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Kitchen Nightmares (US)


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#1

trifle

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Posted Apr 6, 2007 @ 9:14 AM

I'm not sure when we get the UK version, but he just finished shooting the American edition of Kitchen Nightmares. Apparently he got food poisoning eating at one of the joints. And Hell's Kitchen is returning on June 4th.

Edited by trifle, Apr 6, 2007 @ 9:15 AM.

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#2

Circus Poodle

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Posted Apr 6, 2007 @ 5:34 PM

There's going to be an American version of Kitchen Nightmares? That's fantastic. We really like watching Gordon on Tv. Well, hubby doesn't like Hell's Kitchen - he finds it gimmicky. But he isn't into reality tv as I am.

I already miss F word. I hope they will do a third season. I just hope they don't have Gordon raise and slaughter a new animal breed each season. It's kind of icky.
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#3

floretbroccoli

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Posted May 18, 2007 @ 9:01 AM

So, the American version of Kitchen Nightmares is on the fall schedule. (Does it need its own thread?)

Much as I enjoy KN, I question having Ramsey teaching American restaurateurs how to achieve success. GR has not yet demonstrated that he KNOWS how to achieve success in the US. His new NYC restaurant has gotten very fair-to-middling reviews.

I also think his complete distaste for anything spicy hot will not serve him well here.
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#4

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Posted May 18, 2007 @ 10:40 AM

Plus, someone told me they ate in one of his places in England, and it was really bad - cold, bland, costly. Maybe when he cooks it's ok - he is a good cook and good chef. But when he's not around, his recipes in other hands just comes out blah.

Watching another of his shows, his meat dishes seem to go over best but his desserts were often strange - salt added, or citrus and cream together. The diners also complained at times of blandness, as you say.

I always like watching him, but I agree that Americans may not be much helped. If they listen at all!
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#5

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Posted May 18, 2007 @ 1:19 PM

Much as I enjoy KN, I question having Ramsey teaching American restaurateurs how to achieve success. GR has not yet demonstrated that he KNOWS how to achieve success in the US. His new NYC restaurant has gotten very fair-to-middling reviews.



But I suspect that has a LOT to do with his name and what people/critics expected out of this explosive, volatile chef. If you read any of the reviews of his NY restaurant, many of them reveal a certain bias before even tasting the food; a bias in that they spend the first couple of paragraphs talking about GR's reality shows and his temper. What does that have to do with the food? The writer of the New Yorker article said something that I thought was remarkably spot-on (my bolding):

... “I want to cook for serious diners, the kind you find in New York, or Los Angeles, or Paris.” (Gordon) Whether or not New York diners deserve such respect, they were finding it hard to separate their TV from their dinner. You could see the theme in titles of the first reviews: “ ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Star Gordon Ramsay’s New York Début Falls Short of Heavenly” (New York), “Ferocious Chef Ramsay Opens Pussycat NYC Eatery” (Bloomberg). Ruth Reichl, the editor of Gourmet, writing in a blog on the magazine’s Web site, expressed disappointment that the “guy who’s known as the foulest-mouthed chef in Britain” hadn’t done more “in the way of fireworks.” The cooking, described as flawless, did little to “wow you”—a complaint that would become a theme. (It was incomprehensible to Ramsay. “Is it because my menu descriptions are so plain?”) [snip] ...It’s not that Ramsay forgot to use an exotic Asian fruit with a Latin chili paste, or any number of possible salty-citrusy-fruity-hot-spicy combinations to assault the palate and tell it that it had something new in there. The gastro-pseudoscientific trend of the moment is built around improbable combinations and dissonant flavor statements. Ramsay is seeking not contrasts but harmonies. [snip]... These dishes are not inviting you to think about the person who made them: what matters is the food. In fact, the more I thought about the chef and what he makes, the more logic I found in the pathetic fallacy of the kitchen, after all. There is a relationship—it’s just not the obvious one. Ramsay, a person of inner strife, finds tranquillity on the plate.


Would his restaurant been so as scrutinized if it had been opened by John Smith? I suspect not to that pre-determined degree, so I think he can offer a lot of advice to American restaurant owners who won't have that kind of reputation in the culinary world to live up to.


Plus, someone told me they ate in one of his places in England, and it was really bad - cold, bland, costly.


