The world knows Gordon Ramsay as the angriest chef ever, and this reputation was first forged in the best episodes of Kitchen Nightmares. Known in the UK as Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA, Kitchen Nightmares sees the world-renowned chef diving headfirst into the most stressful and counter-productive kitchens, in which Ramsay tries to fix the problems of entire restaurants. The series was renewed for a revival in May 2023.
As a result of the show, the word “raw” now has a new connotation regarding cooking, thanks to iconic Chef Gordon Ramsay. Even before Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay memes have immortalized his outbursts and breakdowns in the best Kitchen Nightmares episodes. Thanks to the stress Ramsay experienced on the show, many episodes are timeless TV. It’s time to share the most watchable episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, from the best Gordon Ramsay meltdowns to the contestants whose kitchens still defy belief, multiple rewatches later.
15 The Runaway Girl
In “The Runaway Girl,” Gordon Ramsay comes across a bar/nightclub run by two friends (for a change) instead of a family. Just the same, The Runaway Girl was being run into the ground by the owner Justin, who kept disagreeing with his head chef and best friend, Ritchie. Things heated up to the point that Ritchie just couldn’t handle his friend anymore, so he lashed out at him, better than Gordon Ramsay ever could. It’s a breakdown so intense and sincere that even Ramsay’s mouth hung open due to the best friend’s litany. It was a great Kitchen Nightmares episode.
14 Black Pearl
Owned by one of Kitchen Nightmares‘ most erratic restaurant owners, with partners whom Ramsay dubbed Grumpy, Sleepy, and Dopey, the Black Pearl’s owners hoped the eatery would become the best lobster restaurant in Manhattan, NYC. Infamously, “Black Pearl” was also the episode in which Gordon Ramsay compares the experience of dining in the restaurant to eating a wet diaper. That said, while the worst train wrecks on the show are primarily considered the best episodes Of Kitchen Nightmares, “Black Pearl” brings something fresh to the table through Stephen. That server catered to Ramsay, had great chemistry with the chef, and gave viewers someone to root for.
13 Hot Potato Café
Hot Potato Cafe in Fishtown, Philadelphia, is owned and managed by three sisters who have lost their passion for the business. Though it’s certainly not one of Kitchen Nightmares‘ worst restaurants, “Hot Potato Cafe” counts among Kitchen Nightmares‘ best episodes for the ability of Claire (one of the owners) to roll with the punches. Another highlight is their niece and head chef, Danielle. In “Hot Potato Cafe,” Danielle may be the only one who could save the business, even though she doesn’t consider working in the family business much of a career choice.
12 La Galleria 33
Families usually run Italian restaurants because this allows them to preserve their traditions and food. For La Galleria 33, however, luck has run out on its current generation of inheritors. In Kitchen Nightmares’ “La Galleria 33,” two vastly different sisters who got the restaurants from their parents are in charge of the business. One suffers from problems with alcohol, and even drinks in the restaurant, while the other is an escapist who runs from all her problems. While the most memorable Gordon Ramsay quotes in Kitchen Nightmares‘ best episodes are typically negative, “La Galleria 33” is when Ramsay was kinder, as the owners needed that from him.
11 The Fenwick Arms
Undoubtedly one of Kitchen Nightmares’ best episodes, “The Fenwick Arms,” is a curious case of restaurant owners not knowing what pub food is supposed to be like – and Ramsay threatening to smash something over their heads if they don’t straighten up. Even so, fewer tears and drama are involved since this one belongs to Kitchen Nightmares UK from BBC, meaning it’s one of the old classics. The owner himself is the one who cooks the food and decides everything else. This proved to be the pub’s undoing. He kept trying to incorporate fine dining elements into an English pub, along with some fancy food.
10 Spin A Yarn
In a classic case of a husband and wife managing their business like a marriage, and running both into the ground, Kitchen Nightmares’ “Spin A Yarn” sees Gordon Ramsay’s background and extensive management experience again being used. As usual, the owner couple blames their restaurant for their dying marriage, when the restaurant was simply the impending final nail in the coffin. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything Ramsay couldn’t handle. “Spin A Yarn” remains one of Kitchen Nightmares’ best episodes today.
9 Piccolo Teatro
“Piccolo Teatro” is another episode in the BBC version of Kitchen Nightmares, and this time around, Ramsay takes a trip to Paris, France. One would think a restaurant in the culinary world’s capital would be no slouch, but Piccolo Teatro is different. Apart from being a vegetarian restaurant in a veritable mecca for meat-eaters, the chef is a little too eccentric for optimal operation in a busy kitchen. Ramsay even had to carry the wild French chef out. Piccolo Teatro’s unintended comedy cements its place among the best episodes of Kitchen Nightmares.
