The Secret Garden Restaurant - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Kitchen Nightmares The Secret Garden

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits The Secret Garden Restaurant in Moorpark, California.

The Secret Garden restaurant in California is a French restaurant.

It has has been owned by French chef Michel Bardavid for 7 years.

Moorpark is a gateway to wine country, luxury golf courses and booming property prices.

It is a great location for restaurants.

Michel Bardavid is now $300,000 in debt.

It has a dwindling customer base.

Sous Chef Devon reveals that Michel has a huge ego.

Jane finds him hard to work with.

Gordon arrives at the front of the restaurant.

He struggles to find his way into the restaurant as the front door is locked.

There is no one at the restaurant to greet him.

He finds Michel and Jane in the kitchen.

Gordon is unimpressed with the old fashioned decor.

There are artificial flowers and paper doilies on the tables.

Waitress Jane offers Gordon a dinner roll.

The tiny roll looks silly in the huge basket she is carrying to bring it to him.

Gordon orders a garlic shrimp and strawberry salad.

Gordon sends it back to the kitchen as the shrimp are cold and undercooked.

He also orders steak, which is tough.

The carrots on the side are raw and the potatoes are greasy.

Overall, the dishes were tasteless, bizarre, long-winded, boring and badly cooked.

Michel doesn't take Gordon's criticisms well, especially those about the canned crab.

Gordon leaves the restaurant disappointed.

The next day, Gordon inspects the kitchen, where he sees grease in the kitchen equipment.

He finds the fridge is filled with moldy food.

There are maggots, sending Gordon retching into the bathroom.

Michel is once again defensive and responds that no kitchen is perfect.

He claims to have pedigree in the kitchen, having worked with Thomas Keller.

He says he wants Gordon’s help but does not want him to criticize everything.

Gordon asks the staff to deep clean the kitchen before he can continue.

That evening, Gordon arrives to observe a dinner service.

Michel is serving a slice of strawberry to the customers as a canapé.

The dishes are so complex and take so long to prepare that the customers are kept waiting for food.

Gordon notices that all of Michel’s dishes are crusted or stuffed.

Michel claims his customers love it.

Michel goes out the front to speak to customers and Devon takes over.

The kitchen speeds up the pace allowing food to leave quicker and waiting customers to be served their food.

The next day, Gordon decides he is going to shock Michel.

He boards up the restaurant and places foreclosure signs out the front of the restaurant.

Michel is angry when he arrives, worried that customers may have seen them and think he has closed.

Gordon says that unless he changes, his restaurant will close and the place will be boarded up for real.

Gordon introduces simpler recipes that can be prepared faster and are more cost effective.

The new dishes include an onion gratin, tuna Nicoise, roast chicken and a fresh local asparagus tart.

These dishes fly out of the kitchen and go down well with the new younger crowd in the restaurant.

The kitchen soon falls apart as Michel won't let anyone else do anything.

The kitchen isn’t communicating.

Customers are left waiting for food as the orders back up further.

Michel stops cooking and goes into the restaurant to talk to his friends.

Devon starts to rescue the service by getting the food sent out.

When Michel is asked to return to the kitchen, the service once again backs up.

For relaunch, Gordon's team revamps and modernizes the decor.

Michel says the decor is charming.

He 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.

He is used to his former menu and believes his customers would ask for it.

For relaunch night, Gordon invites local celebrities, VIPs and a food critic.

The service is organized until an unexpected bus of 25 tourists appears at the restaurant.

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.

The two get into a fit of argument.

Gordon furiously leaves the restaurant but comes back after clearing his mind.

He clears out the dish from the old menu that Michel made.

Michel serves the food critic another dish, she loves it.

Michel is still unconvinced of the changes to the menu.

He asks the customers in the restaurant if they like the new food.

They are full of compliments for the new menu.

Michel learns that the restaurant made a profit that evening.

He begins to realize that he has been wrong and does need to change.

What Happened Next at The Secret Garden Restaurant?

At the end of the episode, we hear that Jane was promoted to manager.

Within months Michel Bardavid had reverted to his old menu.

He says that customers had complained about the new food.

Yelp reviews were mixed.

There were comments about a lack of diners and accusations of false reviews submitted by Michel.

The Secret Garden closed in March 2010.

Michael posted the below on Facebook but the sale fell through and he later found a new buyer.

"Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Saturday, November 28th will be Chef Michel's last day at The Secret Garden.

The business has been sold. We are so thankful for so many things.

At this time of year, we celebrate you, our incredible customers that have come to feel more like family.

Thank you for your many years of patronage and support

Chef Michel is looking into other ventures.

Keep an eye on your inbox or like us on facebook to stay up to date on what's happening next..."

Michel has been working at Custom Pie in Moorpark since 2012.

He later bought the restaurant and is currently owner of Custom Pie.

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

Previous episode - Campania

Next episode - Handlebar


  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. 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

  11. It's pure insanity, this chef Michele... If you don't label your food to track it's quality or clean your kitchen (especially the walk-in!), you're just not a good chef. Clearly, this was shown to be the case.


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