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5 of the Most Difficult Owners on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares UK Edition

Updated on November 8, 2019
Jan Michael Ong profile image

I like writing about food, sports, personal finance, the stock market, reality TV, cartoons, comics, collectible card games and video games.

Rachel McNally (Piccolo Teatro)

The French are a meat-eating nation so having a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Paris is not exactly the best proposition.

Rachel was a Scot who used to be a waitress for Piccolo. She decided to buy it from its original owner and used her father's money to do it. She employed her best friend Stephanie as a waitress and a Brazilian chef in Daniel. They also have Fiona as a part time chef.

Perhaps because she did not earn the money used to purchase the restaurant, Rachel did not run it properly.Daniel was slow in putting out food and did not do preparations for service. It took him forever to prepare two garden salads. He also had a very filthy kitchen which was a health hazard. The restaurant was not even open for lunch. Rachel told Gordon that they tried doing that before but it was not worth the effort.

Gordon decides that change is needed. Gordon gets fed up with Daniel's poor attitude and decides to boot him out himself. He also reminds Rachel that she needs to work hard in her own business.

Gordon waits for Rachel and Stephanie and they aren't around yet so Gordon decides to run the restaurant by himself. He does soup and a roll. He makes a special tomato soup and cheese on toast. After cooking, he works hard getting clients to the restaurant. He then also serves food to the guests and collects the payment. He comments that he does not even worked that hard in his own restaurant. Gordon earned 450 euros at 6 euros per order plus tips. Rachel was surprised at how much Gordon was able to generate on his own.

Gordon wanted to prove a point that the reason that Piccolo Teatro was not successful was due to Rachel's laziness.
Rachel's father Brian was a successful restauranteur and wanted to help out Rachel. He has given word that he was arriving to give Rachel a helping hand and he was bringing along a chef.

Rachel's dad Brian talks to Gordon and admits that Rachel's weakness is running a business and that she needs to put more effort to making Piccolo a success.

Rachel's dad James came and brought India with him. India was a talented young English chef. With India on board, Gordon saw a glimmer of hope that Piccolo Teatro would turn around.

Alas, you cannot make a leopard change its spots. Gordon comes back to the restaurant after a few months and finds it had shuttered its doors. Gordon then talks to India and Brian and finds out that Rachel has not kept her end of the bargain.Rachel arrives to Gordon and Brian's meeting 40 minutes late. Gordon reprimands Rachel for her laziness and irresponsibility and Rachel walks out.

Scott Aitchison (The Priory)

The Priory is located in a beautiful building that used to be a convent. Despite the
pristine location, the restaurant is not making any money.

The clientele are mostly older folk who are just taking advantage of the restaurant's Groupon-style 50% off coupons. Feeding two people at 10 quid. It's no wonder The Priory is losing money. Promotions are intended to be done in a short period of time normally not be for the done for the life of the restaurant.When the cost of eating out becomes cheaper than making a home cooked meal, it means that that restaurant is not making money.

Understandably due to the low pricing, The Priory serves substandard food. The beef and turkey were bone dry. The Yorkshire pudding was soggy. The stuffing was as hard as concrete. The roast potatoes were overdone.

Gordon decides that the best way for The Priory to survive is for it to be converted to a grill. The carvery is an old concept that is dying out. The restaurant needs to appeal to a much younger and more vibrant crowd.

Gordon knew that Scott was a proud and stubborn man. He doubted that Scott would stick to the changes he implemented.

Before leaving, Gordon did not have high hopes for the restaurant as he did not believe in Scott's capabilities. Gordon was proven right. When he came back, the restaurant reverted back to its old concept and discarded Gordon's "grill" concept.

The Priory closed for good a little more than a year after Gordon visited them. Scott would later blame Gordon for the failures of his business when it was his choice to go against Gordon's advice and stick to a dying concept in a carvery.

Brian Rey (The Fenwick Arms)

Brian is one of the the most stubborn owners in the history of the entire run of Hell's Kitchen UK.Brian was a stubborn man who was set in his ways and was not open to change.

Brian already had a triple bypass and yet worked long hours everyday. He also does not know how to delegate. He tries too hard to do everything by himself and does not give the chance for others to chip in.

He had illusions of grandeur that his humble country pub is a high end restaurant. He tries to make his menu complicated and pretentious.

Brian is kind of a hoarder and has all manner of kitchen equipment. This made the kitchen cluttered and hard to maneuver in.Brian also had an obsession for plates. The restaurant was full of them.

