Friday, 13 May 2011

UK Season 4 - The Fenwick Arms - OPEN


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Fenwick Arms, Claughton, Lancashire,  where he meets Brian and Elaine, running a country pub like an upper class restaurant. The pub is located on a busy A road and has 1000s of potential customers driving passed every day. They are losing £6000 a month and Gordon arrives to find the menu is hidden underneath the over grown flowers. Gordon meets Brian and Elaine who show him the dining room which is set up for full silver service, not the casual atmosphere Gordon was expecting. They tell Gordon that they are there 100-120 hours a week at the pub and they don't take any time off, in fact Brian was back at work just 7 days after a triple heart bypass. Gordon isn't impressed with the atmosphere.

Gordon sits down to order some food and is given a full menu and the additions of the day. Gordon reads the menu and is shocked to discover it to be a la carte rather than a casual pub menu, he finds different sauces on every dish. Gordon orders a prawn salad, which is overcomplicated and a rack of lamb, which Gordon struggles to get into and describes as chewing a golf ball. Gordon goes into the kitchen and questions whether they would expect this food in a traditional English pub and tells them that it is over the top and their identity is confused. Elaine admits that they are £250,000 in debt if they were to close the restaurant today. 

Gordon witnesses a dinner service and finds that Brian has to set a timer for every dish he is cooking but he forgets how many timers he has put on. Gordon samples the various reductions and finds them all to be disgusting, one reduction was made with Appletizer as they had run out of cider. Brian runs around the kitchen and the other Chef Nathan simply garnishes the food. Nathan doesn't believe it to be pub food either and Brian looks exhausted after the service. Gordon is shocked to find lots of second hand kit in the kitchen and pub, the kitchen is so overcrowded they struggle to get around it and it's held together with string. Brian confesses that he love plates and as a result has masses of plates, hidden in different cupboards. Some he has never used, he just liked them so he bought them. He bases the dishes around the plates he wants to use, Gordon accidentally smashes one of them. Gordon hires a skip and tasks Brian with deciding on what has to go into it, Gordon tells Brian the first thing that needs to go is the stock pot. He agrees to this but struggles to get rid of much else, he finds reasons to hold on to almost everything. 

For the evening's service, Gordon removes Brian from the kitchen and asks him to be front of house instead. Gordon recognises the potential in the remaining 3 chefs in the kitchen and knows that they can run the kitchen in Brian's absence. Brian struggles at the front of house but with Karen in charge in the kitchen, things run smoothly and the food leaves the kitchen quickly. The dining room is empty but the customers are sat in the bar looking at menus. Gordon tasks Brian and Elaine with simplifying the menu to fit in more with an English country pub and also gives them the evening off. They will be coming to the pub to have dinner instead of working the evening. They arrive dressed formally in suits and Gordon refuses to let them in, he tells them to go and get changed so they go home and get changed into informal clothes. They are impressed with the new food and the service. Gordon disposes of Brian's revolting gravy and makes a new home made, fresh gravy, a gravy which will be a USP for the pub. They take to the streets to promote the real gravy with Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Gordon asks them to take down the banner and tidy up the exterior of the pub. Brian is tasked on selling his plates on eBay whilst Gordon talks to Elaine about keeping Brian out of the kitchen. 

For relaunch,  the menu has been simplified and Karen is put in charge in the kitchen for the service. The customers are enjoying the food but the service needs attention, the first customers are still on the tables and need to be moved to make way for the second sitting. Brian steps up and turns the tables and the second sitting is as successful as the first. Overall, the relaunch is a success and the real gravy is a big hit. Brian gives his kitchen team praise for running the kitchen without him. 

What Happened Next? Gordon revisited and only one of the original chefs was still there. Brian was back in the kitchen and controlling the menu once more and general morale was very low with most of the staff  looking to leave. The plates had started to emerge from their wrapping too and a rival pub "The Highway Man" had recently opened just down the road and had noticeably affected their business.

In 2009, Brian and Elaine moved to The Ship Inn in Aldborough claiming that the new menu at the Fenwick drove away trade. The pub was bought by new owners and continued to operate as The Fenwick Arms. It also had a major revamp.


