The new season of “Kitchen Nightmares” is upon us. You know the show – the one where uber-famous international chef, Gordon Ramsay, invades floundering restaurants and whips their owners and employees into shape with withering tongue lashings. I admit it to be one of my guiltiest viewing pleasures, although leagues behind “Honey Boo Boo” in embarrassment.
There are numerous angles to be explored when discussing “Kitchen Nightmares”. Foremost is the fact that there are apparently a large number of restaurateurs investing beaucoup dollars into a business in which they are stupefyingly unfamiliar and untrained. Over previous seasons of the show, I’ve seen a number of co-owners of bistros and brasseries look at each other like confused guinea fowl when questioned about their backgrounds by Chef Ramsay. “No, neither of us can cook a lick,” one of them will ultimately chirp timidly. At this point, Gordon usually breaks a wooden spoon with his teeth and attempts to commit hari-kari.
Think about if people with no knowledge of a particular field opened businesses in this manner throughout America. We’d be driving around in cars with square wheels and airbags that would blow our heads off. The steel the vehicles were made from would melt on a hot day. On top of that, we have to eat an E-coli burger prepared by one of these “Kitchen Nightmares” cooks while we’re waiting for the light to turn blue? Talk about a bad dream.
Something as important as our food should be prepared by people who take tests and get certified as experts and such. Our lives are at stake, after all. And our steaks are at stake, which is almost as important here in Texas. Watching Gordon Ramsay pull tubs of unidentifiable goo from restaurant walk-ins while owners claim, “That was made Friday,” is enough to make you return to the Ramen noodles of your college days.
The lack of health department inspection is painfully evident in many cases, as well. These disasters are far beyond correction due to demerits from the health department, though. The firemen from “Fahrenheit 451” need to come in and burn these places to the ground. We can roast weenies over the coals, so it won’t be a total loss.
The show isn’t just gross – it’s controversial. Gordon Ramsay drops so many F-bombs and other “colorful” phrases that not only is he bleeped, but his mouth is blurred. Does the FCC really think this prevents the viewer from knowing what is being said? They’d have to turn Chef Ramsay into some formless smoke being from an old “Star Trek” episode for me not to know what he’s screaming. There are so many bleeps on an episode of “Kitchen Nightmares”, it could easily be mistaken for some kind of Emergency Broadcast System warning if overheard from the next room and possibly cause panic throughout Tornado Alley.
Bleeps seem to be all the rage these days. Watch any reality show, and you’ll witness teenage girls and housewives cursing like hung-over Teamsters as they struggle to claw out each others’ eyes, hair weaves flying. I half expect one of the networks to offer an hour-long “Gordon Ramsay Cooks with the cast of Jersey Shore” special. That would be the bleep-fest of all time. Ozzy and Harriet would be whirling like Dervishes in their graves, and the decline of western civilization would be nearly complete.
I’ve got a better idea. Send Gordon Ramsay into the public schools to work with the students who wreak havoc due to the lack of corporal punishment. Put the wayward kids to work in the school kitchen and let them prepare lunch for the student body under the direction of Ramsay. I think the chef would have them doing right in no time, and the program would have a higher success rate than “Beyond Scared Straight”.
Come to think of it, Gordon Ramsay is doing great and noble things. We need to be protected from the dangers of undercooked poultry, and lazy workers need to be verbally reprimanded. We could use more of that in our society. Maybe with a few less F-bombs, though.