28 May, 2014 @ 17:20
1 min read

TV chef Gordon Ramsay transforms Fuengirola restaurant while filming in Spain

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A BRITISH restaurateur has revealed how Gordon Ramsay cracked the whip during a whistlestop visit to her restaurant in Fuengirola.

Pat Diaz, from London, has told the Olive Press how in just four short days, the Scottish superchef literally turned her little-known diner Jack’s Chicken Shack on its head.

“He came in a lot and he certainly made a difference,” she revealed, after the crew had finished filming for a new series of Ramsay’s TV show Kitchen Nightmares. His first move was to get rid of clutter.

“My husband is a hoarder and he ordered us to clear the storeroom of rubbish. Literally put it all out on the street and made us sort it into three piles, ‘keep’, ‘charity’ and ‘rubbish’,” explained Diaz, 68, who has run restaurants on the coast with husband Jack, 72, for 27 years.

“He does shout and he does thump things and he does swear a lot,” she laughed. “But he is lovely. A very hard, but very nice man, who worries about people.”

The couple had been amazed when they were chosen for the TV show.

“We all got a letter through the door asking if we wanted to appear on the show,” she continued. “As we had recently changed the name, from Mayfair, and my son John is taking over we thought why not,” continued Diaz.

Ramsay clearly had a good time while filming in Spain for a week, both in Andalucia and up in Alicante.

“He was very impressed with the food and said that he was happy to see that Spanish chefs were getting away from ‘molecular’ cuisine and getting back to more traditional dishes,” said Marbella-based businessman Pancho Campo, who has been working with him on the show.

The wine expert was on hand to help choose wine for the restaurants.

Gordon has long been a fan of all things Spanish and Instagramed ‘Love Spain’ with a photo of the departure board at the airport as he flew out to Malaga.

The Michelin-starred chef, who ­overhauls menus, decor and even the staff on the expletive-ridden Channel 4 show, previously filmed an episode at Nerja’s La Parra de Burriana in 2007.

Gordon – worth an estimated £70million – helped owner Davy, who was about €100,000 in debt, turn the struggling business around. But on a return visit in 2012 he found that the restaurant had closed.

Tom Powell

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  1. Seems strange that people tend to see someone’s business in difficulty after 27 years of hard work by two people yet have symphony for people not able to sell or legalize properties.

    It makes me feel sick. Don’t reply please as you it would be a waste of space and not worthy of a reply.

  2. Fuengirola eh? Sounds like your sort of place Caccia. The restaurants that Ramsay chooses are almost at the point of closure, indeed many do close (see the Kitchen Nightmares blog for a list). It’s called Kitchen Nightmares for a reason. If you want to truly feel sick, just watch a few episodes on YouTube.

  3. Fred, OP really protects your a..e. Deleted my my previous reply. Are you on their payroll as they allow your sadistic remarks but blocks mine. That must be part of the Spanish democracy you adhere to.

  4. Watching a couple of YouTube videos doesn’t require plenty of time Caccia – mere minutes. For a person who has supposedley retired and is enjoying Spain at every moment, you appear to spend a lot of time on this blog. Strange that.

  5. @Caccia, what sadistic remarks? Do you even understand the words that you type, or is your iPad autocorrecting again? The OP erases my posts as well btw, the only difference is that, unlike you, I don’t whine on here like a little child saying my “democratic rights” have been taken away lol. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  6. Just look up sadistic, it has various computations. Perhaps people only associate it with the meanings.

    Fred I like your quote:- “I don’t whine on here like a little child”.

    That must be the understatement of the year, wine, moan, not a lot of difference, but I still like it.

  7. A pity – we went to La Parra several times in the past few years and enjoyed their food, service and jazz entertainment.
    Now that they are “improved” – they are closed. GREAT??!
    Maybe there are DIFFERENT classes of “consulting” more suited to different classes of restaurants?
    And as for restaurant “NAMES” related to profits – Duffy’s “LOVE SHACK” in the Red Hook parking lot of St Thomas, USVI I bet makes more $$ than Ramsey declares as Income each year!

  8. No words can describe how bad our experience at jacks chicken shack was, all the chicken we ordered was raw, we sent it back and the same meals came back re cooked on the same plate on the same salad etc, we said it wasn’t right and jack and and English guy argued with us, disgusting place

  9. We arrived at the chicken shack excited for are meal,what a shame it was,all the chicken we ordered was completely pink raw as my daughter and i had eaten half of the chicken all ready. We sent the chicken back after jack and the english man had argued with us not thinking they were wrong.It came back on the same plate as when it was raw also it was the SAME piece of chicken,horrible experience there was no sorries from the cook or staff,my daughter was ill the next day.

