Tag Archives: Gordon Ramsay

Update-Kitchen Nightmare Beyond Hope

Update#1- 20 May: The Phoenix Business Journal is reporting that Amy’s Baking Company has canceled its planned Tuesday press conference. It also reports that Rose+Moser+Allyn Public & Online Relations, is no longer working with them. The reason for the cancellation was due to online bullying. No word why the PR firm no longer works for them.
Source:Amy’s Baking Company Dumped By New PR Firm, Press Conference Canceled Over Threats(20 May 2013.bizjournals.com)

Update#2-20 May: The Phoenix Business Journal reports that lawyers for Fox and the Kitchen Nightmares production company threatened legal action. The letter reminds them of their contractual obligations and their conduct exposes them to $100,000 in liquidated damages. You can view the letter here. Jason Rose explains the “there were differences on public relations strategies” that led to the split.
Source:Jason Rose Explains Split With Amy’s Baking Company(20 May 2013,bizjournals.com)

It is over a week since Kitchen Nightmares(KN) ended its season with Amy’s Baking Company, and it is still reverberating around the web. Yelp has seen massive amounts of reviews though most of them were not actual restaurant reviews. Many will be deleted since that violates Yelp’s Terms of Service. Comments on Yelp and other places drove Amy and Samy crazy. They used Facebook to respond and not in a kind way. Those posts have been deleted and now claim they were hacked. And they now have hired a public relations firm, Rose + Moser + Allyn Public and Online Relations to handle future communications. The damage has been done and many see their angry responses as doing more harm than good, perhaps cementing forever the image of them being crazy and flying off the handle at any criticism.


Worse it appears they will likely face an investigation by over the tips issue. According to KTAR, it is a violation of Arizona law to keep tips from servers. Despite their claim on Facebook, Samy admitted on camera he does keep tips and never shares it with servers. Now they say they do not “confiscate” tips from servers. That is an artful dodge but that is not the accusation. The accusation is (and confirmed by Samy) that do not get tips left by customers. That might be construed as possible theft if the tips are considered property of the server under Arizona law. With Samy’s admission on camera and sworn affidavits from ex-employees, Amy’s Baking Company could be hit with fines and other sanctions.

That might be just the beginning. Owing to her past criminal conviction of fraud (using someone else’s social security number to obtain a line of credit), tax authorities might check her books to make sure everything has been correctly reported. Then there is the real possibility of civil lawsuits looming over workplace harassment. Considering what was shown and what has been reported, a lawyer could make a real field day here by seeking damages.

Then there are questions as to whether she actually bakes those wonderful pastries we saw on KN. We never saw her cook any pastries and there was a Facebook entry, allegedly from Amy, that seemed to confirm the allegation. No doubt enterprising reporters will track down various bakeries in the area or beyond to see if she buys from them and resells at her store. She may use an alias in purchasing them (or even a third party) to conduct the transactions. In due course we will learn the truth. It is odd that an experienced baker would not know the difference between cooked and uncooked pizza dough as evidenced on the show.

What happened is being touted by public relations experts on how not to deal with bad publicity. Instead of getting in front of the story, they threw more gasoline on the fire rather than cooling water. And with so much negative publicity, even the best public relations expert is going to be of little help. Most predict that Amy’s Baking Company will close at some point because customers will be scarce and even Samy cannot pour money indefinitely into the restaurant to keep it afloat. Most likely they will sell the restaurant and move away no doubt cursing Scottsdale, the entire state of Arizona, and Gordon Ramsay on their way out.

Since writing this, I learned that Amy’s Baking Company is re-opening on Tuesday, 21 May. According to their Facebook page, some proceeds from reopening night“will benefit a charity organized to bring awareness to cyber bullying.” The press release also states: “The owners will likely be holding a press conference before the Grand Re-Opening and answer falsehoods depicted on a reality television show, including assertions that the restaurant confiscates tips from servers.” Again note they hedging in the above statement. It says “likely will be holding” which is not the same as will be holding. Also one wonders if this will be a real press conference or simply a venue for them to repeat their responses and accusations they have already made.

Again note the word “confiscates” is being used. Nice try but no one will believe that spin.


