(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: December 12, 2007
The Secret Garden Address: 255 E High St Moorpark, CA 93021
The Secret Garden was a Moorpark, California restaurant featured on Season 1 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Secret Garden Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in December 2007, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place much earlier in February 2007.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 1 Episode 10..
The Secret Garden is located in Moorpark, California.
French chef Michel Bardavid has owned the restaurant for the last seven years.
Moorpark is an excellent location for the restaurant because it is surrounded by luxury gold courses and a wine country.
Unfortunately, The Secret Garden is in severe debt and in dire need of help from Gordon Ramsay.
Sous Chef Devon says that Michel is the problem as he has a huge ego.
Most of the staff finds him hard to work with.
If you’re an avid Kitchen Nightmares watcher, you’ll know that this is a pretty common problem for restaurant owners that get visited by Gordon Ramsay.
Gordon Ramsay arrives to find the front door locked, which doesn’t get things off to a great start.
When he finally finds the entrance, Michel is in the kitchen.
Gordon is unimpressed with the dated décor.
There are fake flowers and doilies on the tables and it looks super old fashioned.
Jane, Gordon’s server, offers him bread, but the tiny rolls look ridiculous in the giant basket.
Gordon orders garlic shrimp and the strawberry salad.
Gordon sends the shrimp back as it is cold.
The steak Gordon orders are served with raw carrots and greasy potatoes.
The dishes are bizarre and bad…again, pretty much par for the course for Kitchen Nightmares.
What’s worse is that Michel does not take Gordon’s criticism well.
That’s another common trend for Kitchen Nightmares, but you’d think these restaurant owners would respect Gordon’s knowledge and skills.
Even if the food tastes bad, you’d hope it was at least being cooked in a clean place.
Spoiler – the food wasn’t being cooked in a clean place.
Gordon inspects the kitchen, and he finds grease all over the place.
The fridge is filled with moldy food and maggots.
It’s disgusting. Definitely one of the grossest episodes of Kitchen Nightmares.
Gordon runs to the restroom to retch, but Michel responds by saying the kitchen is in perfect condition.
Michel tells Gordon he wants his help but doesn’t appreciate the criticism.
Gordon stays to observe dinner served at The Secret Garden.
The dishes are so complex and take too long to make their way out to customers.
Michel takes over the kitchen and doesn’t let anyone assist him.
When Michel leaves to talk to friends, the kitchen finally catches up.
As soon as Michel returns, the kitchen becomes backed up again.
Gordon decides to shock Michel the next day by boarding up the front door with a foreclosure sign.
Michel is upset that customers might have seen that, and Gordon replies, this is what will happen soon if you don’t get your act together.
This type of shock tactic is something that Gordon did a lot on early episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, though he seemed to have stopped doing it as the show went on.
To get The Secret Garden back on track, Gordon introduced a cost-effective and straightforward menu.
The new menu includes onion gratin, tuna Nicoise, roast chicken, and a fresh asparagus tart.
In addition to improving the menu, Gordon and his team also gave the restaurant a makeover.
The renovations updated the outdated decor, and although Michel finds it charming, he is afraid his customers won’t like it.
Michel also doesn’t like the new menu; he thinks customers will miss his menu.
Gordon invites local VIPs and a food critic to relaunch night.
A bus of 25 tourists also shows up unannounced.
The food critic is served an over-seasoned dish.
Michel asks Gordon to give him another chance.
Gordon leaves frustrated after Michel tries to revert to the old menu.
Michel makes a new dish, and the critic loves it.
The restaurant is full of good reviews.
Michel makes a profit that night and begins to see the error of his ways.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Secret Garden restaurant episode a long-term success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2024 and beyond.
The Secret Garden Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Secret Garden Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Moorpark, California.
As you can probably guess from what you saw on the episode, Michel did not fully embrace the changes from Gordon Ramsay.
In fact, Michel went back to the old menu shortly after Gordon visited The Secret Garden.
He said he had no choice as his customers were complaining and missed the old menu, but I’m guessing part of that was Michel’s ego and not wanting to admit Gordon knew more.
To make matters worse, there were also accusations on Yelp that Michael was writing fake reviews. I’m not sure whether or not it’s true – it’s just something I saw.
The reviews that did exist genuinely weren’t very positive as the restaurant’s overall rating was just 3.5 stars.
Here’s a sampling of a few Yelp reviews that were written around the time of the Kitchen Nightmares episode.
Two star Yelp review from May 2015:
The Service was Very SLOW.
Took over 1HR to get our meal and there were only 4 or 5 couples in the restaurant.
And took another 15Min to get our bill.
I would not go back again.
Food was ok…!
Three star Yelp review from April 2015:
The food was good but not great, something is off about the vibe of this place.
The staff doesn’t seem to be on the same page and the 20% added to the bill was tacky.
I liked the location and the decor but don’t think that I will return.
Two star Yelp review from March 2015:
This was an all-around below average experience, with quite a steep price tag.
The decor and set up was nice, intimate, and traditional.
The menu was unique, and had some very interesting items on it.
The food and service was not so nice.
The clam chowder was amongst the most disappointing I’ve ever had.
It was a cool place to try out maybe once, but I’m not surprised to hear it went out of business.
With all of these issues, it’s probably no surprise what happened next…
Is The Secret Garden Still Open?
The Secret Garden restaurant in Moorpark, California closed in 2015, which is a pretty solid run.
This was around eight years after The Secret Garden Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV, which is more than a lot of restaurants that appeared on the show.
Why Did The Secret Garden Close After Kitchen Nightmares?
The Secret Garden closed because Michel sold the restaurant to a new owner, Danny Margolis of Command Performance Catering.
Michel said he sold the restaurant because he was going through a divorce.
Danny turned the old The Secret Garden restaurant California location into a new restaurant called M on High Street, which still occupies the space as of 2023.
Reviews for the new restaurant seem quite good as it has a 4.5 star rating on its Yelp page.
Here’s what the old The Secret Garden restaurant California location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…
What Happened to Michel Bardavid from The Secret Garden?
After closing The Secret Garden, Michel Bardavid started working at a pizza place called Custom Pie in Moorpark.
For more evidence, You can see this marked in this Yelp QA, which says that Michel is now the owner and also has Michel marked as the Business owner.
You can also see a picture of Michel Bardavid on the Custom Pie Facebook page:
Reviews seem good as the restaurant has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp.
So while The Secret Garden closed, Michel does seem to be successful in the restaurant industry.
With that being said, the Custom Pie website does now list the owner as being Hakob, so I’m not sure if Michel has sold the restaurant in the past couple of years.
If you know anything, please let me know in the comments section.
Final thoughts on The Secret Garden restaurant
Overall, The Secret Garden had a pretty solid run after Kitchen Nightmares, staying open for around eight years.
However, The Secret Garden closed in 2015 because Michel sold the restaurant to a new owner. Michel said that this was because he was going through a divorce.
As of 2023, the old The Secret Garden Moorpark CA location is occupied by a restaurant named M on High Street, which is the concept that the new owner put in.
After selling/closing the restaurant, Michel Bardavid worked at a pizza place named Custom Pie in Moorpark, eventually going on to purchase the restaurant.
So, as far as I can tell, he is now a successful restaurant owner again, though there’s a chance he might have sold Custom Pie within the past couple of years.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-19 06:00