Despite some unconfirmed rumors about what happened to Rachel McNally after Kitchen Nightmares, not much is known about this former Piccolo Teatro owner.
When Gordon Ramsay and his team first arrived at the Parisian-vegetarian restaurant, Piccolo Teatro to film for the UK-based Kitchen Nightmares show (officially titled Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares), three main issues emerged.
Firstly, the restaurant was tiny and was serving food which Ramsay determined to be an “insult” to vegetarian cuisine. Secondly, the vegetarian market was severely limiting the restaurant’s ability to attract new customers.
And lastly, there seemed to be an apparent lack of commitment from the restaurant’s staff, and especially the restaurant’s owner, Rachel McNally.
By the time that Ramsay re-launched Piccolo Teatro, he managed to fix the restaurant’s menu and most of the issues with its staff.
But sadly the end of the episode revealed that his intervention was simply not effective enough to keep McNally involved and the restaurant eventually closed down before the episode could even be wrapped up.
About the rumors that Rachel McNally became a £200 prostitute
However, in a rather surprising turn of events, The Sun reported in 2010 that McNally had turned to a life of sex work after the restaurant shut its doors.
This article suggests that McNally had been left “penniless and on the street” after Ramsay’s makeover reportedly did “absolutely nothing” to help her failing restaurant.
But although this narrative is certainly compelling, there is really just no concrete evidence to back it up. McNally has no real presence on social media, so it is difficult to verify what she has been up to since this episode aired in 2007.
But it is difficult to imagine that her father – who funded the restaurant, had met with Ramsay to explain why it closed, and even reportedly ran a few lunch services with the restaurant’s replacement chef, India Innes – would just cut his daughter off suddenly when the restaurant closed.
These rumors have also never been verified by any other news source or publication in the last 15 years.
All about Piccolo Teatro’s closure
If you have not watched this episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in a while, you may have forgotten that Ramsay actually went back to the restaurant just six weeks after his initial visit.
Upon his return, Ramsay found that the restaurant had shut its doors, and Innes later informed this celebrity chef that Rachel actually just never returned after Ramsay left.
In the end, this rather jumbled timeline can be summarized as follows:
|Gordon Ramsay and the Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares team first arrive to film the episode
|Gordon Ramsay returns to the restaurant, which has already been closed
|The “Piccolo Teatro” episode first premieres
How Rachel McNally allegedly felt about her Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares experience
The same article that claims McNally left the restaurant industry behind completely after Ramsay’s failed visit to Piccolo Teatro also included a few other alleged quotes from the restaurant’s former owner.
And while this would certainly not be the first instance in Kitchen Nightmares history where an owner was less-than thrilled about their filming experiences, it was perhaps one of the first instances where the owner claimed that Ramsay flirted with them behind the scenes.
Apparently, McNally felt like Ramsay’s interests were not purely professional during his visit, stating: “[Ramsay] was a right flirt, showing as much interest in impressing me as sorting out the kitchen.”
The one Piccolo Teatro story that can be verified
While there still may be some uncertainty about where McNally ended up after her restaurant closed its doors, the restaurant’s new chef, only had to wonder about her future for a short while before Ramsay stepped in.
Ramsay was so impressed with Innes’s work during the filming for this episode that he offered her the chance to work at his Boxwood Café restaurant when he found out that Piccolo Teatro had closed.
From there, Innes went on to work at some of the biggest restaurants in the world, including Shaw's International Bistro and Café Fish.
The restaurant that took Piccolo Teatro’s place
McNally’s vision for creating a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Paris may not have worked out as planned, but it seems like her restaurant’s replacement has been doing just fine.
L'Alimentari, which is the Italian restaurant that opened in the former Piccolo Teatro space in 2012, is still open today, and the restaurant has mostly positive reviews.
In fact, L'Alimentari currently has a 4 out of 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, with the most recent review (posted in May 2023) stating: “It is tiny yet cozy and the food really good”.