Monster if he had been following it, and if he was OK or having PTSD-type flashbacks. He got very pale - a neat trick for this kid - and said he had to stop following it because he was having panic attacks.

See, Elder Monster worked for these people. Well, not these exact people, but people very much like them. He managed to stick it out for a year, because he was trying to gain experience and contribute a bit financially to the household. He cried actual tears the day I ever so gently told him "Look, Monster, this job is killing you, those people are fucking looney-tunes, you didn't work your ass off in Culinary to deal with that shit. Quit. I've got your back. I don't care if it takes you time to find a new job, get the fuck out of there."

It is a bakery/deli, specializing in vegan and Gluten-free items, with a tiny staff - the two co-owners, the head baker, and Elder Monster. I was acquainted with the head baker, C., who apparently has never grasped the word "professional". There was the owner, N., whose primary method of communication was Jekyll when customers were present, Hyde when they weren't. The co-owner, P., would sit in front of the store computer all day, trying not to cry, failing, screaming at the staff, lather, rinse, repeat. (She had decided to take herself off her anti-depressants, because doctors don't know shit. This had the effect of absolutely paralyzing her, she could not function in her own business.) That left C. and Monster, and C. was stressed out from all the screaming and crying, and took it out on Monster. She became very angry that he did not MEMORIZE every single recipe for every single baked item and sandwich, in three days. She yelled at him that she worked 7 days a week, and he needed to hurry up and learn so she could have some time off. But, she couldn't take the time to properly train him, because N. and P. were having constant flip-outs and demanding SHE do this order or that RIGHT NOW instead of handling it themselves.

P. fired him at least 5 times, which resulted in N. chasing him out into the parking lot and begging him not to go, P. is ill, she doesn't mean it. Then C. came over and told me one afternoon that N. had fired Monster, because he didn't think Monster really cared about the success of the business, and could I please tell Monster, because N. made the decision after Monster had left for the day. WHAT? Why, no, you spineless twit, I'm not going to tell my son that your fucking maniac boss fired him in absentia, and WTF are you telling ME about my adult son's employment status for, that's actually illegal? I made her tell him when he got home ten minutes later, and she was completely infuriated when his response was "OK", and then went upstairs.

They called him three days later and begged him to come back. I told him then that he didn't have to, and he told me that if hadn't been so desperate for a job, he would have stayed away the first time. So he went. And a week later, he came home from work and looked so...shell-shocked and so beaten and just so DONE. And that's when I told him to quit. He did - and very professionally. Turned in his notice the next day, and even worked it out diligently to his notice date, thanked N. for the opportunity, came home, got shitfaced, and never set foot in the place again.

So, yeah, people like this do exist - I've worked for some doozies myself, but none this bad! I do not believe for an instant that this was all manufactured to give Ramsay publicity, and my gods, I hope those horrible people spontaneously combust.
posted by MissySedai at 6:04 PM on May 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


I don't think I've ever gotten this much enjoyment from watching crazy people be crazy. Usually I find that kind of thing repellent, but the show, and Facebook, and...well, everything, have been awesome.
posted by Bugbread at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2013


If you were laundering money, keeping control of the POS terminal would be job #1, since you could ring up whatever you liked. Also, you'd throw away rejected dishes and punch in the replacements as a separate order. It all makes an odd kind of sense.

Amy says that Samy was a 'playboy' in Las Vegas, and he says he was in 'high end construction'. Uh huh.
posted by unSane at 6:20 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


My takeaway from reading some of the Facebook comments is that John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory needs revision, because the second element (anonymity) is apparently no longer necessary.
posted by cribcage at 6:22 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


unSane: "Amy says that Samy was a 'playboy' in Las Vegas, and he says he was in 'high end construction'. Uh huh."

...and he also says "You are not the gangster, I am the gangster".
posted by Bugbread at 6:27 PM on May 15, 2013


Being a terrible boss and then pocketing the sympathy tips customers give your employees sounds like a sound, if reprehensible, business practice.
posted by ckape at 6:41 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


via Reddit, an articulated version of the money laundering theory.
posted by unSane at 6:43 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


aging greek gangster marries bat-shit crazy trophy wife. opens restaurant to launder money. bat-shit crazy wife uses the restaurant to go on a power trip. gordon ramsey hand's their ass to them. :D
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:49 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sensing a movie coming on
posted by unSane at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


aging greek gangster

Spiros: ...to them you're only "The Greek"
The Greek: And, of course, I'm not even Greek.
posted by never used baby shoes at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hang on a second:

>>for that matter, Anita Sarkeesian, although in her case the criminality was the fraud she was perpetrating in the minds of her opponents by asking for money for a web series, when web series cost no money to make. The criminality justifies open season, basically.

Last time I checked, making a web series requires time at the very least--time which might otherwise be spent making money doing other projects. The money donated to Sarkeesian was to help support her while she worked on the series full time. "Criminality"? "Fraud"? I don't think so.

posted by jokeefe at 7:11 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will say I'm glad for all the new bakeries and food bloggers to keep on file I learned of thanks to all the photos she stole for her FB page.
posted by Ruby Stevens at 7:17 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like their website. They make 'Artesian' pasta. I guess that means they cook it in well water.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:19 PM on May 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


So now they're trying to have a grand reopening. From their Facebook page:
"SCOTTSDALE, AZ. MAY 15, 2013 -- Amy’s Baking Company will host a Grand Re-Opening on Tuesday night, May 21, following unflattering portrayals on national television.

Customers will be able to decide who is correct: a famous celebrity chef or the marketplace that has supported the small, locally-owned business for six years. When re-opened, a portion of proceeds will benefit a charity organized to bring awareness to cyber bullying.

Seating is limited. Reservations may be made by emailing sjones@rosemoserallynpr.com.

Diners will also have the opportunity to meet, and judge for themselves the character of owners Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, who have devoted their lives to and earn their living from their small restaurant. The Bouzaglos have been married for 10 years, after Sammy emigrated from Israel.

The owners will likely be holding a press conference before the Grand Re-Opening and answer falsehoods depicted on a reality television show, including assertions that the restaurant confiscates tips from servers. In fact, wait staff is paid $8-$14 per hour, two and half to nearly five times the standard hourly wage for servers. Questions will also be answered about what happened to their Facebook page.

Amy’s Baking Company was recently featured on the hit PBS show “Check Please” and has received A+ reports from CBS 5 for kitchen preparedness.

“We are very upset by what has taken place, apologize about the acrimony that has ensued but now must fight back to save our business. We hope and believe much good can result from what has transpired. We ask the public to keep an open mind as we begin to tell our side of the story,” Samy Bouzaglo said."
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:24 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]



Sounds like they hired a professional PR person.
posted by Jalliah at 7:30 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish that PR professional all the luck in the world.
posted by palomar at 7:31 PM on May 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


In fact, wait staff is paid $8-$14 per hour, two and half to nearly five times the standard hourly wage for servers.

Yes, but the people getting that standard hourly wage are also getting their tips.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:32 PM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is the Phoenix-based agency handling the crisis.
posted by mirepoix at 7:37 PM on May 15, 2013


If they can control their clients, they may have a shot.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:38 PM on May 15, 2013


Ha ha. Good luck with that.
posted by unSane at 7:39 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ooooh, from the "kudos" page on the PR firm's website:
"People say I know a thing or two about press. Let me tell you something: these guys know press."
JOE ARPAIO
Maricopa County Sheriff
posted by Westringia F. at 7:39 PM on May 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


They don't need SOSS Communications, they need S.O.S. Communications.
posted by Bugbread at 7:41 PM on May 15, 2013


Also, the founder of SOSS Communications is "Mark Saucier".

