Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares makeovers have varied effects

FOX’s Kitchen Nightmares has quickly become the one new fall reality series that I look forward to each week. That’s despite the fact that its manipulative editing has become beyond absurd; on last week’s episode, filmed at Campania in New Jersey, the editors added fake police siren audio to footage of a cop car driving by on patrol to pretend that the cops had to intervene in a dispute between customers.

Later, the obnoxious voice-over ass–why the hell couldn’t FOX just stick with the BBC format and let Gordon Ramsay narrate?–talked about how the restaurant improved in the days following the relaunch, and then said that Gordon called the staff together again after those few days passed. But when they gathered in the kitchen, they were all wearing the same clothes they were wearing during the relaunch, and stood in the same circle in the kitchen they’d just stood in for their relaunch night meeting. How dumb do the show’s producers think we are?

The show remains entertaining because it’s clear that despite that stupid editing, there’s a genuinely interesting and real story in each episode. Tragically, FOX has decided that its viewers are fucking idiots who won’t watch unless they artificially jack up the drama.

Since we can’t trust the show to tell us what really happens to the restaurants later (although the credits following the episode for Lela’s, in California, revealed that it closed a few months after filming), what did happen to Campania and other restaurants profiled on the show?

Campania in New Jersey is now “a healthier business,” according to NorthJersey.com. But while their reviewer found the food to be better, the slow service that was apparent during Ramsay’s visit hasn’t disappeared.

Business at Finn McCool’s, a restaurant in the Hamptons, is “up 37 percent since Ramsay went home,” The New York Post reported. (Its chef, Brian, who clashed with Ramsay on the show, “ended up on ‘Nightmares’ because Brian applied to be a contestant on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ last year. He didn’t get picked, but the casting agents remembered him and his volatile disposition, They called to see if he’d be interested in ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ instead,” according to the paper.)

And at Sebastian’s, the California restaurant that had a confusing menu that even the servers couldn’t explain coherently, has apparently reverted to its old menu, at least in part. The menu on its web site shows some of the options Gordon Ramsay added, but also shows the “flavor combination[s]” that drove him crazy.

‘Kitchen Nightmare’ in Westhampton [New York Post]
Eating Out: Campania in Fair Lawn [NorthJersey.com]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.