Great British Nightmare - The Dovecote Bistro / Martins Bistro - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Great British Nightmare The Dovecote Bistro / Martins Bistro

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Dovecote Bistro in Okehampton, England.

The Dovecote Bistro is owned by Mick Martin, who bought the cafe in 2003 but he is in financial trouble with secret credit cards and £80,000 of debt accrued by keeping the business going.

Alongside Mick in the restaurant is his wife Mo and his daughter Michelle who are helping Mick to save on staff costs.

Despite having no money Mick decided to spend even more money he didn't have by transforming the upstairs space into a bistro complete with psychedelic wallpaper.

Gordon arrives by train and arrives at the bistro that has been opened specially for Gordon.

Gordon isn't impressed with the wallpaper but is impressed with the menu offering freshly cooked food.

He samples the food and is served Gordon a duck cooked with Orange Squash and a vacuum packed long life lamb shank which Gordon refused to eat.

Gordon tells Mick that for the first time he has refused to eat a dish and wants to see the lamb shanks. He reads out the ingredients that are all e numbers and preservatives.

He reads out the menu where they are claiming to serve fresh food and Mick argues that he can't cook food just to throw it away.

They reveal that they have sold their dream home to keep the restaurant afloat and are living in tiny flat.

Mick reveals that he still has one secret credit card with £4,000 on it and will keep spending until the restaurant is how he wants it.

Gordon observes a dinner service of 30 locals, it is a disaster with no communication and Mick shuts down the kitchen when he gets behind.

Mick snaps at Michelle and is left to deal with customer complaints when they are left waiting and more than half are left unfed. Mick walks out and Mo shuts down the kitchen refusing to cook any more food.

Gordon takes the family to a local farm where they milk cows and to a local butcher.

He makes no changes to the current menu but each dish will be freshly cooked rather than from a packet.

There are 40 diners in the restaurant and they have replaced two dishes with fresh options. Mick doesn't communicate and shuts down, cooking the food in the incorrect order.

Gordon is forced to step in and help with the service as Mick forgets dishes and is unable to cope with more than one dish. Standards slip and Mick sends out under cooked or over cooked food.

v Gordon decides that he needs to take Mick out of the kitchen and will be putting Michelle into the kitchen instead.

Mick and Mo come for dinner and they are impressed, as are the customers when they learn it is her first service.

Gordon persuades Mick to paint over the wallpaper and to hand over the finances to Mo. The secret credit card is revealed and the relationship breaks down.

Gordon renames the restaurant to Martin's Bistro to highlight that it is family run.

On relaunch night, Michelle and Mo shine in the kitchen but Mick falls apart at front of house. When asked about the service Mick refuses to acknowledge Gordon's criticism and walks away, upstairs he continues to moan about the wallpaper.

What Happened Next at The Dovecote Bistro / Martins Bistro?

Gordon revisited six weeks later and Gordon had arranged some professional training for Michelle at a top restaurant.

They report that numbers and takings are up in the restaurant with a mix of bookings, large occasion bookings and walk-ins.

Gordon challenges Michelle to cook him a new dish not on the menu, using her training and experience.

Whilst Mick misses being in the kitchen, he recognises that their fresh food is a great unique selling point and Mo is now in control of the finances.

Michelle cooks Gordon a salmon dish with a pea puree, Gordon calls the food delicious.

Gordon orders the lamb shank and is impressed with the look and taste of the dish.

Since Gordon's visit, the focus shifted more towards the cafe side of the business and the upstairs bistro was neglected.

Martins Bistro closed in October 2015 as the business was sold.

Trip Advisor reviews were mostly positive after the episode was filmed.

Michelle is no longer a chef and is currently a Nail Technician.

The Dovecote Bistro aired on January 30 2009, the episode was filmed in August 2008 and is Ramsay's Great British Nightmare episode 1.

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Next episode - The Runaway Girl

This post was last updated in January 2020.


  1. After watching this programme, I would hate to think that other eating establishments serve up meals like this Bistro used to do. Unfortunately they probably do, shame on them.Where is our health inspectors??

  2. I was amazed the place was in business, but am glad that Fordon got it turned around. I f I every get a chance to go back to England, I'd love to visit this place and try the food.

  3. Mick was perhaps one of the most unlikable chefs ever to appear on the show.
    he's got a loving supportive family who are constantly paying for his inability to accept that he's not infallible.

  4. Is this place till open? I'm heading to tour the UK later this summer and I may stop by all the UK places still open.

  5. Michelle got married in 2012 and has a child now too. Incredibly Mick and Maureen are still together and appear to be doing well.

  6. Glad they're all doing well despite selling the business. Michelle had real talent as a chef and I hope she's happy.


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