Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA: Yanks Get A Grilling

February 11, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

3Gordon300RAMSAY’S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES USA: Friday 12th February, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME

Grumble-guts is back and this time he’s roaming the streets of Philadelphia like an angry bear looking for a fight. The offending establishment in this case is The Hot Potato Café, a spud-based dive run by three sisters and their niece Danielle.

The first thing you notice about the American version of the show is that everything is faster, louder and more bombastic.

The camera seems to be operated by someone who’s got ADHD, only holding shots for a millisecond and it’s underlined by a dun dun dun score which wouldn’t be out of place in the Hollywood action movie: Kitchen Nightmares directed by Tony Scott.

Perhaps that’s something that appeals to American audiences but it just gives me a headache.

There’s also this obsession with telling us what’s going to happen in the next part just before the ad break, as if we couldn’t just watch the programme and find out (a particular favourite: “You’ll never guess what Gordon does to make her cry? – Why’s that? Does he kick her puppy to death?)

It’s difficult to have any sympathy for the owners when Gordon predictably tears in to them – they have no idea how to run a restaurant. Offerings of bland potato soup, three-week-old potato skins with no potato in them and a greasy shepherd’s pie would embarrass a school cafeteria.

Worst of all, they seem to have no motivation, something which irks Ramsay so much that he apparently walks out (although it’s difficult not to see this as a staged event).

Eventually Ramsay bucks them up, redesigns their menu, gets a professional chef to mentor their chef Danielle (who’s about the only one there who has a brain in her head) and relaunches the restaurant to critical acclaim.

It’s full of the usual teary asides from its owners (both at being rubbish and eventually for being successful), gimmicky motivational grandstanding (there’s nothing like smashing some plates in a back alley to foster some team spirit) and uplifting Field Of Dreams style speeches (“I believe in you, now believe in yourself”).
It’s par for the course in other words.

Crap restaurant turned into viable business via the medium of shouting and tears: Done.