Kitchen Nightmares is back on Fox Monday, September 25, almost a decade after the Gordon Ramsay show went off the air. There are 10 episodes, with Ramsay again visiting woebegone restaurants, and figuring out how to make them viable.
Showrunner David De Angelis said viewers will see “a more intimate” version of Ramsay on the screen, as he gets to know the restaurateurs behind the struggling establishments. “He’s engaged, he’s intimate, he’s up-close-and-personal,” said De Angelis. “People don’t call him Chef Ramsay, they call him Gordon.”
De Angelis said the show retains “everything America loved about the original version,” while showcasing a more evolved host — a bit more gentle, “but still fiery as ever” when the situation calls for it.
Ramsay only visits restaurants in New York and New Jersey, which made things easier for the production team. First up is the Bel Aire Diner in Astoria, Queens. It’s a family business, the parents are set to retire and the brothers set to take over have a conflict.
The state of the place makes Ramsay physically ill. “Things came out of Gordon that weren’t supposed to come out of Gordon,” De Angelis said.
Other places that get a Ramsay visit include Bask 46 in Woodland Park, New Jersey, and El Cantito in Yonkers, New York. De Angelis said Bask 46 has a chef who calls himself the “culinary gangster. You can only imagine how that’s gonna go with Gordon.”
El Cantito opened days before the pandemic officially arrived. “It never had a chance to get started,” De Angelis said.
The pandemic is a theme of the new season. De Angelis described it as “the worst possible scenario for restaurants.” He mentioned “restaurants that were able to make it through that, but are on their last leg. We thought, there’s no better time than now” to bring the show back.
The new episodes also focus on social media, which wasn’t much of a factor in the restaurant industry when Kitchen Nightmares signed off in 2014. De Angelis called Ramsay the most prominent celebrity chef on social media, with keen insights into how savvy social platforms can grow a business. “He understands how the dining landscape has changed,” De Angelis said, noting how 60% of restaurant visitors have checked out the place’s social platforms before they visit.
Ramsay also examines the expanded role takeout plays in the post-pandemic world, and the food delivery apps that have become so prominent.
The show also focuses on the mental health of restaurant workers and looks into what restaurateurs can do to improve the work culture, and better retain employees.
Kitchen Nightmares is produced by Studio Ramsay Global and Fox Alternative Entertainment. Ramsay and De Angelis are the executive producers.
Ramsay may be a bit kinder and gentler, but he’ll still call out a restaurateur who is missing an obvious point.
“Gordon is passionate about food and service — he has the highest of high standards,” De Angelis said. “If he gets mad, there’s a reason. He says everything the audience is thinking. If he calls someone a donut, it’s because we’ve seen them do something donut-y.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.