The Fenwick Arms - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Kitchen Nightmares The Fenwick Arms

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits The Fenwick Arms in Claughton, Lancashire.

The Fenwick Arms is a pub owned by Brian and his partner Elaine.

They have owned the pub for 3 years.

Brian has over 20 years experience of cooking in and running pubs alongside Elaine.

They are currently losing £1500 a week.

Gordon arrives and the pub is in the middle of a busy road and can be easily missed.

There is an overgrown bush in front that covers the menu.

Gordon tries to move it to see the menu.

Gordon meets the owners and the space in pub is tight and he thinks the decor is cluttered.

They tell Gordon they work every day and around 100-120 hours a week, taking only Christmas day off.

Brian is 62 and only took 7 days off when he had a triple heart bypass.

Gordon is confused as it is a pub but the atmosphere is not fun or homely.

There is a separate dining room with a huge dining table that is set up for a silver service dinner.

The menu is like that of a fine dining restaurant with upscale dishes, sauce lists and wine lists.

Gordon ordered the simplest thing on the menu, a prawn cocktail but it comes served in a martini glass.

He also orders a rack of lamb but it is also pretentious, difficult to eat and is like chewing on a golf ball.

Gordon reminds them that pub food is supposed to be rustic and homely and not like a fine dining restaurant.

The next day, they say they are devastated by his feedback.

They are £250,000 in debt and 3 months away from being homeless.

Gordon wants to see a dinner service.

He learns that Brian sets a timer for every dish he prepares as he is forgetful.

He runs around the kitchen doing everything.

The experienced Chef Nathan simply garnishes the food as he isn't allowed to cook anything.

Nathan shows him his weird concoction of sauces, including one made with Appletiser.

Gordon tells them their kitchen is complicated.

It’s too much work for a 62 year old who has had 5 heart attacks.

The kitchen is cluttered with equipment including a second hand espresso machine.

Brian hoards plates of different shapes and sizes.

He keeps them wrapped in cling film and stored in every nook of the kitchen.

Gordon hires a skip and tasks Brian with deciding on what has to go.

He finds reasons to hold on to almost everything.

He wants to hold onto three microwaves, despite only needing one.

Gordon intervenes and persuades Brian to part with some items that are broken or not needed.

As a result the stock pot, a hot plate and more is thrown away.

The items are crushed in front of Brian as he is convinced he would sneak the items back in.

For the evening service, Gordon moves Brian to front of house.

He wants to show him that the staff can run the kitchen in his absence.

The kitchen staff can shine and show Brian that they are capable of running the kitchen without him.

Brian at the front of house is awkward with customers and hovers around them during the service.

Elaine is pouring wine for guests and the dining tables are empty.

The bar is full of people waiting for food.

Gordon is frustrated by the formal nature of the service.

Gordon sits with Brain after the dinner service.

He wants to steer him in the right direction of serving rustic, uncomplicated pub food.

The next day, he asks the owners to rewrite the menu.

He works with the kitchen staff on making classic British pub dishes.

Gordon gives the owners the night off, their first in 18 years, to relax and come in for dinner.

The staff will be running the pub alone again that night.

He tells them to ditch their uniforms.

The owners arrive for dinner but they are dressed too formal in suits.

Gordon sends them back home to change into more casual outfits.

They return dressed more casually and Gordon lets them in.

The couple are impressed with both the new food and the service.

The night was a success.

The staff reveal that Brian came back into the kitchen to put his plates back.

He also told the staff that things won’t be changing.

Gordon speaks with the owners.

They fear losing control and stepping away from their roles is losing their business.

It is a Bank Holiday Sunday but the pub is empty and they should be full and serving roast dinners.

Gordon takes their thick, tar-like gravy from the kitchen to cover up a pothole in the car park.

He then takes the kitchen staff through making a real gravy and Yorkshire puddings.

Gordon comes up with the idea of being known for the best gravy in the area.

He gives them t-shirts and a bullhorn to wear into town to launch a campaign for real gravy.

They all show up with Yorkshire puddings and their new gravy as samples for the locals.

They love the spectacle and the samples.

They are all invited for the relaunch.

Before the relaunch Gordon gets them to take down the banner in front of the pub.

They jet clean the outdoors and start selling off Brian’s crockery on eBay.

Gordon tasks Elaine with keeping Brian out of the kitchen.

The campaign worked and they have up to 88 bookings for the relaunch.

Gordon takes the kitchen staff through last-minute recipes for the new menu.

For relaunch, the menu has been simplified and Karen is put in charge in the kitchen.

The customers are enjoying the food but the service needs attention.

The first customers are still on the tables and they need to clear them for a second sitting.

The bar is full of customers waiting to be seated.

The first set of customers have not received their bills.

