Kitchen Nightmares chef says he had “no interaction with Ramsay” except on camera

The couple who will be featured on Friday’s edition of Kitchen Nightmares only interacted with Gordon Ramsay on camera, and detailed the way the production creates drama.

Paul and Leslie Bazzini, who own a restaurant called Bazzini, said that Ramsay didn’t really help. Paul told the New Jersey Record, “you have no interaction with Ramsay at all. He comes with a very big machine of assistants and helpers. The only time that I ever spent any time with him was on camera.” Also on camera, producers asked Leslie questions such as, “If this fails now, how can you stay with your husband?”, which are clearly designed to create drama.

It’s hard to have a lot of sympathy for their surprise at the way television works, especially since, as the paper notes, the “crew ultimately set their Ridgewood restaurant up for long-term success, with a sharper focus, a streamlined menu and a kitchen full of new equipment.”

But the manipulation is disappointing, especially because it seems like producers deliberately attempted to set up dinner service for failure, which is very evident on the over-produced Fox version. The paper reports that chef Bazzini had to “spend hours of the taping waiting off-site, only to be led into his reorganized kitchen shortly before he was to start service with a brand-new menu and 100 people in the dining room.”

A Ridgewood restaurant braces for its portrayal on Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” with Gordon Ramsay [New Jersey Record]
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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, 37, 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.