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5 of the Most Controversial Episodes of Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares"

Gordon Ramsay started his television career with the show "Boiling Point" and has been a star ever since.


Cafe Hon

While the restaurants featured in Kitchen Nightmares may not have the most sterling of reputations, not many of them get death threats from angry customers. Cafe Hon certainly got the ire of Baltimore residents as its owner Denise Whiting trademarked the term "hon" and threatened to sue anyone who used it.

While on the surface this seems harmless, the word "hon," which is short for honey, is important to Baltimore residents. It is their term of endearment and has long been used by them even before Denise put up her restaurant.

Denise wanted the trademark as she wanted to use it for her restaurant's merchandise.

What she should have done is file a trademark to use Cafe Hon on different forms of merchandise and not the word "hon" itself.

In the end, Gordon knocked some sense into her and she apologized for her actions over the local radio station and she promised to no longer pursue trademarking the word "hon."


Amy's Baking Company

This is perhaps the most famous episode in the entire series. The owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo were absolute psychos and were very aggressive towards customers, employees and towards Chef Gordon Ramsay.

While the food was slow to come out and was not very good, the restaurant had some pretty good pastries. The restaurant's kitchen was surprisingly clean and organized as well. The restaurant's interiors were not too shabby as well.

Gordon tried his earnest to help Samy and Amy. Unfortunately, they were just too stubborn. In the end, Gordon gave up and walked out of the restaurant. There was no big reveal of renovated interiors or a brand new menu as is usual with the show's format. Gordon says he had plans for the restaurant but sadly we will never know what those were.

Samy and Amy became famous because of the show and they went viral. So many memes and videos were made about them and their restaurant. They even made an appearance on Dr. Phil's show.


Down City

Abby Cabral and her best friend Rico Conforti bought Down City in 2005. Initially, business was good, but it had since dwindled. This is mainly because of Abby's attitude towards customers. She says she fires customers. She is no better towards her own employees either. Abby has quite the reputation.

This is surprising behavior by Abby as she has been in the restaurant industry for three decades, so she should have known better.

Abby rated their food with a perfect score. Gordon was not impressed as Down City did room service for the nearby hotel. The experience he had with their food was less than satisfactory. This was a precursor of things to come.

Just as he had done in previous episodes, Gordon sampled the food. He was not satisfied. He was also appalled with the kitchen as it was disorganized and there was some rotten food in the walk-in freezer.

Gordon and Abby got into a heated shouting match and she chased Gordon out of the restaurant.

Abby ran the restaurant so poorly that during dinner service, she ended up 86ing almost everything on the menu.

Gordon tried to reason with the much friendlier Rico and tried to get through Abby. Abby finally ceded and implemented Gordon's menu changes.



Surprisingly, Dillon's turned out to be a mish-mash of American, Irish and Indian cuisine.

This was bad as it did not establish an identity for the restaurant. To further add to this, the restaurant had what looked like hospital linen on its walls.

The restaurant was one of the filthiest as well. Flies greeted Gordon as he went inside the restaurant. The refrigerator was a breeding ground for roaches. The bags of vegetables were a breeding ground for flies. The kitchen also violated many safety protocols.

The restaurant had three managers - Martin, Andrew and Khan. Despite this, the restaurant was not well run.

Martin, the general manager, can be seen on his cellphone several times and had time to flirt with the waitress.

Gordon accused Martin of fleecing the owner. He eventually got Martin fired.

Martin later sued Ramsay for $3 million and claimed that the show damaged his career. He also tried to stop the show from airing. He did not succeed.



Campania was one of the episodes that had a tragic ending after the show aired.

Joseph Cerniglia bought the successful Campania restaurant with the hop that it could provide for his wife Melissa and their kids. Sadly, in the 18 months with him at the helm, he managed to accumulate $200,000 in debt as he did not run the restaurant in a professional manner. It was overstaffed and he failed to control food costs.

As usual, Gordon tried to work his magic on the failing restaurant. There seemed to be hope for the Campania as Gordon implemented changes to improve food quality and reduce food costs.

The relaunch was a success and Joe even went on to win some cooking contests after the show aired.

Sadly, Joe ended up with a broken marriage. He also sold his restaurant to a holding corporation.

With all his personal problems getting the best of him, Joe ended his misery by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Controversial Episodes

© 2020 Jan Michael Ong

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