Tim Gray is 21. He's the Head Chef at Bonapartes in Silsden, West Yorkshire and he specialises in 'fine dining'. He has ambitions to be a TV chef and one day hopes to open restaurants in London, Paris and New York. Unfortunately, as Gordon Ramsay discovers, Tim can't even cook an omelette and when he attempts to make dinner for his parents at home he manages to set the cooker alight. A true kitchen nightmare if ever you saw one.
Saturday night at the Glass House Restaurant in Ambleside is a nightmare. Orders in the kitchen are mixed up, food's not cooked properly and the customers are complaining. Not only is the chef in tears, but the owners on the brink as well. Neil Farrell's owned the Lake District restaurant for 3 years and he's up to this eyes in debt. The business won't survive if the restaurant's only busy on a Saturday night but with only 3,000 residents in the town, Neil has to attract the influx of visitors if he's going to fill the 90-seats every night.
The Walnut Tree Inn is in trouble ... there's no head chef, the customers have dwindled, and the owner has had to sell the family home to keep the business afloat. The Walnut Tree Inn in South Wales became a national institution under the ownership of Franco and Ann Taruschio, who successfully ran it for 37 years. But when fellow Italian Francesco bought the place 3 years ago he made the mistake of turning the warm and welcoming country inn into a cold and stark London-style restaurant. He achieved a Michelin star for the food but soon after that he lost his head chef. Donning his chefs whites and apron, Francesco tries to run the kitchen and be the host in the restaurant. Consequently he fails in both jobs. The customers aren't returning and the food's going downhill.
Nick and Richard are self-confessed restaurant virgins. They've both had successful careers in the brewery business so when they bought Moore Place last summer they thought their dream had come true. What they hadn't fathomed was just how difficult it would be to fill the 90-seater oak-panelled restaurant or find a chef who could cook decent food.
The venue for tonight's first programme is La Lanterna in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. Twenty-eight-year-old owner and head chef Alex offers modern Italian cuisine, a taste of Little Italy in England's first garden city, and the restaurant is run by his best mate maitre d' Gavin, helped by his ex-air hostess girlfriend Emily. But Alex has no customers, cookers that don't work and an expensive menu that's about as authentically Italian as a spag bol. He re-mortgaged his house to buy the business, it's losing Â£1,000 a week, he hasn't slept for months but still runs round town in a flash car (number plate: A1CHEF) that's worth more than the restaurant. Running out of money, inspiration and energy, Alex is on the verge of losing everything. Gordon rolls up his sleeves and sets to work on the encrusted kitchen cookers and hapless front-of-house staff. Can a strict diet of brutal honesty, radical food surgery and undiluted energy turn things round, or is it only a matter of time before the lights go out at La Lanterna for good?
The venue for tonight's second programme is D-Place in Chelmsford, Essex run by Mexican-born Israel and his English partner Tara. They've sunk £150,000 of their own money into their trendy café bar which offers a vast selection of fusion cuisine. In charge is Executive Chef Philippe, producing everything from all-day breakfasts to hoi sin noodles with an astounding lack of flair; the plastic food is dire and boomerangs back from the dining room as soon as it's cooked. Restaurant manager, spunky Essex boy Dave, loathes his chef, and their mutual hatred spills over into permanent running battles. Faced with dysfunctional staff and a disastrous menu, Gordon is about to face the longest week of his professional life. Can he quell the panic, banish the deep fat fryer and bring D-Place back from the dead, or will it disappear forever?
The venue for tonight's third programme is Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack, an intimate forty-seater a stone's throw from Brighton's sea front. Big soul momma, owner CHARITA JONES, produces a menu of irresistibly unique classics from the Deep South. The food's hard to fault but the punters are nowhere to be seen, Head Chef Brian and a rag-tag collection of part-timers are taking the mickey - and despite working a seven-day week Charita's got an empty restaurant and a Â£65,000 debt. If ever there was a case of too many cooks, this is it. Charita's a natural, but she's never made a profit on the restaurant and is now facing financial disaster. Can Gordon successfully shut her out of the kitchen, get the chef back on the boil and put the soul back into the business, or will the shack shut up shop for good?
