Kitchen Nightmares UK: The Ship & Anchor

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The Best of Kitchen Nightmares UK: ‘Shrek in a Frock’.

If you’ve watched USA episodes of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, you’re missing out if you haven’t seen the UK versions. They are so much better – and funnier. And it’s hard to choose a favourite but after much deliberation, I’ve decided on the episode featuring Mike and Caron Ciminera of the Ship and Anchor pub in Wales is an absolute winner.

Mike is an ex-boxer. He and Caron used to run a fish and chip shop but when they won a lot of money on the pools (the UK football sweepstakes thingy) they bought a country pub and decided to turn it into a gourmet paradise.

Mike and Caron Ciminera

They’ll both annoy you at first but you’ll be particularly irritated by Caron – who appears to be a complete madwoman. (I promise, you’ll like her by the end of the episode) and it was she who provoked what I think is Gordon Ramsay’s funniest insult when he tells her that she’s running round like ‘Shrek in a frock’. 🙂

In the kitchen

Mike is hopeless. He gets all his recipes from cookery books, including those of Gordon Ramsay. And single-handedly he tries to cook them for his unsuspecting guests. Caron runs the dining room and when the two meet, the results are explosive,

The battling owners

Mike and Caron fight constantly with each other – even when people are in the restaurant. And they don’t only argue with each other, they argue with their customers too to the extent of throwing them out if they so wish. It truly is a kitchen nightmare and seems to be an insoluble problem.

Kitchen Nightmares UK and Kitchen Nightmares USA: Differences

There are more differences listed below the video but before you watch it, I want to tell you about the major difference. In the UK, as long as programmes are shown after a certain hour,  the language is not censored. Therefore if you are likely to be offended by the occasional f-word (occasional? Ha!) then do not watch 🙂

In one UK episode Gordon Ramsay apologises to a woman for his ‘kitchen language’ and as other chefs have remarked ‘the most-used four letter word used in commercial kitchen is not ‘fork’.

The differences between Kitchen Nightmares UK and USA

In the UK versions:

  • The restaurant owners are usually a lot more amenable and willing to listen to what Gordon Ramsay has to say when he recommends changes to their restaurants
  • He is unlikely to find the horrendously filthy kitchens that became almost a standard feature in the USA
  • The programme is narrated by Ramsay himself giving the show a greater intimacy
  • There is no ‘let me tell you what emotions you should be feeling’ music. This SO spoils the USA episodes. In the UK versions popular music is selected to reflect the action. For example, in the episode above when Gordon Ramsay is investigating reviews, the music is the theme to the Pink Panther movie
  • Not all episodes feature makeovers. Gordon sometimes redoes the dining room in some small way but rarely the kitchen. And these aren’t hugely expensive makeovers such as the ones seen in the USA
  • There is normally much less drama and fewer arguments – the UK version is a lot more believable. (Although Caron and Mike’s arguments in the episode above are something else!)
  • They are generally funnier. There is invariably an element of humour that’s not evident in the USA versions
  • They are uncensored!


Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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1 Comment

  1. Can’t say I’m a fan of Gordon Ramsay. His style can be a bit abrasive and I have known him to be just a tad offensive with his language!

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