Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack

Episode Recap 

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack, Brighton, UK, an American Soul Food Restaurant run by Momma Cherri aka Charita Jones that is suffering from a lack of midweek business and the debts are mounting. She has a part time Head Chef/Cook but does most of the cooking herself. Gordon sits down for a meal and eats a Catfish Goujin starter and says it's quite nice and light, for mains he has a "clumsy mess" of soul food, he thinks its phenomenal and clears his plate! 

Charita does all the prep herself so that she can save money and most of it goes in the freezer. The part time staff seem to turn up whenever they feel like it. (Gordon getting changed into whites). Gordon watches the first service and sees the Chefs just reheating food and plating food and Charita trying to do everything. The next day there is no one at the shack and fresh food left outside. They have a cook out on the beach to promote the restaurant, it goes well and Charita is a natural. Gordon removes Charita from the kitchen and puts her as the host. Gordon does a business cake with Charita to see where she is going wrong. Bookings start to pick up from the earlier beach exercise andbthey are full for relaunch. 

Gordon comes up with the Soul in a Bowl midweek 3 course menu to help drive sales . Charita toughens up on the staff setting out new rules. The evening was a success making over £1000. Gordon gives Brian a man to man talk before leaving.

What Happened Next?

Gordon revisited, comments on her new celebrity status and Momma Cherri's had moved into a much larger restaurant renamed as Momma Cherri's Big House. Although fully booked far in advance with many chefs. The Chefs were struggling and the food had gone back to pre-prepared, frozen and passionless food. Both Gordon and the customers were disappointed with the bland food and small portions saying they would not return. Gordon stays an extra week to help them sort out the food. In 2007 Charita released her cookbook "Momma Cherri's Soul in a Bowl Cookbook". Head Chef Brian also left in 2007 to focus on art projects. In July 2007 the restaurant was inspected and scored 0 stars in the food hygiene ratings. 

In 2009 the restaurant closed with large debts and administrators were called in.

She then opened Momma Cherris Speakeasy also in Brighton but this closed after just two months. Charita Jones has made many television appearances on various cookery programmes including This Morning on ITV, Market Kitchen on the Good Food Channel and many more gaining her the "title" of a celebrity chef. In 2010 an Indian restaurant called Rasa opened there and in 2012 an Indian restaurant called Chaula's has moved into where the Big House used to be. 

In March 2015, a restaurant Caribsoul opened in Croydon serving Momma Cherri's recipes and reviews are excellent.

Chef Brian Moyo opened restaurant SoulFoo Food Bar in Brighton with his brother Aaron and reviews are excellent. Momma Cherri also makes pop up appearances in the kitchen, every other Sunday from November 2017.

Extra Reading

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Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares uk season 2 episode 3


  1. guess that is the bad side of celebrity...

  2. Such a shame
    But Gordon helped her all her could, I even think he went far and beyond of what he usually does with Mammi

    No one to blame but herslef.

  3. Man, I just watched the last 20 minutes of the 2007 show on the Momma Cherri's Big House. So sad to read that it closed. Was hoping to add it to my bucket list for some good soul food. :(

  4. One of the best episodes. I just love Momma's very warm character.
    The fact that she was underpaying herself broke my heart. Only real honest people do that, and she belongs in the soul food. I might even consider buying her book!

  5. Still the only episode from either country where Ramsay largely enjoys his initial meal?

    1. Indeed. Never seen him finish a plate, or even most of it.

      Seems like Charita got greedy. Chef Brian became an Art student?

  6. A real shame although unfortunately the writing was on the wall from the start. Unlike most other places the food was not the problem here it was that Charita had a poor head for business. After her initial spike in popularity she over-expanded by moving to larger premises and this proved to be her undoing.

  7. I recent watched the episodes. I am very disappointed to read the bad news. The food was great. Gordon loved the food. I was surprised to see him enjoy the first plate. However, Charita poorly ran her business.

  8. I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and want you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.

  9. Not surprised it closed. She was not listening to a word Chef Gordon said. It was all yes yes .....hearing Chef but not listening.No humility whatsoever. Apparently she thought she had all the answers. An all too common affliction. I'm surprised that Ramsy wasted his time with her and a few others that have appeared on KN.

  10. Not surprised it closed. She was not listening to a word Chef Gordon said. It was all yes yes .....hearing Chef but not listening.No humility whatsoever. Apparently she thought she had all the answers. An all too common affliction. I'm surprised that Ramsy wasted his time with her and a few others that have appeared on KN.

  11. I think she was set up for success in the original Shack, but over-reached with non-existent capital to get a lease on that HUGE building, cut corners on the food and down she went. What a pity.

  12. Gordon should have just fixed the staff. She was fine and didn't need to change. I think Gordon messed up on this one.

  13. One of my favourites on the re-watch so far. So good to see Gordon revitalise these people - sometimes we just need a good kick in the a! A real shame Charita overshot her mark - this stuff was way ahead of it's time.

  14. yes as many have noted she was set to be a huge success as she was. It was trying to expand too much too fast the did her in

  15. Really liked the episode and would have loved to see it still being open, perhaps go there some day and experience it myself. Sat to see it has closed...

  16. Sad to see it has closed. Would have loved to go there some day and maybe meet the staff too.

  17. It seemed like Charita Jones was a great cook but a bad manager. I think she would have been much more successful if instead of a restaurant she had opened a food truck or hawker stand. It would have been a smaller space to manage and she could have operated it without a full staff, only one or two employees or her husband. And she probably would have been much more profitable too.

  18. I will always remember this episode as Gordon actually liked the food before he made any changes, which is rare. Pity she closed as she had all the tools and knowledge to make it work.

  19. She's now on YouTube, and still talks glowingly about Gordon apparently.


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