Written by S. Bowyer

     Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, is a show known worldwide for documenting his fixing up failing restaurants in the hopes of saving their owners from financial ruin. However, when Gordon Ramsay travelled to Arizona to visit Amy's Baking Company the trend of the program was about to change -- and the aftermath completely unexpected. At first Ramsay was confused why he was summoned -- he was given delectable cakes, which he chose to clean his plate of, the kitchen was immaculate, and the fridges were perfectly labeled and organised. What could it possibly be that made this eatery so unappealing to their potential customers? Well, Gordon was in for a real taste of eccentric -- and it wasn't just the cake!

     After Ramsay tasted their main meals, his answers became slightly visible. However, he had previous footage taken the day before his arrival, which would add a lot more to the frame. 

    The day before Ramsay's arrival, his camera crew attended Amy's Baking Company to get a little insight. I'm assuming the owner's were not aware of the camera's presence, because what was captured, left the crew -- and most viewers -- speechless. That said, even after Ramsay appeared, their demeanour did not change.

 

 

     Of course, these are not the only events that occurred during his stay. There was also incidences with lack of criticism shared with Amy, Ramsay being locked out of the restaurant, and a fight with a staff member when she asked a question Amy felt inappropriate.

     In interviews both during and after the airing of this episode, Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, the owners, stated the reason for the emotionality was due to online bullying. A Yelp reviewer had given the retaurant a bad review many months before, and Amy had written back to the reviewer to defend her business. Meanwhile, with Ramsay being invited to the restaurant, the word had gotten out, and Amy claimed some of the customers to the restaurant during Ramsay's visit were Yelp reviewers who had caused them distress. She felt her life was at risk because these people had entered her premises after such vulgar attacks on the online review site. Her overall thought was that while online opinion was one thing, she believed Yelp'ers were toxic and being bullies.

     Ramsay came to the conclusion of this show in a unique way. Normally we see him hugging, rejoicing, congratulating and/or hoping for the trouble owners, pleading with them to keep working hard and implementing needed changes. This time was not the case. After one disagreement too many, Ramsay chose a different path. He left the restaurant to summarise:

      

"Well, it's finally happened. After almost a hundred Kitchen Nightmares, I've met two owners who I could not help. And it wasn't because I didn't want to; it was because they are incapable of listening. And in a short period of time, they've managed to piss of the community, and go through over 100 employees in one year. Samy and Amy continue to blame everyone else, yet their biggest problem is themselves. And I know whatever changes I would have made, they were never going to stick to them. And that's why I've decided I'm going to do something I've never done before. It's such a shame."

     With that, he walked away from Amy's Baking Company, and appeared disappointed he could not save the restaurant. However, where most restaurant histories improve or end when Ramsay leaves, Amy and Samy's restaurant went into battle. Their Facebook page was showered in comments about them and their food, and it seemed they had a whole new list of enemies. Messages started being entered into their Facebook account that did not appease the angry people. Here are some of the messages that were seen, exact in syntax, grammar and manner:


"Samy and I will stand strong through the oppression that has been thrown at us. We ask that our supporters keep us in their prayers, through this rough and unjust time in our lives. Thank all of you, and thank God. We will not bend to the will of these haters and sinners."

 "I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO RESELL THINGS WALMART DOES NOT MAKE THEIR ELECTRONICS OR TOYS SO LAY OFF!!!!!! " (in response to people being told their cakes were bought in from a manufacturer)

 "WE DO NOT NEED THIS. YOU STUPID PEOPLE. AMERICA IS ABOUT RESSLING, IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL. THE CAKES WE OFFER ARE EXPENSIVE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO REPACKAGE AND SHIP. DO NOT BLAME US BECAUSE YOU CAN NOT AFFORD QUALITY. THE YELPERS, AND NOW THE REDDITS, NEED TO BACK OFF. YOU'RE NOT RIGHT JUST BECAUSE OF SOME TV SHOW." (in response to Reddit visiors hearing about the show, and putting forward their comments too.)

" TO REDDIT. I FORBID YOU FROM SPREADING YOUR HATE ON THAT SITE. THIS IS MY FACEBOOK AND I AM NOT ALLOWING YOU TO USE MY COMPANY ON YOUR HATE FILLED PAGE."

 "To all of the Yelpers and Reddits: Bring it on. you are just pussies. come to arizona. you are weaker than my wife, and weaker than me. come to my business. say it to my face. man to man. my wife is a jewel in the desert. you are just trash. reddits and yelpers just working together to bring us down. pathetic."

