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Check, please! After a seven-year run on Fox, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is ending his hit restaurant-reality series “Kitchen Nightmares.” Ramsay described the experience as “an amazing journey” in an announcement on his website Monday, adding, “It’s been a blast but it’s time to call it a day.”
On the show, Ramsay traveled around the world to revamp failing restaurants — and often lost his temper with stubborn owners and chefs. (Here’s looking at you, Amy’s Baking Co.) In fact, he became so famous for his expletive-laden insults it’s easy to forget that Ramsay has a softer side. Check out these five tender moments from an otherwise tough series.
The time he liked the food
At one New York eatery Ramsay visited in 2011, he flinched at the “ghastly” decor and even took issue with the town’s name (“Mount Sinai — sounds a little bit like cyanide”). So viewers were bowled over when he spooned into a cup of clam chowder and found it pleasing to his palate. “Nicely seasoned, great-tasting and perfect for a winter’s day,” he incredulously informed the owner, who seemed just as surprised.
The time he helped a rookie
At 21, chef Danielle was passionate but inexperienced — and her Philadelphia lunch spot was slipping into financial ruin. Ramsay withheld his usual tirades and instead hired a successful local restaurateur to mentor the young cook for a month. “I’ve finally got someone that cares,” an emotional Danielle told cameras. “I can learn how to do this and do it right.”
The time he consented to a hug
In this memorable 2009 clip, restaurant owner Peter was frazzled and near tears during a hectic dinner service. After receiving a pointed pep talk from Ramsay, Peter mustered his courage. “Can I ask for one favor?” he ventured in a shaky voice. “Can I have a hug?”
Ramsay paused for a moment before relenting. “Why not?” the superstar chef replied. “Here we go.” Ramsay enveloped the owner in an embrace, then offered an encouraging high-five.
The time he stopped swearing (or tried to, anyway)
On the British version of “Kitchen Nightmares,” Ramsay was frustrated with a chef who smoked and drank during his shifts. Rather than berate the slacker cook, Ramsay brought in a piggy bank and proposed a deal: He would drop in a coin for every swear word he uttered, while the chef would do likewise for each cigarette or drink he had. In the end, Ramsay nearly went broke (while the chef kept all his cash), but the effort was nice to see. “It’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime,” Ramsay admitted.
The time he made a house call
Money isn’t the only thing at stake when a business starts to nosedive. In 2013, Ramsay visited the wife of Mitch, a struggling New Jersey restaurateur who had become defeated and withdrawn. Ramsay suggested a secret joint effort to restore the man’s confidence. “We need to start getting Mitch back and help him ascertain some form of pride back in his work,” Ramsay told the man’s wife. “The turnaround will be huge, but I can’t do that without you.”