What It's Like To Be A Customer On A Kitchen Nightmares Episode

If you've ever watched an episode of "Kitchen Nightmares," no doubt you've wondered how realistic the show really is, and what it's like to be in one of the restaurants during taping. Whether Gordon Ramsay, the professional chef, and host of the program, will actually come out and tell you that you need to leave because he uses his famous unofficial catchphrase "we are shutting it down," or if that many customers really do dislike the food or service enough to walk out mid-meal. It can all seem a bit far-fetched, so we were curious to hear from people who'd actually been guest diners on the show. 

One Reddit user said they'd been on the show a few times and shared that, "it's not staged, but it's 'massaged'," meaning that certain details were played up for drama. They also added, "A producer kept asking us if we wanted to leave, saying that they would totally understand if we walked out right now, and that if we did they would comp our meal the following night if we came back." This sounds as though the producers don't instruct but strongly encourage walkouts from diners. There has been controversy about whether or not the customers on Kitchen Nightmares are paid actors, but another commenter stated that they did have to foot the bill for a bad night of service, to their surprise. It seems that whether or not your meal is covered depends on the situation, and diners are just everyday people willing to participate.

Ramsay might not be so bad after all

Ramsay is known for his nuclear, often outsized reactions to restaurant owners, head chefs, and assistant chefs in his various shows such as "Hell's Kitchen," "The F-Word," and of course "Kitchen Nightmares." But one user on Reddit bucks that reputation. Though unverified, they claim to have worked on "Kitchen Nightmares" in a post-production capacity, and stated that, "Off-camera Gordon is a lot nicer," and agreed with the other commenter that they thought Ramsay's behavior on the screen wasn't fake, "but more like a slice of a much longer engagement." We take this to mean editing does a lot of the work for the show's more dramatic moments.

Other comments described him hanging around during meal services and being generally pleasant. One user even says they witnessed Ramsay's behavior during one of the most infamous, appalling episodes of "Kitchen Nightmares," which featured Amy's Baking Company. Ramsay still managed to remain genial with the commenter stating, "He really came across as a stand-up guy."