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Kitchen Nightmares: Return to Amy's Baking Company

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To thoroughly enjoy the glory that is season seven of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, please welcome Alison Leiby, who will be here every week to take us through the season.


Welcome to the seventh season of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I've always loved this show, but I felt like Screaming At Morons would make a much better title. I guess that could really be any show, though. For the premiere, Chef Gordon Ramsay takes us back to the most talked about restaurant owners in the show's history: Amy and Samy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ. You might remember them as the delusional maniacs who yelled at patrons, served frozen pasta, and ultimately had been on the crazy train for far too many stops, even by reality TV standards.


This is a special episode of Kitchen Nightmares, which we know because the show opens with Gordon Ramsay in a crisp suit walking around an empty restaurant that is lit to feel like the set of a Real Housewives reunion show with Ramsay as our gruff Andy Cohen. He explains that tonight we'll see bonus footage from his visit to Amy's, learn about the media firestorm, and watch an exclusive interview with Amy and Samy now.

Throughout the episode there are interviews from the staff at BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and Reddit. It's a real who's who of websites you go to for cat videos (which is not wholly irrelevant here considering Amy thinks her cats are her sons). When the producers were putting together this all-star roster of interviewees, what was the research plan? Did they just look at any twenty-something office-worker's pre-lunch Google history?


To get everyone up to speed, there's a quick recap of what happened on Ramsay's fateful visit to Amy's last April. This is basically a montage of Amy, Samy, and Ramsay having it out. There was more screaming going on here than at last call at a bachelorette party when no one can find Lindsay. Amy continually stands by the delusion that her food is good, and Samy claims, "The customer is not always right." But being out of touch wasn't even their biggest problem. It was their ability to take criticism.


After our brief revisit to last year, we're back to Ramsay in host mode. Hard to say if this is a reality show interlude or a very polished PSA about staying out of the sun, but either way, I'm paying attention. We turn now to the ensuing internet firestorm (I know I'm using this word again, but keep in mind that I'm using it about 1/25th as much as the show did, so relax). I wish that BuzzFeed had been in its current form back when this shitshow happened so I could take a "What Poorly Prepared Food Item From Amy's Baking Company Are You?" quiz.


To combat the terrible press following the show, Amy and Samy did what any normal adults would do and took to posting aggressive, caps-lock style Facebook statuses. They called people losers and morons and idiots and slammed everyone who tries to say anything remotely negative about them. And then, a month later they took down all of the posts and claimed that they were hacked, which is just the modern equivalent of when your mom finds a joint in your pocket while doing your laundry and you're like, "I was just holding that for a friend."

Now to one of the bonus scenes they didn't get to show the first time around. Ramsay is in the kitchen with Amy while she's cooking and he's asking her questions about her staff, specifically why she doesn't have any male cooks working in her kitchen. She claims that with such a small kitchen, she's always bumping into people, and if there were men around that could get uncomfortable. Then Samy comes in to weigh in on the subject and more or less tells us that women belong in the kitchen, so that's that.


In all of the scenes when Ramsay is talking to Amy in the kitchen, she moves around with a mix of manic and calm that only the craziest of serial killers possess. She is firing off delusional opinions and defenses without even breaking eye contact or taking a breath, all the while shoving food into a giant oven or chopping something up with a knife. I could see her just as easily dicing up a person and shoving them down a garbage chute with the same smoothness and precision, all while continuing a heated discussion of her business or her cats.

After these bizarre trips down memory lane, Ramsay reminds us that Amy and Samy ASKED for his help. They requested his service. And he proves this by showing their submission tape. It was, in a word, perfect.

It opens with Amy saying, "This is where the magic happens," and ends with some confused screaming. Most of the video is Amy talking to the camera in the dining room while business is still being conducted behind her in the restaurant. Also, she's wearing what I assume is all of the blush that Revlon has ever made, which, along with the rest of her makeup and what seems to be discount-priced plastic surgery, it feels like you're being talked to by a really arrogant blow-up doll.

