Goodness no, that is sadly not true. I love this show (discovered it only last year but have become sort of an addict thanks to BBC-A) and have kept track of various sites that reveal the fates of these restaurants. Here’s a rundown, plus reminders of the relevant episodes.
- Bonaparte’s Restaurant: Closed
This is the one with the restaurant above the pub and the crappy young chef who couldn’t cook eggs or tell the difference in a blind taste test between lamb, pork or chicken. The owner sued Gordon and lost.
The one with the two young chefs (including Claire, a parttime bookstore employee who was just helping out her boyfriend) who were snatched up by Gordon for his restaurant
Snobby owner who refused to lower his prices or promote the more talented assistant chef as Gordon recommended.
Massive purple grape of a building. I believe this is the one that’s related to a golf course, and where Gordon had the staff carving roast chickens at table for a Mother’s Day meal.
Italian restaurant with crappy chef w/his own personal license plate; infamous scene where the arrogant staffer knowingly gives a pizza w/ham to a vegetarian.
- D-Place: Closed by the end of the episode, yet
The one where the chef lied about having flash fried his potatoes rather than baked them.
- Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack: Open but under administration
“Soul in the Bowl.” Gordon came back like three times to help this soulfood restaurant run by a likeable woman with woefully poor judgment. Each time they kept overpreparing and pre-preparing their food like a fast food restaurant. Finally opened a huge expanded restaurant and ended up under administration.
Run by a fast food magnate who brought KFC to Scotland; Gordon told him he was too pretentious for the area and should keep the cozy ambience. Instead when Gordon returned the owner had reverted to hifalutin’ ways and renamed it Abstract. He opened a second restaurant for lunch, which was more along the lines Gordon wanted. Sure enough, it was more popular than the first.
Sad episode with the woman who hired her son as a chef, and gradually Gordon realized he had a drinking problem. Son went into rehab, so somewhat hopeful, but the restaurant closed.
The pseudo Fawlty Towers episode. Had a Japanese restaurant in the basement; Gordon arranged for an eating contest between this restaurant and a French counterpart.
Lancashire restaurant renamed Jackson’s by Gordon.
The large, very old fashioned restaurant with the waiter who made flambe desserts at table. Run by a woman who had happy memories of the place before her divorce.
- La Parra de Burriana: Open
Spain and the Donkeys! How can you forget the donkeys. Plus Gordon’s disgust at the chef’s chicken and banana dish and chocolate ‘n’ prawns… urgh.
Campaign for Real Gravy and the obsessive compulsive chef with a dish fetish.
Former Michelin star chef who was depressed about his current circumstances. Gordon renamed the restaurant Maggie’s (because it was near a church called St. Margaret’s, I believe).
- Morgan’s: Apparently sold
Clueless mother and two daughters, only one of whom had any kind of work ethic. Female asst. chef specialized in sticky toffee pudding, yum. Gordon named the good sister as manager over the mother, who had been buying supplies in a tiny grocer’s.
Run by overemotional actor Allan Love with hideous art. Gordon pushed this non-fish-eater to focus the menu on fish and chips and renamed the restaurant Love’s. Seems to have been quite successful.
- Piccolo Teatro: Closed by the end of the episode
Another infamous episode, this was the Paris ep with the incredibly spoiled brat of an owner who used her dad’s money to run this place into the ground. Nutty chef who seemed to threaten Gordon with a knife.
Originally a church, their customers used cheapo coupons for the restaurant’s carvery. Filthy place. Gordon tried to push them away from the carvery but by the time he returned later it was back on weekends.
Boxer with every cookbook known to mankind (including Gordon’s) and his harpy shrew of a wife. Thanks to Gordon there was an amazing turnaround with their restaurant (using the boxer’s Italian heritage) and apparently their married life, since they stopped arguing in public at last.
Indian place with eighty billion dishes; Gordon had them cut this number significantly.
- The Granary: Not just closed but burned down!
The former exclusive club owned by a millionaire and with several ex-cons working in the restaurant. Destroyed in a suspicious fire, allegedly arson.
So that’s 9 out of 22 that are still open. Seems that the later restaurants have a better survival rate, but of course it’s early yet.
I don’t think this is so much a reflection on Gordon – his advice is certainly solid – but these places are in such dire straits by the time they seek help that I guess it’s too late for his efforts to make a difference. Plus, of course, most restaurants fail.