Sunday, 21 May 2017

Kitchen Nightmares - The Secret Garden - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares The Secret Garden

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Secret Garden in Moorpark, California, a French restaurant owned by French chef Michel Bardavid, who is $300,000 in debt and has a dwindling customer base. Gordon is unimpressed with the décor and the paper doily. Waitress Jane offers Gordon a dinner roll, the tiny roll looks silly in the huge basket. Gordon orders a shrimp and strawberry salad that Gordon sends back to the kitchen. He also orders steak, which is tough and the carrots on the side are raw. Michel doesn't take Gordon's criticisms well, especially about the canned crab. 

Gordon inspects the kitchen and finds the fridge is mouldy with maggots, sending Gordon retching into the bathroom. Michel responds that no kitchen is perfect and Gordon asks the staff to clean the kitchen. Gordon arrives for a dinner service and Michel is serving a slice of strawberry to the customers as a canapé. The dishes are so complex that they take so long to prepare that customers are kept waiting. Michel goes out the front to speak to customers and Devon takes over, speeding up the pace in the kitchen allowing customers to be served their food. 

The next day Gordon decides he is going to shock Michel so he boards up the restaurant and places foreclosure signs out the front. Michel is angry when he arrives, worried that customers may have seen them and think he has closed. Gordon says that unless he changes, he will close and the place boarded up. Gordon introduces simpler recipes that can be prepared faster including roast chicken, French onion soup and an asparagus tart. These fly out of the kitchen and go down well with the new younger crowd in the restaurant. The kitchen soon falls apart, customers are left waiting and the orders back up. 

For relaunch, Gordon's team revamps and modernises the décor, Michel says the décor is charming but is worried that the changes to the décor will hurt his business. Gordon introduces his new menu to the team and Michel once again is on the fence. For relaunch night, Gordon invites local VIPs and a food critic. The service is organised until a bus of 25 tourists appears. The food critic is served a fish dish which she finds over seasoned and too salty. When Michel hears her criticism he asks the critic for another chance to impress her. 

Gordon is not impressed about him attempting to revert to his old menu and Michel serves the food critic another dish, she loves it. Michel is still unconvinced of the changes to the menu and asks the customers in the restaurant if they like the new food and they are full of compliments for the new menu. When Michel learns that the restaurant made a profit that evening, where it usually makes a loss, he begins to realise that he has been wrong and does need to change.

What Happened Next?

At the end we hear that Jane was promoted to manager but within months Michel had reverted to his old menu as he says customers had complained. The Secret Garden closed in March 2016. Before this Yelp reviews are mixed with comments about a lack of diners and accusations of false reviews submitted by Michel.  He is said to be working at Custom Pie in Moorpark, as seen on Yelp.

The Secret Garden aired on December 12 2007, the episode was filmed in February 2007 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 1 episode 10.

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares


  1. I think that Gordon was pretty close to comparing him to Kermit, if you get my drift.

  2. I'd love to hear what Devon, the sous chef is doing today. He seems very talented and adorable too!

  3. We tried eating here twice. The first time, despite a reservation and assurances we'd be inside, we were seated outside, cold and damp under a flimsy tent - me, my wife, and my inlaws, whom we'd hoped to impress with fine fare. Given our big hopes, water and menus were apparently enough to keep us there for an hour without proper service - but then we gave up and bailed. We gave them another chance a year or so later, and were glad to be seated inside - but the food was awful, the service faster but otherwise lame, the decor drab... I was thrilled to see that Ramsey might have revitalized the place - but since the stubborn owner has reverted on both food and decor, we have no reason to go back - and two experiences to relay as reasons others shouldn't bother trying the place. It's sad, really. Moorpark's a lovely town, with a growing population of food-savvy residents who could support good eats. And this restaurant is on an old towne "downtown" strip of road that could someday be like Charlottesville's Downtown Mall or Burlington's Church Street Marketplace. Unfortunately, the Secret Garden isn't leading anyone or anything in that direction - and isn't likely to be around long enough.

  4. Is this buffoon a hired actor? It's hard to believe Michel is a real chef. He hires Ramsay but then COMPETES with him.

    It's not arrogance, it's good old-fashioned stupidity. He has tiny genitals and needs to compensate.

  5. I bet only one or two customers complained at max. That was probably enough for his ego to think he was perfect before

  6. You should read the most recent Yelp reviews, one reviewer talked about the horrendous way they were treated during a wedding dinner & Michel responded in a very aggressive manner,
    I'm watching this episode now and want to punch the guy through the tv.

  7. It is no surprise this place shut down Michel was a fool and an egomaniac, and if the food and decor when back to the old ways you know the cleaning standards of the kitchen did as well.

  8. You could blatantly see he over salted the tuna deliberately. Gave him an excuse to immediately drop the menu. And he thinks that people will come in and say; "Oh you have a new menu? That's a shame I really wanted that delicious garlic prawns and Strawberry dish you used to do. Nowhere else does that."

  9. "he says customers had complained"

    "accusations of false reviews submitted by Michel"

    I'm willing to bet the customers who complained all had the name Michel, since I find it hard to believe a menu proposed by somebody like Gordon Ramsey would be complaint-worthy unless the complaints were fake or he just didn't care about quality thus screwed up the meals.

  10. Not surprised it shut down - the owner was an idiot.

  11. What I will never understand in this show, is all those chefs saying "the customers like it" and refuse to change something...and I wonder..who?what customers? there are none and that's why business is failing!This guy in particular, he was already more than 300k in debt and still he'd rather please his "regulars" than attract new customers O_O


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