Friday, 13 May 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - The Glass House - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares The Glass House

Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Glass House, Ambleside, Cumbria, where owner Neil Farrell was heavily in debt and had turned off his mobile to avoid debt collectors. The Head Chef Richard Collins trained at Claridges before Gordon and knows it isn't working, he was also being overpaid. Gordon wants to taste the food so tells Richard to cook his best dishes, he cooks duck cakes and chilli jam, which Gordon thinks looks like a scotch egg and he has a duck bone in his. He has a braised lamb shank for main with parsnip crisps, the lamb is fatty and the crisps were covered in smelly oil. Gordon undresses and meets the staff. The staff are Iain, a waiter who decided he wanted to cook and had been cooking for 3 months, Claire, who works part time and owns a bookshop, Randal, the Scottish kitchen porter and Craig, the trainee chef .

Gordon watches a service and the kitchen collapses into chaos with no communication. The steak is returned, there are orders for non-existent tables and people are left waiting for food. Next we see Gordon's secret film from when he sent his Chef in, we see meat being tenderised with a frying pan, plastic containers full of food and pesto being mixed on the floor. The kitchen is given a deep clean by Gordon and the staff. Gordon takes Neil outside to talk about the problems of the exterior, that people can't find the restaurant and that he needs a bigger sign so people know it is a restaurant. Gordon revamps the menu and suggests a £10 2 course lunch and introduces the open mackerel sandwich to the menu. After working with the staff he discovers Claire is a very good chef and tells her so. They have a meeting outside to discuss problems in kitchen.

On the next dinner service, Gordon tells Neil that he needs people to not order for the cheap Early Supper menu but the A La Carte menu. A table turns up early and should not be given the cheap menu, Neil gives them the cheap menu. Gordon encourages Neil to focus on selling wine and gives Neil and Richard the night off and unknowingly the kitchen cook them dinner. They love the food and Gordon sees the kitchen can cope without Richard. Richard comes into the kitchen and goes "You're all mine" etc etc. He speaks with Neil and tells him he thinks he should get rid of Richard but it is his choice.

For the relaunch, Gordon offers a 3 course dinner to 70 locals, the dishes are a Caesar Salad, an upgrade of the lamb dish and a bread and butter pudding. There are hiccups with dressing not being served with the salad and once again the kitchen falls apart but brings it back. Neil moans about the salad, saying it is too big.  Gordon praises the young chefs in the kitchen. Claire decides she is going to sell her bookshop and focus on being a chef. Neil gives Richard the ultimatum that he has to improve the kitchen or he is out and is given a month to prove this to him. He puts a new dish on the menu, a pomegranate risotto.

What Happened Next?

Gordon revisits, there are big signs near to the restaurant and the prices are low. Richard is still the head chef and Claire had sold her bookshop. Randall and Craig had moved on and Iain had been given more responsibility in the kitchen. There is better communication and the food and service are better. The customers love the food, they have 30% more customers and the takings are up 20%.  Reviews for the restaurant were very positive after filming. Ramsay also offered kitchen positions in his restaurant but both Claire and Iain left after just a few weeks. The restaurant closed in March 2014 and is now The Fulling Mill, reviews appear to be very good.

Extra Reading


13 comments:

  1. Watching this episode again, it amazes me how much Gordon had it out for chef Richard Collins. The episode opens with Ramsay narrating that he can't make the 'proper' changes to the Glass House, but can certainly encourage the owner to do so, then he seemingly can't refer to chef Collins without using the words 'cocky' or 'arrogant' despite the poor guy explaining his own shortcomings in his first meeting with Gordon - the poor guy probably thought that Gordon was going to actually us that information to improve the restaurant rather than spear him. Finally, Gordon sweetly proposes the chef and owner have a meal in their own restaurant, then encourages all the line-chefs to 'show their chef' that they're under-utilised - narration: "hopefully Neil can taste the improvement in the food over dinner, and then give him [chef Richard] a bollicking over a glass of wine!"* Not to mention, poaching chef Richard's two most talented employees - not even to work, just for 'work experience'!

    I've caught a few episodes of the old UK episodes recently, and paying closer attention, I'm starting to see a pattern! Gordon is very careful about lending his name to improve the restaurants' custom (one can't deny that he's got a big heart, and you always hear in the reviews that people love the old Channel 4 episodes because Gordon really seems to connect with the participants, and genuinely care. Whereas the US KN is just sensationalist crap.), but re-watching, it also occurs to me that more 'Gordon Ramsay Restaurants' that might result from RKN that aren't actually under Mr. Ramsay's corporate umbrella would only be competition. In the US he doesn't have to worry so much, but if the Glass House becomes successful under Gordon's name, that's just giving up market-share on his home turf.

