Series one includes four episodes. Bonapartes in Silsden, West Yorkshire was run by Sue, an owner new to the restaurant business. Her 21-year-old chef had never cooked an omelet before and his scallop dish literally made Ramsay ill. The Glass House in Ambleside had a very stressed-out owner and a head chef who held back the talents of his staff. The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, Wales had been a Michelin-starred restaurant under chef Franco Taruschio. When Ramsay arrived, there was no head chef, so the viewer got to watch as they interviewed and tried out prospects. The executive chef at Moore Place in Esher, Surrey relied too much on a deep fryer and microwaves. Ramsay introduced carving chickens tableside.
The DVD set also includes Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares – Revisited which followed up on all four restaurants and aired during Series Two. Much of the material is re-purposed from the original episodes with Ramsay returning a year or so later to check in. The DVD allows the option to jump straight to the new material. The most notable visits were The Glass House, because Ramsay took two talented chefs to work in a London restaurant of his, and Bonapartes, which then only had the pub open. Sue had talked to the London Evening Standard in a story that alleged the show faked how bad things were. In June 2006, Ramsay took the paper to court and won.
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is extremely engaging as is its star. The behind-the-scenes peek behind the restaurant doors is fascinating and eye-opening. It should be mandatory viewing for all who are considering going into the business.