I've never had the opportunity to eat at any of his places when I've been in England (mainly because some need 2 months reservations in advance), but I have had the chance to look at the menus and yeah, they are costly! At Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, a set lunch of three dishes is £40, which for a Canadian, is well over $100. Claridge's and maze are slightly cheaper, but they all hover around that £30 mark (about $70) for LUNCH. I guess I'm not one of those "serious diners" Gordon is looking for!
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#6

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Posted May 18, 2007 @ 10:23 PM

Other high-profile chefs have come to New York and had success here -- some almost from the beginning (Joel Robouchon, Thomas Keller), others after a few mis-steps (Alain Ducasse). Others, too, have not ever been able to figure out this market.

Until Ramsey shows that he gets the US enough to make a real success of his own place, I'll find it hard to accept him as the expert, advising others.

Edited by floretbroccoli, May 18, 2007 @ 10:38 PM.

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#7

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Posted May 19, 2007 @ 1:10 AM

But the best episodes of Kitchen Nightmares...... what he really does is teach these people how to properly run a business. Make the most of your staff, figure out how to maximize ingredient costs, try to find a way to bring the customers in during the slow times as well as the times people are out and need to eat and will wait for a half hour for a table at the Olive Garden.

Food or personality wise there may be a zillion reasons a place does not catch on in a town, maybe personality, fame or even the style of food.... but ya can't tell me Ramsey doesn't know how to run a place like a proper business.

I also hope that it will just get the masses in America to go and TRY the local places around them rather than just going to McD's, Olive Garden or Denny's.
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#8

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Posted May 19, 2007 @ 10:13 AM

The masses in America go to McD's, Olive Garden, and Denny's because it's cheap and you know exactly what you're getting no matter what coast you're on. If I'm going to spend $100 on a dinner, I want to know it's going to be excellent, because for me, that's a hell of a lot of money to put out for a meal for one person.
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#9

slyest romantic

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Posted May 19, 2007 @ 12:05 PM

Other high-profile chefs have come to New York and had success here -- some almost from the beginning (Joel Robouchon, Thomas Keller), others after a few mis-steps (Alain Ducasse). Others, too, have not ever been able to figure out this market.

Until Ramsey shows that he gets the US enough to make a real success of his own place, I'll find it hard to accept him as the expert, advising others.



Oh, I'm not saying if he wasn't Gordon Ramsay, he'd have a success. But what I am saying is, because he is so high-profile (and again, I'm obviously not the serious diner he's looking for, because other than Alain Ducasse, I have no idea who those other chefs are that you mentioned), there is an extra expectation. He certainly didn't blow into NY in the middle of the night, set up a restaurant, then unveil it to the surprise of the town. (So yes, a lot of that added expectation is brought on by himself.) And I think the Michelin star success automatically sets a standard for his restaurants across the board.

I don't think he's going to be going to high-end restaurants to tell them how to fix things; those restaurants won't be interested in his help because they'll probably have the same attitude, ie. "When you're a success here, call me." He's going to go to a lower bracket of restaurants where the clientele and money is going to be fairly different.


Food or personality wise there may be a zillion reasons a place does not catch on in a town, maybe personality, fame or even the style of food.... but ya can't tell me Ramsey doesn't know how to run a place like a proper business.


I absolutely agree with this, and this is what I find appealing about KN. It's not just about the food; in fact, the food is often simply the byproduct of everything else- lowering costs, buying fresh and local, changing the style of the dining room, finding a maitre'd who is in control, finding a chef who is creative but realistic, working on ideas that bring people in on the Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Some of these things are standard for every restaurant, but others are unique to each one, and that's why Ramsay works well with the owners; he seems to be able to identify what they need to be successful.


If I'm going to spend $100 on a dinner, I want to know it's going to be excellent, because for me, that's a hell of a lot of money to put out for a meal for one person.


It is a hell of a lot of money, but excellence is also subjective. For instance, he uses a lot of creams instead of spices. Some people might love that, but others might not. Doesn't take away from the genuine "excellence" of the plate.


The masses in America go to McD's, Olive Garden, and Denny's because it's cheap and you know exactly what you're getting no matter what coast you're on.


I broke up your quote because I was only going to respond to the last bit, but I re-read the above comment about three times, and each time, it make me think more and more.

