KITCHEN NIGHTMARES “Blackberry’s” Review

Kitchen Nightmares (FOX) "Blackberry’s"

Kitchen Nightmares Season 3 Episode 1 – Gordon Ramsey is back with the show that’s one of the main reasons I rarely eat out. It’s also one of those things that once I start watching, I just can’t look away. KITCHEN NIGHTMARES holds me transfixed, staring at the TV, while at the back of my mind, I am wondering about that one restaurant I ate at that one time. Tonight, as I watch Ramsey pray he doesn’t die from food poisoning, I really wonder if I have inadvertently eaten at some place like “Blackberry’s” in New Jersey.

It just gives me the creeps sometimes, you know?

Watching owner Shelley prepare the first meal for the Ramsey, it was just terrifying. Pulling food that was disgusting out of bowls and putting it on plates, and then somehow thinking it was not only edible but good was mind-blowing. The final dish Ramsey presented with, had it been me, I would have run screaming from the restaurant. Screaming. I would never have gotten as far as Ramsey, never have tasted. Of course, I would never have barfed my guts out either. Of course—as is typical on Kitchen Nightmares—one component of the meal was good, the dessert cooked by Shelley’s mother.

Of course all that was before the mice showed up.

Well, one mouse. Then the manager accuses Ramsey of bringing the mouse in for TV, even though the staff is muttering about a plethora of the rodents that have populated the place in the past. Of course, what’s wrong with a rodent or two? It’s not like they are related to anything that once, long ago, had a hand in wiping out most of Europe with the Black Death.

Anyone for dinner out?

Time for the confrontation number one. First comes the yelling, then the groveling, then the apologizing. The upshot is Ramsey hangs around long enough to see what we all know will be a horrific dinner service. Dinner has barely started and that vein in Ramsey’s head is already beginning to bulge. It’s just awesome to watch. His bewilderment, his horror, his stunned anger. It’s what makes Kitchen Nightmares so much fun. As the customers wait longer and longer, Ramsey sees things getting worse and worse, and the staff—the staff is saying they need prayer.

Oh, yeah, I so want to eat there.

Time for confrontation number two, one of my most favorite. Staff against owner. It always goes so well, the warm fuzzy feelings just abound and all is made well in a few short moments. Not. Starting off the conversation with words like “control freak” just guarantees that things are going to go well. Shelley starts screaming almost immediately. So much fun. And of course, they all agree to a happy, open-minded communicative restaurant after a little crying and complaining and screaming.

Why can’t I look away?

I’ve never figured that out. I’ve been hooked on this show since it first aired. Even though I pretty much know what’s going to happen. It comes as close to scripted as it can come and still be reality. Ramsey comes, it’s terrible, it gets worse, confrontation, sudden turn around and a possible happily ever after ending. And I am back every week. I think part of it is that part of me that loved the gross and gooey as a kid, the part of me that revels in a bad horror film or a bloody mystery. Part of it is an ongoing fascination with humanity in all it’s failings and foibles. And then of course Gordon Ramsey. I love watching that vein bulge, it’s wrong of me I know. Someday his head will probably explode, and it will be restaurants like those on Kitchen Nightmares that will do it. But with “Blackberry’s” the show has once again given me everything that I love about Kitchen Nightmares. Bad food, horror movie-level restaurant and truly epic human drama. And if I am really lucky rodents and insects. Until next week I will be happily eating home-cooked meals, and avoiding the risk of stumbling into a restaurant that will give me Kitchen Nightmares.

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  • Anonymous

    I missed the end of this one. What happened?

    • Anonymous

      Shelley flipped out and left the restaurant. Lucky for her the staff pulled together and managed to finish dinner. When Ramsey left she was still gone, but in the little recap, she came back and it was a happy ending–at least for now. She’s put all the changes in place and the staff is getting along.

  • uncommonsensesc

    Actually you got the events out of sequence – Ramsey found the dead mouse as soon as he walked in the door. Then Shelley (one of the owners) and the large guy accused him of planting it! I honestly don’t know why he doesn’t walk out sometimes and just let them go out of business. The part that really shows that Shelley is a POS is at the end where, after she refuses to talk to Ramsey or the staff or her mother, she says she likes the changes and has been using them, and accepts the compliments like the improvements were all her ideas! Mateen (the sous chef) was correct that she doesn’t deserve the restaurant or any help on improving it!  Ungrateful POS!

  • Mfisher0721

    As a restaurateur, I would give my eyeteeth to have the publicity generated from the assistance of a world renowned chef like Gordon Ramsey, as well as the privilege of learning all I could from him. I watch these cocky idiots who berate him when he is trying to help them turn their businesses around, and it makes my blood boil!!! Almost all of them think everything they do is right…and can’t figure out why their businesses are failing. 

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