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 Oakhampton, England.

The Dovecote Bistro is owned by Mick Martin.

He has been running the bistro for six years with his wife Mo and his 19 year old adopted daughter Michelle.

Mick bought the cafe in 2003 but now he is in financial trouble with £80,000 of debt on secret credit cards.

Mick kept the true scale of the financial issues at the restaurant a secret and Mo only found out about it a month ago.

Despite having no money Mick decided to spend money he didn't have by transforming the upstairs space into a bistro.

The makeover was complete with a flat screen TV and psychedelic wallpaper.

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

Gordon gets to the door and the first impressions look good as he can see that the restaurant advertises freshly cooked food.

Gordon enters the bistro and is shown around, he isn't impressed with the wallpaper.

He sits and looks at the menu and he is impressed with how it looks.

He orders a duck dish but it is cooked with orange squash and looks fluorescent when it arrives.

The next dish that arrives is the minted lamb shank and Gordon asks if it was a local lamb.

Mo tells him that they are a vacuum packed and they can last for a year without being refrigerated.

Gordon was surprised about this and refuses to taste the lamb.

Gordon meets the owners and tells them that he has never refused to taste a dish and can’t believe they charge £10 for the lamb.

Gordon asks them that he wants to see the lamb shanks.

He reads out the ingredients from the pack and finds that they are full of e numbers and preservatives.

Martin says that they are okay and he wouldn’t have been sold the lamb if it wasn’t safe.

Gordon feels like martin is conning his customers.

He reads from the menu where they claim to serve freshly cooked and quality foods.

Martin argues saying they can’t cook fresh food every day as they would throw too much away if there were no customers.

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

Gordon invites some locals for a lunchtime service but it is a disaster.

There is no communication between Mick and Mo and even though they don’t cook from fresh Mick struggles.

The customers are starting to lose their patience and the dishes that manage to leave the kitchen are being sent back.

Mick walks out and Mo shuts down the kitchen out of anger, refusing to cook any more food.

Gordon meets with Mick and tells him he should the one to apologize to his customers rather than Michelle.

He tells the customers they need to leave and there will be no food served.

More than half the customers received no food and were angry at being asked to leave unfed.

Gordon meets with the family and tells Mick he is surprised his wife and daughter are still with him with the way he treats them.

Mick apologizes to them for his behavior.

The next day, Gordon meets with Mick to know about the finances of the restaurant.

He finds out the bistro was Mick’s idea and that he has a credit card saved for a rainy day with £4000 on it, that Mo doesn’t know about.

Gordon takes the family and to a local butcher and shows them the fresh meats they would be using from now on.

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

There are 40 locals in the restaurant, the highest the bistro has ever had and they have replaced two dishes with fresh options.

Gordon wants to see if Mick can run the kitchen cooking fresh food from scratch.

It becomes clear quickly that Mick can’t handle it and he is 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 cooking more than one dish at a time.

Standards slip and Mick sends out bad dishes that are either undercooked or overcooked.

One customer sends back an undercooked dish only for it to be returned overcooked and burnt.

Mick gets upset and starts arguing with everyone in the kitchen and walks out in anger.

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

Gordon has a meeting with Mick and Mo and asks Mick to come clean to Mo about what he has been hiding from her.

The secret credit card is revealed and Gordon tells mick he has to involve Mo in the business.

Gordon reveals that he will be renaming the restaurant to Martin's Bistro to highlight that it is family run.

He also persuades Mick to change the wallpaper and together they paint over the wallpaper.

For the relaunch night, Michelle is to be in the kitchen with Gordon.

Three new dishes has been added to the menu and Mick has been given a new front of house role.

The orders are coming in and Michelle handles it calmly.

The customers like the dishes and one of them described it as the most delicious.

As the restaurant starts to fill up, Mick falls apart under the stress.

After the dinner service Mick tells Gordon that he believes the night went well and he was in full control of the dining room.

He refuses to acknowledge Gordon's criticism and walks away.

Gordon tells Michelle and Mo that it would be bad if they go back to the old ways.

They promise they wouldn’t let that happen.



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.

Three months later, Gordon revisited and they had revereted to their old ways.

Mo says that they have been quiet and Mick has gone back to buying from the cash and carry.

They host a family night, serving fresh food cooked with local ingredients and the locals loved it.

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 March 2021.

6 comments:

  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??

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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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