Why Next Level Chef's Omi Hopper And Mehreen Karim Were On Kitchen Nightmares

Season 8 of Gordon Ramsay's hit series "Kitchen Nightmares" was chock-full of everything fans have come to love about the reality show: family drama, a healthy dose of shouting, a touch of Ramsay's cheeky head games, and lots of encouragement along the way. Fans of Ramsay's other hit Fox show, "Next Level Chef," may have spotted a couple of familiar faces: Omi Hopper and Mehreen Karim.

During Season 8, Episode 7 of "Kitchen Nightmares," Ramsay struggled to inspire the employees at El Cantito Cafe, a Puerto Rican restaurant in Yonkers, New York, to take pride in the food they served. For backup, he recruited Omi Hopper, a semi-finalist on Season 2 of "Next Level Chef," to go undercover and dine at El Cantito as a patron. "Omi is an incredible Puerto Rican chef that understands flavors, understands freshness, but more importantly cooks from the heart," Ramsay gushed during the episode.

After Ramsay closed down the restaurant over food safety concerns, Hopper removed her disguise and spoke to the restaurant's owners. "When I eat our food," Hopper said, referring to Puerto Rican cuisine, "I expect a level of excellence. If that is someone's first experience eating Puerto Rican food, will they come back?" Per Ramsay's request, Hopper returned the following night for El Cantito's relaunch and gave the new menu rave reviews.

Mehreen Karim appeared on Kitchen Nightmares to help build a restaurant's social media presence

During the Season 8 finale of "Kitchen Nightmares," Ramsay called on Mehreen Karim, another competitor from Season 2 of "Next Level Chef," to share her expertise with the owners of Diwan. Once a successful Indian restaurant in Port Washington, New York, Diwan failed to change with the times — in particular, Ramsay found its lack of social media presence baffling. "Nothing has changed in decades," Ramsay said during the episode. "The food is uninspiring. It's almost like the owners have given up."

After giving the menu a makeover, Ramsay invited Karim to help build Diwan's social pages. "Mehreen is a prolific food blogger and social media influencer," Ramsay explained. "She's here to help increase their social media presence and take them into the future." Karim met with the restaurant's owners and explained the importance of using social media to draw customers in, vowing to show them "how to use social media to let customers experience the environment before they even walk in here."

While Season 3 of "Next Level Chef" is set to premiere in January 2024, Fox has not yet announced if "Kitchen Nightmares" will be back for a ninth season. Fans should keep their fingers crossed that 2024 will be filled with more Gordon Ramsay crossovers.