Saucier...awesome.
posted by Bugbread at 7:42 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


> SCOTTSDALE, AZ. MAY 15, 2013 -- Amy’s Baking Company will host a Grand Re-Opening... Seating is limited. Reservations may be made by emailing sjones@rosemoserallynpr.com.

> This is the Phoenix-based agency handling the crisis.

Huh... so which is it?
posted by Westringia F. at 7:48 PM on May 15, 2013


I'm not sure why even a public-relations consultant would think they could make progress where Gordon Ramsay and a major network reality show couldn't. But then, I'm also not sure why anybody would hire a public-relations consultant who misspells the client's name (Samy/Sammy). So maybe these überprofessionals are a good match.
posted by cribcage at 7:49 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if its the small business owner in me, or the part of me that worked at all sorts of mom-and-pop retail ventures but I'm totally cool with the way ABC is getting shat on on twitter and reddit, but I hate the way people are doing the same thing on their yelp page? Yelp already feels like such a hateful place! I bet all the dumbest members of 4chan and Anonymous and Encyclopedia Dramatica are all avid yelpers.

Yeah, this is probably just a me thing.
posted by elr at 7:53 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seating is limited. Reservations may be made by emailing sjones@rosemoserallynpr.c

I bet not a single one of those limited seats/reservations will be set aside for family and close friends (or fellow gangsters). Not a single one. Totally.
posted by raztaj at 8:01 PM on May 15, 2013


Is swiping tips even legal?

Nope.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:17 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


humph: "Gordon Ramsay's television programmes in the UK have all been broadcast on Channel 4, not the BBC."

In the US, we get them on BBC America.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:22 PM on May 15, 2013


Sticherbeast: "Nope."

IANAL, but I don't think that page says that what ABC is doing is illegal. It's all about whether employers can take tip credits. Also, this sentence: "Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips." seems to indicate that the page doesn't even apply in ABC's case, because the employees don't regularly (or, in fact, ever) receive more than $30 per month in tips.

I'm not saying swiping tips is legal. I really don't know. But that page doesn't seem to address that topic.
posted by Bugbread at 8:29 PM on May 15, 2013


Their pinterest, where, just picking one of the cake pictures that suggests Amy made it ("Princess Cupcakes, by amysbaking company") and doing a google image search links to this flickr, where the page owner is a cupcake business located in Montreal.

From ABCs website:

Amy’s Baking Company is an upscale full service Retail Patisserie as well as a full service European Bistro , Pizzeria and bar. Specializing in house made desserts, Artisan Gourmet Pizzas, Farm Fresh Organic Salads, house made Artesian Pastas fine wines and custom Martinis. We make all our food from scratch using only the highest quality ingredients to ultimately produce a superb product. We are best known for our fanciful cakes and desserts, elaborately decorated with homemade butter cream frosting and edible flowers and glitter...

...All of our Pastries are baked fresh daily by me and all of our food is made per order.

posted by triggerfinger at 8:37 PM on May 15, 2013


Have I been misspelling his name? Hmm. Not that it matters, but if I post a rambling tangential wall of text I at least try to make it legible. I think that's one of those names I always spell wrong or have to look it up to confirm.

Yeah, pretty sure it's untreated BPD or one of the cluster B personality disorders involved. On one hand, it's truly sad, her mental condition has her trapped, but she has to make the choice to seek help if that were ever to change. As it is, her coping mechanisms make her intolerable to be around much less work for.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:39 PM on May 15, 2013


Having been a producer on this kind of thing, I think the original intention was to set the ABC owners up as fraudulent. Ramsay deliberately asks her if she makes the cakes herself and compliments her on them. I think they were going to reveal later in the show that they were bought in and confront her with that. But matters got out of hand and they just ran with the crazy instead.
posted by unSane at 8:41 PM on May 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm not following your reasoning here. If Sami steals all of his employees' tips, then it is true that they won't receive more than $30.00 in tips but that's because he's stealing their tips.

I still don't get why Amy & Sami invited Ramsey into their restaurant. I can see that Amy may have been delusional enough to believe that Gordon would side with them against all the "haters" but Sami must have known that things wouldn't work out that way. At first I thought that Sami might have been trying to torpedo the restaurant to get rid of a money sink without having to confront his wife. Paying for PR flacks indicates that they actually want to continue running the business which I don't understand. The business is losing money and it can't be making them happy.
posted by rdr at 8:41 PM on May 15, 2013


Frozen raviolis? Yawn. Who cares. Seems overblown. If the menu said 'locally sourced homemade raviolis from Pasta Creek, AZ' no one would give a hoot.

That whole thing seems like they were going in perfectly informed to do an axe job on the place. I wonder if there are any dotted lines linking Sami's background to muckity mucks behind the show or the star. Favor being called in? Happy coincidence? Were the restaurant owners thinking they were immune somehow? Something seems off. Just seems a little...too much.
posted by ian1977 at 8:44 PM on May 15, 2013


> SCOTTSDALE, AZ. MAY 15, 2013 -- Amy’s Baking Company will host a Grand Re-Opening... Seating is limited. Reservations may be made by emailing sjones@rosemoserallynpr.com.

> This is the Phoenix-based agency handling the crisis.

Huh... so which is it?


Could be both? I got SOSS Communications by googling Michael Saucier ("For more details, please contact...").
posted by mirepoix at 8:46 PM on May 15, 2013


rdr: "I still don't get why Amy & Sami invited Ramsey into their restaurant. I can see that Amy may have been delusional enough to believe that Gordon would side with them against all the "haters" but Sami must have known that things wouldn't work out that way."

Denial is quite powerful. People who lie to themselves in order to maintain their sanity day to day can invent all kinds of scenarios in their heads where it all makes sense. Because, yes, Amy really can't imagine how could Gordon Ramsay could not be on their side, and I think by now Sami is just taking the path of least resistance.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:46 PM on May 15, 2013


And while the owner was a complete spaz about it, she was right...that server WAS totes giving her attitude...though who can blame her.
posted by ian1977 at 8:47 PM on May 15, 2013


The server talks about that on her AMA:

"she messed up a table's order numerous times in a row so when she told me to deliver the dish to that table AGAIN, i simply just asked her if she was sure. didn't mean for her to get so offended!"

(I don't think she was giving attitude fwiw)
posted by triggerfinger at 8:50 PM on May 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying swiping tips is legal. I really don't know.

It isn't. Look at the page again:
Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips. Tips are the property of the employee. The employer is prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a credit against its minimum wage obligation to the employee (“tip credit”) or in furtherance of a valid tip pool.
IANAL either, but I WAS a server for more than 10 years, and tips ALWAYS belong to the employee, even if you're paying the employee $100/hour. The Federal tip credit allows an employer to pay below standard minimum, but does not require it. Servers are considered tipped employees, owners do not get to take any portion of the tips.
posted by MissySedai at 8:57 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a classic damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't moment for an employee.

If you don't check, and the order is wrong, it's your fault since you should have known.

If you do check, ATTITUDE.

One of the first things I tell anyone who works for me is that I'm always happy to be proved wrong. And I meant it.
posted by unSane at 8:57 PM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Denial is quite powerful. People who lie to themselves in order to maintain their sanity day to day can invent all kinds of scenarios in their heads where it all makes sense. Because, yes, Amy really can't imagine how could Gordon Ramsay could not be on their side, and I think by now Sami is just taking the path of least resistance.

That, with a dash of trickery on the tv shows part....I bet the producers and whoever initializes contact with the restaurants....I bet they paint a pretty picture of....TOUGH BUT FAIR! And then I bet also that Gordon Ramsay and the show decide HOW the show will go based on the people who own the restaurant. Are they affable but dim? Then they just need a couple slaps upside the head and some tough love. Do they come across as douchey but talented? Then they need a comeuppance. Etc. The outcome of the show is predicated on the TVness of the owners/workers.

