Before he tried to follow Anthony Bourdain's footsteps, the whole world knew Gordon Ramsay as the angriest chef ever. His outbursts and breakdowns are often the subjects of countless memes and pop culture references. As a result, the word "raw" now has a new connotation when it comes to cooking, thanks to his show Hell's Kitchen. Still, Ramsay's influence doesn't end there.
His other popular show, Kitchen Nightmares, also features Gordon Ramsay in his natural habitat: stressful restaurants. This time around, Gordon tries to fix whole restaurants' problems instead of just kitchens. The result was one of the most entertaining reality TV shows... though the whole thing probably gave him around half of all his forehead wrinkles. To save you the trouble and the stress Ramsay experienced with the show, here are the most watchable episodes of Kitchen Nightmares.
10 SPIN A YARN
What initially started off as the American Dream for a California couple quickly descended into, well, a kitchen nightmare (oooh) after both of them began running the restaurant down. Their restaurant is a steakhouse (supposedly) called Spin A Yarn where husband and wife (mis)manage the establishment.
It's a fine example of why we like Kitchen Nightmare so much; the owner couple usually blames their restaurant for their dying marriage when the restaurant was simply impending the nail in the coffin. Thankfully, it wasn't anything Ramsay couldn't handle. Spin A Yarn still stands today and has a favorable reputation.
9 THE FENWICK ARMS
What we have here in "The Fenwick Arms" episode is a curious case of restaurant owners not knowing what pub food is supposed to be like and Ramsay threatening to smash something over their head if they don't straighten up. Even so, there's a lot fewer tears and drama involved since this one belongs to Kitchen Nightmares UK from BBC, meaning it's one of the old classics.
The owner himself is the one who cooks the food and decides everything else. This proved to be the pub's undoing; he kept trying to incorporate fine dining elements into an English pub along with some fancy food. If you want to see the dead-est and most ostentatious pub in the UK, give this episode a try.
8 PICCOLO TEATRO
"Piccolo Teatro" is another episode in the BBC segment of Kitchen Nightmares and this time around, Ramsay takes a trip to Paris, France. One would think that a restaurant situated in the capital of the culinary world would be no slouch, but Piccolo Teatro is different... in a bad way. For one, it's a vegetarian restaurant in a place where people are dominantly meat-eaters.
Moreover, the chef who was a little too eccentric for optimal operation in a busy kitchen. It was so bad that Ramsay had to carry the crazy French chef out. Go watch it if you want pure unforced and unintended comedy out of a Kitchen Nightmares episode.
Now we're back again in the US, specifically in New York. Dillons is the name of the restaurant and it serves Indian and British food-- which is an odd combination since the two don't go together well, just ask Gandhi. Anyway, it's one of the first few episodes of Kitchen Nightmares (the US version) where Ramsay was bombarded with a multitude of problems.
The restaurant was downright dirty-- infested even; half the food they were cooking was rotten; there is a language barrier among the staff; finally, they had three managers-- all of whom disagree with each other. It's one of the episodes where Ramsay just had to sit down and continually rub his eyes to relieve stress.
It's about time we get a troubled pizzeria episode in this list, and Sebastian's is the one. It's a restaurant situated in California again and is ruled... sorry, run by the most tyrannical pizzeria boss ever. His staff even admitted to the abrasive behavior and the infantile tantrums of Sebastian himself, the owner.
The main problem was the food and the menu. Sebastian was proud to have designed the whole offering by himself, which was disastrous. The menu was so confusing and overwhelming, customers even needed a walkthrough for it. Coupled with the fact that it's a pizzeria with a delusional and spoiled owner, it was a recipe for disaster.
5 MILL'S BISTRO PART 1 & 2
If you thought Sebastian was the worst restaurant owner by far, then you haven't met Joe, owner of Mill Street Bistro in Ohio. He throws out anyone who disagrees with him in his own restaurant... including Gordon Ramsay. It's an operation so dysfunctional, Kitchen Nightmares needed two episodes to include all the viewable drama going on within Mill Street Bistro.
Delusions of grandeur probably aren't even enough to describe Joe in a nutshell. It's the most pretentious fine dining restaurant to be covered in Kitchen Nightmares. It's a similar situation to that English pub/fine dining restaurant back in the UK but 10 times worse since they lie about the food freshness. Check it out if you want Ramsay to rage at the biggest ego there is in Kitchen Nightmares.
4 MOMMA CHERRI'S SOUL FOOD SHACK
Have you ever wanted to see Gordon Ramsay actually love the meat he was served at a restaurant? Such a rare occurrence happened not during a blue moon in the middle of an equinox but in the "Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack" episode. It's arguably the best episode in the UK/BBC run of Kitchen Nightmares.
Surprisingly, there was nothing wrong with the food in Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack; all they needed was a little push and promotion, as well as more efficient management to turn things around. The star of the episode, however, remains Momma Cherri herself and her enthusiasm with soul food and cooking.
3 BURGER KITCHEN: PART 1 & 2
Here we have another classic tale of a married couple in full dispute with the restaurant's staff and chef as well as their son who's also part of the restaurant. The conflict even got so bad, both the head chef and the married restaurant owners had to battle it out for Ramsay's favor. It's one of the most tragic family troubles in Kitchen Nightmares that it also required two episodes.
Burger Kitchen is a prime example of the cons of having a family-owned business. The staff was always fighting with the family owners and everything was on the verge of collapse. Even Ramsay couldn't save it and it got permanently closed.
Oceana from New Orleans is apparently in a good spot right now and they probably have Ramsay to partly thank for that. Back when it was struggling, however, it made for one of the most intense Kitchen Nightmares episodes ever but one of the funniest at the same time.
This was thanks to the two owners of the Oceana, brothers Rami and Moe. For those of you who are "fans" of the reality TV show, this one's the "busy idiot" episode; it's where the American brothers thought Ramsay didn't speak English because he was British (d'oh!). Oh, and their food was also awful back then.
1 AMY'S BAKING COMPANY
Sometimes there are restaurants so stubbornly terrible that even an iron-willed Gordon Ramsay couldn't change it. If Ramsay was the raging hurricane, then Amy's Baking Company in Arizona was the mulish mountain. It features two of the most delusional married couple bar none to own a restaurant that they annoyed Gordon until he gave up.
Strangely enough, their intention for giving Ramsay a call was for him to tell the world that their food was good (even if it wasn't), not because they wanted Ramsay to fix their establishment. It's the only restaurant on Earth whose owners have threatened both Ramsay and the customers. Even Dr. Phil had to chime in on the couple's problems. Despite all the, uh, efforts, Amy's Baking Company is now permanently closed and the people of Scottsdale, Arizona are now safe and sound.