Let me clarify my title up front; it’s really not the guy who gives me the willies but what he does. Here in Torrevieja Spain on the local cable TV they show lots of American television shows. One of them is Kitchen Nightmares hosted by celebrated and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
On each episode Gordon enters a dysfunctional restaurant and after interviewing the staff and owners; after eating some of the food; and after watching them in action, he slices and dices the establishment until he reduces the place to a pile of rubble so that he can help them rebuild. In restaurants where the décor makes you as sick as the food Gordon’s staff redecorates the place while he works his magic on the menu and the restaurant staff’s personalities.
The real horror of the show is in how disgusting the practices are inside the kitchens in almost all of these restaurants, many of them spread throughout the United States.
Before we began to travel the world I lived in California for many years and in this state all restaurants are required to display a report card that they receive from the Department of Health on how their restaurant is doing. If you have visited California or live there seeing an A, a B or a C in a restaurant window should be cause for not just celebration but comfort. I know I won’t eat in any place that doesn’t have an A in its window.
This grading system however does not exist in many of the other states in the US and certainly not in any of the other countries we have visited thus far. After watching Kitchen Nightmares how I wish the World Health Organization would get into the act and require every food establishment in the world to be marked, A, B, C. Since there isn’t much chance of this, for those of us who travel and explore countries and cultures whose hygiene practices are not our own eating in local restaurants is our version of Kitchen Nightmares. We really don’t know if the food coming to the table should be eaten or how it was prepared. We can only pray for the best and hope we aren’t talking to the great porcelain Gods later.
Recently a call went out to the expat owners of restaurants in Spain, France, Greece and Cyprus from the producers of Kitchen Nightmares. They are looking for restaurants in the EU who want Gordon to come and rescue their places. It will be interesting to see how many take him up on his offer and even more interesting to see how many of these places survive. I know I would love dearly to send him a list of places I think he should check out. These are places that Mike and I have eaten at where the food served to us was, shall I be generous and say, unappetizing. So on one hand maybe I don’t really want to know what Gordon finds…
…but on the other hand maybe we do need the Gordon Ramsay’s of the world to give each restaurant a grade to put in their window. I know I’d love to see an A, a B, or a C in the front window before I entered any restaurant anywhere in the world. This would make eating out one less thing to worry about as we travel from country to county. Now where did I put that link for the show producers?