These two are batshit insane. But you know what....when she complains that her truffle burger was good and people liked it? I believe her. She reacted like a spaz but I believe her. And I believe that was exactly the response Gordon and crew wanted. The show tries to over dramatize everything so much that it oozes the general disingenuous of it too much for my taste.
posted by ian1977 at 8:57 PM on May 15, 2013


That whole thing seems like they were going in perfectly informed to do an axe job on the place.

If you've ever watched the show before, they've caught people using frozen shit on every other episode.
posted by empath at 8:59 PM on May 15, 2013


rough ashlar: "These events should be tracked and documented for a Masters Thesis: Is "there is no such thing as bad publicity" true?"

I am not sure of the original quote, but IIRC it applied to celebrity, not the reputation of a business. While it's not technically even true for celebrities, it's definitely not true for business.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:02 PM on May 15, 2013



...and he also says "You are not the gangster, I am the gangster".


Yes, and the way Sami says it...to me it says that they were both aware of the fact that 'Sami is the gangster.' That it is not the first time this concept has been discussed between them.

My theory is that Sami thought he was so well connected that somehow someone convinced him that because of his connection and weight that he was untouchable by Ramsay and his restaurant would be a success story on the show. Maybe it was a complete con job by the producers, or maybe Sami was doublecrossed by his associates. Its like an Elmore Leonard story or something.
posted by ian1977 at 9:05 PM on May 15, 2013


essexjan: "A local news station tries to interview them."

I particularly loved how the cameraman reacted to "You're not allowed to film us," with an unflattering fuck-you crash zoom.
posted by schmod at 9:05 PM on May 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I definitely think the show overdramatizes. I was just talking to someone who said he has never seen a Kitchen Nightmares where Gordon didn't totally hate the food and the owners weren't totally shocked or in denial. So other than GR cutting the whole thing short, I thought this epi was mostly normal in Kitchen Nightmares terms.

What makes it such big news ( I think) is the owners' total and utter meltdown which puts a spotlight on their extreme denial and shady and probably illegal dealings. Had they just stayed quiet and not responded to the ribbing I don't think we'd be discussing this today.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:17 PM on May 15, 2013


It's all about whether employers can take tip credits.

No, tip credits are just one part of that page. Tip credits come into play when the hourly rate is below minimum wage, and they can only make up the difference between the server's hourly wage (the cash wage) and the minimum wage. The tips themselves are still the property of the employee.

From the page itself: "The FLSA prohibits any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer. For example, even where a tipped employee receives at least $7.25 per hour in wages directly from the employer, the employee may not be required to turn over his or her tips to the employer." (emph. mine)

Also, this sentence: "Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips." seems to indicate that the page doesn't even apply in ABC's case, because the employees don't regularly (or, in fact, ever) receive more than $30 per month in tips.

No, servers as a class are indeed customarily and regularly tipped. Employers cannot take their own employees out of the "tipped employee" by stealing their tips. Indeed, customers regularly left tips for the servers at ABC - they had no idea that they were being swiped by the employer.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, what I don't get is: let's assume, for just a teeny tiny moment, that their Facebook page page was hacked, and those posts were not by them. The new page, however, is being acknowledged by them as legitimate.

So...considering that the kind of stuff posted on their "hacked" page was exactly the same kind of stuff as they are now posting on their legitimate page, why would they be bothered? Someone saved them the trouble of posting updates on Facebook by posting the exact same kind of updates they would have had the account not be hacked.
posted by Bugbread at 9:20 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, ok, thanks Sticherbeast, my reading comprehension skills were lacking. I stand corrected.

Can anyone help me understand that "regularly receive more than $30 per month" part? Is it just phrased that way because it would be too awkward to say "regularly would receive $30 or more per month in tips were those tips to be received in full by said employee"?
posted by Bugbread at 9:23 PM on May 15, 2013


So...considering that the kind of stuff posted on their "hacked" page was exactly the same kind of stuff as they are now posting on their legitimate page, why would they be bothered?


Hahah!

"I was hacked I tell you! By some clever, quick witted rascal! He was handsome too!"
posted by ian1977 at 9:24 PM on May 15, 2013


ian1977: "Frozen raviolis? Yawn. Who cares. Seems overblown. If the menu said 'locally sourced homemade raviolis from Pasta Creek, AZ' no one would give a hoot. "

Well, for one thing, anyone who has ever eaten homemade ravioli (including the pasta itself) would never be fooled by someone trying to pass off frozen as the real deal, so I can't understand why anyone would try to pull that off in the first place. It's OK if you don't make your own pasta in your restaurant, because it's labor intensive and not everyone likes authentic pasta, but if you serve frozen food then don't claim it's homemade.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:29 PM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is it just phrased that way because it would be too awkward to say "regularly would receive $30 or more per month in tips were those tips to be received in full by said employee"?

Essentially, yes.

I wish they would add "Don't steal your servers' tips, or they'll be legally permitted to twist off your delicate bits."
posted by MissySedai at 9:30 PM on May 15, 2013


If you've ever watched the show before, they've caught people using frozen shit on every other episode.

Yeah, the few I've watched all conform to this arc:

Owners: "Our food is home made using quality ingredients but we can't keep customers? Help!"
Ramsay: *tries food* It's horrible! What in the world are you doing?

*Kitchen investigation where it's revealed that the food is home made, frozen, sometimes for weeks, until it's ordered, then microwaved and served. More food is prepared when the freezer stocks run low. The owner may or may not know about this, may or may not insist on running the restaurant like this.*

Ramsay: *Dramatically throws out food in freezer, mandates prepared-per-order policy in kitchen*

*Cue scene where the kitchen cannot keep up with orders from diners coming to see Ramsay; drama ensues*
etc, etc.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:35 PM on May 15, 2013


ian1977: "Frozen raviolis? Yawn. Who cares. Seems overblown. If the menu said 'locally sourced homemade raviolis from Pasta Creek, AZ' no one would give a hoot."

The menu specifically says "Please ask about our daily Homemade Pasta Specials". The website specifically says "We make all our food from scratch using only the highest quality ingredients to ultimately produce a superb product." and "All of our Pastries are baked fresh daily by me and all of our food is made per order. We are not, nor will we ever be a factory."

So yeah, that's pretty much a bald-faced lie.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:35 PM on May 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


anyone who has ever eaten homemade ravioli (including the pasta itself) would never be fooled by someone trying to pass off frozen as the real deal

Years ago an Italian restaurant opened outside Boston advertising a house-made marinara sauce. Now, I'm not proud of this but hey, I didn't grow up rich: I have eaten a lot of Ragu. I can recognize Ragu when it's served to me. This sauce was not house-made anything. It was Ragu.

My theory is... Its like an Elmore Leonard story or something.

No offense, but that's my favorite inkblot comment of the thread. "Here's my theory. By chance, my theory posits that the world operates exactly like an Elmore Leonard story."
posted by cribcage at 9:36 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


notice how, at the end, Ramsay leaves the owners in mid day, but makes his final monolog and gets in his car at dusk.
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:37 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would think he stuck around with the crew for breakdown.
posted by cribcage at 9:39 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would think he stuck around with the crew for breakdown.


Ha, ha, you've never actually met a celebrity presenter, have you?
posted by unSane at 9:39 PM on May 15, 2013


He probably saw the lines at the Pita Jungle, had a pleasant meal while the crew packed up, and then filmed the final scene.
posted by Bugbread at 9:49 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I am kinda amazed at is how much drama was cut. I mean, reality shows play drama to the hilt, and yet the show never mentions that a police car arrived on-site?!
posted by Bugbread at 9:51 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


No offense, but that's my favorite inkblot comment of the thread. "Here's my theory. By chance, my theory posits that the world operates exactly like an Elmore Leonard story."

