Gordon Ramsay Got Sick After Tasting This Kitchen Nightmares Dish

Every time Gordon Ramsay steps into another failing restaurant on "Kitchen Nightmares," it's pretty much guaranteed the celebrity chef is going to find at least one thing he doesn't like, if not everything on the whole menu. But through seven seasons of eating his fair share of raw chicken, dry chicken, and of course more crab cakes than anyone would hope to consume in a single lifetime, nothing has ever compared to the shepherd's pie he ordered at Finn McCool's, a family-run Irish pub in Westhampton, New York (via YouTube).

As soon as the waitress served the dish, Ramsay wasn't impressed. Upon inspecting the filling, it was much worse than he expected: He found only grayish ground beef and a single baby carrot. "It's just a big ball of grease," he remarked in disgust. After reluctantly taking his first bites, Ramsay suddenly became sick to his stomach.

Ramsay discovered why when he finally stepped foot in the kitchen. Not only did the staff improperly store and handle their meat products, but Ramsay also witnessed sous chef Francis drop a chicken wing on the floor, proceed to pick it back up, then toss it into the fryer (via YouTube). "The fryer is gonna take anything that comes off the floor and clean it," Francis explained to Ramsay.

It's hard to mess up shepherd's pie, but this restaurant did, big-time

The shepherd's pie that Gordon Ramsay ate at Finn McCool's not only had a questionable flavor, as evidenced by Ramsay's retching, but technically speaking, it was also made so improperly it couldn't have been considered shepherd's pie at all (via Culinary Ginger). The only thing remotely authentic about Finn McCool's version was that it was on the menu at an Irish pub. In terms of ingredients, though, it was far from it. According to Culinary Ginger, shepherd's pie is a UK specialty made with leftover ground lamb. If it contains beef, like Finn McCool's, it's actually cottage pie.

In addition to the lamb, shepherd's pie filling also contains a variety of vegetables, including carrots, parsnips, and peas, as well as beer for richness and depth of flavor. Finn McCool's version evidently contained mostly grease. It was, however, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes, like the traditional dish, but as Culinary Ginger explained, topping a pot pie with mashed potatoes doesn't make it a shepherd's pie. Shepherd's pie is fairly easy to get right if you follow the traditional guidelines, so considering Finn McCool's messed theirs up so badly that it made Gordon Ramsay sick, it had to have been as disgusting as he claimed.

Gordon Ramsay tried to give the head chef another chance

Despite Gordon Ramsay getting sick from the shepherd's pie, head chef Brian Mazzio refused to accept how bad it was. To convince Mazzio that the recipe either needed a serious revamp or needed to be removed from the menu entirely, Gordon suggested a cook-off in which the two of them would each make their best shepherd's pie (via YouTube). In the end, every staff member, including Mazzio's own family, picked Ramsay's recipe over his, causing him to furiously storm off.

The fact that Mazzio stood by his recipe and skill however comes as no surprise considering he auditioned for "Hell's Kitchen" prior to appearing on "Kitchen Nightmares" (via New York Post). In this reality show, also hosted by Ramsay, chefs compete for an executive chef position at one of his renowned restaurants. Though the contestants are high-class chefs with extensive culinary training, and Mazzio's only experience was working at his family's pub, he truly believed he stood a chance. Mazzio didn't get cast on "Hell's Kitchen," but his failed audition and "volatile disposition" lead producers to feature his family's restaurant on "Kitchen Nightmares" instead.

The restaurant ultimately couldn't be saved

After a complete reworking of the menu, modernization of the dining space, a serious deep-clean of the kitchen, along with many renovations and repairs, it seemed that Finn McCool's was a brand new restaurant by the time Ramsay left. Unfortunately, Gazette Review confirms that Finn McCool's success was short-lived.

When Ramsay returned to check on the restaurant after the episode aired, business had in fact improved, and head chef Brian Mazzio had even won first place in a local "Best Chowder and Chili" cooking competition. However in 2009, only two years after "Kitchen Nightmares," the family was forced to sell the restaurant to new owners. Though the Mazzios still played a significant role in managing the business, Finn McCool's officially closed its doors in 2012.

According to a local Long Island newspaper, business at Finn McCool's had reached the point that "regulars wanted to revert to the old menu and [Brian Mazzio] threatened to quit," (via Reality TV Revisited). We can only assume the food quality there must've seriously declined before it finally ended up going out of business for good.