However... In 2011 the pub closed and was put up for sale.

Above photo taken by Karl & Ali

The pub reopened in June 2013 as a seafood restaurant



Extra Reading

Campaign for Real Gravy

Ramsay revolution

Lancaster is right up Ramsay's street

Ramsay TV pub gets 140% rent increase

Ship Inn (info on old website)

The Ship Inn Website

Ship Inn is new berth for couple whose Yorkshire puds impressed Gordon Ramsay

Fenwick Arms Trip Advisor Reviews

The Fenwick Arms - 2007 Review

The Fenwick Arms - 2009 Review

http://www.fenwickarms.co.uk/

Fenwick Arms Trip Advisor

Fenwick Arms Twitter

57 comments:

  1. Now closed (May 2012)

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  2. Brian and Elaine are now at the Ship Inn in Aldborough, advertising "real pub food" but serving the same stuff Ramsay took off their menu at Fenwick Arms. Pseudo posh food drowned in more gross sauces. How many times does a person need a smack in the head to finally learn??!!

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  3. Aw, Brian seems a sweet ole boy to me. He just doesn't belong in 'his version' of a pub is all. Sadly though, he seems drawn to the notion but its both too much for him the way that he would involve himself and 'his version' makes it even more difficult.
    If anything, with all those heart attacks, its time for him to just sit back and relax.

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    1. Eww, no way! He's a senile, disgusting dictator and he got what he deserved.

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    2. really? your attitude stinks!

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    3. He's a hoarder and a stubborn old codger. He got what he deserved.

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    4. I agree. He got what he deserved. Stubborn old coot was not willing to change. Nothing to do with Gordon Ramsey. Gordon can lead you to water, he can't make you drink.

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    5. @Cyberdime
      Codger - think of a cantankerous old man sitting on his porch telling people 'its my way or the highway'.

      Delete
  4. sigh....poor Brian. He and Elaine were just a sweet old couple. I really hoped they would've learned.

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    Replies
    1. No they're not. Brian is a stubborn coot who berates his workers.

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  5. He is just to set in his ways.

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    1. One thing no one who knows me would ever say, Brian

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  6. We spent christmas eve 2012 with Brian and Elaine in the Ship at Aldborough, nothing was too much for them, gorgeous food, fantastic staff that make you feel like the most important people in the pub!!!! But this is not a one off because it was Chritmas we are regulars in the pub and this is the Norm....

    If this is set in your ways long may it continue The Tookes

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    1. We agree so much with the last posting The Fenwick is closed the Ship has gone from good to excellant this must say something We lived outside the area for a few years returning 3 ago the talk was Our Pub Has Been Saved! first thing folk said to us

      The place is spotless food excellant freshly cooked local produce thoughtfully served Menus vary to all tastes staff polite and cheerful

      Brian and Elaine are an asset to the village social event or something more serious

      The 4 muskateers:

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  7. I have just been for lunch at the ship. I eat there from time to time and go back for a reason. This pub is traditional, with superb food, excellent customer relations, and nothing is to much for them. It does not need music, or tacky themed nights. Simplicity, good old fashioned conversation, and a lot of hilarity and laughter.......... Pubs like these are sadly fading away and we must all stand strong, side by side to keep them alive. If British tradition is what your after then look no further. it seems today we are all to quick to complain with no apparant reason, instead of seeing what is in front our eyes. I wish Brian and Elaine a prosperous new year, and i will be in soon for lunch :-)

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  8. The critical comments are mainly redundant as this is probably the most welcoming and successful pub in the area. After 10 years of downward trend when the previous owners sold to the brewery this lovely old proper English village pub has been lovingly brought back to it's former glory. Roaring fires and mouth watering menu's, great Sunday roasts all make this the huge success it is.

