Here’s a follow up to my previous post about Finn McCool’s.
I just had a very nice conversation with Finn McCool’s owner Buddy Mazzio and chef Brian Mazzio, who were featured on last night’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay. They both were genuinely nice people and the banter you saw on the show – that’s totally real. A lot of ribbing back and forth between father and son while they talked to me
They also both thought the experience was totally positive. They had a viewing party last night to a packed house and was also packed when we talked today. They’ve also been getting congratulations from all over the world on the show, including a fax from Ireland.
They got picked for Kitchen Nightmares after Brian was going through the casting process for another Gordon Ramsay show, Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Brian is a single father of a five year old and in order to do Hell’s Kitchen, he would have had to have gone to Los Angeles for six weeks which he says would have been torture. So a producer suggested Kitchen Nightmares and the rest is history.
Business has been booming since Ramsay taped there in late February and Buddy said they are proud that they’ve ‘stuck to the program’, which includes Gordon Ramsay’s belief in fresh, local ingredients. Finn McCool’s got rid of their freezer for almost everything except french fries, buys their seafood locally and even has their own herb garden where they grow everything from arugula and zucchini to rosemary and parsley.
The show worked out well for the Mazzio’s but the show wasn’t completely accurate. It’s too bad that Fox piles on the fake drama, because the truth is more interesting.
For one thing, Brian was a lot less confrontational in real life than on the show. Brian is obviously a huge Ramsay fan and was completely open to Ramsay’s suggestions. And Buddy said Ramsay wasn’t confrontational, either – that he was warm, a great teacher and a good man who really responded when someone tried to bring their game up as Brian did.
In fact, Buddy said it was Brian who insisted that they stick to Ramsay’s menu when some of Finn McCool’s regulars wanted Buddy to bring back the fried ‘bar food’.
Another fabrication – Brian never walked out on the family. That van you saw driving away? That was the plumber. Really. The power of editing.
What actually happened was Ramsay wanted to see Jason (the bartender brother) and Brian to switch places to appreciate each other’s jobs. Then Ramsay put Buddy into the kitchen so he’d see what it was like. I actually would have liked to have seen all of that; it’s a great idea but I guess it wasn’t ‘confrontational’ so they made up the “Brian Storms Out!” part.
Remember that guy who dropped the chicken wing on the floor, then put it in the fryer and then on a plate? He doesn’t work at Finn McCool’s – he was hired to work the days that Kitchen Nightmares was taping at the producer’s suggestion.
Also, the show did overbook the restaurant on purpose in order to create drama. They usually book 50, the producers booked 150.
The Irish Spring Rolls that Ramsay hated? Still on the menu because people love them and Buddy said they are delicious. Buddy said they’ll be selling an Irish Spring Roll T-Shirt online soon because now they’re famous.
And Ramsay’s cooking? Buddy said “Honest to god, the Shepard’s Pie is the best you’ll ever have. Ramsay uses a lot of ingredients that you wouldn’t expect and it tastes really amazing.”
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