I've never followed the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. But after seeing the episode on Amy's Baking Company, I'm kind of thinking maybe I should start. Host Gordon Ramsay tries to help the struggling restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. But what he finds there can only be described as a total shit show. And oh my God, half the drama isn't even on the screen!
Where to begin? Well, Amy's Baking Company is owned by Amy and Samy Bouzaglo -- she's the chef, he's the owner/manager. They've been targeted by some harsh criticism from bloggers and Yelpers, so they agreed to do Kitchen Nightmares not so Gordon Ramsay can help them run a better restaurant, but so they can be vindicated against the haters. Can you already tell how this is going to go wrong?
Here's just a sampling of what Amy and Samy do wrong:
- Amy serves Gordon raw pizza; a burger dressed with blue cheese, marinated mushrooms, bacon bits, and truffle oil (eww!) on an understandably soggy bun; frozen ravioli you could just buy from any grocery store; and a salmon burger as dry as the Arizona climate.
- It takes forever for people to get their orders, even Gordon.
- Samy keeps his waitstaff's tips -- and even admits as much on camera!
- Samy won't let his servers use the restaurant computer system even though they don't need to be trained and it would make EVERYTHING run more smoothly. He does it all himself -- which is why he thinks he's entitled to the tips.
- The Bouzaglos have fired 100 employees -- and this is a pretty small restaurant. They have an insanely high turnover rate.
- Amy fires a server who dares ask for clarification about an order.
- Samy routinely yells at customers who don't like the food. Amy complains bitterly about the haters and says they just don't understand how real, freshly cooked food is supposed to taste. (Um, not like frozen ravioli.)
- Both Samy and Amy yell like crazy people CONSTANTLY.
- They drove Gordon Ramsay to do something he's never done before: Walk out on a restaurant.
What I couldn't understand is how they were even still in business. You'd think they would have sunk themselves by now. Amy has a short trigger and is defensive about even the tiniest bit of criticism. Samy just caves to her because, frankly, she scares the shit out of him. Both have the most insane persecution complex ever. The world is out to get them, everyone else is wrong, and they are right. And that is why Gordon, who can be quite the restaurant Mommy Dearest himself, walked out on them.
So that's just what's on the show. After it aired, a series of deranged rants appeared on the restaurant's Facebook page. Deranged rants from Amy's Baking Company? Gee Willikers, that's so unlike them. But it gets better -- Amy and Samy then claimed their Facebook paged had been hacked! Hacked, I tell you. Because they would never!
But wait, there's more. The Bouzaglos called a press conference in violation with their agreement with FOX. They canceled after FOX threatened legal action ... and also because of death threats against Amy, supposedly. (Actually, I can believe it.) But they did talk with a local station about their negative portrayal on Kitchen Nightmares. Aaaand it will surprise no one that their PR company dropped them.
Um, what else ... Oh yes! They closed down the restaurant so they could prepare for a Grand! Re-Opening! happening today. They even held a jobs fair so they could find employees to replace all those others they fired. Yikes. Well, I wish them a hearty good-luck-with-that. I swear, I kept thinking Amy and Samy had to be actors. They're just too insane to be real. But it's real all right. And I hope Kitchen Nightmares can find another restaurant almost as crazy soon.
Have you ever dined at a restaurant as dysfunctional as Amy's Baking Company?
Image via Kitchen Nightmares