1. Israeli Restaurateur Goes Viral With Online Meltdown(18 May 2013,The Jerusalem Post)

2. Amy’s Baking Company Reopening On Tuesday With Sold Out Event(16 May 2013,The Huffington Post)

3. Dept. Of Labor: Amy’s Baking Company May Be In Violation Of Law(16 May 2013,KTAR)

4. Amy’s Baking Company: A Real-Life Kitchen Nightmare(14 May 2013, The Daily Beast)

Shop Amazon – Class of 2013 – Graduation Gift Ideas


Kitchen Nightmare Beyond Hope

UPDATED 16 May 2013-See Update 4 Below

Kitchen Nightmares had its season finale tonight in Scottsdale, Arizona at Amy’s Baking Company. This episode will be remembered for many startling things, none of them having to with an unsanitary kitchen. It is the first time ever, counting both the British and American shows combined, that Gordon Ramsay actually walks out saying there was nothing he could do to help them if they were not going to be able to help themselves. Amy’s Baking Company will be long remembered for a chef who could not take the mildest of criticism, firing a server for asking a question, for a husband who keeps all the tips believing the staff did not deserve it, and rudely treating guests who did not like their food or gave up waiting and tried to leave.

What makes this more startling is how the Amy Bouzaglo comes off. Her husband knows that she cannot handle criticism so returned food is tossed into the bin and says nothing to her. When Gordon criticizes her for using frozen ravioli, she gets defensive. When he tries to explain the pizza was undercooked she says it was fine. And when he points out the burger was ruined by a soggy bun and a weird combination of materials, you can see something is really amiss in her eyes and attitude. And clearly she is mad at the bad reviews she has gotten at Yelp and other places. She is like a bottle of nitroglycerin, unstable and ready to explode at the slightest movement that shakes things up.

And then there is Samy. This guy does not trust the staff so he is the only one allowed to enter in the orders servers bring to him. He will not train them to do it. There is also a doorbell to summon the washer to pick up the dirty dishes. As if keeping the tips (which could be a violation of state or federal law) was not enough, he had one of the staff wash his car. Gordon learns this by talking to two ex-employees. He learns the turnover is very high. The two say say 50 get fired but the number revealed by Sami is 150.

The relationship between husband and wife is stormy as well. They constantly argue and Gordon tries to get them to listen to the problems he sees. Except Amy will not listen. Now Gordon takes a different tact in this show. Instead of the usual scared straight approach of getting in the face with foul language, he tones it down knowing that here it will not work. He tries to ask Samy why Amy is so defensive and angry. He demurs wanting to answer that. Gordon tries talking to them at the end about the problems he sees and why she is so defensive. You can see the explosions going on in her eyes and body language. She gets up threatening to go home and gets some water. That is when, after she returns, he tells the both of them he cannot help. He realizes they are not interested in making any changes unless they are ready to make them. In his final talk to the camera later, Gordon says that they would never keep any changes he made. So he gets in his car and drives off as the production staff takes down the cameras in the restaurant.

This is a very disturbing episode of Kitchen Nightmares. This explosive husband and wife have real serious problems beyond just the ordinary problems of running a restaurant. What that is we can only speculate. However their bad treatment of servers and stealing tips ought to get some eager beaver attorney to take them on as clients and sue them. Whatever agency handles labor issues in Arizona also ought to launch an investigation of workplace harassment. And the people of Scottsdale ought to give them them the back of their hand and have nothing to do with them.

Finally this episode appears to have opened the floodgates over at Yelp. The reviews are not surprising considering what was shown. You can view them here. No doubt this will send Amy into the stratosphere about all the negative posts. I suspect more bad news is on the way.

There is a YouTube video of a news report about how Amy went after a bad Yelp review. You can view it here.

Update 1 (11 May)
Amy and Samy posted the following to their Facebook page yesterday:

We do not feel the need to make any excuses for our behavior on tonight’s show.
However we would like to make the following statement:
We do not, nor have we ever stolen or taken any of our servers ,waitresses, or waiters tips at Amy’s Baking Company.
We pay our staff members anywhere between $8.00 to $14.00 per hour to ensure that at the end of the week regardless of it being busy or not, that they go home with money and a well paid paycheck. As do many other restaurants.
They are aware of this when they are hired.
I would challenge any of our employees past or present to come forward with proof that we have ever done such a horrible thing.

So please enjoy the show!
Amy & Samy

Unfortunately, Samy admits he takes the tips and does not give them to the servers on camera.