Gordon tells them not to be afraid of telling customers who are done with their meals to move to the bar.

They move the customers through and Brian steps up turning the tables for the second sitting.

The customers all love the new food especially the gravy and are complementary of their food.

Brain finally realises that the kitchen can function on their own and he is proud of them.

They made £2447 in just one service and £2000 more than the last Sunday lunch.

What Happened Next at The Fenwick Arms?

A month later, Gordon returns on a Sunday lunch and the carpark is full.

Brian is temporarily back in the kitchen.

He returned just 7 days after Gordon left and his plates are also back.

Sales of the Sunday lunches are up 30%.

They are making 250 litres of gravy a week.

The website is getting 30,000 hits a month!

Gordon revisits in a revisited episode.

Only one of the original kitchen staff are still working there.

Brian is still in the kitchen, controlling the menu.

Morale amongst staff was low, in fact most of the staff were looking to leave.

Brian had also bought some new plates and these were creeping back into the kitchen.

A rival pub "The Highway Man" had recently opened down the road.

This had noticeably affected their business.

In 2009, Brian and Elaine left the pub.

They moved to The Ship Inn in Aldborough.

They claimed that the new menu at the Fenwick drove away trade.

The Fenwick was bought by new owners and had a major revamp both inside and out.

In 2011, the pub closed and was put up for sale again.

The Fenwick Arms reopened in June 2013 as a pub and seafood restaurant.

Trip Advisor reviews are excellent.

The Fenwick Arms aired on November 14 2006, the episode was filmed in August 2006 and is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares UK season 4 episode 2.


  1. Brian and Elaine are now at the Ship Inn in Aldborough, advertising "real pub food" but serving the same stuff Ramsay took off their menu at Fenwick Arms. Pseudo posh food drowned in more gross sauces. How many times does a person need a smack in the head to finally learn??!!

    1. Agreed, some people will just never change their ways.

  2. Aw, Brian seems a sweet ole boy to me. He just doesn't belong in 'his version' of a pub is all. Sadly though, he seems drawn to the notion but its both too much for him the way that he would involve himself and 'his version' makes it even more difficult.
    If anything, with all those heart attacks, its time for him to just sit back and relax.

    1. I feel the same way all of you feel: He needs to relax and protect his health + he's stubborn and got what he deserved. What is the saying: "Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong." - Lao Tzu (Around the 6th century BC)

  3. He is just to set in his ways.

    1. One thing no one who knows me would ever say, Brian

  4. We spent christmas eve 2012 with Brian and Elaine in the Ship at Aldborough, nothing was too much for them, gorgeous food, fantastic staff that make you feel like the most important people in the pub!!!! But this is not a one off because it was Chritmas we are regulars in the pub and this is the Norm....

    If this is set in your ways long may it continue The Tookes

    1. We agree so much with the last posting The Fenwick is closed the Ship has gone from good to excellant this must say something We lived outside the area for a few years returning 3 ago the talk was Our Pub Has Been Saved! first thing folk said to us

      The place is spotless food excellant freshly cooked local produce thoughtfully served Menus vary to all tastes staff polite and cheerful

      Brian and Elaine are an asset to the village social event or something more serious

      The 4 muskateers:

  5. I have just been for lunch at the ship. I eat there from time to time and go back for a reason. This pub is traditional, with superb food, excellent customer relations, and nothing is to much for them. It does not need music, or tacky themed nights. Simplicity, good old fashioned conversation, and a lot of hilarity and laughter.......... Pubs like these are sadly fading away and we must all stand strong, side by side to keep them alive. If British tradition is what your after then look no further. it seems today we are all to quick to complain with no apparant reason, instead of seeing what is in front our eyes. I wish Brian and Elaine a prosperous new year, and i will be in soon for lunch :-)

  6. The critical comments are mainly redundant as this is probably the most welcoming and successful pub in the area. After 10 years of downward trend when the previous owners sold to the brewery this lovely old proper English village pub has been lovingly brought back to it's former glory. Roaring fires and mouth watering menu's, great Sunday roasts all make this the huge success it is.

  7. Brian and Elaine have saved our village pub when they arrived we were
    in danger of being another english village without one their hard work and dedication have made the ship once again the centre of the community they help and participate in everything

    The pub is spotless peopled with staff with personalities a most welcolmed change in these days

    Despite a previous comment above the food is varied so to everyones tastes

    We wonder if there are some sour grapes going on here???

    The JJs

  8. Anonymous on March 28, I was about to post the same thing, lol. Brian does seem sneaky enough to do it, in my opinion. Brian is what they call a "right-fighter"..stubborn & insists on being the chief. Elaine is his enabler. What struck me most about him is that he lives such a lonely life. He was painfully uncomfortable around the patrons & couldn't even make small conversation. Sad, really.