    I think chef Richard Collins got the sharpest end of the infamous Ramsay treatment because (as it is mentioned in the episode) he /also/ trained at Claredge's 'before Gordon's time' there (I'm not quite sure why they never once crossed paths at such a large and prestigious institution when they both received their formative training there, and are the same age... hahha maybe Richie gave the wrong commis a swirlie 30 years ago!!!), and Gordon would necessarily have to be very careful lending his name to the Glass House when customers would already be likely to make comparisons.

    I found it really telling that the WAAACKY pomegranate risotto has been brought back due to demand, and that Gordon's main critique of the dish was that he didn't understand the concept, when we all know that he's not shy about spitting bad food out.

    Well, that should be more than enough for any fans of the show - even this many years on - to ruminate on with me. :) I am just noticed that around the web, no one had yet mentioned the huge difference between the way, say, Stewart from the Sand gate episode, Loic from Abstract (who is also enjoying success despite Ramsay's best efforts - again, interesting that Gordon became a fan of Loic's food after Loic's business put a few more miles between itself and Gordon's backyard/market share.), and chef Richard Collins.

    I wish the best to everyone at the Glass House!

    *= my paraphrase

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    1. Way to over-analyze mate.....point blank Gordon is there to save the business. End of story.

      The chef in question was getting paid $25,000 pound....it's simple. Your business is going under, time to cut costs. He wanted to illustrate the point that it was a waste of money keeping him and his apprentices could muster up a piece of asparagus that a 25,000 pound head chef....no poor Richard, he was a gumpy bastard that brought the motivation of the kitchen down


      I OWN YOU YOU YOU AND YOU !

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    2. I agree. Most of the reviews of the UK version are wearing rose-colored glasses who Only see what they want to see. Lots of people babble how "nice" he is BUT he really isn't. He makes nasty remarks about elderly customers, he treats Black and Indian chefs Differently then he does white ones. Even some borderline racist remarks. And his wife chauvinist opening dialogue to ' Morgans' Episode "How many women does it take to ruin a restaurant?" Yet he never makes cracks like that with multiple male owners. He is a lot more careful in the US version because the American audience would never tolerate such disrespect. And I also think he seems to have it in for some of those employees at various restaurants. I like the US version. The idiots babbling how there is Less screaming and swearing........Hello! Gordon Doesn't yell or swear as much either! The morons who babble "The Brits just stand there and take it all in." Again, Hello! When they're calmly "taking it" GORDON ISN'T YELLING AT THEM! Of course they're going to stand there calmly. RME

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    3. I think it's pretty obvious, Mr Ramsey doesn't like any fat chefs. can you cite a counter example?

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    4. I really like Gordon, but I think you are probably correct. Having said that, as an example of a fat chef he liked (even before he got thin w/ surgery), I would point to Graham Elliott, with whom he works in the American version of Master Chef & Master Chef Junior.

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  2. Interesting that this place is still open. Clearly the owner followed Gordon's advice: keeping it simple, low prices, local food etcetera.

    But I do agree that I was surprised that Richard the chef was bullied by Gordon. Surely he was not the most brilliant chef, but I think there was some potential. But Gordon had it in for him from the beginnning onwards.

    Just out of curiosity, is 25K UKP really that much? IN that case, thank god I am not a chef. Really a labor of love it must be, because it is hard work and the pay is crap. Respect to them.

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    1. The US Dollar is nearly 2-to-1 right now, so it'd be in the neighborhood of $50,000 a year now. For a rural restaurant, that's decent money. For London, it's starvation wages, but this wasn't London, now, was it?

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  3. The "I own you..." soliloquy by Richard was a bit creepy. I found it difficult to get into the owner's corner on this one because Neil was just a trembling basket-case... you need a real backbone to be a business-owner (which is why I could never do the job) and he seemed to be absolutely crushed by the weight of it all. Instead of feeling sorry for him, I felt kind of annoyed.

    What a beautiful building! I think this is the second-most I've loved a building on this series... The Priory being Number One, of course.

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  4. Richard was an absolute twat the whole time. You might be tempted to sympathize with him, but after that service where he had the night off and he had the nerve to come down in the kitchen and more or less claim credit for it... I'm shocked that Gordon didn't let him have it right then and there. Richard tried to spin it as though they were doing good without him because he trained them so well, not because he wasn't present.

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  5. Claire was such a cutie

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  6. Richard was a miserable, pathetic slob. Gordon was hard on him because he (rightly) held him accountable for the poor standards in the kitchen and the way he neglected to lead or develop any of his people.

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  7. Of most of the restaurant owners on the shows (and I know it's edited etc.), Neil seemed like he wouldn't be one of the success stories; but reading his own account in one of the "Where are they now?" features, he really made it work. Full credit to him.

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  8. There'll be hours and hours of filming, edited down to just 50 minutes, but I agree, Ramsay did seem to have it in for Richard. Did her deserve it? Probably not, but then again, should he have been in the position of head chef in such an establishment? I think Richard is a lot better as a person, and a cook, frankly, than I have seen in most of the KN US episodes, and certainly far, far better than that idiot who could burn water without trying in episode 1 KN UK.

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