None comprehended and favorite accepted.
posted by ian1977 at 9:53 PM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Last time I checked, making a web series requires time at the very least--time which might otherwise be spent making money doing other projects. The money donated to Sarkeesian was to help support her while she worked on the series full time. "Criminality"? "Fraud"? I don't think so.

That_is_the_joke.gif
posted by Sebmojo at 9:56 PM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


reverend cuttle: "Can anyone tell me which favors clash in the bacon, blue cheese, truffle, mushroom combination?"

I'm pretty sure if you get rid of the truffle it will taste fine. Unless you don't like bleu cheese, bacon or mushrooms, in which case I bid you farewell: you must continue your journey alone.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:59 PM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm in the first few minutes of the first video, and I cannot believe this shit. I've been in the food industry - and yeah, sometimes when customers do weird shit I get passive-aggressive like Samy. But this is another level, like they're totally blind to the fact that they're the problem, not the customers. Customers aren't always right, but that's after you deliver good food and good service.

Alas, it's been a while since I ate somewhere that was both tasty and well-run, and this makes me want to find such a place very much.
posted by undue influence at 10:22 PM on May 15, 2013


"I am going to really .... hurt somebody ... if they send back... my cakes!" WITH KNIVES ON THE WALL IN THE BACKGROUND.

This post is delicious!
posted by carsonb at 10:57 PM on May 15, 2013


Gordon Ramsay's television programmes in the UK have all been broadcast on Channel 4, not the BBC.

The only "legal" way to get UK TV shows over here is either BBC America (show list) or PBS.

At one point I looked into getting satellite feeds of the major UK TV channels - but it's Just. Not. Available. My only option apart from BBCA/PBS is waiting and buying DVDs from Amazon UK, or finding stuff via BitTorrent.

Growing up, my only exposure to UK TV while living in rural Oklahoma were shows such as this list of things shown by PBS.
posted by mrbill at 10:59 PM on May 15, 2013


Amy's Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro Page
16 hours ago
Yes Ive had a felony, yes ive made mistakes. But Ive changed, that isn't who I am anymore. STOP BRINGING IT UP! IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING HERE!! THIS IS A FAMILY FRIENDLY BUSINESS WITH GREAT SERVICE AND EXCEPTIONAL FOOD!


Stop. Digging.
posted by jaduncan at 1:49 AM on May 16, 2013


ceribus peribus: " *Cue scene where the kitchen cannot keep up with orders from diners coming to see Ramsay; drama ensues*"

Nah. His school of thinking is locally sourced, fresh, simple ingredients and a simple menu. The problem he so often encounters where a kitchen resorts to buying prepared foods from distributors, instead of buying local ingredients and making it fresh, is usually a result of poor decision making on the part of a restaurant owner when the business struggles. One very common instinct in lean times is to cut back on costs by cutting the quality of all your ingredients and menu items, with the mistaken belief that saving money this way will result in more profits kept in your pocket down the road. What actually happens is the restaurant develops a bad reputation for its food, which only drives customers away and compounds the problem. However, if the food itself is very good and made with fresh ingredients, and the people who make it are passionate about it and love making good food, then people who eat it will remember and will come back. Someone who runs their restaurant based on this idea would never dream of cutting quality, because it's how they built their reputation and is what makes them successful.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:08 AM on May 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Last time I checked, making a web series requires time at the very least--time which might otherwise be spent making money doing other projects. The money donated to Sarkeesian was to help support her while she worked on the series full time. "Criminality"? "Fraud"? I don't think so.

Precisely. However, in order to justify the aggression, the argument was very seriously made that it was clearly a scam, and that she was going to pocket the money. Indeed, a counter-appeal was set up, "Tropes versus Men in Video Games", which sought to raise half the same sum, donate that to charity and make the web series for free, to prove that it could be done.

(At last report no "Tropes versus Men" web series was forthcoming, and the charities named had reportedly received none of the money donated. Actual irony!)

Stop. Digging.

I think part of this is that we're all probably very familiar with the rhythms of the Internet, so it's inexplicable to us that somebody would ever try to fight a rising tide by shouting at the waves - claiming that they have alerted the Internet Police, that the FBI are on the case, that all the terrible things they said were posted by hackers and then saying more terrible things, and so on. It feels incredible that, with all the prior examples of people dealing incredibly badly with this exact same situation, they are dealing badly in the same way.

However, if you aren't very savvy about this stuff, this is just how you react, I think - if your previously very high self-image is being suddenly attacked by tens of thousands of people simultaneously. This is just the way people's brains respond to that - shouting back, panicking, threats, mic drops, storming offstage, immediately storming back onstage with an esprit d'escalier rejoinder and so on. It's a neurochemical puppet dance - Jenna Maroni in front of a booing crowd. And, of course, it's going to inspire people to greater heights, because it's fun to see what you can make the puppet do next by pushing this button or yanking this string (photoshopped porn images! A fake site for their business!).

(Again, compare this with people who are relatively Internet-savvy, and have some degree of self-control, and who have seen how this plays out in the past: Sarkeesian started a media tour which worked her harassment into her central thesis, rather than trying to fight it out mano a muchas manos on the Internet. Courtney Stanton created a data visualization of the threats she received, and so on.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:16 AM on May 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


The only "legal" way to get UK TV shows over here is either BBC America (show list) or PBS.
posted by mrbill at 1:59 AM on May 16 [+] [!]


Netflix instant has all of the UK Kitchen Nightmares....
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:12 AM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I watched a few clips of video of Amy with the sound off (to save my sanity). She's certainly got the facial movements and mannerisms of someone who doesn't have much of a cap on what she'll do to get her way.

I'd be interested, in a very academic fashion, in knowing more about how she was raised. I suspect she's one of those kids who got told "no" a lot, but then when she did something like scream or held her breath or asked fifty times or lied or asked the other parent or threatened violence, it changed to "yes".

And that sticks with you: if you can get what you want by raising the ante and not facing any consequences for that, you'll raise the ante.

Mark my words, parents, if you don't want a child who grows up into another Amy, make sure your reasonably deliberated "no" stays "no".
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:12 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


But you know what....when she complains that her truffle burger was good and people liked it? I believe her. She reacted like a spaz but I believe her.

Why do you believe her? Did you watch the clips in their entirety? Including the part where Gordon eats that burger?

The amount of liquid that comes out of it when he lifts it up to eat it is horrifying.

And it's not like this is just Gordon having an issue -- paying customers were saying the same things.

Look, I've watched the show in the past, though not regularly for some time, but unless something major has changed, there usually isn't much more than a montage about a restaurant before Gordon arrives. And yet, in this case, we have a whole 5+ minute section subtitled something to the effect "The day before Gordon arrives".

That section is made up of footage that was pretty clearly supposed to just be a camera man shooting some establishing shots prior to the start of real filming. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the producers), things go way off the rails. Instead of just the bad food / unhappy customers they expected, they're treated to absolutely insane owners and also to what bordered on assault and/or false imprisonment of a customer for walking out after not being served his food for over an hour. The customers who did get food were pretty clearly not happy with it.

You can say what you want about how reality TV can be edited to make people look bad, but there are far, far too many parts of the show that corroborate the general consensus to make it even remotely plausible that the owner's behavior and the quality issues were somehow created within the editing room.
posted by tocts at 5:31 AM on May 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


At first I thought that Sami might have been trying to torpedo the restaurant to get rid of a money sink without having to confront his wife. Paying for PR flacks indicates that they actually want to continue running the business which I don't understand.

He may want the business to be done. But there is a 2nd person here who may have different goals.

The business is losing money and it can't be making them happy.

