Ramsay's Costa del Nightmares, Channel 4 - TV review: The last hurrah for the chef

Are you sure you want to retire, Gordon, when there's still so much important work to be done?

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The Independent Culture

The Costa del Sol, that English expat colony of sun, sea and sausage'n'egg sarnies, is the setting for Gordon Ramsay's new series, Ramsay's Costa del Nightmares (Channel 4).

This four-episode series is also the last hurrah for Gordon's decade-long run of Kitchen Nightmares. The chef is off to tackle new challenges, though it's hard to imagine him ever again finding another project that so perfectly suits his temperament.

This week's restaurateurs were south Londoner Pat and Spanish waiter Jack, who met and married after a whirlwind holiday romance in the 1960s. Forty-five years later, and following a stint owning a London restaurant, they're running the Mayfair in Fuengirola, with roughly five grand of debt for every year of married life. As well as the usual inedible food and inexcusable service, their business has become a repository for Jack's junk. It's Kitchen Nightmares meets The Hoarder Next Door, and as Gordon pointed out, "Who wants tapas with a side of tat?"

No one. No one would want that. Which is why Pat and Jack are so absurdly grateful to be on the receiving end of the gruff chef's trademark mix of radical honesty, business strategy and good, old-fashioned verbal abuse. In one entertaining scene, Gordon took a stroll along the seafront, to read restaurant menus and chat to holiday-makers, all the while barely disguising his revulsion under a thin veneer of civility. Bangers and mash? Gammon steak with chips and peas? "I get embarrassed when I read this shit," he growled.

Are you sure you want to retire, Gordon, when there's still so much important work to be done?

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