The venue for tonight's fourth programme is La Riviera, a fine dining restaurant in Inverness. Owned by multi-millionaire BARRY LARSON and costing £8000 a week to run, the place boasts top French chef LOIC LEFEBVRE and an impeccably-trained kitchen staff with Michelin star-studded backgrounds. Loic is on a mission, to bring sophisticated French cooking to the home of haggis, tatties and deep-fried Mars bars. But though he's hungry for success he's French, he's arrogant and the food's pretentious. The locals aren't biting and the restaurant's empty most nights. There's a sharp smell of déjà vu in the air for Gordon whose own venture in Scotland - Amaryllis - had to close. This week it's personal as Ramsay tries to save La Riviera from the same fate. Can Gordon tone down their act, demystify the menu and, most importantly, get the punters in?
Saturday night at The Glass House Restaurant in Ambleside was a disaster. Orders in the kitchen were mixed up, the food wasn't cooked properly and the customers were complaining. Not only was the chef in tears, but the owners were on the brink of bankruptcy. A few months on, there have been some departures from the Glass House. Who is in charge of the kitchen now? And, more importantly, is Ramsay's Caesar salad still on the menu?
The Walnut Tree Inn was in big trouble ... there was no head chef, the customers had dwindled, and the owner had been forced to sell the family home to keep the business afloat.Set in beautiful Welsh countryside, The Walnut Tree Inn was a successful business for 37 years and became a national institution. But when Francesco bought the place 3 years ago he made the mistake of turning the warm and welcoming country inn into a cold and stark London-style restaurant. And when things went wrong he tried to run the kitchen as well as the front of house.With its Michelin star in jeopardy, Ramsay's first job was to recruit a new head chef so the owner could concentrate on customers. But has Francesco managed to follow Ramsay's advice and stop meddling in the kitchen?
Nick and Richard are self-confessed restaurant virgins. They've both had successful careers in the brewery business so when they bought Moore Place they believed they could make it an instant success. What they hadn't realized was just how difficult it would be to fill the 90-seater oak-paneled restaurant and how hard it would be to find a chef who could cook decent food. Has Ramsay's fast-track guide to restaurant success helped these brewery whiz-kids transform their failing ex-Berni Inn into a profitable business? And is the building still painted that disgusting shade of purple?
The episode that has gone down in TV history. Tim Gray was the 21 year-old Head Chef at Bonaparte's in Silsden, West Yorkshire. Claiming to specialise in 'fine dining', he had ambitions to be a TV chef and dreamed of opening restaurants in London, Paris and New York. Unfortunately, Tim couldn't even cook an omelette and his trademark scallops made Ramsay throw up. A true kitchen nightmare if ever there was one. With no customers and a fridge full of fancy ingredients, Bonaparte's was losing money fast. Ramsay soon established that what the people of Silsden really want to eat is Beef and Ale Pie and Treacle Tart. Ramsay soon had the restaurant chocker block but what state is it in now?
Tonight's program sees Gordon Ramsay in Oscars in Nantwich. On the surface this place seems idyllic, an Irish family run restaurant in the heart of beautiful countryside. Owner MAURA runs the front of house and her son LENIN is the Head chef, but it's not 'happy families'. With her life savings on the line Maura is in big trouble. She constantly bickers with her son whilst the customers are forced to wait hours for their fluorescent crab stick paellas, and stodgy carbonaras from Oscars 'bit of everything' menu. The place is losing Â£2000 per week, but that isn't the worst of their problems, Lenin has got a serious drink problem and during service collapses and has to be rushed off to hospital. It's Gordon's toughest challenge yet; can he bring the Irish heart back to Oscars, stop mother and son fighting, and get the Lenin to face up to his problems?
In tonight's program Gordon Ramsay travels to the seaside to help ailing hotel and restaurant, THE SANDGATE. This is LOIS and PETER's first venture into the catering industry - the happily married couple used to enjoy eating in restaurants, so thought it might be fun to own one. 18months later their dream has turned into a nightmare and they're loosing Â£4,000 a month. In the kitchen their head chef, STUART is on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He's forced to cook for 4 restaurants including a fine dining upstairs, and a Japanese restaurant in the basement, but it's when he loses his coveted AA award that he really hits rock bottom. Eccentric, overstaffed and on the point of collapse can Gordon bring this real life Fawlty Towers back from the edge?
The venue for tonight's program is Clubway 41, despite being voted Blackpool Tourist Board Restaurant of the year, the place is dire straits. It is the prime example of HOW NOT TO RUN A RESTAURANT. Owner DAVE is the flakey self-appointed head chef, who hasn't been in a kitchen for 30 years and can't cook. His partner DAWN invents bizarre dishes for the menu, ranging from 'tomato and cointreau soup' to 'pork with brie, nectarine and whiskey sauce'. Gordon faces a hellish week, Clubway 41 is breaking every rule in book, can he bring Dave, Dawn and their food back to earth?