I wouldn't consider myself a "foodie" by any stretch of the imagination, and my "signature dish" would probably be homemade chili. Yet there's something about the idea "you know exactly what you're getting no matter what coast you're on" that I find a bit depressing, really. Food that is bought and consumed not necessarily because it's good, but simply because there are no surprises when you order it. No, "what the hell is this??"... and yet, also no, "Wow, I've never had this before!" It's unfortunate there doesn't seem to be a popular middle ground between a $100 lunch at Ramsay's and a $20 plate at the Olive Garden.
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#10

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Posted May 21, 2007 @ 11:23 AM

It's unfortunate there doesn't seem to be a popular middle ground between a $100 lunch at Ramsay's and a $20 plate at the Olive Garden.


I agree. I'd be willing to risk a $20-$30 unfamiliar lunch at Ramsay's based on his name and reputation, it's just hard for me to justify paying a lot of money for that same name and reputation. But then, I live in the middle of Idaho where Red Lobster is considered the best resturant in town.
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#11

slyest romantic

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Posted May 21, 2007 @ 12:09 PM

But then, I live in the middle of Idaho where Red Lobster is considered the best resturant in town.


I hear ya! The Keg is considered fine dining around these parts.
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#12

shugafree

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Posted May 21, 2007 @ 1:16 PM

So, the American version of Kitchen Nightmares is on the fall schedule. (Does it need its own thread?)


When? Where?
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#13

floretbroccoli

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Posted May 21, 2007 @ 4:16 PM

Fox. Thursdays at 9. Right after "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"
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#14

LTG

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Posted May 21, 2007 @ 4:55 PM

But the best episodes of Kitchen Nightmares...... what he really does is teach these people how to properly run a business. Make the most of your staff, figure out how to maximize ingredient costs, try to find a way to bring the customers in during the slow times as well as the times people are out and need to eat and will wait for a half hour for a table at the Olive Garden.

I agree -- the best episode of KN was the soul food joint. Gordon obviously was not going to be teaching Mama or her cook how to make soul food. But he did help them figure out how to run the restaurant as a business, and how to package the food in a way that drew in crowds. He's not going to go into a Thai place and tell them to knock it off with the spices or cut the use of coconut milk in the curry -- but he might go in and help them figure out how to better run the dining room or help them see how fresh ingredients will improve the food.

#15

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Posted May 22, 2007 @ 7:11 AM

I'd wager that the vast majority of the lessons he teaches are transferable to the US. Such as, "Throw out those @#$!% moldy strawberries before you make someone sick!"
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#16

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Posted May 29, 2007 @ 7:08 AM

I also think his complete distaste for anything spicy hot will not serve him well here.


Is that true? On Channel 4 here in the UK (which shows Gordon's shows KN and The F Word), they have these between-show ident segments, where various people from the channel's shows (British stars like Gordon and Davina McCall alongside the stars of US shows screened on the channel, like Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives) are asked a particular question each time, like what's their earliest memory, or what's the best way to their heart, and it shows their answers. Anyway, on one of them it's about their favourite food, and Gordon's answer is ‘Indian’. That doesn't really sound like the answer of someone who doesn't like hot or spicy food.
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#17

khaavren

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Posted Jul 25, 2007 @ 2:53 PM

Here's an interesting link about the upcoming American version of KN.

Start spreading the news. The bad boy of British cuisine, Gordon Ramsay, is having trouble with those argumentative New Yorkers again, and this time it might take more than two raised fingers and a stream of expletives to shrug it off.

Papers have just been logged at the US district court in Manhattan, which accuse Ramsay of playing dirty on the new series of his reality TV show, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

(snip)

But the legal action launched yesterday goes further than that. It alleges that while he was shooting an episode in a Manhattan restaurant he faked sequences as part of the week's makeover to portray the eatery in a particularly bad light.


After reading the whole article, and knowing what we know about GRrrr, I doubt he actually had to do this. Probably sour grapes and shame when they realised how bad they'd look on national TV.

(I went back quite a few pages and didn't see this link, hopefully it hasn't been discussed already.)
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#18

Unsure

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Posted Jul 27, 2007 @ 7:36 AM

Loved the episode too - at first I thought Ramsay was overly harsh with the chef (it's heartbreaking to watch them break down in tears - I can imagine how awful it must feel to have your sense of pride in your food belittled), but he really did need a wake up call, considering how close to bankruptcy they were.

