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Recap / Kitchen Nightmares S6 E15 "Amy's Baking Company"

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"I think Chef Ramsay is gonna be wasting his time. You can't change Samy and Amy; they're... a lost cause."
Katy, who was (unfortunately) 100% correct.

"Amy's Baking Company" is the 15th and last episode of season 6 (and 82nd overall) of Kitchen Nightmares. Quickly, after its airing, it became one of the show's most notorious episodes, and for a very damn good reason: Gordon Ramsay has dealt with incapable restaurant owners before, but as we discover, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo may be the most psychotic restaurant owners he has ever had to deal with.

Things are already rocky even before Gordon arrives. Amy says she brought him in so he could pretty much be their proverbial Yes-Man and tell off all the "internet bullies" who have left negative reviews of the restaurant on websites like Yelp. Said "bullies" have noted the poor quality of the food and customer service; Amy and Samy constantly lash out at customers, dish out threats (Amy even makes a food spicier to deliberately hurt a customer), and Can't Take Criticism—not even the littlest. Co-workers are also treated poorly—Samy is the only one who could input orders, pour wine and handle money, and none of the other co-workers and waitresses were able to. While the camera crew are setting up, we see the incredibly long waiting times to have food served aren't worth it; customers are dissatisfied with the quality of the food and service. Two customers waiting an hour for a pizza are unintentionally swung into an argument with Samy when he fiercely lashes out at him. When he and his friend leave (after Samy repeatedly curses at him and tells him to leave), it escalates so much into a near-fistfight that the cameramen have to come in and break it up! Amy storms back into the kitchen after berating all the customers in the restaurant.

When Gordon arrives, he is initially smitten with the restaurant's presentation, organization and hygiene, although he has second thoughts when Amy notes she closes the restaurant whenever Samy leaves, and that she can't find any quality workers. Looks are deceiving, however. When Gordon meets Miranda Winant, he quickly learns that she only works on an hourly wage, and she nor the other servers get tips; they are taken by Samy, which is an illegal action. Samy says this is okay because he does much of the front-of-house work. While sampling dishes, he likes the dessert, but has a negative reaction towards many foods that are confusingly made/flavored, undercooked, raw, or overly greasy. Gordon learns the oddly sweet/spicy red pepper ravioli he was given was made with pre-bought canned ravioli despite being advertised as freshly-made.

During dinner service, Gordon criticizes the duo for the food he was served, and discovers Samy sugarcoats what goes on in the restaurant, and refuses to tell his wife about the problems with food most of the time. Amy also lashes out at him for noting the ravioli was made with pre-made ingredients. We also watch as many dissatisfied customers send back their food, which wasn't worth the ridiculously long wait. Amy accidentally gives the wrong table order to Miranda, and Gordon witnesses Samy's tip-taking firsthand; when telling this to the whole restaurant winds up getting into a heated argument with Samy. When Katy asks Amy "Are you sure?", the latter responds by firing her from the restaurant.

The next day, Gordon is unable to talk to the two due to the restaurant being closed. He uses the time to talk to two former workers who note the restaurant goes through a hundred staff members due to Amy and Samy's behavior, and that they frequently upset their local community. Eventually, he is able to talk to them, but when Amy shows off yet again she cannot take the simplest bit of criticism and responds to any complaints about her restaurant with loud ad hominems, Gordon—for the first time in the entire series—throws his hands up in the air and leaves the place. Before leaving, he gives the two a particularly epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how he can't properly work with restaurant owners who are this psychotic.

To say the least, the amount of egotism and incompetence shown by Amy and Samy led to the show going through a near-memetic status. Things got even more crazy when, after people rightfully called out the company on their Facebook page, Amy and Samy responded by sending out threats. Naturally, this only prompted more negative attention to the restaurant; people began going to the restaurant to see if it was as bad as it was shown here, and it was.

A year after the episode premiered, a special episode was created called "Return to Amy's Baking Company", which showed deleted footage from the original episode, as well as a newer interview with Amy and Samy. Judging by the way they acted in the newer interview, things did not change at all prior to the restaurant finally closing for good in September 2015.