This week Gordon is at a god-awful Italian restaurant in Derby. La Gondola is stuck in a time-warp with naff Seventies cuisine, bad net curtains and no customers. New owner Daniela bought the place because she got married there back in the day but her sentimentality has blinded her to the fact that she's bagged a white elephant. Gordon's biggest problem is head chef Steve, one of the worst he's ever met, and one who'd rather open a tin of tuna or a packet of soup than create a proper meal. Can Gordon get the kitchen cooking again and save La Gondola from sinking?
Tonight, for the first time ever on Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon takes on a nightmare restaurant abroad. La Parra de Burriana is an ex-pat restaurant in Nerja on Spain's Costa del Sol. Nestling among the cafes lining the seafront offering all-day English breakfast and chips, La Parra is the brainchild of twenty-six-year-old ex-nightclub manager Laurence. He set himself up in business eighteen months ago with a loan from his dad and, although he's not an experienced chef, mans the kitchen on his own, determined to offer something better than chips to his largely British clientele.
In tonight's second programme Gordon tackles a pub for the first time, getting to grips with The Fenwick Arms in rural Lancashire. The pub is run by landlord BRIAN who, after thirty years in the business and a quadruple heart-bypass, still puts in 120 hours a week and insists on laying down the law in the kitchen. Despite their best endeavours Brian and his partner ELAINE are Â£250k in debt, losing Â£1500 a week and facing bankruptcy within three months unless there's a drastic reversal in their fortunes.
Gordon finds a chef caught in a time warp when he tackles a picturesque, but largely unfrequented, upmarket restaurant in King's Lynn, a traditional market town on the Norfolk coast. For the last 18 months ex Michelin-starred chef Nick has owned and run Rococo, but his past success is now eluding him. The menu is past its sell-by date, the service is stuffy, the food is over-priced and the only thing being fed is his ego. Yet, despite debts of £100,000, with the prospect of putting his home at risk and his young family on the streets, Nick continues to cook comatose in a 1990s fantasy land of his own making. Gordon forces him to face his failures, strips down the menu and dismantles the claustrophobic dining room. But when he discovers the depths of Nick's stubbornness - and that he's locked him out of the restaurant--a Kitchen Nightmares first--even Gordon is forced to face the prospect of failure . Will Nick ever get up to speed and recapture his glory days, or will he carry on sleep-walking his way to disaster?
Gordon grapples with girl power when he takes on an intimate family-run restaurant in the heart of WAG territory near Liverpool. For the last three years Morgans has been run by antiques dealer-turned-restaurateur Sandy and her two daughters Helen and Laura. The beautifully-designed dining room has a prime high street location and should be the perfect eatery for the trendy local clientele. But Head Chef Phil is grappling with an eclectic menu that includes mashed potato with apricots and his cooking's just not up to it. Meanwhile owner Sandy can't keep the books straight, the all-female front-of-house team lacks any clear line of command and they're £100,000 in debt. At this rate of loss they are facing the prospect of no punters and closure within six months. It's handbags at dawn as Gordon imposes some drastic changes, only to discover that when he turns up for the launch of a Sunday lunch menu, he's the only one who's bothered to get out of bed. Will the ladies that lunch carry on treating their business as an expensive hobby, or can they lure the WAG glitterati of Woolton through the door for a make-or-break celebrity relaunch?
Gordon returns to La Riviera--now renamed Abstract--a fine dining restaurant in Inverness. Owned by multi-millionaire Barry Larson and costing £8000 a week to run, the place boasted top French chef Loic Lefebvre and an impeccably-trained kitchen staff, all of them on a mission to bring sophisticated French cooking to the home of the haggis. But the locals weren't biting and the restaurant was empty most nights. Gordon's recipe for survival forced them to tone down their act and demystify the menu to get the punters in. Today the restaurant's return to form has led to plans for expansion. Loic is still there, and now he's been promoted to Executive Chef he will oversee any new ventures. But can he continue to resist a return to French frills, and has he managed to pull off his own personal ambition, a Michelin star?
Gordon returns to Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack, an intimate forty-seater in Brighton where he oversaw one of the most spectacular changes of fortune at a single venue. Owner Charita Jones was producing a menu of irresistible unique classics from the Deep South, but at the same facing financial disaster. The punters were missing, and so was her business acumen, but Gordon succeeded in shutting her out of the kitchen, getting the chef back on the boil and putting the soul back into the business. Today, Charita is fully-booked round the clock and bursting out of the Soul Shack to take on the 110-seater Momma Cherri's Big House. But expansion brings a different set of challenges, and she's still struggling to control her staff and manage her success. Has she got what it takes to make the next step up, or will she be forced to rethink her grand plans?
