Dear ITV Studios America…

Summer 2007.

Hello, my name’s Gordon.

I own quite a few restaurants – lots in the United Kingdom and a few around the world.  OK, so some of them are kind of not what they used to be as I like to focus on television work now as it pays rather well.  Cheffing makes me fucking angry anyway.

And this brings me onto the reason for my letter.  I have a wonderful idea for a TV show.  I had a TV series over in Blighty called ‘Kitchen Nightmares’.  It was all about me lending my expertise to help struggling restaurants survive and thrive.  I would cook for them, help them find cheaper and locally-sourced ingredients and even provide basic restaurant consultancy.  You may have read the reviews.  It was vey well received.

Well, the idea for my new programme is… wait for it, because you’re going to LOVE this – ‘Kitchen Nightmares’.  We’ll call it ‘Kitchen Nightmares USA’ if it is shown outside the states.  Clever, eh?

Now before you say “hang on, isn’t this is an unoriginal cash cow based on the UK TV show of the same name?”, don’t panic.  I have already said that this cooking malarkey is not really the bag I’m into these days – and at the end of the day, do Americans really want fresh food and home cooking?   Let me answer that question with corn dogs.

No, the premise for KN USA is something along the lines of this.  We find a relatively trashy restaurant.  The twist is, is that it needs to be run by one of the following:

– Husband and wife

– Brother and sister

– Or a love triangle involving three of the four parties above

Next, we get in the production team to make the place look a lot more divey.  I will dine there and call the food “fucking disgusting” a few times.  We mess the kitchen up a little bit, break a gas hob, leave some food to mould in the fridge, that sort of thing.  Actually, thinking about it, we could break the fridge too.

Then, we get the staff to screw up a dinner service.  Tell the chef to look all ‘unmotivated’ and grease him/her up a little, muddle up tables and give the servers a script which includes lines like “have you fired table seven yet?” and “oh my god this is the worst night ever”.  We don’t need to worry about it looking too fake as the American audience will be too transfixed with me uttering “Jesus Christ” and “you don’t fucking care do you?” over and over again in my sultry English tones.

You might be thinking that this programme has all the required elements for desirable food-based reality TV.  But wait, we haven’t even gotten to the fifth commercial yet.  Next, I will ‘discover’ the filthed-up kitchen.

During service.

You didn’t see that coming, did you?  “Shut the fucking place down!” I cry!  The owners will literally be in tears!  Well, we tell them to be, at least.

Now, we find a few aspiring actors or work experience kids from the studio to clean up the mess we made.  On the UK version, this is where I would start to cook and and change the menu, but I don’t really want to do that, so all we need to do is pigeon our sponsors for about a hundred thousand dollars.  With this, we buy the restaurant back up to acceptable standards.  A new oven?  Cool.  A cheap, ‘Changing Rooms’-style Front of House makeover?  Piece of cake.  After all, any fucker can spray few stencils onto the wall or find some old pictures of the managers / owners in ‘happier times’.

Why happier times, I hear you ask?  Well, this is the best part of KN USA.  The ‘unique selling point’, as marketing types call it.  The people in charge have PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS.  And guess who has to wade in, Jeremy Kyle-style and bang their heads together?


Well, we may need to give them a bit of motivation to act up in the first place.  Something like “You better have a massive fight in front of a guest who has been served raw chicken or we’ll take our cameras and dollars and sod off back to Hollywood or wherever”, but it will work.  Remember, we’re in America!  The land of dreams.

The whole show hinges on them putting aside these differences for the sake of the business.  They will, because people listen to me and I have good interpersonal skills.  The show will conclude on this moral high-ground, and as a result the restaurant will get through a service in style and in the absence of any violent activity.

We don’t need to talk about whether the restaurant survives in the long run though, as the owners are talking again, they have a shitload of PR and a new restaurant with a future as bright as my place at Claridges.

Just fling out this format for six to eight episodes and you got yourself a series.  Or as I say, “Done”.

So, what do you think?

Yours fucking sincerely,

Gordon R.

© Mike Dalley, May 2013

© Mike Dalley, May 2013

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