‘Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back’ – Fixing restaurants in a day
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Gordon Ramsay has turned around struggling businesses in the food (“Kitchen Nightmares”) and hospitality (“Hotel Hell”) industries in his TV career. Now he resolves to do it in a severely compressed time period in a series premiering this week on Fox.
In “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” premiering Wednesday, June 13, the chef, author and entrepreneur and his staff enter eateries on the verge of closing with the intent of remaking them in the course of one day – from changing menus and decor to giving ownership and staff attitude adjustments – and getting them back on the road to profitability and success.
“You know I like pressure, OK? …” he says. “So over the last three years, with the demand for (‘Kitchen Nightmares’) back, I thought ‘How do I do it better, bigger and how to I go under cover? So the ’24 Hours to Hell and Back’ theme was all about changing up, so I’d go in prosthetics and I’d have a fat suit. I’m under cover.
“Prior to me arriving, I have a rigged (closed circuit TV system), so I’ve got the collateral damage in my hands before I even get in the dining room. So the flip side of that unfortunately, when people know that I’m coming, they clean up and they get things tidy. This time, I catch them in the cold light of day basically sitting there festering in their own crap.”
In fact, the staff of businesses chosen for the series have no idea Ramsay is involved, so when he unmasks himself during a bad dinner service, the reactions are priceless. That was certainly the case in the opener, when Ramsay infiltrated a family-run upstate New York Italian restaurant beset by an owner prone to temper tantrums in front of employees and customers.
“Vinny needed putting straight; I had no problems with that,” Ramsay says. “When you have that kind of friction and that kind of negativity in a family crisis, it rubs off on the customers, it rubs off on the other members of the staff and the whole thing just becomes negative energy from the minute the lights go on in the morning. So it was about fixing him first and getting him off the shelf to calm down and … putting him right. … So it was breaking that situation down and almost rubbing his face in it in a polite way without constantly berating him when he started to slip back into his old ways.
“The aftercare we give these restaurants is huge,” he continues, “but 24 hours is not a lot of time. So yeah, people are going to think I’m a little more slightly blunt and a little bit non-caring, and that’s not true. I just haven’t got a week to stand there and kiss their a… .”