  10. From someone who has lived near Jack’s Chicken shack for nearly 12 years it doesn’t surprise me he has already messed it up. Jack is a nice guy but the only reason he has a restaurant in the first place is that his British wife brought the freehold years ago and if he was paying rent he would of gone bust. The restaurant always had a bad reputation for being dirty and poor food. Jack seem to treat it as a house more than a business with him sitting playing dominos with his friends on his terrace in front of the TV. So could the Ramsey touch make a difference?

    Well My wife had read the stuff about the Ramsey visit so she took my family down for a meal, when she arrived she found Jack sat with a friend in the middle of his terrace with TV turned up watching Spanish TV, it was like he was in his sitting room she said and hardly a surprise she decided to go elsewhere.

    The worst thing is that the bar is in a great spot and with right person it could make a fortune, however it seems the current owners are so set in their ways and clueless it will never work while they are at the helm.

    It’s a shame Ramsey chose this place as their are far more deserving places on the coast who could of done with his help

  11. How’s Jack’s Chicken Shack doing now Fuengirolans? According to the follow-up to the make-over on Brit telly, Jack’s son has taken over and the Shack is booming. Is it?

  12. Watching this I was surprised at so many customers, even before Ramsay could start to address the faults. So it was relevant to hear from Mark above that the location is in a great place. The programme hinted that if the son kept the new model in place (ie clean and healthy cooking) then it could indeed be a moneyspinner – but it’s down to those owners. They’ve been handed something on a plate (which few of us get the opportunity), so no sympathy if they still end messing it up.

  13. Watch this programme last night – recently on British TV. Can’t find the restaurant on Trip Advisor – did it actually succeed? Thought it was a bit odd that they mentioned at the beginning that Jack and Pat had run a successful British restaurant but didn’t name it…

  14. Sounds like some chicken we had at a chiringuito in Almeria. Mine was raw and bleeding when I got to the middle. I sent it back and it was returned the same bits and pieces as they took it. It looked as if they had scraped the whole lot into a chip pan and crisped it.

  15. I have a business near Jack’s Chicken shack and he is doing next to nothing, As Ramsey left he was back to normal treating the restaurant as his own house often sitting on his terrace watching spanish TV with his friends. I know a few people who have gone in there and said it was behond bad as the program illustrated quite clearly. I don’t know how he stays afloat with all his staff, well I do as no doubt he is paying them next to nothing in black and his family work for free.
    Link to program if anyone wants to see it:

  16. Having had an apartment in Los Boliches for years and regularly walking past this place when it was the Mayfair we tried it this summer (unaware of the Ramsay makeover) – so at least the new branding works!

    Jack was very entertaining and the children loved him – as well as instantly spotting Jon’s likeness to the guy from Al’s Toy Barn in Toy Story. The guy who looks like Lurch is still working in the kitchen.

    Having watched the show I now realise that we fell for Gordon’s menu and were up-sold on lots of extras – but that’s fine. They were well priced and complemented each other well.

    The chicken is a bit hit and miss but the calamari was fresh and probably the best I’ve had for a long time. So good, I started popping in every day to get some as a snack. However, I stopped and haven’t been back since after I heard Juan making snide remarks about me in Spanish.

    Until I saw the show I thought he owned the place and I feel even more angry now that I realise he’s just the former incompetent chef. He clearly has a massive chip on his shoulder and stands around the bar area like a fart in a trance. In fact, I was always amazed that he never took the opportunity to sell me a beer while I was waiting for my order and seem more interested in watching the TV. How much money has that guy cost them over the years? It’s astounding!

    Inside was always empty except for Pat sat in the corner beneath the TV with an ancient cash register. The bar has become cluttered with junk again.

    Jack and Jon seem like very nice guys and I wish them the best. But, perhaps while Jack is sat sweating on his stool outside trying to bring in customers he should think about why he keeps Juan employed to stand around inside losing him his business.

  17. Really interesting to hear the comments about the place after the make over. It’s clear from the programme that Jack is a lovely man but I instantly disliked that chef so not surprised that he made a snide remark.

    Seems like the best thing the family could do would be to sell the place, or rent it to someone – the location seems a winner for someone to make a fortune.

  18. You beat me to it Jon and you would think the chef Juan knows this especially how much money he would be entitled to. This is what makes the spanish labour system a joke, I belive that employees should be rewarded for locality but when they as useless as Juan there has to be a get out of jail card. There is so much dead wood employed within the Spanish system and a lot are just holding out for a big payout and actually want to sacked while young more qualified folk are forced overseas to find work.

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