Update 2 (13 May 2013)
Both Amy and Samy are now claiming Kitchen Nightmares misrepresented them. They deny shouting at customers and customers exaggerated problems on the show. They also say they have received death threats.
Source: Couple says they were misrepresented on ‘Kitchen Nightmares’(12 May 2013,UPI)

Update 3 (15 May 2013)
The Daily Beast has an interesting article about Amy’s Baking Company. The outrage over what was shown sparked numerous posts on Yelp (last check well over 1500 added since the show aired) and in other social media. The couple responded back on their Facebook page (posts deleted according to the article). Samy threatens legal action against those who posted negative comments and challenges them to come in a say them to his face. They now claim that recent postings on Facebook claiming to be from Samy or Amy were fake, including the one that claims they do not steal tips but pay the servers well. There is a claim that Amy does not cook the desserts on-site (and the article notes she is never seen to cook them) and possibly done by someone else (a post claiming to suggest this was also deleted). They now claim their Facebook, Twitter, and website have been hacked and they are pursuing the matter with authorities.
Source: Amy’s Baking Company: A Real-Life Kitchen Nightmare(14 May 2013, Daily Beast)

Update 4 (16 May 2013)
As reported in some forums and now confirmed, Amy Bouzaglo pled guilty in 2003 to one count of misusing a social security number to obtain a line of credit. She was sentenced to 14 months in jail, 36 months supervised release, and restitution of $36,294.95. She appealed the plea deal, which was denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals since she waived right to appeal. In 2008 she sought to modify the original sentence (she cannot be re-sentenced due to the deal in place) and submitted evidence that her life had changed (marriage, business, ties to community). At this time it is not known what decision was made. The case is U.S. v. Amanda Patricia Bossingham, U.S. District Court of Arizona, Case #02CR00477-001-PHX-MHM.
Source: Kitchen Nightmares Most Hated Couple: Owner Is Convicted Felon!( 15 May 2013, Radar Online)


Titanic Musings: Ismay Home For Sale; Titanic II update, THS Reviews and more!

1. Normally a house sale would not be here except it was once the home of J. Bruce Ismay, J. Bruce Ismayformer chairman of the White Star Line and Titanic survivor. No need to rehash that story except to note some news reports erroneously connect him as the person who boarded a lifeboat wearing women’s clothes (nope, that was not Ismay). Costello Lodge, in Casla, Galway Ireland was once his home from 1914-1939. Also some reports indicate he exiled himself there after Titanic’s demise but that is not true. He did other things but led a quieter life outside the public. The property has changed hands over the years and the current owners, Jack and Agnes Toohey, purchased it in 1981. It goes up for auction tomorrow and you can read the details of the property here.

Needless to say this has generated a buzz with many people wanting to see the place where Ismay once lived. A recent auction of things inside the house drew a large crowd though very little was from Ismay. According to Galway News, so many people showed up they had an overflow crowd. The auction lasted from 12 noon until 9pm, the longest that auctioneer had ever conducted an auction. There was some Titanic memorabilia but most came from the current owners. 74 years after his death, Ismay still generates interest.

2. Titanic II Updates-Signs that Titanic II is proceeding forward are indicated with Palmer’s White Star Line inking an agreement with V.Ships Leisure that will be providing ship management services. According to Marine Log: “V.Ships Leisure 200 shore-based and 7,000 crew members provide services to more than 120 cruise ships, ferries and super yachts. These services are in many cases customised to meet the specific needs of clients including the ability to provide integrated deck and engine and hotel management as part of the same service offering.”

Clive Palmer also reports that applications to work on Titanic II are coming in. While some are applying to captain it, Palmer says the best jobs will be the activities director along with the head of food services. If recent meals at his Titanic announcement parties are any indication, you will not be taking Titanic II for its low calorie food.

3. Titanic Commutator, the official publication of Titanic Historical Society, had reviews for two books in its recent edition of current interest.  One is Steven Turner’s The Band That Played On about the famous Titanic musicians. Tim Trower gives this book mostly high marks saying it is well researched and gives good overview of who these musicians–including that of Wallace Hartley–were. Yvonne Carroll’s book, A Hymn for Eternity, is focused on Wallace Hartley although it covers the other musicians as well. Turner is enthusiastic about this book. “During a time that has seen a plethora of ”must have” books, this reprinted (and corrected) slim volume of  A Hymn For Eternity is a book that I would willingly spend part of my rapidly diminishing book budget on…” (Okay, full disclaimer here. This site is partnered with Amazon so I will shamelessly plug these books in this blog. It is your choice to buy them or not.)

