WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
"I said 'What the hell is this?'!" says Chef John "Chappy" Chapman. "I couldn't believe it. He completely misjudged Tennessee."
Chappy is talking about Chef Ramsay, the star of the show. Ramsay is known to be cutting and critical in his attempts to revive failing restaurants, and says that was his plan for Chappy's on Church.
"When I first walked in, I felt depressed," says Ramsay. "The dining room had lost its edge, the decor was drab and I was given 4 butters, which later turned out to be 4 margarines. F*** me, I mean 4 different kinds of butters?!"
A menu makeover was among the first things on Chef Ramsay's to-do list - out with the oysters and New Orleans style desserts.
"I couldn't believe that's the menu that he wants to put in," says Chappy. "Hush puppies, fried chicken, hamburgers - give me a break."
Network camera crews documented before, during and after the renovations, which nearly changed everything from the seating to the light fixtures. Church pews replaced chairs, and neutral tones with wood and burlap accents took the place of gold walls and Chappy's New Orleans flair.
"I had no idea they were going to tear it all down and redecorate it," says Chappy.
Chappy says it was an unpleasant surprise - something he didn't realize he signed on for. According to the New Orleans style chef, scouts for "Kitchen Nightmares" approached him to be on the show knowing he had been struggling since losing everything in Hurricane Katrina.
"I've been on my ass before, I've worked my way up and I've had failure," says Ramsay. "So, if only you knew how seriously we take these situations, because it's sad."
Chef Ramsay says this is one of the biggest restaurant transformations in nearly 100 "Kitchen Nightmares" episodes across the country. Even the wait staff were ordered to change their wardrobe from dress shirts and bow ties to flannel shirts and jeans.
"It killed my business," says Chappy. "We went down to almost nothing, down to one table in a night."
Only a banquet hall and a storage room survived the show. Chappy says he plans to put that style back in the rest of the restaurant. In the meantime, he's bringing back his business by reinstating the original menu and dress code.
"My hat is back," says Chappy.
He's learned from the experience he calls "a mistake" that his success lies in his style.
"We're doing," says Chappy. "Making a living. We're doing what we do. We're happy. We're not a big chain like they love. I'm not a 13-star chef with 50 restaurants, but that's not what I want. It's not what I want to be, it's not what I'll ever be."
Gordon Ramsay's production crew contacted FOX17 NEWS late Wednesday evening. His crew categorically denies that Chef Ramsey told Chappy's to use Jimmy Dean sausage in gumbo. Chappy's episode of "Kitchen Nightmares" will air in April. Thursday on TENNESSEE MORNINGS, what Chef Ramsay had to say about his first trip to Music City.
Thursday, February 14 2013, 01:23 AM CST
Man pleads guilty to Memphis officer's murder
May 21, 2013 22:22 GMT
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A former death row inmate is set to be released from prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of a Memphis police officer.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said Tuesday that she has accepted Timothy McKinney's guilty plea.
McKinney was convicted of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Officer Don Williams. The officer was killed outside a comedy club in December 1997.
McKinney appealed and won a new trial, which ended with a deadlocked jury. A third trial earlier this year also ended in a hung jury.
The Commercial Appeal reports that McKinney was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Since he's already served more than 15 years -- including 11 on death row -- McKinney will be released this week.
Williams' family opposed the settlement.
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Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
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