Gordon Ramsay: just say his name out loud in any restaurant and it’s like yelling “fire” in a movie theater; widespread panic ensues and even the most confident chef will second guess himself.
Of his many triumphs, his television show Kitchen Nightmares is a roller coaster of a drama; its colorful dialog is so thrilling and dynamic that viewers are riveted to their seats and wanting another serving of Gordon’s brand of therapy.
I recently had a great opportunity to speak with Gordon during a conference call with TV writers to discuss the upcoming season of his hit FOX television series, Kitchen Nightmares, premiering Friday, September 23. During the interview, I found that unlike his well-known TV persona, Gordon is quite gracious, eloquent and lighthearted, a true gentleman.
During the conference call Gordon discussed why the show is so successful and how he makes it possible for failing restaurants become great again. I asked him if he ever gets tired of the talk-back, denial, and lack of interest that some restaurateurs have shown when he offers to assist in their re–imaging.
Gordon said with a direct tone that he often gets tired of giving second chances. When someone takes the generosity of Gordon’s expertise and shoves it back in his face, he wants to turn around and walk away, but he also understands that people often fear change; not having total control often makes it hard to accept help. He also feels that the current economy does not help. With everyone struggling so much, he feels he must step in to lend a hand.
Gordon noted that restaurateurs need to be flexible. “Restaurants have to change with the times or they can become stagnant. There is a natural evolution of thinking that must take place, and it is possible to be traditional in menu and flavors and still be on the cutting edge and move with the times.”
The master chef always stands by his choices and never second guesses himself, but in the first episode of the new season, he wonders if there is any way to help the restaurant at all. Before he even walks through door, he is met by a mouse! Not too promising!
Blackberry’s in New Jersey, a soul food-inspired restaurant with some potentially devastating issues. The owner is afraid of change and is at many times defiant to suggestion; the restaurant has not used fresh ingredients in ages and it shows in the food. Blackberry’s is not working to its full potential and Gordon must get them on track A-S-A-P or it’s C-L-O-S-E-D.
Gordon is good at spotting talent, and has found some individuals this season that are more than they seem. One young man working in a Greek restaurant went unnoticed for his talents (even by his father) until Chef Ramsay finds him. Gordon puts him at task, and finds a potentially great chef in him. This year he looks to find restaurants that are struggling to survive in the present economic state, and bring them stability.
I asked Gordon if we will see similar things as we did last season, or will he drive in new and dramatic scenarios, maybe more of the behind the scenes and kitchen action than before. Chef Ramsay said that in the past there had been a lot left on the cutting room floor, but this season there will be more on community response and the drama of dealing with closed minds. Gordon related there will be more kitchen action and dialog between him and the people involved in each episode; some of the featured restaurants will have complete overhauls; some will need TNT more than TLC.