Amy's Baking Company
|"Amy's Baking Company"|
|Kitchen Nightmares episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6|
|Directed by||Jay Hunter|
|Production code||December 2012|
|Original air date||May 10, 2013|
|Running time||43 minutes|
"Amy's Baking Company" is the sixteenth episode of the sixth season of Kitchen Nightmares, and the 82nd episode of the series. The episode first aired on May 10, 2013 and centered on Gordon Ramsay attempting to help Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The episode marked the only time in either the UK or the US versions of Kitchen Nightmares history that Ramsay was unable to complete the restaurant's transformation due to conflict with the owners. The owners' violent behaviors received negative attention on social media, and the manner in which they responded to this critical reception further fueled the controversy, prompting Forbes to refer to this as an example of how a business should not react to comments posted on social media.
Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, the husband and wife owners, explain the history of their restaurant: Samy invested over a million dollars to build the restaurant in 2006 in order to fulfill Amy's dreams. About two years prior to the episode's filming, bloggers began writing negative reviews of the restaurant's food and the owners' behaviours. Amy says the reviews are "lies" and states that they cost the restaurant a "tremendous amount of business".
The day before Ramsay arrives, the camera crew witnesses an intense argument between Samy and a customer. It starts when the customer complains to Samy that he and his friend had been waiting for a pizza for over an hour, causing Samy to lash out at him and order the two customers to leave, but not before insisting that the two customers pay for the drinks they have received. Samy then turns his attention to the customer's friend, while Amy threatens to call the police. Just when it appears that Samy and the customer will come to blows, a cameraman steps in and escorts the customers out of the restaurant. Amy then berates and insults the other customers in the restaurant before storming back into the kitchen.
Upon his arrival, Ramsay is initially impressed with the kitchen's good hygiene and organization, though becomes more wary when Amy admits that she closes the restaurant if either she or Samy is not there. After the initial discussion, Ramsay prepares to sample the dishes. Though he liked one of the desserts he tried when meeting the couple initially, he had a rather negative response towards the other menu items: the fig and pear prosciutto pizza was very sweet and made with under-cooked dough; the blue ribbon burger was not medium rare as requested, with a combination of condiments that Ramsay finds bizarre, and a bun dripping with grease; the red pepper ravioli exhibits a combination of sweet and spicy flavors that Ramsay called "confusing" and he learns from Samy that it was mass-produced frozen ravioli despite the menu advertising it as freshly made; and the salmon burger was overcooked and its presentation was unappealing. Samy reveals to Ramsay that he does not tell Amy about the problems with the dishes as he knows she does not deal well with criticism. At another point during the sampling, Ramsay learns from one of the servers, Miranda Winant, that neither she nor the other servers make any tips, but that they instead go to Samy. Ramsay discusses this with Samy, who justifies the policy by saying he does much of the front-of-house work; though Miranda reveals Samy does not always properly input the orders and often omits dishes that were ordered as a result of this.
Later during dinner service, Ramsay criticizes Amy and Samy for the food he was served during lunch and Amy responds by denying any wrongdoing because Samy refused to tell her the problems about the food. He also criticizes Amy for using frozen ravioli instead of making it fresh, and announces to the customers that the ravioli is off the menu, which doesn't sit well with Amy. Throughout the night, customers are seen complaining about the long waiting, and several customers are shown sending back their dishes they disliked. At one point, Amy accidentally gives the wrong table number to Miranda. Subsequently, when giving food to Katy Cipriano, another server, as well as the table number, Katy asks, "Are you sure?" Amy responds by accusing her of having an "attitude problem" and demands that she should leave. When Ramsay witnesses a customer giving a tip intended for the servers and Samy taking it for himself, Samy again defends the policy, stating that the waiting staff receive an hourly wage. This prompts Ramsay to inform the customer that all tips go to the restaurant's management and not the servers, to which the customer replies, "That's horrible." Samy and Ramsay then get into a heated, profanity-laced argument, in which Ramsay tells Samy he is not allowed to take his servers' tips. Amy closes the restaurant, and fires Katy on the spot. Samy attempts to change Amy's mind, but Amy does not relent, later describing Katy, who leaves the premises in tears, as a "poisonous little viper".
Ramsay returns to the restaurant the next day, only to find it closed. Ramsay takes this opportunity to talk to Henry and Jessica who previously worked in the restaurant. Both describe horrible working experiences; Henry claims Samy made him wash his car and Jessica claims that at least 50 people were fired during the 18-month period when she worked at the restaurant. Ramsay then attempts to talk to Amy and Samy, telling them what they are doing wrong. Amy refuses to listen and becomes increasingly aggressive and hostile towards Ramsay. Samy even reveals that they had actually fired 100 employees, not 50. As a result, Ramsay realizes they are not open to making any changes and leaves the restaurant, and in a concluding monologue, states that this is the first time he has met two restaurant owners that he could not help. He also started to talk to Pam, another worker, who admitted to Ramsay that on one occasion, Samy had hit her. Before leaving the area he cites the fact that the restaurant has gone through a hundred staff members, stating that Amy and Samy have infuriated the local community and are incapable of accepting criticism, and believes that they would not have adhered to any changes he would have implemented to improve the restaurant regardless.
The episode was shot in December 2012. On December 10 a local media interview with a diner described his altercation with Samy during taping. The diner saw what he thought was an act for the purposes of the show, but a producer told him that "what was happening was real". The diner went on to explain that police were on the scene by the time he left the restaurant. The diner reported that the police were responding to a "911 hangup call" from the restaurant, and that they left after "concluding everything was fine".
Reception and reaction
The episode premiered on May 10, 2013, and was viewed by approximately 3.34 million people. It earned a 1.2/5 share in the 18–49 demographic, meaning it was seen by 1.2% of all 18- to 49-year-olds and 5% of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. The episode met with praise from reviewers, with one critic writing, "The episode is nothing short of amazing."
After the show aired, the restaurant, which is located in a shopping center at Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard, became a momentary tourist attraction. The restaurant received extensive negative feedback on their official Facebook page. When owners Amy and Samy responded by denouncing people who posted negative comments, they provoked more of the same, not only on Facebook, but also on Yelp and Reddit. Forbes used the reactions as a poster example of how a business should not react to comments on social media. The owners later stated that they were hacked, and that they had not posted any of the comments. This prompted more negative responses and the original comments and responses were eventually removed. As a result of the Kitchen Nightmares episode and Facebook posts, awareness of the incident caused the "meltdown" to go viral.
The company hired a local public relations firm, and a second Facebook page was eventually taken down as well, while another one called "I support Amy's Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro 100 percent" appeared on May 15. A press release announced that they would be holding a "Grand Re-Opening" on May 21, 2013. On April 11, 2014, Kitchen Nightmares aired a special episode revolving around the events at Amy's Baking Company during and after the episode aired with a new, specially-recorded interview with the owners conducted by local reporter Ana Garcia. Amy's Baking Company permanently closed on September 1, 2015. Amy Bouzaglo explained that the development stemmed from problems with the building's former landlord, and not the TV series. She also indicated her future career plans included making desserts for a Phoenix-area restaurant group and producing online instructional cooking videos. The building that hosted Amy's Baking Company hosted another restaurant called "B&R Restaurant" for a while before also closing, and is now host to an Aikido school.
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