When Gordon last visited The Fenwick Arms, Sunday service was booming and Gordon's brainchild, the 'Campaign for Real Gravy', was in full swing. But times have changed and new competition is threatening The Fenwick's success. The Highwayman, a new gastropub, has opened just up the road. It seems to have stolen over 50% of Brian's customers and a lot of his regulars. With landlord Brian's continual stress and interference in the kitchen, which Gordon believed was one of the main reasons for the pub's inefficiencies, and now the added pressure of new competition, it's no wonder the pub is in trouble. Gordon's not going to like what's happened in his absence.
When Gordon first visited La Parra de Burriana, an ex-pat restaurant in Nerja on Spain's Costa del Sol run by 26-year-old ex-nightclub manager Laurence, he was confronted with steaks cooked by torchlight, raw kebabs, and a dining room littered with dog mess. When he last left the restaurant, he had simplified the menu to have clean, simple, honest, traditional food using local produce, hoping to bring back the locals and win back the faith of the ex-pats, but unfortunately not. Since Gordon was last there, Laurence's menu has become hideously boring. The ex-pats seem to be their core diners, but the restaurant isn't developing itself to get the Spaniards in. It's time for Gordon to show Laurence what Spain is really about and teach him the traditions that he seems to have forgotten--Flamenco and Paella.
Gordon visits The Priory, a 100-seater carvery in Haywards Heath, Sussex owned by ex-IT consultant Scott. The former chapel of a 19th century convent, the restaurant is in a spectacularly beautiful location and offers bargain roast dinners from a carvery that's been running for twenty years. Scott bought the place for £300,000, but with an ageing clientele eating for half-price, he's losing £5,000 a week. And despite the heavenly location, the food is straight from hell: recycled meat, soup in a bucket, synthetic sauces and, worse still, a lazy head chef content to preside over food-encrusted ovens and a disaffected brigade.
Gordon visits is The Fish and Anchor, pub restaurant near Lampeter in rural West Wales, owned and run by ex-boxer Mike and his wife Caron. Mike, a self-taught cook, is a one-man pressure cooker in the kitchen as he struggles to accommodate a vast menu, while Caron's unique style of front-of-house management includes abusing the customers, and her husband, in equal measure. Every night they go twelve rounds with the local clientele who are fast deserting them to the tune of a £1,000 per week loss.
Gordon visits the Curry Lounge in Nottingham, the city with more restaurants per square mile than any other in Britain. This 110-seater Indian restaurant has been run since January by ex-sales director Raz who's new to the business - and it shows. Despite a £500,000 refurbishment, and décor like a Bollywood set, the honeymoon period's well and truly over. His once-healthy trade is evaporating and, at his current rate of loss, it's uncertain he'll make it past Christmas.
Gordon visits The Granary in rural Hampshire, an upmarket restaurant which, at 200 seats, is the biggest he's ever taken on. Originally opened by entrepreneur Nigel Nieddu as an up-market dining club 4 years ago, the restaurant was relaunched after a £2,000,000 refit, but it's still losing £4,000 a week. It promises classy modern British cuisine but, in reality, the fussy menu features food sourced from all over the world and the locals, disconcerted by its exclusive reputation, are staying far away. Head Chef Martin doubles as parole officer to his unruly teenage charges in the kitchen, while Nigel stubbornly struggles to contain the front-of-house chaos that he's created.
The venue is The Runaway Girl, a tapas bar-cum-nightclub in Sheffield city centre on the brink of collapse. The restaurant is losing money by the bucket-load and the two best friends who run it are at war with each other. The owner Justin Rowntree won't listen to reason, and his head chef and best friend Ritchie has had enough. To make matters worse the credit crunch has hit and there is fierce competition from corporate chains.
The Dovecote is a bistro in the heart of rural Devon run by a family at breaking point. The restaurant is on its last legs - they've run out of customers, money and hope. Enter Gordon, who on his first visit to the bistro is confronted with hideous wallpaper, vacuum packed lamb and a pig-headed head chef and owner who can't face up to his mistakes. Gordon has a torrid time putting them on the road to recovery, but come the autumn, they are sticking to his rules and business is looking brighter.