 "WE ARE NOT FREAKING OUT. WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT A "WITCH HUNT" I AM NOT A WITCH. I AM GODS CHILD. PISS OFF ALL OF YOU. F*** REDDITS, F*** YELP AND F*** ALL OF YOU. BRING IT. WE WILL FIGHT BACK."

 "This is Samy. I am keeping note of all names here. We will be pursuing action against you legaly, and against reddit and yelp, for this plot you have come together on. you are all just punks."

 "I AM WONDER WOMAN. I AM A GREAT CHEF, A GREAT WIFE, AND A GREAT MOM TO ALL OF MY KIDS. AND WE WILL BE PARENTS TO A HUMAN KID, ONE DAY TO. WE WILL SHOW ALL OF YOU."

 "You are all little punks. Nothing, you are all nothing. We are laughing at you. All of you, just fools. We have God on our side, you just have your sites."

 



     The feedback to these posts were not pleasant either, "fans" of the show defending Gordon Ramsay, the staff of the restaurant they felt were bullied, and their behaviour towards customers. Jaxamoto even created a cartoon, almost describing Amy as a witch by a melting-in-water scene like in the Wizard of Oz, in the following cartoon:

 

 

      

      The hate continued for some time, and it was soon announced by Amy and Samy, that their Facebook account was hacked, and the above comments were not them. Haters asked why they allowed the site to continue if it was hacked, and they said that Facebook could not help them, so they had to start a new Facebook. At the same time, they claimed the hacking and comments were being shared with legal officials.

      They were featured on many TV shows and radio programs to give their side of the story, including an interview with Monti, who was a finalist on Masterchef America. Amy and Samy were given the full opportunity to talk about what happened in their own words, included below:

 

 

 

      Their comments seemed valid, and some might have felt sympathy for the couple, listening to their side of it. It was suggested that how the episode was constructed for TV made things appear worse than it was. And yes, many of us will admit that sometimes programs on TV are edited pre-break to make us think things are worse. We've all had experiences where you're watching your favourite TV program and it looks like the main character is going to die, only to find out it was a minor role that died, and the main character is fine. But was that the case here? Did Kitchen Nightmares producers edit too much?

 

      Whether it be a chance of fairness, or just another opportunity to find contraversy, Kitchen Nightmares offered Amy and Samy a return episode. The media attention and online feedback had not stopped, so Amy and Samy agreed. They had also organised a restaurant re-launch of their own at this stage, and so decided returning to the show would help them have their say after a year of turmoil. They were the feature of Season 7's first episode, which was long-awaited and highly publicised.

 

 

      The show featured never-seen-before footage, as well as an interview with the couple. It was even shown that merchandise featuring quotes from the show were now sold by the restaurant, such as "I'm the gangster", "Here's your pizza, go f*** yourself," and "I survived Amy's Baking Company" which were created to raise money for the Yarnell Hill Fire appeal, to support the families of 19 Firefighters who were killed in the disaster. 10% of the $25-30 per t-shirt or baseball cap was donated to the cause.

      A former waitress, who was sacked during Ramsay's visit, says that the restaurant now mostly exists as a tourist attraction. "Everyone wants to see if Amy was actually that crazy," she said. 

      Gordon Ramsay shared his experience and thoughts on the events with Amy and Samy during the Kitchen Nightmares Returns episode. The only thing he felt compelled to "clear up" was that they sent a submission video, which is assumed to squash rumours that Kitchen Nightmares had approached them first. It was shown on the episode, and shows one of the former employees that quoted over 100 staff were sacked from the premises.

      Amy and Samy still had strong views on life after Gordon Ramsay walked into and out of their lives. When the Kitchen Nightmares reporter, Anna Garcia, arrived, Samy was friendly and said he would speak to them for money. 

      "You talk to me and I want money," Samy said. "This time from Kitchen Nightmare I want money. . . they make so much money because of us and Gordon Ramsay tried to bury me alive. . . I will bury him first. I will bury him first and your Kitchen Nightmare also. You did it on purpose; you set me up and this is what you did. You tried to bury us alive. . . you didn't do it yet and I wouldn't let nobody to do it."