I loved seeing the contrast in the men's attitudes - Ramsay's never say die, in your face spirit, contrasted with the chef's living-in-the past state of denial. It really drives home the reason why GR is so successful. I want him as my life-coach! I can just hear him saying "get your lazy ass in gear, you donkey, you f**k, %$@!"

I don't know if anyone's seen this, but he was interviewed by tvguide about the US KN:

TV Guide: In Kitchen Nightmares, your fall Fox show that's based on the U.K. series, you whip failing restaurants into shape. What did you find?
Ramsay: I thought I found some sh--holes in Britain, but nothing will ever compare to the places I encountered in the States. I can't wait for the viewers to have access to what I encountered. What dumbfounded me was the way some of the chefs take advantage of the customers.


Can't wait!
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#19

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Posted Jul 27, 2007 @ 8:53 AM

Ramsay: I thought I found some sh--holes in Britain, but nothing will ever compare to the places I encountered in the States. I can't wait for the viewers to have access to what I encountered. What dumbfounded me was the way some of the chefs take advantage of the customers.


Very interesting. I guess it wouldn't surprise me to find US restaurants that weren't only incompetent but intentionally ripoffs. Can't wait to find out how.
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#20

Legion242

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Posted Aug 6, 2007 @ 11:01 AM

I do know that for the US version coming up, one can apply for him to come to one's restaurant. It is on the Fox website I think.
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#21

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Posted Aug 10, 2007 @ 12:41 AM

Like several other people in the thread, I caught this for the first time on Sunday during the marathon. I really loved it. It's so interesting to see how different people handle the same type of situation (business on the brink of failure). And I really liked Gordon Ramsey being toned down (although I like him on Hells Kitchen, too) and seriously helpful. I hope the American version is just as good and not all Foxified.
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#22

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Posted Aug 10, 2007 @ 10:14 AM

Its kind of nice to see somebody who admits he's failed, and wants to prevent others from going through the same.

Yeah, it is also a shame that the ones that seem to appreciate this, aren't the ones that should be listening. I can't believe, after opening a different, more successful restaurant (using Gordon's main advice), they still didn't see the error of their ways. I think Abstract is just an ego thing for the chef. Otherwise, why wouldn't you actually want customers?

I watched the repeat of Morgon's. I really can't get over the one daughter. Can you imagine being married to her. The freak out at the playground was bad enough, but then the not coming to work or answering the phone and then locking the door? Somebody needs A LOT of attention.

Thanks, AlwaysConfused. I really enjoyed that clip from the sitethatshallnotbenamed. He was too cute and funny.

I hope the American version is just as good and not all Foxified

This is my fear, as well. I don't mind the cheese on HK, because it is a competitive reality show. However, I hope the American version of KN really sticks closely to the UK version. I realize that most of the participants seem stubborn and don't take the criticism well, but usually, they eventually swallow their pride. I just don't want our version to turn into some kind Jerry Springer-esque "you don't know me" rant, followed by contestants telling Ramsay what a know-nothing asshole he is.
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#23

nannyogg

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Posted Aug 11, 2007 @ 7:56 AM

I just don't want our version to turn into some kind Jerry Springer-esque "you don't know me" rant, followed by contestants telling Ramsay what a know-nothing asshole he is.

I'd definitely worry about this. This is part of why I can't stand the US version of What Not to Wear. Just about everyone in the UK version eventually will try to do as suggested, even if they fight in the beginning. Off hand, I only remember one women who just flat out refused to change her hair and a different woman who went along with the make over during the show but only in the follow up was it revealed that she blatently went back to her old ways. Now I don't watch the US version at all anymore, because like I said I hate it, but when I did watch there were FAR too many American women willing to take the money up front and spend the rest of the episode acting like spoiled morons, ignoring absolutely all advice and being rude about it, buying crap clothing and flaunting it, etc. They come across as total money grabbing, fame-whores with no intention of going along with the show. So yeah, I can see this happening with KN in the US.