One of the "thems" may not see the losing money aspect as an issue. The having of the operation may bring meaning and give that other person something to focus on in their lives.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:41 AM on May 16, 2013


The original British version of Kitchen Nightmares had an episode which featured a soul food restaurant where the problem wasn't the kitchen or the food, both of which were amazing

Stop right there that's crazier than this by a mile.
posted by spitbull at 5:49 AM on May 16, 2013


Great stuff, it was like Hagler and Hearns had gone the distance, which was the last time I think I was as glued from the get-go to anything on the box. Anyway, how about this?
posted by hatchiban at 5:54 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I worked as a cook and baker off and on in my younger days at a number of nominally decent restaurants. Now I just assume that behind the facade everything is disgusting and pennies are being pinched.

Everywhere. All the time. Cheap, fancy, healthy, indulgent, it's all huge amounts of bullshit served with sides of lies and pretension.

My view is that people who go in to a certain kind of restaurant business (the sort that would show up on Ramsay) are pathologically narcissistic, the sort who want to be actors or pop stars but lack looks, talent, or discipline to follow that self-centered path. They view serving food to people (or overseeing others do it) as performance of self, in a very rosy self image as "good hosts." Martha Stewart has some of this, and so do many ex mobsters.

So when they actually have to run a business and face criticism and abnegate themselves to please customers it is like Eva Peron being told to fix her own hair, or Donald Trump being mocked by the president at a comedy dinner. Such good schadenfreude of course, but only because narcissism is the least sympathetic of the minor sociopathologies.

Food service is full of these people. Usually they fail at the business. Rarely as delightfully as these pieces of work.
posted by spitbull at 6:25 AM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


By the way, I worked at a fancy-ish place that had a full vegetarian menu (along with a non-vegetarian menu). Granted this was the 80s and things have changed, but the head chef and many on the staff had open contempt for vegetarians and delighted in sneaky acts of contamination of "vegetarian" dishes with, oh say bacon fat, for example. They would laugh their asses off too.

Just sayin.
posted by spitbull at 6:28 AM on May 16, 2013


Of course when there's mob involvement in a restaurant, things can go spectacularly well when the gangsters make a habit to eat there. The damn thing could lose money like the Maelström by serving up top quality ingredients by a great kitchen at neighbourhood prices. It's fine, because not only does the Family eat there, but so does family. It's a money laundry and a great place to take mom, or for the scion to bring his dates. (I contend this is why The Capri in Homestead was such a success. There's just no way they could have paid the bills for the building, staff and food on what they were charging.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:34 AM on May 16, 2013


The original British version of Kitchen Nightmares had an episode which featured a soul food restaurant where the problem wasn't the kitchen or the food, both of which were amazing, but the fact that the owner couldn't keep her books right.

Awww, looks like that place closed.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on May 16, 2013


Not to discount people with serious mental disorders and difficulties, but I think, sometimes, it's odd how quick we can be to assume that people like this woman and her (enabling?) husband have something mentally wrong. It's like we don't want to believe that there really are some people out there are just deeply, deeply loathsome people.

Although yes, I half expected her to grab one of those knives and try to stab Ramsay. Chekov's Magnetic Knife Rack if you will.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:49 AM on May 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


By the way, I worked at a fancy-ish place that had a full vegetarian menu (along with a non-vegetarian menu). Granted this was the 80s and things have changed, but the head chef and many on the staff had open contempt for vegetarians and delighted in sneaky acts of contamination of "vegetarian" dishes with, oh say bacon fat, for example. They would laugh their asses off too.

Gordon R. did this, for reference - feeding Parma ham to a vegetarian for the lulz on an early episode of "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares". That might have been before the touchy-feely makeover for the US, though.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:58 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I finally had time to watch it this morning, and I don't see mental illness. I see pretty bog standard monied assholes accustomed to stamping their feet and yelling to get their way or throwing money at problems to solve them and certain, above all else, they are smarter, better, faster, and more worthy than everyone else on the planet. With an undercurrent of über-Christianity. People like this exist. They aren't all mentally ill. Some of them, maybe even many of them, are just entitled, self-centered assholes who have bullied everyone around them into never criticizing them or suffering the consequences in the form of vicious outbursts of hostility.

I've been in relationships with people like this, I have worked for people like this, I have people like this in my family. They are assholes, and they are always, ALWAYS right about everything, and don't you dare say otherwise. Mentally ill? Not necessarily. Assholes? Most definitely.
posted by Orb at 7:26 AM on May 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


dortmunder: "On one level this is hilarious. On anther level, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with personality disorders as entertainment."

Look, the problem isn't that they have personality disorders. The problem is that they have constructed a reality in which they are the sane ones and everyone else is crazy, and they are in enough of a position of power that they can inflict these realities on others.

It would not be entertaining to watch a show that consisted of a homeless man shouting angrily at businessmen, but this is someone who clearly has issues and is getting clear communication from others that her behavior is unacceptable, but chooses instead to believe that nothing is wrong with herself.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:30 AM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Decani: "Unfashionably, I still like Ramsay, even though he's overworked his shtick. I shall enjoy watching this,"

I think the key with Ramsay is he doesn't only get angry because it's a shtick or because it's all just a show. I think it comes across that he gets angry because he's really passionate about cooking. In the Hell's Kitchen show you can see that part of it is he's trying to push and motivate. In fact, I noticed in a way that he is almost using the "One Minute Manager" techniques -- invariably if one cook has made a disappointing dish and he screams at them for it, he makes a point of praising that same person for the same dish when they get it right.

I'm not anywhere close to a good chef but I would love, love, love to cook for him sometime. Assuming I didn't fail miserably at the task, nothing would validate my cooking more than a "very tasty, that dish" from Ramsay.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:34 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I worked as a cook and baker off and on in my younger days at a number of nominally decent restaurants. Now I just assume that behind the facade everything is disgusting and pennies are being pinched.

My experience is quite different, so it always strikes me as really bizarre when I see some of the stuff that goes on in these restaurants. Granted, if things were great they wouldn't be on the show, but no matter.

As a teenager, I worked for a year as a cook (they insisted we be called "chefs") at Elias Brothers' Big Boy in the Renaissance Center, downtown Detroit. Anyone who knows Big Boy know that it is NOT fine dining. It's probably a step below Perkins and couple steps below Applebee's and Chili's.

Looking back, I am AMAZED, in a good way, at the quality and cleanliness of that place. Certainly some things were premade such as frozen items made for quick preparation (the patty for the Veal Parmesan, the burger patties for the trademark Big Boy hamburger, fries, etc.; nothing that would surprise you.) But the vast majority of the food was freshly prepared. I never saw a frozen vegetable, even for use in omelets. Aside from the breaded veal and Big Boy burger patties, none of the other meat was frozen.

The walk-in freezer and cooler were kept clean and well organized. All stock was rotated. The kitchen was thoroughly scrubbed every night at closing, in addition to keeping things clean as we worked. Any idle time between rushes was used to clean and organize. I worked with several different cooks over my time there, and not once was there even a hint of sabotaging food, or sending anything out that was less than sanitary and well-prepared.

Keep in mind, I was just a teen, and so were most of the people I cooked with. The point being: if barely-trained teenagers in Detroit, paid barely above minimum wage, with no ownership or stake in the restaurant can put out fresh, clean, decent food, then there is no excuse for an owner not doing the same.
posted by The Deej at 7:35 AM on May 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


I've only seen the UK edition of this, and as with Wife Swap US, the editing is such in US reality shows that it becomes very difficult to believe that there's any verisimilitude going on. It tends to spoil my enjoyment, so I end up watching these shows as constructed drama rather than documentary. Mind you, I mostly watch Extreme Couponing as I find the format of the show kind of hilarious.

