There are a few of the Kitchen Nightmares episodes that showcase the worst of the worst when it comes all of the show’s usual tropes.
Fans have always loved watching Chef Gordon Ramsay turn failing business around on his popular restaurant-rescue reality series, Kitchen Nightmares.
However, there are three episodes which continue to stand out, with some of the “worst” family-drama, hygiene and owners in the show’s overall history.
The Kitchen Nightmares format
Kitchen Nightmares (the American version of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares) has always been one of the most popular shows in Chef Gordon Ramsay’s impressive television career.
The show follows Ramsay as he visits failing restaurants across the country, in order to lend his years of experience in the restaurant and culinary industries, to try and save these businesses before it is too late for them.
This often involves changing these restaurants’ menus and décor before the final service, but also giving the owners a much-needed reality-check, courtesy of the celebrity chef’s trademark cutting and creative insults.
Examining 3 of the worst Kitchen Nightmares episodes
When Ramsay first announced that Kitchen Nightmares would be coming to an end after seven seasons, he explained that he had “visited over 100 restaurants, meeting and trying to help or in some cases failing to help, some of the most weird and wonderful people”.
And now that the show has officially been rebooted for its long-awaited eighth season (which will be coming to Fox in September 2023), it may be time to re-visit some of the show’s not-so wonderful episodes.
There seems to be a consensus among die-hard Kitchen Nightmares fans that the “Revisited” episodes, in which Ramsay returns to some of the restaurants which he has helped in past seasons, just do not carry the same dramatic weight as the rest of the show.
But even with these episodes out of the equation, there are still a select few episodes that really do manage to place some of the worst parts about the Kitchen Nightmares format front and center.
Although these episodes are not necessarily bad to watch, (quite the opposite, in fact, as they are still some of the most-talked-about episodes from the series) they do each earn the title for being “The Worst” in terms of family-drama, poor hygiene and the owners’ willingness to brings Ramsay’s changes on board.
The Worst Family Drama: “Zayna Flaming Grill, Part 2”
Zayna Flaming Grill, a Middle Eastern restaurant located in Redondo Beach, California, was featured in a special double-episode of Kitchen Nightmares, which stretched over the seventh and eighth episodes of the seventh season in 2014.
Although it is not rare for Ramsay to encounter behind-the-counter family feuds on the series, the bickering between Zayna Flaming Grill’s two owners, aunt Fay and her niece, Brenda (as well as all of the other family members who work in the restaurant) really reached a new level in the second episode of this two-parter.
Just before the restaurant gets into gear for its final service, the boiling tensions bubble over, which results in a screaming match between all the members of the family.
The Worst Hygiene: “Dillon’s”
The portion of each Kitchen Nightmares episode where Ramsay gets to observe a service and snoop around the kitchen of the restaurant that he is visiting has become famous for delivering some of the celebrity chef’s most brutal commentary.
But Dillon’s kitchen and basement, which Ramsay inspected in the second episode of the show’s first season, still holds the top spot for the show’s most disgusting more than a decade later.
This episode made this kitchen seem so unhygienic, in fact, that Martin, one of Dillon’s managers, even ended up filing a case against Ramsay, for (among other things) fabricating some of the scenes where he found rotten meat, rat droppings and more in 2007. However, the case was ultimately settled in arbitration.
The Worst Owners: “Amy’s Baking Company”
Ramsay’s no-nonsense approach on Kitchen Nightmares has been known to bring out the worst in owners who are at their wits-end with their failing restaurants and increasing debt.
However, few of the restaurant owners who have been featured on the show over the course of its first seven seasons managed to make an impression on viewers quite like Amy and Samy, the owners of Amy’s Baking Company, did.
And while Ramsay is usually able to get the restaurant owners on his side before the final service, Amy and Samy were so unwilling to listen to Ramsay’s advice that he ultimately admitted that they were “too far gone”.
In the end, this final episode from the sixth season ended before Amy’s Baking Company could even be re-launched.