Kitchen Nightmares is pretty much fake and Gordon Ramsay is full of farm-to-table baloney (at least it better be farm-to-table because we are sending this back if it wasn’t stripped right off the bone 20 minutes ago).
For the better part of a decade, the name "Gordon Ramsay" would have had your average line cook cowering in fear – unless, of course, your average line cook actually worked with Ramsay in real life. As it turns out, the terrifying TV chef who made a career out of mercilessly screaming at kitchen staff is a regular ol' nice guy and a living testament to how Kitchen Nightmares is faked.
Kitchen Nightmares behind the scenes is a pretty different show – a show where incompetent servers are hired by the production team and Ramsay definitely isn't yelling his head off until someone screams "action." The world was a tipped off to his nice guy attitude when he started doling out deadpan food reviews on Twitter. He clearly takes his massively exaggerated public persona with a grain of salt (in a smart 280 characters or fewer).
Since Kitchen Nightmares ended in 2014, Gordon's let up on the cursing a little bit (he works with kids now on MasterChef Junior) and former contestants have spoken out on the truth about Kitchen Nightmares. For better or worse, Kitchen Nightmares proved to be the perfect slice of reality TV – highly exaggerated, full of drama and, in some cases, flat-out fake. Here's everything you don't know.
Gordon Ramsay may be known for his unbridled temper, but it turns out that the shouting chef is actually super sensitive. Ramsay is a huge fan of letting it all out with a good cry.
"I think crying is important," he told Fox News in an interview about MasterChef Junior. "Not crying, not showing that emotion, bottling it up can lead to dangerous things."
Ramsay isn't just sensitive. He's also an all-around nice guy. Ramsay revealed his true colors during a Reddit AMA when a discouraged chef asked for advice about feeling burned out on the job. Ramsay, who tirelessly worked his way up the ranks without a fancy culinary school education, wrote a heartfelt response encouraging the chef to take a break rather than quit the business altogether. The advice was nice enough, but Ramsay went one step further. Ramsay offered him a job, hoping that a change of scenery might renew his passion.
In a real-life kitchen, things notoriously get heated for all chefs, but Gordon Ramsay always seemed to take this to the next level. The chef's name has become synonymous with his massive temper. While Ramsay may let this side of himself rage in a real life kitchen, when it comes to filming reality TV, he's absolutely hamming it up for the camera.
According Brian Mazzio, who spoke to writer Lee Stranahan about the episode featuring his restaurant Finn McCool's, Ramsay was actually really calm and collected during the entire process. Stranahan reported that the Long Island-based restaurant owner "said Ramsay wasn’t confrontational, either – that he was warm, a great teacher and a good man who really responded when someone tried to bring their game up as Brian did."
The restaurants featured on Kitchen Nightmares almost always have at least a single staff member that's so bad it literally makes no sense that they've managed to hold a job. People are fired for a whole lot less. It turns out that the reason these wildly rude and incompetent servers and chefs have restaurant jobs is because they're actually actors hired for the taping of Kitchen Nightmares.
In the episode about Long Island restaurant Finn McCool's, the staff was especially egregious. A guy literally dropped a chicken wing on the floor and sent it out to be consumed by a hungry patron – caution and health codes to the wind! It turns out the man who disgraced the sacred honor of chicken wings was hired by a producer to work only when Kitchen Nightmares was filming. Was he even actually a cook?
Gordon Ramsay loves to ham things up for the camera. He spits out food, curses at his plate and in some cases, won't even consume what he's served. It shouldn't be surprising that sometimes, the food isn't anywhere near as bad as he's suggesting. Case in point: the Irish Spring Rolls at Finn McCool's. Ramsay thought the rolls were disgusting and stripped them from the menu, but they remained a customer favorite for the restaurant long after the show aired.
Of course, Ramsay is a professional and his palate has a pretty good track record. Sometimes the food on Kitchen Nightmares really is awful. A Medium writer who was present during the taping of the infamous Amy's Baking Company episode saw people sending back their food during dinner service, allegedly by their own volition and unprovoked by producers. Still, the writer notes that he didn't actually think the food was that bad. "The service was ok, the food was okay, the owner's behavior was shocking in the respect that she was insane," he wrote.