Tropes pertaining to the episodes featuring Amy's Baking Company:

  • Almighty Janitor: Employees who have gone to culinary school or who have extensive experience in restaurants are assigned menial tasks.
    • The employee whose sole responsibility is making salads is actually a sous-chef, which means they ought to be responsible for inventory, cleanliness, organization, and training of staff.
    • One of the servers has plenty of experience in the restaurant business and actually could handle using the point-of-sale system, but she's not allowed to.
  • Animated Adaptation: The Amy's Baking Company episode now has one.
  • Appeal to Worse Problems: When customers complain about their food the day before Gordon arrives, Amy retorts that "The food we're making is going straight into the trash, and there are starving people who could be eating it, but instead these people decide they're going to come fuck with my life."
  • Arc Words: The words "Haters," "Internet bullies," and "Yelpers" are used a lot in this episode to mean "critics," which just goes to show how uncritical the restauranteurs are concerning their flaws.
  • Aside Glance: During the revisit, in which Amy unleashed an insane torrent of defensive retorts, the reporter looked right into the camera for a split second, in part because she barely managed to get a single word in edgewise.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: "You little weenie! Keep walking!"
  • Blatant Lies:
    • After their online meltdown, the owners of Amy's Baking Company suddenly deleted all of their angry rants and created a new Facebook page, claiming that their Facebook and Yelp accounts had been hacked. The hacking claim was reasonable enough, but what pushed it into this territory was the added claim that they had the FBI investigating it.
    • They lied multiple times about having home-cooked food, at one point having bought some cakes from another store.
    • At the beginning of the episode, Amy states that they don't use frozen food. When Ramsay receives his ravioli, Samy states it was frozen.
    • On their Facebook page, the restaurant claimed the images on their menus weren't infringing on anyone's copyrights, but the images can be easily found through a Google image search.
    • The owners of Amy's Baking Company claimed that they don't take their waitresses tips, which would be illegal, but the camera crew caught them doing just that on tape.
    • Amy outright accuses Ramsay of lying about the termination of 50 employees, but Samy pipes in and tells her that they've fired over a hundred.
    • At one point, Ramsay gives Amy a detailed explanation of the problems he had with a burger. Later, Amy mocks his criticism, and eventually says that Ramsay never offered her constructive criticism.
  • Blunt "Yes": Amy questions whether or not Gordon would let someone like Katy come into his kitchen and speak to him the way she spoke to her (read: asking if Amy was sure about which table was being sent an order). Gordon blankly responds with a nod and a pointed, doubtless "Yeah."
  • Body Language: Amy clearly can't hide hers. Ramsay even calls her on her shaking her head "no" when he informs them he is here to help them. She also keeps shaking her head "no" or rolls her eyes every time she is given criticism. She continues it on the last morning when Ramsay comes in, being unable to hide her fury at even seeing him.
  • Body Motifs: Amy's large, creepy eyes are given a considerable attention during shots, and Ramsay criticizes her for "pulling wool over customer's eyes," over her restaurant's use of fake fresh food.
  • Catch-Phrase: Amy has "(Insert food item that Ramsay complains about) I have customers telling me it is the best (insert food) they have ever eaten!" Also "I've never had a problem with that (insert food)" and "They're just not used to eating food that doesn't come from a can".
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: During Ramsay and the owners' introductions and tour of the restaurant, Amy says that Ramsay needs to clone her and Samy because nobody else can run the restaurant the "right" way. Ramsay is clearly a bit weirded out by this and decides to move the conversation forward by asking them if they have children. Amy responds with "We have three little boys but they're trapped inside cat bodies. Meow!" Ramsay is even more bewildered by this and immediately changes the subject a second time.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Amy drifts into this category at times. In the return episode, she bizarrely (and emphatically) acts out the behaviors of lookie-loos in the restaurant.
    • Samy is also this. In particular, the scene where this overweight, balding, out-of-shape, moving-out-of-middle-age-and-into-the-elderly-category man tells Gordon that he's a gangster. The look on Gordon's face makes it clear that he's lost hope for these two.
  • Control Freak: Amy and Samy openly admit they are Control Freaks.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Amy and Samy explain to Ramsay that they have "three little boys, but they are trapped in cat bodies." Samy then adds "they're cats" - though this comes across more as elaborating on his wife's... "eccentricities." In the animated version, the cats really are men trapped in cat bodies by Amy's black magic.
  • Don't Like, Don't Read: Or rather, "don't eat." The owners of Amy's Baking Company enforce this trope full stop against any customer that dares to complain about the food, going to extremes to retaliate against such customers. Naturally, the customers gladly take the advice and leave.
  • Doublethink: Amy tries to invoke this by saying that the bun of Ramsay's burger was "dry and soggy," asking which one it was. However, she forgets that Ramsay ordered two burgers to sample, one of which was dry and the other was soggy.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Amy doesn't understand why Katy is crying literally right after Amy fired her for no reason.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Aside from a chipper and optimistic opening, this episode devolves into a true "Kitchen Nightmare." More so than any other episode. It's an unrelentingly miserable and wretched experience for everyone involved — Chef Ramsay, the owners, the servers and even the customers.
