Kitchen Nightmares no longer nightmarish
Occasionally I still have nightmares. When they happen, I am very eager to wake up. One nightmare was about a horror film that was so horrible that I shut it off during the opening credits.
And then there’s the Gordon Ramsay show Kitchen Nightmares.
I loved it at first, but lately…meh. It seems like it is far too formula driven. Here’s how it breaks down:
1) Restaurant with either glorious past or with idealistic neophyte owners gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and teeters on the verge of closing forever and going the way of New Coke and Vanilla Ice’s street cred.
2) Restaurant owners ask Chef Ramsay for help, knowing he’s a talented-but-foul mouthed Scottish-born British chef who’s more brutally honest than Simon Cowell on truth serum.
3) Chef Ramsay comes in and introduces himself, allowing the restaurant owners a week (or about five minutes of the show) to get acclimated to his U.K. accent.
4) Ramsay samples particular items on the menu and, to nobody’s surprise, hates them all. If he vomits or doesn’t bother eating the food, that’s even worse. If he dies from food poisoning, his ghost tells the restaurant owners to change careers and become bail bondsmen. Naturally, the owners insist the food is excellent and believe Ramsay doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s perhaps the same type of denial women had back in the Sixties and Seventies whenever it was suggested that Liberace was gay.
5) The meal service bombs, and Ramsay’s inspection of their food storage area finds rotted food, improperly-stored food and enough health code violations to close the restaurant down immediately.
6) Lots of crying and finger pointing.
7) The restaurant opens with new decor and a new menu and the owners slowly get into a new groove.
I love food shows, but it just seems lately a continual retread. Maybe they’ll find a way to liven it up. Perhaps a murdered body is found in the freezer. Or perhaps the restaurant’s financial failures are revealed to be due to it being a money laundering operation. Or maybe we’ll learn that Chef Gordon Ramsay isn’t really Scottish or from the U.K. but is really from Wedowee, Alabama (a town that made headlines in the 1990s when the school principal threatened to cancel the prom if any interracial couples tried to go).
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