    1. strange Gordon said I talked too much to the customers and a crew member was timing me with a stop watch with each customer, 2 minutes for up to 4 customers.
      I don't live a lonely life ..I have had and still do have a wonderfull life.Mixed with all walks of life,from murderers to Royalty
      You will see on here the only comment written by me has my name on it.

  9. Yep, I thought the same thing! What's the chance that a bunch of different people would all find the same website and write a bunch of similar reviews within a few days of each other? What a fool.

    There are some bad reviews on TripAdvisor, and they actually responded to reviews. One person complained about the bad chips, and they responded that the chips were that way because of the weather conditions. Idiots! Then a person complained about too much fat in a pot pie, and Brian WEIGHED THE FAT that was left on the plate to prove it wasn't that bad. Seriously!? These people are insane, can't take criticism, and have no business being in the service industry.

    Go and read their TripAdvisor comments for a good laugh.

    1. one of our customers found the site and it was the talking point in the bar, and they disagreed with the comments hence them writing in.
      There is a strong community spirit in this village and we have a lot of loyal customers.The villagers were at one time going to club together to buy the pub with a "save our pub " campaign, but don't need to now, as they, unlike you actually know the real us ( not the TV show edited us )and like what we are doing. We must be doing something right to increase the turnover 10 fold in such a short time. Re Tripadvisor, most are good and some are pure fiction. Brian

    2. I know this is older and may not be seen. Brian. Please do not respond to the comments here. You are great chef and friendly person. Its not worth responding to anyone. You do not have to defend yourself. These people making comments are basing their opinions off a TV show.

  10. The reviews I write have my name on not someone elses.The wet weather has produced the lowest yeid and poorest quality potato since 1976. When a potato becomes chilled in cold weather ( which we have had ) through either being stored at very low temperatures it undergoes a change that converts some of the starch ( high starch content makes it worse) to sugar to provide energy to combat the cold.
    Potatoes affected this way when chipped and fried will turn a dark brown in colour. The resulting chip will also taste sweet and will soon become soggy. Thats how wet and cold weather effects chips. Brian

  11. I had thee best laugh with the Gravy Parade! As for "the new menu drove away trade"... I don't believe it for one bit. The business was in dire straights and that's why they invited Ramsay to begin with and you can see the business was bustling even a month later when Ramsay did the revisit.

    Regardless though, glad to see Elaine and Brian doing well with the new restaurant and I would bet the location and the much nicer looking establishment is whats making it more profitable.

    Brian if you see this answer some questions if you can:

    1) Do you feel as though Ramsay hurt your business?
    2) What percentage of the show was real?
    3) Are you still cooking?
    4) Are you still making "real gravy"?
    5) Did you bring all your plates with you? LOL *sorry... couldn't resist*

    I looked at your menu at The Ship and it looks to me like you took to heart a lot of things Ramsay said, because I don't see the extravagant over the top dishes... they seem more contemporary and pubish. Also chuckled when I saw the "Infamous in the glass" prawn cocktail.

    Good stuff... and wish you both many years of success. And a sidenote: Would love to come visit over there but probably won't ever be in the financial situation... as I am in America.

  12. Something seems so fishy and fake about this episode. The old man Brian works for 100 hrs + a week, never going on a vacation while suffering from several heart attacks - right...

    They are already 250k in debt and keep on losing 6000 additionally a month. And after they sell this worn down place in a bad location they are not only out of debt but can afford to buy a new restaurant- Hallelujah...

    Brian proceeds to blame Ramsay and his menu for going out of business and not his own fake- wannabe posh menu, mismanagement, stubbornness, etc.
    Yet, after opening his new place the food looks strikinlgy similar to Ramsays concept (look at pics on tripadvisor). Very simple, rustic, down to earth food.

    What I find hilarious is that while working for 100 hrs+ a week, Brian still has the time to browse through the internet leaving several obvious fake comments (similar wording, rhetoric) from fake accounts to praise himself and his new restaurant.
    This guy is such crazy freak I can't believe it. And he still has that plate fetish having a different plate style for every single dish, lol! (see on tripadvisor)

    1. Two further owners saw the place shut twice. The problem was more the location - too far from anywhere for a lot of midweek trade. Its now part of a small chain based in Lancashire

  13. Rewatching this, totally forgot him licking his lips/sticking out his tongue all the time. So distracting haha

  14. This was the first episode of Kitchen Nightmares I ever saw, broadcast on BBC America. The beginning of an obsession!


Comments will be moderated prior to being published. Those with spam links, offensive language or of an offensive nature will not be published. All comments are the opinion of the commenter and do not represent the opinions of the website owner.

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter