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Gordon Ramsay in Maggie's kitchen.
Gordon Ramsay in Maggie's kitchen

Ramsay's kitchen nightmare turns to joy

Star chef Gordon Ramsay unleashed both his temper and some good advice when King's Lynn restaurateur Nick Anderson called in the Channel 4 show to revamp his ailing business. We find out how the newly-named Maggie's has fared since the cameras left.

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King's Lynn restaurateur Nick Anderson has come under the famous knife of TV chef Gordon Ramsay.

The foul-mouthed cook visited Rococo in Lynn's Saturday Market Place during the summer for Channel 4's Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares series.

By the end of the London-based chef's week-long trip the restaurant's name wasn't the only thing he'd dispensed with.

Ramsay's revamp

In the TV show aired on Tuesday, Ramsay re-christened the business Maggie's, updated the menu with local produce, simpler dishes and cheaper prices, revamped the dining area and boosted the profits.

But the turn-around wasn't painless, with the F-word loving chef scrutinising the former Michelin-starred cook's every move until tempers flared and stubbornness set in.

Five months since the cameras have left - the tears have dried and Nick has nearly cleared £100,000 of debt.

"When you're 40 years old you don't expect to be berated," said Nick.

"But I think the thing that stood out and I was very pleased with that after I'd locked him out he came back in and said, 'Can we talk?' and it was quite clear when he said, 'Look I wouldn't be here unless I thought I could make a change and I thought you could cook.'"

Out of step

Ramsay criticised Nick, who used to run The Crown Hotel in Wells, for being stuck in the 1990s.

But with the bills mounting up and his young family's home above the restaurant at risk, Nick explained it was hard to go out and keep up with food fashion.

"All chefs are plagiarists and you need to eat out to see what your colleagues are doing and if you can't afford to do that you get stuck in a rut," said Nick.

"The Great British public are eating out more and more and more and are becoming more discerning all the time.

"If I can't move with the times because I can't see what everyone is doing then they're not going to come here because the food is staid."

Business improved

Despite having his pride dented at the time, both Nick's confidence and takings have soared since Ramsay provided the impetus his venture needed.

"Business is booming," said Nick. "We've seen a huge upturn on last year.

"Our bookings for December already are very, very good.

"I think it is purely that we are far more affordable and we have now people coming for dinner who book while they're here for the following week, so we have become a supper - if you like - restaurant as well as a special occasion restaurant."

Away from the cameras, Nick said he found his fiery-tempered mentor charming.

"There's a formula, it's a programme and it has to tick X number of boxes, but as a person ultimately I've got respect for him," he said.

last updated: 30/11/06
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