There is a torrent tracker out there which is dedicated to UK shows (which obviously I know nothing about whatsoever) and I think it exists mainly because overseas licensing is such a massive headache for people who want to actually watch things legally, or buy them to watch. Parks and Recreation has only just started showing on UK TV here, and wasn't even available on DVD in our region past season 1, which seemed insane for such a talked-about show. There are a lot of US programmes which are available only on expensive pay-cable packages like Sky, but there are even more which we can't watch via iTunes or Netflix or Hulu because they don't make them available to us. I'm sure plenty would pay for a subscription to 4 On Demand or iPlayer on your side of the pond, if it were offered. I'd love to be able to watch Hulu at work if they did overseas subs.
posted by mippy at 7:46 AM on May 16, 2013


The Deej, you'll find a very different scenario at franchise ops vs. one-off start-ups. For one thing, the franchise owner has to jump over some seriously high hoops to get the rights to the name and the business process documents, and they must follow process exactly. There's also a huge financial component to becoming a franchise op; it might even be six figures in escrow to even get them to look at your site proposal. And there are extensive personal interviews as well.

Point being, bozo jackholes really don't get involved in franchises operations. It's too expensive, too demanding, too rigorous, and at the end of the day, while it is extremely profitable, there's just nothing in it for narcissists because all they are doing is following someone else's plan. There's no ego stroking, no "compliments to the chef". It's a business, nothing more.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:55 AM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


As a teenager, I worked for a year as a cook (they insisted we be called "chefs") at Elias Brothers' Big Boy in the Renaissance Center, downtown Detroit. Anyone who knows Big Boy know that it is NOT fine dining. It's probably a step below Perkins and couple steps below Applebee's and Chili's.

I'm not sure about that. Though older diner-style chains like Bob's Big Boy or Du-Pars (not sure how far it ever spread, and these days is in decline) may have served more middle of the road joy-of-cooking style food it seems to me that's mostly a function of the era they came from. Applebee's and Chili's may have dressed up dining rooms, cocktails, and dishes that imitate a wider range of cuisines popularized in the 80s/90s, but the food quality is in my opinion lower.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:41 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, the problem isn't that they have personality disorders. The problem is that they have constructed a reality in which they are the sane ones and everyone else is crazy, and they are in enough of a position of power that they can inflict these realities on others.

It would not be entertaining to watch a show that consisted of a homeless man shouting angrily at businessmen, but this is someone who clearly has issues and is getting clear communication from others that her behavior is unacceptable, but chooses instead to believe that nothing is wrong with herself.


That's pretty much the definition of a personality disorder, though. It's a state in which you so thoroughly believe your distorted view of reality that you can't even realize that's not how reality works, and so everyone else must be wrong.

The DSM-IV defines a personality disorder as:

A. An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior the deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture. This pattern is manifested in two (or more) of the following areas:
1. Cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people and events)
2. Affectivity (i.e., the range, intensity, liability, and appropriateness of emotional response)
3. Interpersonal functioning
4. Impulse control

B. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.

C. The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood.

E. The enduring pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or consequence of another mental disorder.

F. The enduring pattern is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma).


There are certainly plenty of assholes, and not all of them have personality disorders, and it's certainly impossible to accurately diagnose someone just from watching them on tv. But Amy's inability to recognize that her reality isn't everyone else's reality and inability to accept any contrary feedback to that reality would likely be a symptom used to demonstrate a personality disorder, not a reason to rule it out.
posted by jaguar at 9:42 AM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kitchen Nightmares may be the most perfectly disturbing television show invented. No writer could match the depravity seen in This clip of an identical twin's emotional breakdown while struggling to clean a grill.

'This video contains content from Channel 4 and is blocked in your country on copyright grounds'. WTF? I'm sat across the road from the Channel 4 news studios, WATCHING GRILL MELTDOWN IS MY BIRTHRIGHT
posted by mippy at 9:46 AM on May 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's odd, Channel 4 has an official channel for 4oD on Youtube, that is blocked outside of the UK.
posted by smackfu at 10:14 AM on May 16, 2013


I think those are US-only links - you can't watch BBC America online in the UK, either. Although why would you want to?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:23 AM on May 16, 2013


smackfu and mippy, you can access all the US/UK blocked content by using a VPN. I watch all the UK channels online from here in the US. As far as I know, VPNs are still legal.

The amount of liquid that comes out of it when he lifts it up to eat it is horrifying.

So, so true. I love juicy burgers, but the gush of juice that came out of that one with his first bite was appalling.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:26 AM on May 16, 2013


Not to discount people with serious mental disorders and difficulties .... there really are some people out there are just deeply, deeply loathsome people.

Being deeply loathsome isn't why Scientology oppose psychology?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:36 AM on May 16, 2013


I worked as a cook and baker off and on in my younger days at a number of nominally decent restaurants. Now I just assume that behind the facade everything is disgusting and pennies are being pinched.

Everywhere. All the time. Cheap, fancy, healthy, indulgent, it's all huge amounts of bullshit served with sides of lies and pretension.

George Orwell said the same thing (at great length) way back in 1933. Money quote (about a restaurant whose kitchen he worked in utterly squalid and filthy conditions):
...the Auberge was not the ordinary cheap eating-house frequented by students and workmen. We did not provide an adequate meal at less than twenty-five francs, and we were picturesque and artistic, which sent up our social standing. There were the indecent pictures in the bar, and the Norman decorations—sham beams on the walls, electric lights done up as candlesticks, "peasant" pottery, even a mounting-block at the door—and the patron and the head waiter were Russian officers, and many of the customers titled Russian refugees. In short, we were decidedly chic.

posted by Gelatin at 12:14 PM on May 16, 2013


Obivously I've only seen the carefully edited portions of Ramsay, but what sets him apart from other asshole managers and bosses is that he is almost always right.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:21 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


and he's willing to teach.
posted by evening at 1:33 PM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


What do you want to bet that Amy and Samy will soon be offered their very own tv reality show?
posted by jabo at 2:05 PM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


At the very least they could go on Amazing Race so I could take great delight when they get knocked out in the first episode because they are too dysfunctional to find LAX.
posted by jamaro at 2:18 PM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Looks like the mods at Yelp finally moved in, they cut the reviews from over 1000, down to 130 something, but there still are people posting fake reviews up.
posted by FJT at 2:34 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not that I believe it for a second, but a new update on the Facebook page:

"We are proud to announce that myself and my wonderful husband finally got pregnant with a real HUMAN child!! We would like to thank God for all the beautiful things he has brought to us in our life, and our loyal customers who have supported us throughout the years. We could have never done this without any of you! You all finally see that good things happen to good people."
posted by Bugbread at 2:45 PM on May 16, 2013


The new PR guy is interviewed twice - on 15 May (before he was hired) and on 16 May, when he seems to have changed his tune somewhat ...
posted by essexjan at 2:48 PM on May 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


The interviews with the PR guy are beautiful. I wish I could favorite it 100 times.
posted by rdr at 3:07 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


That interview link is great, essexjan. Really a different tune after the paycheck comes in. I guess that's how PR works though. It's funny to see it so blatently.
posted by jclarkin at 3:18 PM on May 16, 2013


We are proud to announce that myself and my wonderful husband finally got pregnant with a real HUMAN child!!

Instead of a....? Wooden child? Demon child? Porpoise child?
posted by ian1977 at 4:19 PM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


She thinks her cats are people in cat bodies, apparently.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:27 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


She thinks her cats are people in cat bodies, apparently

And sings them this sweet song to sleep every night.
posted by raztaj at 4:38 PM on May 16, 2013


ian1977: "Instead of a....? Wooden child? Demon child? Porpoise child?"

At the 11:56 mark of the show, there is this exchange:

Ramsay: "Do you have children?"

Amy: "Well, we have three little boys, but they're trapped inside cat bodies. Meow, haha."