  • Flat Yes: After one of her servers asks a simple question that Amy reacts poorly to, Amy asks Ramsay if he'd let his server talk to him like hers did to her. Ramsay just flatly tells her "yeah." Later, in the return episode, she believes this reponse makes Ramsay a pansy.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Amy's Baking Company.
  • Genre Blindness: Amy's Baking Company in particular brought Ramsay in not because they wanted to improve their restaurant, but because they thought he would be a Yes-Man who would give their food his seal of approval and shut up the "internet bullies", who turned out to be everyone who has ever given them a bad review.
    • Let that sink in for a moment; they thought the infamously foul-mouthed, brutally honest Gordon Ramsey...would be a Yes-Man to them.
  • Henpecked Husband: Samy shows shades of this between the two episodes. Amy is always the one to insist that they are a team, Samy is often seen keeping very quiet when she really gets going with her tirades, she's quick to blame him for the problems with the restaurant in their submission video, and most tellingly, bonus footage shows Samy practically begging Gordon to make her change her ways and take criticism to heart. His extreme violence when dealing with customers could be caused, in part, by frustration with his wife that's been boiling over.
  • High Turnover Rate: Amy's Baking Company goes through more than 100 employees in just one year.
  • Hope Spot: Gordon did at least admit to liking Amy's cakes when he ate one during his initial meeting with them. Too bad she didn't actually bake them, like she claimed.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Up to Eleven with Amy and Samy, who don't seem to understand the reason the business is doing bad is because of them.
  • Ignored Expert: Chef Ramsay is pretty much reduced to this during the dinner service. Amy not only directly, and repeatedly, tells him that she's not listening to him, she tells her staff to also ignore him. At a loss, Ramsay goes up to the front to try to help Samy, but he also isn't receptive to any advice Ramsay offers.
  • Implausible Deniability: Samy and Amy claim that their social media pages were hacked and they did not state all the insults to the reviewers. When you can clearly find that they're still doing it.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: One of the few things positive Gordon states about the restaurant is how clean and well organized the place is. However it is revealed that Amy and Samy severely cleaned the place up for his coming arrival. Which is something one actually has to hand to them as that is something that few restaurants have done despite knowing he is coming.
  • It's Personal: To Amy, there is no negative feedback that is not a personal insult.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Amy and Samy managed to top Sebastian, chewing out customers who complain about underdone, inedible dishes, even going as far as to state they don't know what good food tastes like. Samy even admits that he has no experience in running a restaurant. The two had kept people who went to culinary school in menial jobs (such as setting tables and pouring water), where at one point Samy even had one wash his car during service, claiming "they don't know anything."
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Ramsay attempts to present his plan to fix Amy's Baking Company, the owners shout him down and insult him (e.g. saying he doesn't know what he's talking about). For the reason, and all the flaws demonstrated over the course of the episode, he decides to just throw in the towel and walk away, knowing that he can't help them.
  • Manipulative Editing:
    • Previews for "Return to Amy's Baking Company" feature a little of this. When Kitchen Nightmares returns to Amy's Baking Company after a year of the media circus surrounding them, we are shown footage of Amy disbelievingly exclaiming, "Are we being punked?", as if she's hostile toward their intrusion. In context, she's talking about customers' reaction to visiting her restaurant after seeing her antics on the show.
    • The Return episode shows the entire footage of Amy talking about her cats, including her mimicking one of her cats (Leo) who has a tendency to meow as if he's singing. However, in the original episode, this mimic ("meow meow meow!") is spliced out of the appropriate context, making it appear as if Amy is demonstrating her ability to (literally) "speak feline," making her look nutty.
  • May–December Romance: Samy is over twenty years older than Amy. They do appear to have a lot in common, though.
  • Motor Mouth: Amy tends to speak very quickly when she's feeling threatened. It is impossible to get a word in edgewise once she really gets going.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Two customers got fed up and left after waiting an unreasonable amount of time for a single pizza. The customer who Samy had to be restrained from hitting was the one who didn't yell at him.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Amy and Samy seem to think anyone who dislikes their food is a "Yelper" or Internet Bully making up lies about their food to destroy their business, failing to realize that A) Yelp does not send out professional reviewers, and B) most people had a lot of legitimate complaints about the food and service.
  • My Nayme Is: The husband's name is pronounced "Sammy" but spelled "Samy."
  • Nice to the Waiter: Ramsay is duly appalled when he learns that one of the owners takes all of the tips given to the waiters/waitresses and when a waitress is summarily fired for asking a simple question. He makes sure to tip the waitress directly and tries to stand up for them by telling the customers about their tips being stolen and how they deserve those tips.
    Gordon: (slips a $20 bill into the waitress's shirt pocket) "This is for you. And only for you."
