Big Update: I got a comment from the lawyer for Martin Hyde, who is suing Ramsay and the production company over this episode. I spoke to him on the phone on October 9th and there more to the story then was shown in the episode – here’s what he said.
(If you like Gordon Ramsay, read my series of posts on Life Lessons from Chef Ramsay – here’s Part One or read my review of the U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares.)
Tonight’s episode of the U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares is already famous because Gordon Ramsay was sued for it.
â€œIâ€™m in my restaurant and Gordon Ramsay is attacking me, and thereâ€™s all these cameras and lights,â€ he described the disturbing dream sequence. â€œThen I wake up and realize it wasnâ€™t a dream.â€
(snip)[…]Mr. Hyde has charged, the week-long videotaped makeover attempt left the business in its â€œabsolute worst financial conditionâ€ in years, according to a $29 million lawsuit filed in June against Mr. Ramsay and the showâ€™s producers.
(Owner Muhammad Islam has disputed Mr. Hydeâ€™s accounting, telling Reuters that business has actually improved since the showâ€™s filming. Things mustâ€™ve been pretty dire, then. â€œCustomers?â€ The Observer overheard one off-duty employee remark on Sunday night, as two patrons unexpectedly bellied up to the restaurantâ€™s bar. â€œWhat we do now?â€)
As I mentioned in Part One of my Life Lessons From Chef Gordon Ramsay post, Ramsay has been sued before from others for ‘faking’ and he’s won. I don’t think this will turn out any differently and I predict Ramsay will prevail.
As Chow reports…
Gordon Ramsay is not a faker. Or so he tells TelevisionWeek, regarding charges that he planted rotten meat and set up a wobbly chair to make Dillons restaurant look bad for an episode of his Kitchen Nightmares series. The real problem isnâ€™t reality TVâ€™s iffy relationship with reality, he says; the real problem is the United Statesâ€™ outrageously litigious bent:
I would never-ever-ever dream of setting anything up. I want to sleep at night. We were issued a writ because, God bless America, if the toilet paper is not thick enough and you come out with a rash on your ass [youâ€™ll get sued].
Trying to say I set up a wobbly chair. This is supposed to be the most powerful nation in the world, not the most pathetic.
The Dillons lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month and ordered into arbitration.
Sadly, it also seems like the restaurant – which changed it’s name to Purnima – didn’t really learn anything. Here’s a Yelp review from last month…
This restaurant was much better before they decided to split it down the middle and become half pub/half Indian. Three years ago when I went in, I remember really enjoyed the experience and the food. Ordered the grilled chicken breast sandwich, fries, usual pub food. Tried the restaurant this year and since I am a fan of Indian I decided to try it out. The prices are a bit outrageous. The food is good but not great. Also, there were flies in the bar area and not a lot of customers. I think this place is on its way out. If it’s not, it should be. What a shame.
This map shows the location of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at The London hotel and Purnima / Dillons. Pretty close.
Kitchen Nightmares still is doing all the things I didn’t like in premier – pointless narrator and music, giveaways (this week it was steam cleaning, a makeover and hiring a bus of Indian dancers), and not enough of the real Gordon Ramsay. It’s about 50% of what the original U.K. version was. That being said, I guess I need to get used it.
Watching the episode, there’s no way I could see to not think that Martin the restaurant’s former general manager is totally batshit if he thinks he can win a lawsuit. The episode is exhibit A, B and C.
It wasn’t clear to me before that Ramsay was responsible for the name change from Dillon’s to Purnima, but I’ve found some good reviews of Purnima.
When I eat Indian food, my mouth explodes with flavor and spices. However, when you step into Purnima, your outlook changes. It is not as spicy as traditional Indian food, but still has lots of flavor. I first tried the mixed pakoras, which are like mini Chinese eggrolls, but are better and contain multitudes of flavor. Then came the samosas, which are usually filled with beef and potatoes, but instread, they were filled with creamy cheese and spinach. They had a slight hint of spice, but it is not overbearingly hot, which allows you to really enjoy the wonderful food. Next, a dish came called Anjeer Murg, which is chicken breast stuffed with spinach and figs and then gently glazed in tamarind. You might think it would be spicy, but it explodes in your mouth with diverse subtle flavors. Chef Vikas Khanna hails from the north of India, which explains why the food is not as spicy as other more common Indian food that we are exposed to. The very popular BBC television program with Gordon Ramsey, Kitchen Nightmares, has filmed one of its episodes at Purnima. Even though it airs in September, there has been lots of publicity on how Gordon Ramsey has humiliated the staff and status of the restaurant. However, when I went yesterday, there was nothing of the sort talked about by Ramsey. It was one of the most pleasureable dining experiences I’ve had and I certainly hope to be going back soon. I highly recommend it to both avid Indian food lovers and to amateurs who are just taking their baby steps into the world of global cuisine.