      Amy states, "We were made to look like the most psychotic lunatic people in the universe. After watching Kitchen Nightmares, I see all the crazy, but I don't see any of the good." She added that she has proof the people attending during Ramsay's visit were Yelpers because she saw them speaking about it online before and after the filming. "This is not something I've invented, I'm not delusional, I'm not crazy. Yes, we are passionate, yes, we are wild. If I came up after you, you would probably stand up too."

       Amy tells Garcia that they now have waitresses who are paid properly, after the contraversy of stolen tips. "I took all the negative things that Gordon Ramsay said, and I tried to improve. That's why I had him come here." Samy explains that they were paying a high hourly rate because they felt it would profit the staff more, than paying them tips when there were no customers to tip. However, now they are paying a tip-based system as was expected, but his staff will not make any money without customers.

 

 Amy and Samy show great animosity towards Gordon Ramsay.

      "He was not fair." When asked to elaborate, Samy continued, "because he shouldn't represent us that way. I am going to go against FOX (network), against Gordon Ramsay, Kitchen Nightmare."

      "He has no balls, he is jealous of my balls," he adds angrily, when someone off-screen said something illegible.

 

      Amy stated, "I asked him (Gordon Ramsay), would you let anyone come into your kitchen and give you the kind of attitude that Katie gave me and not fire them. He said "yeah". That shows me that he's a pansy. . . The reason I said he was a pansy is because the same reason I call these Yelpers and these people who hide behind the computer screen. . . they are pansies, they have no balls, because if they had balls they would come to my face, my husband's face, and tell us exactly all the stuff, the lies and libelous stuff they say online instead of just hiding behind their computer screen."

      She continues. "I have said a lot of offensive things, but when a person is under attack. . . I'm sorry, I would love to be nothing but a lady and control my language and not have a severe case of Tourette's syndrome, but this is what's happened to me because of the pressure. I called that guy a pansy because he was a pale-faced pansy-ass willow. That's exactly what I call him. I'm going to say things if someone attacks me. I'm not going to stop. Then I will be a pansy and I'm not a pansy," she finishes, close to tears.

      Anna Garcia asked Samy about giving feedback to his wife on her food, which I consider is important to gauge their restaurant's future. Samy insists the food is excellent. Amy continues his sentiment, "The reason he (Samy) didn't tell me. . . is because he knew Gordon Ramsay was full of s***. Samy tells everything to me as I tell everything to Samy. We share, we don't keep secrets from each other, he protects me, I protect him. People love us because we stand together and we are united."

      Amy says their business is now like a Disneyland for crazy people, who take photos through the windows, who enter the store, leave plastic rodents, and attend the restaurant just to see what drama is going to unfold. Amy says some of these people stay to eat, and say they love the food. Samy says different people visit the restarant and are surprised at the food's quality. "I have enough money to keep my business until the stupid people become smart. And then they come again to us."

       She also states that while she didn't have anything to do with the Facebook page abuse, she is saying harsh things now because "now you have lit the fire inside of us."

      "We are not going to scream at you and throw you out unless you come to attack us. If you do come and attack us, we will scream at you and we will throw you out. I think, 95% of the things that are being said about us. . . we laugh our butts off about because it's hysterical," she finishes, in a high-pitching voice.

 To finish the interview, Anna Garcia asked if they had any final messages for Gordon Ramsay.      

      Amy starts, "Mr. Ramsay, for all the respect I have for you, I ask you now to really put the truth and really give a chance, really give us a chance."

      Samy cuts Amy off to argue that Gordon Ramsay is not going to take back things he said. "He will never say the truth," he says.

      Ramsay's final word on the situation is that he was disappointed the owners wouldn't listen. He states he and his team had a wonderful plan to help Amy's Baking Company recover and it was a shame they never got to put it into action.

 

UPDATE: September, 21, 2014 -- Amy and Samy are back in the news headlines after Samy allegedly attempted to attack a drunk customer with a knife. While it is stated it was actually a pen he appeared threatening with, onlookers claim it looked more like a knife. The captured video shows Samy visibly distressed and forcing his way towards someone, despite Amy's best attempts to block his path.

 

 

      In the end, the story leaves us with many questions that we will all have our own answers for. Are Samy and Amy attack dogs, or are they just defending their territory? Did the TV show over-dramatise, or was reality captured on film despite the owners' covering? Was the Facebook abuse from the owners, or is someone stirring trouble? The verdict is yours. 

      What can be said is that possibly if your business comes under criticism, it might come down to what my mother taught me: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Knee-jerk reactions rarely help your cause.

 

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