  • Ominous Foreshadowing: Everything Katy stated at the beginning did come true within the episode. From stating how Amy is "sometimes a sweet woman but becomes completely erratic", the fact that Samy and Amy refuse to listen to criticism, and the fact that Ramsay would be wasting his time with them as they won't change.
  • Once an Episode: Averted. Ramsay couldn't get beyond step 2 because the owners were that ignorant and oblivious to the complaints and lashed out against anyone that criticized them. As in, they obviously hated criticism, not knowing that all of it was very well-deserved. Furthermore, they thought they'd hire Ramsay as a "Yes-Man" to defend their restaurant's reputation against "Internet bullies" (i.e. those who criticize their place on Facebook and on Yelp). The extremely toxic attitude of the owners got Ramsay to give up on them, leaving the episode on a Downer Ending. About 95% of the reviewers on Yelp gave it less than two stars, and many of the 4 and 5 star reviews are sarcastic.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Amy and Samy, but especially Amy, who's constantly ready to insist that she is the greatest chef ever to exist on God's green Earth, any and all failings are the result of cheaters and liars out to get her personally, and devolve into screaming fits of rage at anybody who crosses her in the slightest way.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Ramsay is extremely patient with Amy and Samy through most of the episode. He acts more surprised and nonplussed than angry over their stupid and wasteful practices. However, once Samy starts to try to get tough with him, Ramsay starts to get just as nasty back.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight/Minor Criticism Overreaction:
    • Amy is completely incapable of taking even the slightest bit of criticism without acting as if it was a full blown assault against her. She even called a server asking her a simple question tantamount to breaking into their place of business and holding a gun to their heads. (In Amy's head, the waitress was giving her some serious attitude, but Amy's not quite in touch with something called reality).
    • In a meta-example, much of the media hurricane that spawned around the restaurant (including the two Kitchen Nightmares episodes, flash episodes, various news reports, a Forbes article, etc..) all started because the restaurant got one bad review.
  • Read the Fine Print: Before Gordon arrived, Amy or Samy saw that there are such things as contracts that prevent employees from hopping from one company to another with trade secrets/knowledge (usually used by tech firms; like IBM, Compaq, etc.), and figured they could just apply it to food service, for a full year, regardless of reason for termination.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ramsay gives a brilliant one at the very end of the episode:
    Gordon: I can't help people that can't help themselves and cannot ever take one ounce of criticism. If you're not willing to change, I'm not going to butt heads, argue, scream... but this is not normal. And it's not normal for a restaurant to go through that many staff, it's not normal for a kitchen that small to have 65 items on the menu, and it's not normal for the level of animosity that you've built inside this restaurant and outside. You have the right to run the business the way you want to run your business. I have the right to do the right thing. And the right thing for me is to get out of here.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Ramsay felt that he would be wasting his time trying to help the owners after they pretty much told him to "fuck off."
    • A server from the restaurant quit after Amy yelled at her one too many times. This server, in an earlier interview, said that Ramsay would be wasting his time and that the owners were a lost cause.
    • Even before Ramsay arrived, a television crew sent to scout the place out and pick up B-reel footage caught two customers attempting to leave after their service took an hour. Emphasis on attempt: they did leave, but not before falling victim to the owners' tempers. One crew member had to restrain Samy.
  • Sock Puppet: When Amy mentions their positive reviews to Ramsay, she inadvertantly implies that the owners have created sock puppet accounts to write their own positive reviews of the restaurant.
  • Stepford Smiler: Miranda, one of the waitresses, tries to keep a smile on her face when telling Ramsay what it's like to work there — but it's clear that she thinks it's a terrible place to work given her fake smile.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Amy specifically mentions to Ramsay the positive reviews the restaurant has gotten that she and Samy "did not write."
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Amy attempts this several times during the episode toward customers she doesn't like.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • When Ramsay finally had enough he simply quietly tells the pair he's leaving and walks out. Even when he gives his wrap-up review to the camera he seems more sad than angry.
    • Ramsay operates as this throughout the whole episode, with only one true outburst overall—and remember, this is Chef Ramsay we're talking about.
  • Wham Episode: Boy howdy is it ever. Even with Ramsay leaving the restaurant for the first time in the series, Amy and Samy repeatedly berate customers, ranting and shrieking at pretty much anyone who question them, and commit illegal acts (including deliberately making food spicy to hurt customers, and pocketing tips). No other restaurant owner has showed the absolute craziness on display at Amy's Baking Company up to this point; even Sebastian wasn't this unhinged.
  • Yes-Man:
    • This is what the owners were hoping Ramsay to be. They pretty much bend over backwards to do whatever they can to please him. When he reveals he disliked their food, they treat him like an idiot who does't know what he's doing.
    • Samy is this to his wife. He cannot bring himself to ever criticize Amy or pass along customer complaints. Ramsay calls them out on this in the additional footage in "Return to Amy's Baking Company."