Friday, 27 May 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - The Secret Garden - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares The Secret Garden

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Secret Garden in Moorpark, California, a French restaurant owned by French chef Michel Bardavid, who is $300,000 in debt and catering to a dwindling customer base. Gordon arrives and is unable to find the entrance to the restaurant but finally finds the entrance to the side of the restaurant.Gordon wastes no time in sitting down to sample the menu and is unimpressed with the décor and the paper doily underneath his dirty wine glass on his table. Waitress Jane comes to the table to offer Gordon a dinner roll, the tiny roll looks silly in the huge basket. Gordon orders a shrimp and strawberry salad, the strangest flavour combination that Gordon sends back to the kitchen praying it doesn't poison him. He also orders steak, which is tough and the carrots on the side are raw. Michel doesn't take Gordon's criticisms well, especially comments about the canned crab meat. Gordon inspects the kitchen and finds a dirty and mouldy walk-on and storage. The fridge is mouldy and he even finds maggots, sending Gordon retching into the bathroom. Gordon asks Michel when the fridge was last cleaned and he claims it was yesterday, Gordon is not convinced of this and tells him to be honest, Michel responds that no kitchen is perfect and Gordon asks the staff to clean the kitchen for the rest of the day.

Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service and Michel is serving a slice of strawberry to the customers that he refers to as a canapé. The service does not go very well and the dishes are so complex that they take so long to prepare that the customers are kept waiting for over complicated food. Gordon notices from the menu that Michel enjoys serving crusted dishes with many fish and meat items being crusted. Michel goes out the front to speak to customers and sous chef Devon takes over and speeds up the pace in the kitchen allowing customers to finally be served their food. The next day Gordon decides he is going to shock Michel into realising he needs to change. To do this he boards up the restaurant and places foreclosure signs out the front. Michel is very angry when he arrives, worried that customers may have seen them and think he is closed. Gordon hammers home that unless he does change, he would be closed, the signs would be up and the place boarded up. In order to improve service, Gordon introduces simpler recipes that can be prepared faster, they include roast chicken, French onion soup and an asparagus tart. These fly out of the kitchen and go down well with the new younger crowd in the restaurant. The kitchen soon falls apart, the customers are left waiting and the orders back up due to lack of communication. Michel takes his frustrations out on his staff leaving waitresses in tears. For relaunch, Gordon's team revamps and modernises the décor getting rid of the out of date Grandma interior. Michel says the décor is charming but is worried that the changes to the décor will hurt his business. Gordon introduces his new menu to the team and Michel once again is on the fence.

For relaunch night, Gordon invites local VIPs and a food critic. The service is organised until a bus of 25 tourists appears and unbalances the service. The food critic is served a fish dish which she finds over seasoned and too salty. When Michel hears her criticism he decides he is going back to his old menu and asks the food critic for another chance to impress her. Gordon is not impressed about him attempting to revert to his old menu. Michel serves the food critic another dish and she loves the dish from the new menu. Michel is still unconvinced of the changes to the menu and asks the customers in the restaurant if they really like the new food and they are full of compliments for the new menu. When Michel learns that the restaurant made a profit that evening, where it usually makes a loss, he begins to realise that he has been wrong and does need to change.

What Happened Next?

At the end we hear that Jane was promoted to manager but within months Michel had reverted to his old menu as he says the customers had complained. The Secret Garden was open until March 2016, but reviews are mixed with comments about a lack of diners and accusations of false reviews submitted by Michel.  He is said to be possibly working at Custom Pie in Moorpark, as seen on Yelp, will await further info.

Extra Reading

Secret Garden Restaurant Yelp Reviews


  1. Sammy was quite cute!

    1. Definitely!

    2. Definitely

    3. She was more than 'quite cute', she was absolutely stunning!!! Just perfect in everyway. I'd worship & adore that girl...

  2. I think that Gordon was pretty close to comparing him to Kermit, if you get my drift.

  3. I'd love to hear what Devon, the sous chef is doing today. He seems very talented and adorable too!

  4. We tried eating here twice. The first time, despite a reservation and assurances we'd be inside, we were seated outside, cold and damp under a flimsy tent - me, my wife, and my inlaws, whom we'd hoped to impress with fine fare. Given our big hopes, water and menus were apparently enough to keep us there for an hour without proper service - but then we gave up and bailed. We gave them another chance a year or so later, and were glad to be seated inside - but the food was awful, the service faster but otherwise lame, the decor drab... I was thrilled to see that Ramsey might have revitalized the place - but since the stubborn owner has reverted on both food and decor, we have no reason to go back - and two experiences to relay as reasons others shouldn't bother trying the place. It's sad, really. Moorpark's a lovely town, with a growing population of food-savvy residents who could support good eats. And this restaurant is on an old towne "downtown" strip of road that could someday be like Charlottesville's Downtown Mall or Burlington's Church Street Marketplace. Unfortunately, the Secret Garden isn't leading anyone or anything in that direction - and isn't likely to be around long enough.

  5. Is this buffoon a hired actor? It's hard to believe Michel is a real chef. He hires Ramsay but then COMPETES with him.

    It's not arrogance, it's good old-fashioned stupidity. He has tiny genitals and needs to compensate.

  6. I bet only one or two customers complained at max. That was probably enough for his ego to think he was perfect before

  7. You should read the most recent Yelp reviews, one reviewer talked about the horrendous way they were treated during a wedding dinner & Michel responded in a very aggressive manner,
    I'm watching this episode now and want to punch the guy through the tv.

  8. It is no surprise this place shut down Michel was a fool and an egomaniac, and if the food and decor when back to the old ways you know the cleaning standards of the kitchen did as well.


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