Brian was not a good cook and was trying to wing it. Gordon then decides to kick him out of the kitchen and install a proper chef. He banishes Brian to the front of the house. Brian is a proud and stubborn man so this proves to be a challenge for Gordon.

At the relaunch, things seem to go better. The food is good, the guests are happy and Brian is tasked to sell his plates online.

When Gordon went back after a few months, he sees Brian back in the kitchen and the plates that were supposed to be sold, reemerged. Stubborn old Brian will not be denied.

Sue Ray (Bonaparte's)

Sue Ray owned Bonapartes, a restaurant and bar. The kitchen was run by Tim Gray, an ambitious chef who had aspirations to be the next Gordon Ramsay. As much as Tim was ambitious, he lacked the organization and standards to be a proper chef. He had a filthy kitchen with food that was no longer fresh and fit for human consumption.

Sue cares not for the restaurant as it is losing her money. She focused efforts on the bar that is making money. The restaurant is basically left to Tim's devices.

Gordon tries to test Tim and see what he is made of. Tim cooks a scallop dish using rancid scallops. Gordon gets food poisoned because of this.

Gordon gives Tim another chance and asks him to cook a 3 course meal. Tim once again fails as his dishes as they are burnt.

To add to this, Tim is not know for delivering food at a fast pace.

The relaunch was somewhat a success but Tim's slow service time is still apparent. Gordon returns to the restaurant and sees that nothing has changed. Tim continues to manage the kitchen and already has 2 written warnings. The kitchen is once again filthy and had food not fir for human consumption.

Instead of being thankful for Gordon making an effort to save her restaurant, Sue wanted to sue Gordon instead.

Sue even made accusations that the show ruined her business and her life. She blamed her unfair portrayal in the show for the closure of her restaurant. Sue eventually ended up bankrupt. Her restaurant closed and she was left homeless.

As much as Gordon wanted to help out Bonaparte's, the owner and staff did not have it in them to help themselves. If you made a fool out of yourself on national television due to your behavior or business practices, stop playing the victim and stop blaming Gordon.

Nick Anderson (Rococo)

Unlike most of the chefs featured in the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares, Nick Anderson was actually a Michelin star caliber chef. He was no muppet pretending to be the next Gordon Ramsay.

The problem is that Nick was stuck in the past when he was a chef of a fine dining restaurant. He spent too much time making his food look good instead of just focusing on making it taste good.

While the food looked good because of the amount of time spent to decorate it, service was so slow. Nick had forgotten that the purpose of cooking is to feed the guests not to make the dishes look like works of art.

Nick did not use fresh local ingredients. He used expensive ingredients and used unnecessary ones such as miniature vegetables. He was stuck to the past when business was better and he was more successful.

Gordon tried to convince Nick to revamp the menu into something that is affordable, fresh and delicious. Nick was full of excuses such as the inability so secure fresh seafood from the fishmongers. Gordon then accompanies Nick to the waterfront in order to prove to him that he can easily source fresh local produce and ingredients. Gordon and Nick even sample some fresh shrimps from the local fishmongers..

Gordon wanted Nick to use cheaper quality ingredients so he can lower the price of his food. Charging London prices for his location is ludicrous.

Nick was a tough nut to crack and was stuck in the past when he was the chef of the Crown Hotel. Gordon and Nick stake out at the outside premises of the hotel and Gordon tells Nick that he had a similar experience in a restaurant called Aubergine.Gordon tells Nick to move on just as he has.

It took Gordon the entire episode to convince Nick to change his ways.

Nick then listens to Gordon and revamps the menu and changes the name to Maggie's in order to sound more casual.

Difficult Owners

Which owner was the most difficult?

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© 2018 Jan Michael Ong


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    Post Comment
    • Jan Michael Ong profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Michael Ong 

      19 months ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      Well Marlene its a sad fact. Humans do not like change. The restaurant owners who get picked for the show do not realize how lucky they are. There are thousands of struggling restaurants and they are fortunate to get the free advertising, the capital infusion and the consultation from one of the world's greatest chefs.

      It is absolute insanity for someone to go back to a system that is proven not to work.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      19 months ago from USA

      These reality shows are very entertaining, but underlying that entertainment is the lesson these business people could learn by following a professional's advice. Instead, they fight against good decisions and try to sue or what's worse, they become violent. I have not watched television in almost two years, but Gordon Ramsay's show is one of the shows I use to watch. Thank you for sharing the fun facts and bringing back some exciting moments.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      19 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have not watched these episodes but they are learning experiences in running a business. Unless you dedicate fully your time and energy, your business will fail.


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