The Fox nextwork has been pretty adamant about what we can and can't reveal prior to the first airing of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares: Fleming Edition. Here's what we are able to spill about this past Tuesday's private marketing event for camera at Pinecrest Gardens.
"We've done lots of launches," Ramsay fires to the crowd. "But nothing quite as exciting as this."
The crew doubles as wait staff, who seem, as with Fleming's chef, to be missing-in-action. But owner Andy Hall is there in good spirits. Customer of 20 years Debbie Walter is pretty pumped as well and, after hesitating a moment when asked if this is a good thing for the restaurant, replies, "I'm happy about it, especially these days with the economy the way it is, everyone needs a little help. But they better not take my escargo, and liver and onions off the menu!"
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Deb, but your favorites have been banished. Last night Fleming went public with the restaurant re-design and new menu, focusing on fruit-livened ocean fare for apps and holding onto the heralded salad-and-sides-come-with-your-steak-entree proposition. Yet for those of us who have had the pleasure over the past few years of experiencing the Best of Miami's chef-driven culinary renaissance, the menu still feels dated and uninspired. It's no easy feat reconciling old standbys with the need to stay current. Even Ramsay, although he makes some damn entertaining TV and claims Miami cred having vacationed here over the past 15 some-odd years, may not be up to that task.
The most courteous people running this show on-site? One was senior producer Lauren Avery, who from her accent appears to be flown in direct from Ramsay headquarters in England, and graciously offers a first taste of the crostini, the sole sustenance on-site. The rather statuesque Ramsay is also kind enough to park his bum on a coral rock wall to speak eye to eye with your vertically challenged interviewer (the details of which are mum until later date due to said gag order.) Adding some humor to the proceedings, the audience warm-up girl at one point made an attempt to shoo away a certain lowly local food writer from the hors d'oeuvres table while Ramsay is inspecting. We guess it was too close for her comfort, although Chef didn't seem to mind.
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Everyone else was nice enough, tatted-up and in work-mode, as they should be. Just standing around in the jungle heat for four hours to capture a likely five minutes of edited film was grueling, so kudos to them all. One can't imagine the physical, not to mention emotional, affects on owner Hall. "We're pretty beat up," he added via phone today. "We're going to be limping through service this weekend."
Cut 'em a break and pay 'em a visit folks, but maybe wait a week or two. That's what we're planning to do.
8511 S.W. 136th Street