Last Night’s TV & Why I LOVE Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

secret_garden-gordon and michel
If Gordon Ramsay’s on a show, I’ll watch it. I’d watch the man if he posed as the test card for that matter, but it’s not just because he’s a total babe who gets all macho all over the shop and makes me go weak at the knees, it’s also because he actually really does turn businesses around.

One of the things that drives me nuts though – despite the fact that it makes for great watching – is that so many of the restaurateurs who call him in to save their businesses take absolutely no notice of what he says and/or have a pop at him! This was the case in last night’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares USA: The Secret Garden, and it was epic!

Another example of a restaurant owner who called Gordon in then ignored him was Lawrence, whose Costal Del Sol eatery, La Parra – on Burriana beach in Nerja – was failing dismally before Gordon’s intervention. That was one of my favourite episodes because I’ve been there, albeit after Gordon’s visit and when Lawrence had reverted to his old pre-Gordon ways and failed, only to return to the UK. The restaurant reverted to its previous Spanish owners and is now doing as well as any restaurant in that area.

You can see the entire show – and the follow-up show – on YouTube. Here’s a clip from part one of Gordon’s La Parra rescue…

But as arrogant as Lawrence was at La Parra, in last night’s show – which was another of my all time favourite Kitchen Nightmares – Gordon met with one of THE most egotistical, pig headed restaurateurs in the world, and it was fantastic viewing!

the-secret_garden-chef michel

Gordon was faced with Michel, owner of The Secret Garden in Moorpark, California. Michel’s a ‘feisty’ Frenchman who, despite his restaurant’s freefall toward bankruptcy, was convinced that he’s one of the world’s best chefs and had a great business.

He was soon to be disabused of this idea when Gordon arrived and found a dirty kitchen, an awful menu and a distinct lack of customers. Yet despite all that, Michel was immediately on the defensive and wouldn’t listen to a word Gordon had to say.

With its’mature’ clientele, The Secret Garden was described as “a paradise for grannies” and there wasn’t enough money coming in to pay the bills so, week on week, Michel’s $320,000 debt was mounting.

When Gordon first arrived, he was all geared up to sort the restaurant out but he turned up to find the doors locked and nobody in sight! However, when he finally find the door to get in, what he found was “flouncy, dated décor” and a menu that was singularly uninspiring. He also found the kitchen was singularly filthy! The worst thing he found was potentially poisonous mould which could’ve killed what few punters The Secret Garden had.

And it got worse yet when on a Saturday, one of the restaurants busiest nights, customers were made to wait hours for food – which eventually ran out – the waitresses were in tears and everyone was in a panic as Michel lost his temper with them all. All the time, Gordon watched on with horror on his face as the evening disintegrated into utter chaos… but wait, it got even worse!

secret_garden_gordon's new menu

Once Gordon’s team had done a big clean and refurbished the restaurant and the menu, Michel, predictably, didn’t like any of it and claimed that the modern look and new menu would put off his fossilised customers.

And on relaunch night, with a food critic and a mass of customers in the dining room, things were looking good until the food critic complained the food was too heavily seasoned. So Michel changed the menu from Gordon’s to his own. He felt the food critic’s complaint of over-seasoned food was Gordon’s fault, not his, even though he had in fact been the person adding the seasoning…

He’d by now pushed Gordon just about as far as anyone ever has and he felt his wrath, in spades!

secret_garden-gordon and michel

The pair went head to head in a battle of wills, and it nearly came to a punch-up. Gordon accused Michel of working like a pig and a really lot of F words were bandied about as Michel told Gordon to get out of his kitchen. Yikes. By now, I was on the edge of my seat expecting Gordon’s head to explode or Michel to stab him to death…

Here’s the moment that Gordon nearly lost it… and don’t worry if you’re a minor or easily offended; the F’s are bleeped out, so there’s a very lot of bleeps.

Outside, Gordon tried to calm down and after a walk, he went back and took control of the kitchen and the staff. So then, once the rest of the evening had been a total success and with the till full, Michel and Gordon sat down and talked and Michel admitted he was wrong in his attitude, mind you, it looked like it nearly choked him.

So, Gordon had tamed the beast and it seemed the restaurant was going to go forward and survive.

He could tame my beast any old time; I’d F word him to within an inch of his life.

What’ve been your favourite Gordon moments?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.