Sammy: "They're cats."

Amy: "Our babies are cats."
posted by Bugbread at 4:39 PM on May 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh instead of a cat child then. Makes sense. I must have blissfully blocked that memory out when I watched it.

Wait....were they human boys at one point?!?!? Witchcraft for sassing?
posted by ian1977 at 4:42 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


i was really hoping for wooden porpoise kids myself, ideally ones with little wheels that she would drag around behind her
posted by elizardbits at 5:04 PM on May 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


i was really hoping for wooden porpoise kids myself, ideally ones with little wheels that she would drag around behind her

Free-ee-ee-eee us mommy-ee-ee-ee
posted by ian1977 at 5:08 PM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Of all the things she deserves mockery for, I'd put the cat child thing last. If only because it might engender sympathy from some.

One of the things that makes me sad about this is that for a narcissistic ex felon she's actually doing better than you'd expect. When this all comes crashing down I hope she doesn't spiral out of control in a way that really damages everyone around her.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:14 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Terrible people can love cats. Stephen Harper has proven this for years now. And who can blame the cats? Three squares a day and a warm bed, you know?
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:34 PM on May 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I should clarify, while I'm not a cat person and don't really understand cat people, I wasn't quoting the cat section to make fun of her, just to clarify why she chose the phrasing, "myself and my wonderful husband finally got pregnant with a real HUMAN child!!"
posted by Bugbread at 5:40 PM on May 16, 2013


Poor kid.
posted by davelog at 6:27 PM on May 16, 2013


Alleged kid.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bad craziness.
posted by homunculus at 7:36 PM on May 16, 2013


Well, for being 'hacked'? On their new page, they're featuring a brand new, homemade strawberry cake for their reopening.

Except that the picture of the cake came from this blog: What Megan's Making - Strawberry Cake

And they're going to be charging prices 'as low as' $8.99 a slice! I really really hope that that's a typo.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:14 PM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the new facebook page (the one with the strawberry cake on it) is a joke.

Also, I have been way too fascinated with this.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:06 AM on May 17, 2013


Yeah, at first I found the new Facebook page to be not over-the-top enough to be a fake, but the new cut up cake photo doesn't match with their previous modus operandi of pilfering really beautiful cake photos. I'm thinking fake now.
posted by Bugbread at 6:07 AM on May 17, 2013


There's an interview with Miranda now available for your listening pleasure. Apparently when she went to pick up her last cheque, the police were called (I haven't listened to it).
posted by jokeefe at 3:20 PM on May 17, 2013


Didn't pay her full wages, took her tips...I sure hope the IRS gets its head out of the Tea Party and goes after these two bozos!
posted by leftcoastbob at 4:58 PM on May 17, 2013


Also, Yelp may have come out the worse in all of this. Why haven't they locked down the ABC review page?

There were like 30 reviews before 5/14 and now there are almost 1000. That completely undermines Yelp, which wasn't exactly oozing credibility to begin with.


Simple, yelp is waiting for their opportunity to go "we can fix your page and rating... For a price" just like they've done to a shitload of other small restaurants. Denying this offer generally ghettoizes your page forever too.

I think there's maybe even been an fpp about this?
posted by emptythought at 1:01 AM on May 18, 2013


Anyone figure out why they're waiting until Tues for their re-opening? Why not this weekend? What are they up to this whole time??
posted by evening at 4:56 AM on May 18, 2013


First, they have to hire a thirty person staff, then they have to train them (break their spirit), and finally the bosses have to take a few acting classes so they can stick to the "pleasant small business owner" script I'm sure their PR guy has written for them.
posted by Orb at 5:38 AM on May 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Has Ramsay had anything to say about this whole affair?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:25 AM on May 18, 2013


Why would he? They made this episode the season finale. KN knew that this would be primo reality TV. Amy & Sami will continue to act crazy for as long as their fifteen minutes lasts and for every day of that fifteen minutes they'll be boosting Kitchen Nightmare's profile.
posted by rdr at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2013


What I do not grok is why Samy doesn't use a tablet computer for ordering so the food runners are just tat - food runners?

http://mashable.com/2011/04/19/restaurant-tablets/
http://elacarte.com/why/
posted by rough ashlar at 1:16 PM on May 19, 2013


And Ramsey didn't walk out - Amy said 'end the show' so Ramsey did.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:17 PM on May 19, 2013


it seems that the original youtube videos are down. does anyone have links to the episode?
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2013


New interview ahead of grand reopening from News 15 ABC network affiliate wherein, among other things, she claims that the same people who threatened to kill her husband were allowed into the restaurant by KN producers. O_o
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:54 PM on May 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


it seems that the original youtube videos are down. does anyone have links to the episode?
posted by cupcake1337


It's up on Hulu until next year.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:27 AM on May 20, 2013


I'd really like to hear more about the people who were allowed into the restaurant who frightened Amy so badly for the last three years. Why did they threaten to kill Samy?

Can it possibly be that there's even more craziness that wasn't depicted on the show or in the subsequent melt-down???
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:30 PM on May 20, 2013


Well, I'd imagine it's hard to be Amy and Samy without making a few enemies.
posted by unSane at 6:32 PM on May 20, 2013


The press conference has been canceled (although the "grand reopening" is still on) due to "legal and online threats."

As if this tapestry were not rich enough, Rose + Moser + Allyn has ended its representation of the Bouzaglos after five days.
posted by bakerina at 7:46 PM on May 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, wait, a co-dependent dysfunctional couple with a long history of run-ins with the public become an internet sensation when a video of them misbehaving goes viral. One of them tries to play the voice of reason while the other spirals into batshit insanity. Cancelling all public appearances to huddle with advisors, and trying to put the blame on haters and enemies, a press conference is called, then abruptly cancelled, leaving the pair attempting to carry on as if nothing had happened at all.

Is it Samy and Amy or Rob and Doug? I'm starting to get confused here...
posted by unSane at 9:03 AM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait, if they can't handle a press conference, what makes them think they can handle a re-opening? Won't these evil masterminds just, you know, MAKE A RESERVATION?!

I would pay to watch that grand re-opening from a live feed. What I absolutely WOULDN'T do is pay to eat there.

Rough Ashlar-Multiple people have walked off the show, driven off the show, told Ramsay to go, physically pushed him out of the kitchen etc. Ramsay generally holds on-it's true often the next day calmer heads prevail and Ramsay approaches them in a gentle way, but even so, I've seen him really fight to get through to owners even when owners seem adamant that he give up and go home. In light of that, while you can see it as he agreed to end the show after Amy said to, I think saying he walked off is pretty legit.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:55 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sami had a deportation hearing yesterday (Video only, sorry).

Apparently he failed to disclose past involvement with drug distribution, extortion, and threats. He has been banned from France and Germany.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:19 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aaaaand the husband is facing deportation (SYTL). Possible reasons include involvement in drug distribution, threats, and extortion in Europe and being banned from both France and Germany.

Prince. The guy's a prince. Mind you, his wife committed fraud to get a bank loan, so there's always that.

Why did they go on Kitchen Nightmares again?
posted by jrochest at 8:19 PM on May 21, 2013


Drat, I was too slow...
posted by jrochest at 8:20 PM on May 21, 2013


And here's a side of text to go with the deportation story video.
posted by Westringia F. at 9:13 PM on May 21, 2013


“I want people to know about me,” he said. “But not today, not tomorrow. I have nothing to hide.”

I love it.
posted by jaguar at 9:50 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The guy (customer) who went to the counter, he was hamming it up a little more and was very vocal. We could hear Amy in the back yelling, 'Nice job, way to play it up,' and giving him fake applause. The guy got louder, and that's when Samy snapped. He called the guy the C-word."

