La Riviera - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Kitchen Nightmares La Riviera

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits La Riviera in Inverness, Scotland.

La Riviera is owned by multi-millionaire, Barry Larson.

It costs £8000 a week on food and staff cost alone.

Barry is the man who introduced KFC, Wimpy and Harry Ramsdens to Scotland.

He has invested nearly £2,000,000 trying to prove he can make fine dining work in Scotland.

The restaurant boasts top French chef, Loic Lefebvre.

He has trained in some of the best kitchens in France.

Loic is supported by a team of handpicked kitchen staff all with Michelin Star backgrounds.

They are determined to get a Michelin star.

They have vegetables shipped in from France and very fresh seafood with high costs.

Loic is hungry for success but the locals aren’t biting.

The restaurant is empty most nights of the week.

Gordon tells Barry he doesn’t want the restaurant to fall into the same trap his own restaurant did.

They cooked overly pretentious food, which put off the locals.

This is the first time Loic has been a head chef and so his inexperience seem to be a problem.

He lets his ambition cloud his vision of the basics, which is satisfying the customers.

Gordon checks out other restaurants in the neighborhood.

He discovers the problem is that the food is much more expensive.

The food is complicated and pretentious.

None of the locals seem to know what the foods on the menu are.

Gordon sits down to a meal to see what the chefs can do.

He has canapés and a pre-starter of rich Potato soup.

The scallop starter had far too many different flavors.

The duck main course had 12 flavors on the plate and was served in two parts.

He finishes his meal with a dessert plate.

He jokes that he will probably be told how to eat it.

Gordon is then shown how to actually eat it.

Gordon talks to Loic about the food.

Loic says he’s not changing anything about the food.

Gordon says that he does not feel comfortable in the stuffy restaurant atmosphere.

He speaks to Loic after.

Loic does not see any problem with the food and Barry lets Loic do what he wants.

Gordon watches the dinner service from the kitchen and sees over-complicated foods.

Loic turns down Gordon’s offer to cook a scallop dish together to see their different approaches.

Gordon takes Barry and Loic to a football field to discuss the restaurant.

He tries to convince Loic that he has been in his situation before.

Gordon tells them that the restaurant can only survive when the locals attend.

The third day, Gordon sits Loic down to a full table of food.

It turns out to be a meal for one and he still does not see any problem.

He takes Barry to a Scottish bar where he illustrates how simplicity is the best.

His last resort is to bring in ex AA inspector David to judge a scallop dish cooked by them both.

His feedback is that Gordon’s dish could be awarded a four star rosette.

While Loic’s dish would be between two or three star as it has too many flavours.

He advises that less is more in terms of food and to simplify the dish.

Loic doesn’t take the criticism well and thinks Gordon set everything up.

The next day, Loic admits he might have been wrong.

He comes up with new much simpler idea for his scallop dish.

Gordon is happy that Loic’s food simplicity has given his dishes clear insight.

He states the dish is worthy of a Michelin star.

Gordon makes the staff compare their menu with others.

He wants to teach them that it is easier for customers to order when the menu is smaller.

He then simplifies the menu and gets servers to loosen up.

Barry reveals to Gordon that he wants to redecorate the restaurant at a cost of £35,000.

Gordon suggests a lower cost option of a chefs table in the kitchen.

This would give them a unique selling point.

The restaurant needs money.

Setting up a chef’s table would bring in more income as they could charge more.

To lower food costs, Gordon buys some cheap oxtail.

He challenges the sous chef to cook a dish from the cheap ingredients.

The next day, the young chefs have taken their oxtail challenge seriously.

Soon, the dishes were ready and Gordon and Loic taste the food.

They both love all the dishes.

They choose the third dish as the winning dish that should be on the lunch menu.

With Loic leading the team, the restaurant is ready for the relaunch.

Gordon gives the team a pep talk.

Gordon teaches them some additional recipes including Scottish traditional dishes a modern twist.

For the final transformation, Gordon takes the team to get some kilts to make their uniform more Scottish-themed.

Gordon invites 25 influential local businesswomen to the restaurant for lunch.

It was a big success with the simplified food and new restaurant.

The women loved the food as it tasted divine and looked simple.

What Happened Next at La Riviera?

Gordon revisits two months later and Barry has added the chefs table.

The menu is small and after tasting the food Gordon says it is some of the best he has had in Scotland.

Gordon surprises Loic by inviting Derek Brown, the ex-president of the Michelin Guide, to judge his dishes.

Derek critiques the food as slightly too complicated and too elaborate.

He acknowledges his talent as a chef, advising the chef to simplify his dishes and he will get his star.

Gordon revisits in a revisited episode and the restaurant has been renamed to Abstract.

Barry has opened a new restaurant next door to Abstract called Contrast.

Business is not going well, they didn't get their Michelin star.

The menu is complicated again with a Giblet Club Sandwich on the menu.

Gordon discovers Contrast is fully booked and making lots of money.

Abstract is not making any money.

Barry and Loic announce they are opening another restaurant together in Edinburgh.

The partnership did not happen.

Barry opened Abstract in Edinburgh in March 2007, Trip Advisor reviews were good.

Loic and Caroline moved to Edinburgh to work in the new Abstract.

They left in May 2007 and returned to France.

In March 2009 they opened a restaurant L'atelier du peintre (The Artists Studio), it has excellent Trip Advisor reviews.

In 2011 they were awarded a Michelin star.

Contrast Brasserie is open.

It is located in the Glenmoriston Town House Hotel, the original location of La Riviera.

The Edinburgh Abstract closed in December 2009.

The closure was blamed on the recession.

Barry Larsen sadly passed away in June 2023.

After Abstract Edinburgh closed it was bought by top chef Tom Kitchin.

It was renamed to Castle Terrace.

Reviews look good with many awards, a Michelin star, 3 AA Rosettes and more.

Castle Terrace closed in June 2020 after the loss of trade from tourists.

La Riviera aired on June 14 2005, the episode was filmed in 2004 and is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares UK season 2 episode 4.


  1. Wow. Loic is the Arrogant French Chef stereotype personified.

  2. The man can cook. Loic is just like any other person, people just cant change.

  3. Loïc is a very talented Chef and got a Michelin Star in 2011 for his restaurant in Colmar (F) "L'atelier du peintre" !

  4. Looking at Loic's food from 2011, looks like he took, Gordon's, the AA rosette judge's and Michelin judge's advice, he simplified his menu. Good on him


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