Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - The Glass House - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares The Glass House

In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Glass House in Ambleside, Cumbria.

The Glass House is owned by Neil Farrell, who had always dreamed of owning a restaurant.

In the three years since owning the Glasshouse, he has got into debt and has had to turn off his mobile phone to avoid debt collectors.

The restaurant’s Head Chef Richard Collins trained at Claridges and is paid £25,000 a year.

Gordon meets with him and asks his opinion on what the problem is.

Richard says it has gotten to a stage where he feels nothing is working.

Gordon doesn’t order from the menu, instead he tells Richard to cook his best dishes, duck cake and chili jam and a lamb shank.

The duck cake looks like a scotch egg and has a bone in it that Gordon finds mid bite.

The lamb shank with parsnip crisps is fatty and the crisps were covered in smelly oil.

Gordon meets the staff, Iain is a waiter who decided he wanted to cook and Claire is a part time chef who is Iain’s girlfriend who also owns a bookshop.

Randal is the Scottish kitchen porter and Craig is the trainee chef who is in his second year in culinary college.

Gordon comes to observe a dinner service and the kitchen’s ability to cope with the pressure of a busy night.

The kitchen collapses into chaos with no communication and the meals that are served are poor.

The steak is returned, there are orders being sent for non-existent tables and people are left waiting for food.

The next day, Gordon reveals undercover footage of the kitchen showing food safety issues that happened over previous services.

The footage shows meat being tenderized with a frying pan and pesto being mixed on the floor.

Gordon buys cleaning products and orders the staff to do a thorough cleaning of the kitchen equipment, walls and floors.

Gordon realizes that the restaurant books more customers than they can cope with on a Saturday night but is deserted for the rest of the week.

Gordon thinks part of the problem is that the restaurant is hard to find as it is in a discreet location.

He takes Neil out and advises him on how and where he can put signs that would direct people towards the restaurant.

Gordon revamps the menu and suggests a £10 two course lunch that features an open mackerel sandwich.

Gordon takes the staff outside to discuss what they struggle with.

They open up and tell him that the lack of communication affects their morale in the kitchen.

At the next dinner service, everyone in the kitchen was responding but Richard was not working with them.

Gordon tells Neil that he needs to focus on his job – keeping customers happy and making sure they spend their money.

Gordon needs Neil to get his customers to buy pass the cheap early supper menu and eat a la carte as that’ll pay off his debt and rebuild his reputation.

A table turns up early and Gordon tells him to pitch the a la carte menu but Neil gives them the cheaper menu.

Gordon encourages Neil to focus on selling wine but he worries about the kitchen.

To prove he has nothing to worry about he gives Neil and Richard the night off.

They will be coming to dinner that night without the kitchen staff knowing they are there.

They love the food and Neil sees that the kitchen can cope without Richard in the kitchen.

Richard states he was impressed with the meal he was served but bizarrely tells the staff “You’re all mine”.

The next day, Gordon tells Neil that he thinks he should get rid of Richard but he leaves the decision to Neil.

Gordon talks to Richard to keep the morale high and communicate better with the team.

For the relaunch, Gordon offers a 3 course dinner to 70 locals and cuts the menu of over 100 items down to less than 20.

He teaches the chefs the new dishes and observes how coordinated they worked together which impressed him.

The new specials are a Caesar salad, an upgrade of the lamb dish and a bread and butter pudding.

During the service there are hiccups with dressing not being served with the salad.

Once again, the kitchen falls apart as Richard keeps giving orders without properly leading the team.

Orders begin to pile up again in the kitchen and Neil becomes frustrated with the whole ordeal.

He moans about the salad instead of the sacking his incompetent head chef, saying that it is too big.

They barely survive the night and on the last day, Gordon praises the young chefs in the kitchen.

Claire decides she is going to sell her bookshop and focus on being a chef.

Richard tells Gordon that Neil gave him three options when they discussed the way forward.

The options are to leave, be demoted or to work hard and go along with the way Gordon had introduced.

He chose the third option and Neil is giving him a month to prove him wrong.

Before leaving, Gordon gifts the chefs a new clock to replace the dingy, yellow one they had in the kitchen.



What Happened Next at The Glass House?


Gordon revisits three months later, there are big signs near to the restaurant and the prices are low.

Richard is still the head chef and has expanded the menu to include a pomegranate risotto 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%.

Trip Advisor 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 Glass House closed in March 2014 .

The restaurant is now The Fulling Mill, Trip Advisor reviews are very good.

The restaurant is still owned and operated by Neil Farrell.

The Glass House aired on May 04 2004, the episode was filmed in 2003 and is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares UK season 1 episode 2.


Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Bonapartes Restaurant

Next episode - The Walnut Tree Inn

This post was last updated in March 2021.

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

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    3. 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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    4. "Glass House becomes successful under Gordon's name, that's just giving up market-share on his home turf." Ambleside is not "Gordon's backyard". Ambleside is the Lake District. That is 5 hours from London (where Gordon's restaurants are). They are not competing in any way whatsoever. I can only assume that you are American to think something this bizarre. If you for a moment think that 5 hours is a reasonable amount of time to travel to go and eat, firstly you are nuts, secondly British people would never do this. To be clear, I have never been to the Lake District. I live in London.

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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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    2. You need to keep inflation in mind. £25k in 2003 is £41k in 2020. Which is a huge sum for a small rural restaurant head chef

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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. 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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  5. 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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  6. Most amusing thing to me was Gordon's constant claim that £25k was somehow a very decent wage.Thats about £1700 a month after tax. Not a great wage by any stretch of the imagination. By contrast Gordon's first head chef job, before he became a star, was at London restaurant Aubergine, where he was on £100k.

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    1. You do realise that this was filmed in 2003, right? In mid-2003, average annual salary was £18k. House prices and cost of living were markedly lower. And, as has been pointed out above, this was outside London. I'm sure a £25k wage then would translate to a much higher wage now.

      (https://tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/wages)

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    2. 25k in 2003 when this was filmed is 38k now.

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  7. I worked here just before that episode was filmed, and Richie was useless. I never understood how he made it to head chef, he only got that job when the previous head chef, Stuart, left to go work at a hotel. Stuart was an amazing chef and doubt the Glasshouse would have needed any help at all had he not left. Standards slipped big time when Richie was made head chef, that was Neil's biggest mistake.

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    1. That's what gordon kept telling and trying to show Neil.

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  8. I don't think Gordon was hard on richard at all. Gordon can weigh up kitchen staff very quickly, it's his job after all and he saw that Richard struggled to communicate and motivate his staff and service was slow.Hardly head chef material. I think Gordon's opinion of richard, seeing as he is a Michelin starred, veteran of the industry of many years, holds more sway than anything else.

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