Shut it down! I mean if you’ve ever watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, you’ll be aware of the many stock phrases Gordon Ramsay uses when confronted by a kitchen nightmare… Awful pun aside, Kitchen Nightmares is one of those shows that even if you’ve never seen it you’ve definitely heard about it. Whether it’s the memes or generally insane owners, Kitchen Nightmares is insanely addictive to rewatch. Anyway, enough with the introduction let’s get into some history about the show.
Kitchen Nightmares first debuted on Fox in 2007 and follows Gordon Ramsay as he visits failing restaurants in an attempt to revive their fortunes. Fun fact, Kitchen Nightmares was based off an early UK show: Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares which focussed on UK restaurants. Think of the difference being like the UK Office and the US Office as to which is better. Anyway, the show stopped airing in 2014 after 7 seasons and 94 episodes and may have been cancelled because of a certain memed restaurant owning couple though that’s probably just my conspiracy. Anyway, like most reality shows it is insanely addictive and insanely addicted to generating lawsuits as well. Whether or not you believe certain elements were fake, the show continues to draw big numbers. Anyway, enough with the history let’s get into the best episodes of Kitchen Nightmares ranked.
10. Fiesta Sunrise (S2, E10)
Well there was anything but a fiesta kicking off at this Mexican restaurant in New York. Terrible joke aside, most of the episodes on this list are pretty much the same formula played pretty well every time. See here, where Gordon discovers a usual treasure trove of horrors which will make you say Ay Yai Yai! The piece de resistance is a tub of refried beans which could be used as cement. Overall, a solid episode which delivers on the usual formula…
9. Mama Maria’s (S6, E3)
Mamma Mia, it’s a terrible Italian Restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares. Again, terrible segue aside, this episode sees Gordon tackle two restaurants for the price of one (sort of..) Basically, there’s a failing Italian restaurant with a pizzeria attached. While the pizzeria is doing alright, the restaurant is failing miserably thanks to the usual culprits: terrible food, poor ownership, being stuck in the past etc. Also, this episode sees somebody not only get sick of the restaurant but its food after eating some very dodgy lobster tails so that’s definitely something.
8. Burger Kitchen Part One (S5, E6)
What’s better than one deluded Kitchen Nightmares owner? Why two deluded Kitchen Nightmares owners! When Gordon visits Burger Kitchen in California, he discovers that the owners have taken $250,000 from their son’s inheritance without asking him to start up the restaurant. On top of all of this, the chefs are miserable cooking food which is damn near impossible to cook well. And that’s all before the supposed Yelp Conspiracy and the Cowboy Burger with a very small hat for $39. Utter chaos from start to finish.
7. Oceana (S4, E14)
Remember when I mentioned that Kitchen Nightmares had found itself in legal controversy? Well this is one of the restaurants that hit back at the show for supposedly faking the episode in their establishment. I mean do you really think Gordon Ramsay would bring a dead rat into a failing restaurant and claim he found it there just to increase the drama? Probably not but still controversy aside, this episode ticks off all the usual boxes of Kitchen Nightmares and delivers a solid showing.
6. Mill Street Bistro Part Two (S6, E12)
Now I don’t think this is going to be the last time Mill Street Bistro features on this list. With that out of the way, this is a very chaotic episode of Kitchen Nightmares. Mostly because with one or two exceptions, Gordon is up against one of the most stubborn owners he’s ever encountered: Joe. Also, evidence of this is Joe immediately reverting back to his menu as soon as Gordon leaves, hence proving his serving staff right that he was the problem. Honestly, kind of sad but hilarious that he thought he was better than Ramsay.
5. Lela’s (S1, E8)
Now I’m not one for blaming the owner of the restaurant but honestly if you’re hiring someone called Buzzard maybe be prepared for some form of trouble. Mostly, because Buzzard is caught by Ramsay stealing leftover food and wine. And what’s worse is he never asked the owner if he could. Utterly dramatic stuff there… Anyway, the other major highlight of this episode is Gordon pitting the Head Chef against his Sous Chef to try and see if the Head Chef could walk the walk. Shockingly, he couldn’t….
4. Nino’s Italian Restaurant (S6, E10)
Why hello, Nino. Arguably one of the most iconic Kitchen Nightmares episodes because of the Hello, I’m Nino! meme. Anyway, this episode also continues the trend of great Kitchen Nightmares episodes in terrible Italian restaurants. Also, the back and forth between Nino and Gordon is fantastic as he tries to comprehend how the family has fallen apart to such an extent that Nino is pretending he cleans the restaurant while watching TV. Honestly, hilarious and terrible in equal measures.
3. Mill Street Bistro Part One (S6, E11)
Ah welcome back to Mill Street Bistro. Having looked at the second half of this iconic episode, let’s look at the first part. And honestly, you will marvel at how stubborn the owner Joe is because it’s actually remarkable. Hence, one of the biggest highlights of this episode is Gordon tearing Joe down a peg all while his serving staff are making Youtube reaction faces in the background. Honestly, just the level of nonsense coming out of Joe’s mouth is incredible. More than worth the rewatch…..
2. Secret Garden (S1, E10)
Remember how I said Kitchen Nightmares was memeable? Well, there’s one incredibly famous moment from this episode and it’s Gordon yelling at the owner and head chef that he’s a French pig. I mean wow… Anyway, there’s also plenty of shoddy cooking like some sort of spaghetti or noodle tower as well as the usual poor decoration and kitchen standards. Honestly, this episode is nothing revolutionary but it’s just like the rest of the show: solid entertainment.
1. Amy’s Baking Company (S6, E16)
And the best episode of Kitchen Nightmares is….. Amy’s Baking Company. And honestly if you’ve seen this episode it’s no surprise. Out of all the restaurants Gordon visited for the show, this is the only one which he walked away from. That should give you an idea about how stubborn and frankly insane the owners were. Anyway, despite the deceptive beginning to the visit where the owners seem to have a good restaurant in order everything goes downhill afterwards. Whether it’s the owners threatening to fight annoyed customers or just how they treat their waiters it’s a car crash in the best possible way for reality TV.