Let's be honest. When Brian first started watching Kitchen Nightmares, the show's concept horrified me. Reality shows are inherently confrontational, and I...well, I'm inherently not. They tend to make me uncomfortable, even the ones that don't involve lots of yelling. He started watching this show while I was doing something else nearby and I started listening in spite of myself. Gradually I found myself sitting on the couch next to him, and now I'm completely enthralled. Argh.
What got me hooked? Certainly not the yelling, though it's always justified. Believe it or not, it was Ramsay's enthusiasm. He seems to love what he does, and his energy infuses people with excitement for whatever it is they're doing (managing, cooking, etc.). After working with him, people seem to be totally thrilled to be in the kitchen. Watching him get people to open up and listen to reason is fascinating. Each show is usually a horrid situation turned into a happy ending.
The other hook factor is his MO for most of these places: simple, fresh food. After watching a fair number of episodes on the DVR, this idea got to me and I started thinking of different things we could do in our kitchen to get away from the preprocessed box-dinner thing. I started to experiment with fresh ingredients, with new recipes, and with foods I had never dared try to make, and you know what? It's a blast.
The reason for this post is my realization the other day in the kitchen starting a meatloaf and homemade mashed potatoes with green beans: I was excited and happy to be in there making real food. That was a first. Well done, Chef Ramsay. Well done.