Ask anyone what they think of when they hear the name Gordon Ramsay, and one of his famously bold and brash lines most likely comes to mind. Ramsay’s red-hot passion for food can be seen from miles away — and heard from the same distance. He’s normally seen among a panel of professional chefs on “MasterChef” or serving patrons on “Hell’s Kitchen,” but one of his most well-known appearances is on the hit series “Kitchen Nightmares,” where he uses his strong culinary background to try to bring failing restaurants to success.
The binge-worthy reality TV show saw its last episode in 2014, but a series revival after an almost 10-year hiatus was recently announced. Every episode is worth a watch, but we’ve curated a list of our favorites to help you gear up for the new season. Bring an extra bucket of popcorn — and maybe some earplugs.
Did we include one of your favorite episodes? If not, tell us which one in the comments below!
‘Peter’s’ (S1, E1)
Where better to begin than the episode that started it all? In the premiere episode of “Kitchen Nightmares,” Ramsay visits an Italian restaurant called Peter’s in Babylon, New York. Besides the lackluster food and dated decor, the restaurant suffers from the restaurant’s namesake manager. His arrogant attitude makes him prone to outbursts of anger if anyone crosses him, and his love for a lavish lifestyle full of clean suits and fast cars means the restaurant is constantly in financial turmoil. Combined with a concerned owner and frustrated head chef, Ramsay walks into the ultimate family feud for his first restaurant assignment.
‘Black Pearl’ (S2, E5)
It takes a mighty good captain to run a strong pirate’s crew, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at Black Pearl in New York City. Despite having three owners, the staff at this seafood restaurant has consistently brought up issues regarding their lack of management, constant interference with the kitchen, and overall inability to take responsibility for their poor leadership. After an all-hands meeting following a disastrous dining experience with Ramsay — complete with a stubborn and sarcastic co-owner — the staff realizes there’s one bad apple on the leadership team souring the whole barrel.
‘Mojito’ (S3, E4)
Mojito is the only Cuban restaurant in Brooklyn, and it’s also the only restaurant owned by recently divorced couple Marcelo and Katalina. They went into the restaurant business as newlyweds, but stress began to kick in just a year after Mojito opened. Constant fighting and butting heads in the kitchen led the couple to separate, but they still operated the restaurant as partners. The business tarnished their relationship, but Ramsay realizes during his visit that it could also be the thing to bring them together again.
‘Zeke’s’ (S4, E13)
This Louisiana restaurant is the perfect example of what happens when business owners choose quantity over quality. Zeke’s used to pride itself on delicious Southern food, but that vision came to a halt when Zeke Unangst, the previous owner, passed away during Hurricane Katrina. When new owners Darryl and Ellen Cortello came in and started cutting costs in order to break even, the staff began to feel the pressure overtaking their freedom in the kitchen. They’re between a rock and a hard place since every staff member has memories tied to the restaurant, and it’s up to Ramsay to bring them back to the good ol’ days.
‘Luigi’s D’Italia’ (S5, E4)
Owners fighting with their staff in a restaurant is a recurring theme on “Kitchen Nightmares,” and Luigi’s D’Italia is no exception. After the owner retires and moves to Italy, his sons, Luigi and Tony, take over the family business. The ownership changed, but the food and decor did not. The brothers also have vastly different management styles, which results in constant fighting that quickly reaches the staff and customers. It doesn’t take long for Gordon to get a taste of the experience when he first visits the restaurant, but it takes him a while to bring the restaurant — and the family — together.
‘Amy’s Baking Company’ (S6, E16)
In possibly the most popular episode of “Kitchen Nightmares,” Gordon visits Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, to meet a husband-and-wife duo who are extremely resilient to customer feedback. Arguing with customers in the restaurant isn’t enough for them — they also fight back against online reviews, calling them trolls who are keen on destroying their business. It’s a shame because Amy’s baked goods receive praise from customers and Ramsay himself. After the episode aired, Amy became the face of many viral memes and received additional backlash for her and Samy’s aggressive and demeaning behavior toward their staff. If you can watch only one of our suggestions, this is it.
‘Pantaleone’s’ (S7, E2)
If it’s not anger, it’s delusion. Pantaleone’s in Denver supposedly has Denver’s best pizza, but the staff and customers think otherwise. The only person enjoying it and the rest of the menu is owner and chef Pete. With an ego even bigger than his portions, he has a history of refusing to change the way he runs his restaurant, no matter how many times his wife and son — who also work there — try to tell him. If they can’t get through to him, Ramsay definitely will.
Season 8 of “Kitchen Nightmares” premieres on FOX on Sept. 25.