Her major issues are that Samy should not be in the front of house because he gets too nervous, and that they receive a lot of haters and trolls on the internet who bully them. Halfway through her explanation of why they need Ramsay to visit, we see Samy helping a customer at the cash register. And by helping I mean yelling at.


As Amy is summing up the problems of the restaurant, she's talking quickly, then turning around frantically, then losing it and yells, "I have so many things going on back here I can't remember the questions you're asking!" The video ends with Amy and Samy kissing each other, her joking that, "He's crazy!" and her meowing. Then the footage just ends and you're like, "Wait a minute, what did I just watch?"

The bonus footage they pepper throughout the episode mostly just drives home the point that these maniacs cannot handle criticism. Amy is constantly saying some version of, "My food is good!" which I'm sure is also something that she screams into a pillow every night before taking a handful of horse tranquilizers and slipping on a sleep mask.


Finally, Kitchen Nightmares reporter Ana Garcia goes back to Amy's to talk to the owners and see what is happening there now (I had no idea they had their own reporters on staff, mostly because I don't assume there's a lot of breaking news in the "fixing a restaurant" reality show world, but apparently there is).

According to restaurant staff, the day after the show aired Amy and Samy fired everyone, and then the next day they called them up again to do shifts. I've seen this before. I've been broken up with and then the next week gotten a "u up?" text. This is a move perfected by finance bros. Amy claims that if they could clone her three times and Samy three times they would have the perfect restaurant. When she said "perfect" I just thought, "Oh, you're saying the word 'terrifying' wrong."

When Ana Garcia arrives at Amy's, Samy is inside already yelling at someone even though there are no customers or staff in sight. When Ana asks if they have a few minutes to catch up, Amy yells, "No!" but Samy decides they can sit down and talk. Please note that any time I use the words "talk" or "says" or "asks" that what I really mean is "screams." Samy off the bat demands money from Gordon Ramsay claiming they were set up, though halfway through the rant says that he wants to pay back the money Ramsay gave them. It's highly confusing.


Meanwhile Amy is standing across the room talking on a cordless phone but then holding up a smartphone to what seems to be videoing what is going on. There are cameras on her taping her taping her husband talking to someone. If it weren't in Arizona I'd say it was some modern performance art trying to comment on the relationship between entertainment and self-reflection. But no, it's not that, it's just some crazy lady who makes undercooked pizza.


At last Amy and Samy sit down with Ana for a real catch up. They are both in black t-shirts and black pants, and with the decor of the dining room they seem more like assistants at a hair salon than restaurant owners. They tell Ana that the restaurant today has become a tourist destination more than anything else, or as Amy calls it, "Disney World for the crazies." It's hard to follow anything she says though since she talks faster than a sorority girl after her first bathroom bump of cocaine.

She says that people come just to see if the food is as terrible or the people are as crazy as they were on the show, and that everyone discovers that the food is actually really good. Then she continues that many patrons are out to get them, and that one customer showed up, put a rubber cockroach on a plate, and then left without buying a cake. It's unclear if he bought anything else, though she seemed more upset about him not buying the cake than staging an infestation story.


The interview, and the show, closes with a long rant from Amy about how they are a model for other businesses and they need to stand up for themselves especially against the haters and the trolls and the eunuchs (her word, not mine). In a final long-winded rant she says, "I would love to be a lady and control my language and not have Tourette's Syndrome but, I can't." By the end I'm sure she would have cried if her caked-on eyeliner and Botox hadn't already closed her tear ducts forever.

There's no word on what happened to Amy and Samy following this interview. I can only assume that they spent yet another day screaming at patrons, serving ill-prepared grocery store quality food, and then went home and climbed in their bed together, both yelling, "Our food is good!" as they drifted off to sleep.

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Amy's Baking Company

7366 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260