A bit more testament to the show's staging of events.
posted by Ardiril at 10:11 PM on May 21, 2013


reasons include involvement in drug distribution, threats, and extortion in Europe and being banned from both France and Germany.

Yeah, I'm still feeling comfortable about that money laundering call.
posted by jaduncan at 10:31 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


A bit more testament to the show's staging of events.

I'm not sure that this qualifies as 'staging'. They didn't tell Sami to swear at the guy, nor to try to hit him, nor did they tell his wife to call the cops. And a commercial kitchen shouldn't take an hour to produce a pizza. Putting people under pressure is part of the package, but they make their own choices about how to respond to it.

jaduncan: yes, I was initially skeptical on that idea, but I'm starting to come around: he has convictions and served jail time in Europe, for fairly significant stuff, and she's had 4 other convictions for fraud in addition to the fraudulent use of someone else's SSN. These two are nasty pieces of work.

Ironically, I knew that lots of guys wind up in kitchens because they learn to cook in prison, and so many kitchens have ex-cons on staff. Maybe people like these two are just par for the course?
posted by jrochest at 11:52 PM on May 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't doubt that that restaurant had problems, but both Ramsey's choice of language and the editing of his dish-ordering sequence have a somewhat non-linear feel to it.

"They didn't tell Sami to swear at the guy, nor to try to hit him, nor did they tell his wife to call the cops."

Are you sure about any of that?
posted by Ardiril at 12:15 AM on May 22, 2013


Are you sure about any of that?

You really think those are even remote possibilities? That the producers of the show told Sami to hit the guy, and Sami complied, and no one has mentioned this?
posted by painquale at 1:57 AM on May 22, 2013


From the article in question:

"I think that's what started to tip the scales," he said. "The guy (customer) who went to the counter, he was hamming it up a little more and was very vocal. We could hear Amy in the back yelling, 'Nice job, way to play it up,' and giving him fake applause.

That's not Kitchen Nightmare goading the customer. That is Amy. After an hour's wait for a pizza any reasonable business person would be apologizing and trying to make the customer happy.
posted by rdr at 1:58 AM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


After an hour's wait for a pizza any reasonable business person would be apologizing and trying to make the customer happy.


Seconding this. If you're a restaurant owner who has asked a reality TV show to come help you prove that you run a good restaurant with good food and your only real problem is the bullies, what would you do if the cameras were on you while a dissatisfied customer was present? Would you act like a complete asshole (snarking and fake-applauding and being incredibly rude) or would you hold back your irritation and put on the shiny happy glad-face? Come on now. There are plenty of flaws in reality TV, but Amy's basic personality can't be blamed on the producers here.
posted by palomar at 8:47 AM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


If you've seen any of the other stuff featuring Samy in particular (eg the SLYT above about his immigration hearing) you'll realize he was just being Samy. No acting required.
posted by unSane at 8:56 AM on May 22, 2013


There seems to be a kind of MetaFilter reality program mindset, pretty similar to conspiracy theory mindsets, that says, "Since parts of reality shows are staged, all of reality shows are staged."
posted by Bugbread at 7:31 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The staged portions seem pretty obvious to me, but even as a fan of the show, I don't really care. I would be shocked if any of it wasn't. So, you'll probably have to find other noses to rub in that turd.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:52 PM on May 22, 2013


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances,
But people on Metafilter are largely suspicious of this,
And tend to discuss it at length.

-Shakespeare
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:59 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brocktoon: "The staged portions seem pretty obvious to me, but even as a fan of the show, I don't really care. I would be shocked if any of it wasn't. So, you'll probably have to find other noses to rub in that turd."

If the staged parts are obvious, and you would be shocked to find out that anything wasn't staged, then I guess you're saying that it's pretty obvious that the entire show is staged? In which case, that seems like agreement with my statement that Mefites tend to believe that since parts are staged, all of the show is staged. I don't know why your agreeing with me means I have to find some other nose (?), nor why that makes my statement a turd.

Less crypticism, please.
posted by Bugbread at 9:11 PM on May 22, 2013


Just piling on Ardiril, same as you. I think the parts were Gordon changes his shirt are a set-up; the producers have no scruples. Reality TV used to be about integrity.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:43 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reality TV used to be about integrity.

Speaking as someone who was in at the basement in the early to mid 90s, I can only say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
posted by unSane at 9:56 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reality TV used to be about integrity.

"Reality TV" and "integrity" rarely show up in the same sentence, and there's a reason for that
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:57 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I must have used up all my overt sarcasm chits.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:17 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oops.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:41 AM on May 23, 2013


I must have used up all my overt sarcasm chits.

The hamburger was way too dry.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I must have used up all my overt sarcasm chits.

No, but apparently others did.

I always loved the shirt-changing bit. It gave me a chance to annoyingly say "A little somethin' for the laaadiiiesssss!"
posted by The Deej at 1:21 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Last Days of Amy's Baking Company.
posted by essexjan at 4:08 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I keep waiting for an account of someone who's gone to ABC after the re-opening. I finally found one:

4 people get kicked out for pointing out fruit flies in their drinks. And they had been there for an hour with no food. Then they go to Pita Jungle.

Sounds familiar.
posted by evening at 5:23 AM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amy’s Baking Company Closing On Reality TV Show Deal

After my initial despair that such a thing could be possible... How would the show work? Most reality shows that I've watched have a group of attractive attention seekers with one or two real crazies mixed in. How could a reality show be constructed around two such unlikable people?
posted by rdr at 5:32 PM on May 30, 2013


Amy’s Baking Company Closing On Reality TV Show Deal

Aaaaand...they win. The man-child and woman-child win. They are trainwrecks that we can't look away from and so they win. I'm guilty, too, just look at me on this thread!
posted by zardoz at 6:21 PM on May 30, 2013


The deal still might not happen. It wouldn't be the first reality show where they declined to participate in good faith.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2013


Prediction: Amy knifes a customer.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


And invoices them for a more expensive model of knife.
posted by yerfatma at 5:58 AM on May 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


And where in the world are they going to find the waitstaff? They'll have to can one or two a week so presumably they'd run out of help eventually.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:09 PM on May 31, 2013


Maybe the show will have contestants who act as waitstaff, but unlike other reality shows, the winner of each challenge gets eliminated, and the losers have to keep working there.
posted by Bugbread at 8:58 PM on June 3, 2013


the winner of each challenge gets eliminatedKNIFETOTHEBACK!!!!!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do they cater weddings?
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know about weddings, but there's a documentary about their prom catering, titled "Carrie".
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 PM on June 3, 2013


How could a reality show be constructed around two such unlikable people?

I can't tell if you're joking.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:13 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sami now facing deportation for failure to disclose criminal past, drug distribution, extortion; already banned from France, Germany.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:41 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, AZCentral.com gave them a 3.5 star review after their relaunch.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:43 PM on June 6, 2013


rdr: "How could a reality show be constructed around two such unlikable people?"

I take it you don't get TLC from your cable service provider.
posted by mkultra at 6:39 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown: "On the other hand, AZCentral.com gave them a 3.5 star review after their relaunch."

3.5 out of 5, in spite of burnt panini, the wrong pizza, and disappointing gnocchi. That's a pity review.
posted by mkultra at 6:43 AM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


mkultra: "3.5 out of 5, in spite of burnt panini, the wrong pizza, and disappointing gnocchi. That's a pity review."

Kind of sounds like it, doesn't it?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:13 AM on June 7, 2013


Artw: "Do they cater weddings?"

"It took over an hour for our order of bread and salt to be served and the side of guest rights promised on the menu was missing."

- R. Stark, Westeros
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:10 PM on June 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


"The customers at some of nearby tables were real pains in the neck."

-C. Stark, Westeros
posted by never used baby shoes at 6:49 AM on June 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


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