Gordon Ramsay: Enabler or Savior?

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Gordon Ramsay: Enabler or Savior?

Malcolm Wiener, Staff Writer

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“If you want great food without to much fuss, then I recommend you grab a plate!” Says
one customer of the Catfish Cabin, a restaurant in Memphis Tennessee. Catfish Cabin was
founded in 1971 and is located on Airways Blvd. right near the Memphis airport. On January 23,
2019, season 2 episode 2 of Gordon Ramsay’s show 24 Hours to Hell and Back aired on Fox. The
plot of the show entails Ramsay traveling to different restaurants around the country and helping them
clean up their acts in 24 hours. This particular episode featured Memphis’s Catfish Cabin.
The episode revealed to everyone just how horrible the operating conditions were. The kitchens were disgusting and looked like they had not been cleaned in over a decade.  The fish was not properly stored and looked like it was
rotting.  The service was very poor as well.  However, by the end of the episode, Ramsay had helped
redecorate the cabin as well as cleaned and installed almost an entirely new kitchen.  He also helped
the cooks by creating and teaching a new menu that they could easily perfect. While the episode ended happily ever after, how do we know what Catfish Cabin was like after the cameras left and reality set back in?  Did old habits reform?  Did the workers start slacking again?

The restaurant did well for the first handful of weeks and were always packed, with customers filling every seat. Everything was going great for Catfish Cabin until two months after the episode aired.

The restaurant’s business went down thirty percent than what it should have been at that time of the year.  Gordon Ramsay had showed the unsanitary kitchen conditions and the outdated equipment, and nobody wanted to go there anymore. People had a fear of the staff reverting back to their old habits. The show was supposed to help the business and show people that it was a changed, improved restaurant, but instead it made people scared to go and eat their food.

This raises the question of whether or not shows like Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back actually help or hurt the restaurants in the long run.  The reviews of the people that went there after the episode aired were all good, which makes you think that he obviously did help them.  However, the problem is not that the restaurant is not better now.  The problem is that nobody wants to go to the restaurant anymore due to the conditions shown in that unfortunate episode.