4. Gordon Ramsey, the fiery chef of Hell’s Kitchen(HK), recently admitted in a news interview that many cheftestants were chosen not for their cooking skills but entertainment value. Really? I am shocked like Claude Rain’s character was in Casablanca to learn there was gambling going on. Everyone who has watched this show long enough knows they stack it either with actors or those with low kitchen skills to create drama for the show. And it works since it usually gets Ramsey yelling that they are a bunch of donkeys! In Kitchen Nightmares(KN) it is no secret they often have people come in to specifically say how bad the food is (which is not so hard considering that Gordon has tasted the food already). KN is a different show from HK with real restaurants run by the clueless, foolish, and sometimes arrogant owners who have totally messed up their business. And usually the restaurants are in dire need of his help because things are going bad. They just do no realize how bad until he digs around and shows them.

I have been watching, thanks to Netflix streaming, not only the UK version but now the U.S. version as well. I have gotten to the end of season 2 and it really is astonishing what he does find. Statistics are also interesting. 7 out of 9 restaurants in the first season (US) closed. In season 2 all the restaurants are closed. The reasons for closure can vary but fall into distinct groups:

1) Failure to change
Not long after the show aired, the owner/chef decided to go back to the way it was. Customers dropped off again leading to closure. They usually blame it on Gordon for changing the menu.

2) Financial
Debts are so high that even if the restaurant is successful, it cannot be sustained.

3) Government shut down/Eviction by landlord
Restaurants have to pay taxes and if they do not, the state shows up and shutters the place. That has happened to several restaurants Gordon helped. Sometimes the owner goes on and establishes himself elsewhere. Others fold up and go away. Another reason is the landlord raises the rent forcing the restaurant out of business. This happened in the UK version and in the U.S. one as well.

4) Economic downturn/Changing tastes
Many restaurants folded in recent years due to the economic downturn. People stopped spending money in restaurants and financing became tougher to obtain. Another reason is customers tastes change. Many notable old fashioned Italian restaurants in San Francisco have closed in recent years. These old style family places are out of sync in a city that wants more trendy, lighter fare (but there are exceptions to that rule). Their clientele became older and younger people were no longer coming in.

Of course that recent fellow down in Nashville, the one who wears that silly toque and stripped pants, falls into category 1. He knew KN would show the unsanitary conditions, how he cooked fish and meat together (a major faux pas) and generally disdainful of the local people would get bad press for him. So he picked up the phone and called that prize winning newspaper, National Enquirer, to vent before the show aired. He claimed Gordon had wrecked his business by changing the menu, making him wear real pants and take off the toque, and really cook good food again. Yet we know his restaurant is suffering. A news report from 2012 says he was near foreclosure but obviously managed to get financing. He was forced to admit, just before the show aired, that people were going to see things they did not like. Since he has returned to the old menu (and one one wonders that hideous décor), he too may be closing his doors in a year like many others. Blaming it on Gordon is convenient but in the end the restaurant owner has to take responsibility.

Ismay House
1) For Sale: Infamous Titanic Survivor’s Connemara Retreat(3 May 2013, Daily Business Post)*
2) Connemara Auction Generates ‘Titanic’ Spending Spree(7 May 2013, Irish Times)*
3) Thousands Turn Out For Titanic Auction(9 May 2013, Galway News)*

Titanic II
1)V. Ships Leisure To Be Titanic II Ship Manager(7 May 2013, Marine Log)
2) Clive Palmer Says Staff On Titanic II Will Receive More Than A Pay Cheque(8 May 2013, The Australian)

Hell’s Kitchen/Kitchen Nightmares
1)Gordon Ramsay Admits Some Hell’s Kitchen Chefs Not Cast For Their Talent(blog)(6 May 2013, realityblurred.com)
2)Exclusive Interview: “Gordon Ramsay Wrecked My Business!”(26 Mar 2013, National Enquirer)
3)Chappy’s On Church Facing Foreclosure(25 Jan 2012, Nashville Business Journal)

*We do not provide links to Republic of Ireland newspapers due to policy of demanding payment for links.