Everyone’s a donkey – A ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ YouTube compendium

Avowed YouTube procrastinator Matthew McAuley presents a selection of his favourite Gordon Ramsay clips – a kitchen nightmare for every mood.

Where once my tastes in YouTube content were basically indiscriminate, they have recently become quite unexpectedly refined. Like a bad, unsophisticated restaurant with an over-long menu and a maître d’ who’ll happily serve you any old garbage, all that my snackable diet needed to truly shine was the presence of one Gordon Ramsay.

It started slowly, with the occasional clip to fill the gap between an otherwise constant stream of country music videos and ‘90s wrestling compilations. Before long, he had taken over completely.

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Now that I’m a good few weeks deep into my Ramsay obsession, this is what my YouTube recommendations constantly look like. All Gordo, all the time, almost entirely Kitchen Nightmares. As a viewing tactic this may seem ill-advised, but I’ve learned that snackable clips from the show in which Britain’s maddest dude yells at the world’s least competent chefs and business owners can be cathartic and even heart-warming.

Today, I’d like to share with you a situationally curated selection of some of my favourite clips; Chef Ramsay berating donkies for every season.

The Need for Schadenfreude?

Feel like an asshole? Relax, friend, and savour this bite-sized introduction to television’s most psychotic restaurant, and Kitchen Nightmares’ most infamous couple. Amy and Samy of Amy’s Baking Company run a tight ship, where ‘tight’=‘hell’ and ‘ship’=’hell’. Come for the bit where Samy gets in an actual physical altercation with a group of customers, stay for the inevitable warmth felt when you realise that, actually, maybe you’re not that bad.

Hate Potatoes?

If you’re anti-tubers, you’ll absolutely love ‘Delusional Owner 86’s Almost Everything’. This chef and restaurateur takes almost everything off her menu in the middle of service – a feat notable and incredibly funny in itself – but the bit where she turns around with a pair of fryer baskets, shouts “86 the French Fries!” and pours a couple kilograms of hot chips straight in the trash? Oh baby, this one is heaven for starch haters. She also 86s the Kumara fries.

Wok Wok Wok Wok Wok (Rihanna reference)

In the amazingly but very inaccurately titled ‘The Kitchen With No Systems or Equipment’, chef Shelly runs a soul food restaurant in the southern United States and uses a wok and a pizza oven for basically everything. Apparently these are tools very poorly suited to the low and slow cooking generally expected from this style, but Shelly’s dedication to them is a good quirk and undeniably very endearing. I would eat at this restaurant.

Watch If You Like: Crippling Fear of Dining Out


When binge-watching four-minute synopses of Kitchen Nightmares episodes, there are a few themes that become immediately apparent. Possibly the finest example of the classic ‘Chef Ramsay gets epically grossed out by some Fully Rank Shit’ trope, this video is a must-view if you have a deep distrust of the culinary industry which you’re desperate to have justified. I’m genuinely not sure if any of the slurries shown in this video were ever actually food, but I’m very glad I don’t have to smell them.

Global Warming Is Real

Just as important to this show’s success as its crash-zoomed shots of rancid viscera is its unconditional love of hubris. Here, Gordon encounters a chef whose signature dish is prawns with the world’s most alarmingly watery mole sauce, and who seems to have no concept of how the size of a piece of meat could affect its cooking time. As per normal, the chef disagrees with all criticism and thinks he’s very good, and honestly this clip’s conflict isn’t incredibly exciting, but it’s worthwhile solely because it was filmed while ol’ Rammstein was on holiday in sunny Europe and he looks like a literal human raisin.

Bonus cultural blindspot: “If I wanted a Chinese I’d have gone to one, but I’m in Spain” – Gordon Ramsay, while eating at a British-run, British-patronised restaurant on the Costa Del Sol.

Maybe People Aren’t So Bad (But They Probably Are)

Although I could happily watch Gordon Ramsay eviscerate bad and delusional chefs until I expire, it’s true that Kitchen Nightmares isn’t always an entirely uplifting watch. If your soul demands a digestif after 30 hours of raw chicken and crying wait staff, try this clip from the episode about Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack, a seaside restaurant with a lovely owner and apparently very good food. It’s not very shocking to watch Ramsay quietly enjoy a meal, but with this YouTube channel also boasting 664 videos of him doing essentially the opposite, you may need a reprieve. Bon appetit!

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