Friday, November 02, 2007

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

Lately I've started watching Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares which recently began its first season in the U.S. after 4 seasons (and now currently a 5th) in the UK. My previous knowledge of Ramsay was watching a few episodes of Hell's Kitchen which I found pretty awful in concept and even more so in its execution and left me with the mistaken impression that Gordon Ramsay was nothing more than a foul-mouthed stereotypical Nazi chef.

However, after watching some episodes of Kitchen Nightmares (if you can get a hold of the British version, it is significantly better produced) I've come to quite like the guy. Though there is no doubt he is foul-mouthed and can be quite harsh on some people, you can see that he only really wants people to succeed and if that requires some harsh objective advice, he is more than capable of giving it.

It's also clear from the show just how talented he is, not only as a cook but as a restaurateur businessman. He seems very good at identifying exactly what needs to be done at the restaurant to increase their cash flow whether that be simplifying the menu, using fresher ingredients, replacing the head chef, reorganizing the waitstaff or a complete reconcepting of the restaurant.

It's an intriguing show because there's no guarantee of what the end will be. Ramsay will give some solid advice to the failing restaurant and try to convince and motivate them to make said changes, but in the end it is up to them whether they will pull themselves together and right the ship or continue to make the same mistakes and lose everything. The choice seems easy from a passive audience's standpoint, but it's hard to imagine just how difficult it would be to put so much of yourself on the line in terms of money, dreams, reputation and effort and then to accept blame for the failures and change.

As tough as the show makes the industry appear, it does rekindle the excitement of running a restaurant.

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