But then this last episode, with the restaurant in Inverness, was pretty bad along those lines. I mean normally people do act like lugheads but usually in the end they do follow SOME advice. In this show, I honestly have no idea why they were involved. Publicity? They clearly had no intention of listening to GR. The owner totally came across as a besotted sugar daddy who had no concern about all the money he was losing. I guess he has so much money it didn't matter to him. He wanted the status or something. And what did the chef care? It wasn't his money. Hilarious that the chef ended up leaving.

ETA I checked out some the links above (thanks!). The review in one spot says Loic was head chef but in another place it mentions watching Geoffrey Wosface do the cooking - at the chef's table. Hee! They did take Gordan's advice about adding that. Plus it seems the remodelling was done. In the site for the actual restaurant, the links for the chefs don't work well but it seems Geoffrey is head chef in Inverness for both Abstract and Contrast and Damian Wosface is head chef in Edinburgh. Also didn't the show say Loic's girlfriend was the one who wrote the menus, but then it seems he went back to France with a wife. I wonder if it was the same person?

Edited by nannyogg, Aug 11, 2007 @ 8:13 AM.

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#24

tellkyle

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Posted Aug 14, 2007 @ 2:18 PM

I've so far been unable to locate any clips of the Kitchen Nightmares promos that are airing on FOX. I've checked the usual places (FOX.com, youtube, google blog search) and come up empty, any chance you folks have seen them online somewhere?
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#25

jelodi

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Posted Aug 15, 2007 @ 7:39 AM

I always add salt to pasta water. Remember, when working with starches there's quite a bit of chemistry involved. Oil or salt will prevent the gnocchi from sticking. Gnocchi is really simple to make at home, and I would recommend it to everyone. Don't buy the crap in the stores.

I saw a preview for the Fox KN, and there was a burly New Yawk type threatening to put GR in the hospital. A buncha guys were holding the knuckle-dragger back and GR was getting behind a car.
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#26

ForeverWild

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Posted Aug 18, 2007 @ 4:08 PM

Having seen a brief mention of this today in a NY Times article about something else, I dug up this NY Daily News article from Aug. 6, 2007 about a lawsuit - ordered by the court into arbitration - against GR by the manager of a Manhattan restaurant, which had been filmed/taped for the US version of "Kitchen Nightmares." The complaint was that Ramsay had faked things for the camera.

This Aug. 10 UPI article makes it clearer that the court dismissed the lawsuit and ordered the matter into arbitration in accordance with the terms of the parties' contract.

In any case, the show will go on.
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#27

Fiddler1

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Posted Aug 20, 2007 @ 2:24 PM

The Fox site has a preview page up for the US Kitchen Nightmares, which starts next month. For those of us who have been worrying that it would be more of the "Hell's Kitchen" style Ramsay than the UK KN, there's a glimmer of hope. They say "the series reveals a whole new side to Ramsay. He’s still prone to the explosive outbursts and spectacular confrontations familiar to fans of “Hell’s Kitchen,” but he also shows his sensitive and nurturing side – a unique blend of fury, passion, inspirational leadership and tough love that can coax a small spark of talent into a roaring flame." I'm not holding my breath, but I feel a LITTLE better about it now.
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#28

Circus Poodle

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Posted Aug 20, 2007 @ 3:09 PM

We're looking forward to the "American KN" here. Hubby is less interested in watching the Hell's Kitchen type of Ramsay. He loves seeing the way GRrr spots everyone's strengths and weaknesses, though, on KN. It drives us both bats when the people won't listen to him - usually just the head chef and owner. 'Pride comes before a fall' indeed.

Loved seeing Momma Cherri again, but we looked at each other as soon as we saw her huge new place and said, "She bit off more than she can chew again". She must love a challenge.
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#29

Circus Poodle

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Posted Sep 9, 2007 @ 9:39 AM

Also note a vegetarian section with six options.


I was ready to praise GRrr for finally giving a tad of respect to vegetarians, but I can't find that section. Is it a page of its own? Which particular page was it on? Thanks.

skatemd, thanks again, and, I'm hungry for BBQ spaghetti now. Yum. (I doubt I can find any in Los Angeles, though!)

Anyone know when the American Kitchen Nightmares starts its season? It isn't showing up on TiVo yet.
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#30

Gale_Star

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Posted Sep 9, 2007 @ 10:02 AM

The American version premieres on 9/19 on FOX. My TiVo's showing it, but it's listed as "Kitchen Nightmares" as opposed to the BBC version listing, "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares."
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