"Kitchen Nightmares" first. In the latest episode, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay got so fed up he refused to help a pair of restaurant owners, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, salvage their business.It was a
In spite of the episode's predictable "trainwreck" outcome, the couple proudly promoted it on their company's Facebook page in April before it was shown on television. When the episode aired on Friday, a storm of social media criticism ensued—and the feisty Bouzaglos fought back.
After finding a freezer filled with packaged ravioli and a bakery case displaying "homemade desserts" that were actually bought elsewhere, Ramsay struggled to stop the combative couple from cursing out the customers and taking away their servers' tips. Finally, he got up and walked away, saying, "I can't help people who can't help themselves."
The couple jumped on Facebook to defend themselves.
"We do not feel the need to make any excuses for our behavior on tonight’s show," they said in a statement on Friday. "We do not, nor have we ever stolen or taken any of our servers, waitresses, or waiters tips at Amy’s Baking Company." They added that they pay their staff "anywhere between $8.00 to $14.00 per hour" and challenged any of the more than 100 people who have worked for them in the past year to prove the allegations uncovered by "Kitchen Nightmares." They ended the statement with: "So please enjoy the show! Amy & Samy"
By Sunday, after the local paper ran jaw-dropping details from the first day of filming, they went into PR mode:
"Samy and I would just like to thank all of our loyal friends, family and customers who have supported us," Amy posted on the company's public Facebook page on Sunday. "We would also like to thank all of our NEW customers that have shown an OVERWHELMING amount of support for us!!! You are all wonderful people and we commend you for being intelligent enough to realize that everything you see on TV or read is not necessarily true!"
In many cases, the bad reviews for Amy's Baking Company describing "toxic customer service" were posted on Yelp years before the restaurant appeared on "Kitchen Nightmares," making one wonder why the Bouzaglos decided to appear on the reality TV show at all. Positive reviews focused on Amy's homemade baked goods, which Ramsay discovered were actually bought from other bakers. Still, a few new customers spoke up in defense of the Bouzaglos after the episode. "I saw the show and I like the way the do not give the tips to the help, because that will help them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!!" wrote Jim Donaldson on Facebook. "With God's love anything is possible!"
But by Monday afternoon, after Reddit, Yelp, and Facebook users criticized them and accused them of reselling other company's baked goods—some posted links proving that almost all of the pictures of Amy's "homemade" items had been lifted from other people's blogs (example: see this and this)—things got ugly. It's probably best to just let some of the Bouzaglos' actual Facebook posts speak for them.
Then Samy Bouzaglo started threatening anyone from Yelp or Reddit.
And then they went and brought God into it:
But the internet can be relentless and, by dinnertime, Amy Bouzaglo was lashing out even at her supporters, and started posting things like this:
And, for good measure, they posted one last defiant statement on Twitter before locking down their account:
The Bouzaglos have a history of reacting badly to negative reviews. In 2010, after receiving a negative, one-star review on Yelp!, they started insulting the critic and arguing with readers, the Phoenix New Times reported. Yahoo! Shine tried to get their side of the story, but multiple phone calls to Amy's Baking Company were not returned on Tuesday.
Even after "Kitchen Nightmares" and all of the Bouzaglos' confessions, the company's website still states: "All of our Pastries are baked fresh daily by me." It also still features a page devoted to Amy's baking, with photos—like the gorgeous Henna Mehndi Cake— that critics have shown were taken from other sites. "I have been busy creating new cake designs," Amy writes under the photos. "What do you think?"
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