Friday, November 02, 2007

ramsey back in brighton

I'm a big fan of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares; the sweary scot is fantastically good entertainment but more important by far is that when he puts his time and energy into helping ailing businesses he does so with generosity and enthusiasm, even if it's all obscured beneath a fizzing layer of invective.

The first episode of his new series aired this week, and found him back in Brighton, which has provided him with rich televisual pickings in the past, having done his bit in helping transform the South Lanes' Momma Cherie's into a workable business. This time he was in the heart of Kemptown, helping out former actor Allan Love's fast-sinking fish restaurant, which was beautifully placed and yet run with a kind of keen stupidity which would have you tearing out your hair if you knew the man - not least because he swiftly revealed himself to be a man incapable of taking criticism or advice. Which makes you wonder why on earth he had volunteered to take on Ramsey.

I rather suspect that watching reality TV is a bit like watching The Weakest Link; the second you tune in you instinctively know all the answers. Real-life is a lot more complicated, of course, and the likes of Allan Love never seem to understand the kind of things which you just know Ramsey is going to say, which can be broadly summarised thus:

- Use local produce if you can.
- If it's not local, at least make sure it's fresh
- Simplify your menu and keep the prices down
- Redecorate so that the place looks either dead modern or dead old-fashioned.
- Stop serving stale and possibly life-threatening molluscs.

Oh, and to that you could probably append:

- If your chefs are arrogant, lazy, care-free good-for-nothings, sack 'em.

But a consequence of Ramsey's charisma, however, is that he can swiftly remedy the above ills and rescue dismal restaurants without even having to dispense with (too many) employees. He turns the most sullen or saturnine of staff into compliant kittens. And even when the proprietor is as maddening as Love, who spent most of this week's episode ordering Ramsey off the premises, it's genuinely touching when things start to work out.

Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares is a good advert for reality TV; engaging, transformative and dead amusing - nine times out of ten by the time he leaves the restaurants he tackles you end up thinking 'I'd like to eat there'. Unfortunately there remain many joyless eateries in this country; you almost wish he'd give up the rest of his commitments and go full-time.


Gordon Ramsay Fan said...

All of the Kitchen Nightmare episodes US version have been uploaded to this site incase you haven't seen it.

Dan said...

I watched and enjoyed it too. No doubt everyone who is anyone will descend on that restaruant for the next few weeks as it basks in 'Ramsey effect'.

Its worth noting however that according to many sources Mama Cherries has slipped back to its old ways. It does'nt cound like a nice place to eat now and the food often seems indifferent.

It could be fun to repeat the formulae for Pubs. I could present it (any one from Channel 4 reading?). Turn all the gastro pubs into more human and less poncey eateries and make rough pubs a little more nicer to have a pint in. More real ale, less TVs more character etc..