8 Mill Streets Bistro Part 1 & 2
One of Kitchen Nightmares‘ best arguments happens between Mill Street Bistro owner Joe Nagy and Gordon Ramsay. Joe Nagy throws out anyone who disagrees with him in his restaurant, including the world-famous chef. It’s an operation so dysfunctional that Kitchen Nightmares needed two episodes of “Mill Street Bistro” to include all the viewable drama in the restaurant. Fueled by Nagy’s delusions of grandeur, this restaurant is the most pretentious fine dining establishment to be covered in Kitchen Nightmares, prompting an enraged Ramsay to fire back.
Sebastian’s is a restaurant situated in California, and it’s run by the most tyrannical pizzeria boss ever. His staff even admitted to the abrasive behavior (and infantile tantrums) of Sebastian, the owner. Sebastian was proud to have designed the whole menu himself, which was disastrous, as the menu was so confusing and overwhelming that customers even needed a walkthrough. Although “Sebastian’s” isn’t Ramsay’s worst confrontation, it remains among Kitchen Nightmares’ wildest episodes, thanks to the owner himself sabotaging Ramsay’s best efforts – on top of Sebastian’s dramatic tantrums.
Oceana from New Orleans is apparently in a good spot right now, and they probably have Kitchen Nightmares and Gordon Ramsay to thank for that, at least in part. However, when it was struggling, “Oceana” made for one of the funniest and best Kitchen Nightmares episodes ever. This was thanks to the two owners of Oceana, brothers Rami and Moe. This iconic episode is also known as the “busy idiot” episode – it’s where the American brothers thought Ramsay didn’t speak English because he was British.
5 Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack
“Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack” is one of the reasons why the British version of the show is arguably better than the American version of Kitchen Nightmares. In a quick turn of fate, Gordon Ramsay loved the meat served in Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack. It’s arguably the best episode of Kitchen Nightmares’ BBC run. Indeed, there was nothing wrong with the food in Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack – all they needed was a little push and promotion, and more efficient management, to turn things around. The star of the episode, however, remains Momma Cherri. She has so much enthusiasm for soul food and cooking.
4 Prohibition Grille
Kitchen Nightmares‘ “Prohibition Grille” revealed a restaurant with a lot of promise – hilariously held back by owner Rishi being more interested in belly dancing for customers. Assuring the quality of the food was secondary. At first, any changes to the restaurant that Ramsay proposed were met with Rishi’s cluelessness, and unwavering dedication to the fine art of dance. Ultimately, Rishi infamously became one of the recipients of Gordon Ramsay’s tough love, resulting in a much-needed breakdown that finally pushed Rishi to receive the chef’s advice logically.
Dillons is one of the most ambitious restaurants featured in Kitchen Nightmares, focusing on combining Indian and British cuisine. Not surprisingly, “Dillons” is one of the first few episodes of the American version of Kitchen Nightmares, where Ramsay is bombarded with many problems. The restaurant was filthy and infested; half the food they were cooking was rotten, and there was a language barrier among the staff. Finally, Dillons had three managers – all of whom disagreed with each other. It’s one of the episodes where Ramsay just had to sit down and continually rub his eyes to relieve stress.
2 Hannah & Mason’s
Kitchen Nightmares’ “Hannah & Mason’s” is one of the first episodes in which Gordon Ramsay went berserk over raw meat. Inspiring the now-iconic “raw” meme. Former kitchen workers turned owners Chris and Brian earn the chef’s ire when Ramsay discovers raw chicken contaminating Hannah & Mason’s freezer. After repeatedly screaming, “Raw chicken?!” in disbelief, Ramsay shuts down the restaurant to prevent food poisoning, and finds ways to turn things around.
1 Amy’s Baking Company
Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona was the mountain to Gordon Ramsay’s raging hurricane. It features the most delusional married couple to own a restaurant, who called Ramsay so he could tell the world that their food was good (it wasn’t). They didn’t want Ramsay to fix things. It’s the only restaurant whose owners have threatened Ramsay and the customers. Even Dr. Phil had to chime in on the couple’s problems. Amy’s Baking Company is now permanently closed, and the people of Scottsdale, Arizona, are safe and sound. Many viewers still consider Amy’s Baking Company the best Kitchen Nightmares episode.
This story originally appeared on Screenrant