The show Kitchen Nightmares (the USA version) spans over 7 seasons. It started in 2007 and ended in 2014. The premise of the show is simple, but highly entertaining: Gordon Ramsay, the famous British chef, goes to different struggling restaurants or bistros in hopes of helping the business by remodelling the place and possibly changing staff, menus, recipes and mindsets. As such, here are some of my top episodes to watch as soon as possible.
1. The Capri – Season 4, episode 9
Found in Eagle Rock, California, The Capri is owned by identical twins Jim and Jeff. The episode is overall rather bizarre and that’s not the fault of Gordon or any of the crew members. The twins are just weird – they are both grown men that behave like children and have anger issues. If they are not getting angry or upset, they start crying. Obviously, this translates to a horrible restaurant that is just disgusting.
The kitchen has a host of problems – the most pressing being bad hygiene and decomposing produce that isn’t being tossed out (and they even use some bad chicken!). The food is subpar and also disgusting. In the beginning of the episode they become upset because they have to clean their own restaurant.
2. The Prohibition Grille – Season 6, episode 14
Found in Everett, Washington, The Prohibition Grille is owned by former belly dancer Rishi Brown. The owner is completely clueless and has no idea how to run a business. She is strangely attached to the chef, who is the main reason for the failing business. He is disinterested and his dishes are awful. As such, customers don’t return. Another factor is Rishi herself – she does random belly dancing numbers for the customers, which isn’t received well. She struggles to take control of the situation and fire the chef. It’s certainly a different episode of Kitchen Nightmares.
3. Blackberry’s – Season 5, episode 1
Found in New Jersey, Blackberry’s is owned by Shelley. Right from the get-go, Gordon is greeted by a dead mouse lying by the door in the entrance. He picks it up and confronts the staff with it. They are in denial of the state of the restaurant, so the staff accuses Gordon of planting the mouse. This is only one of the many issues at Blackberry’s. The food is bland, dry and a far cry from the promised soul food.
The décor is unappealing and gives the impression of kitsch. The episode is quite frustrating because of the owner’s inability to take responsibility. She behaves more like a dictator than a restaurant owner. As such, this is a prime example of a Kitchen Nightmares episode.
4. Yanni’s – Season 6, episode 10
Found in Seattle, Yanni’s, a Greek restaurant, is owned by Peter. The food at Yanni’s is greasy, oily and unappetizing. There are weird food combinations on the menu, such as pumpkin and humus. The menu itself is gigantic and the small kitchen has no way to deal with that. The whole family is involved in the business, so that would be Peter, his wife and his two daughters. His wife works as a server, as does one of his daughters. The other daughter is in the kitchen, together with Peter.
The family is dysfunctional and Peter has severe anger issues. The freezer and refrigerators are filled with old, mouldy food, stacked next to presumably good food. Truly a Kitchen Nightmares experience!
5. Mama Maria’s – Season 6, episode 3
Found in Brooklyn, New York, Mama Maria’s is owned by John, completely overwhelmed. The place is not being cleaned properly and there is a strange smell coming from a corner. The food is just bad and the general manager is giving Gordon attitude. There is a scary incident at the beginning of the episode. A customer is given lobster tail that’s gone bad and he is taken to the hospital. Everybody in the restaurant is told to leave. John, struggling to provide for his family, seems to confine himself in the pizza area, without checking on the kitchen. The Kitchen Nightmares crew is here to help.