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  9. Think the fact the Fenwick despite hugh injections of cash and refurbs is still closed after nearly four years wheras the Ship is a busy deightful pub much loved by the locals says it all Locals myself included cant thank Brian and Elaine enough for saving our pub

    This is a magical place quote from Yorkshire post food menu is varied for all tastes includes veggie and some kiddie portions delightful staff and also the cleanest brightest pub you will ever see

    The nonsense talked about food being psuodo this and that is all very well but face it how many pubs did Mr Ramsay save from the inevitable
    cant think of one

    keep going Brian and Elaine you are an asset to Alborough and big participants in its everyday life

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    Replies
    1. Point is, Ramsay does not do the actual saving part. He has never saved anyone's restaurant. All he does is provide his insight to the people who run the place as to what they seem to be doing wrong. And it's almost always the same: menu too big, kitchen dirty, lazy or stubborn chefs who don't want to do real cooking, front-of-house staff who don't know how to upsell the day's bulk-made special to take pressure off the kitchen during busy times.

      If they are striving at their new place, doing what they were failing to do in the previous location, then more power to them; it just means they needed to pay attention to the age old Realtor motto: location, location, location. But saying that Ramsay failed to save their restaurant is incorrect, as the ones who run the restaurant are ultimately to blame for their failure.

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  10. Brian and Elaine have saved our village pub when they arrived we were
    in danger of being another english village without one their hard work and dedication have made the ship once again the centre of the community they help and participate in everything

    The pub is spotless peopled with staff with personalities a most welcolmed change in these days

    Despite a previous comment above the food is varied so to everyones tastes

    We wonder if there are some sour grapes going on here???

    The JJs

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  11. Yes - nice couple and I'm sure everyone wishes them all the best. Keep it simple Brian and hope things work out great with the new pub !!

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  12. Hot consistant food is a must for any restaurant. Simple food done well is the key for "Pub Grub". Customers do not want a complicated menu, and certainly not at a Pub. Try to be known for doing one outstanding item on the menu, keep staff relaxed and respectful. I wish Brian and Elaine well.

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  13. Why do I get the feeling all of these reviews about "the ship" were written by Brian?

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    1. They so are, it's very obvious. And it's sad :-( All the "they saved our pub" comments...I mean, really? How many people would actually say that, and here it is in multiple comments lol

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  14. Hope Brain and Elaine are still well and doing well. They sure as well worked hard enough for it. Why do people think we all need to change. I'm only 42 but like things how they used to be.

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  15. Anonymous on March 28, I was about to post the same thing, lol. Brian does seem sneaky enough to do it, in my opinion. Brian is what they call a "right-fighter"..stubborn & insists on being the chief. Elaine is his enabler. What struck me most about him is that he lives such a lonely life. He was painfully uncomfortable around the patrons & couldn't even make small conversation. Sad, really.

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    1. strange Gordon said I talked too much to the customers and a crew member was timing me with a stop watch with each customer, 2 minutes for up to 4 customers.
      I don't live a lonely life ..I have had and still do have a wonderfull life.Mixed with all walks of life,from murderers to Royalty
      You will see on here the only comment written by me has my name on it.
      Brian

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  16. to anonymous, march28 2013. I was thinking exactly the same thing. If you read those comments you can almost hear him talking. They sound like him.

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  17. Methinks Brian and Elaine have posted many of these complimenting comments themselves, hmm? Similar phrasing and verbage in many of them. Hmmm. And what's happened to the website for gravy, tis now defunct?

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  18. Brian is an idiot. Ramsay gave him a second chance and he pissed it away because he's too stubborn.

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  19. Yep, I thought the same thing! What's the chance that a bunch of different people would all find the same website and write a bunch of similar reviews within a few days of each other? What a fool.

    There are some bad reviews on TripAdvisor, and they actually responded to reviews. One person complained about the bad chips, and they responded that the chips were that way because of the weather conditions. Idiots! Then a person complained about too much fat in a pot pie, and Brian WEIGHED THE FAT that was left on the plate to prove it wasn't that bad. Seriously!? These people are insane, can't take criticism, and have no business being in the service industry.

    Go and read their TripAdvisor comments for a good laugh.

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    Replies
    1. one of our customers found the site and it was the talking point in the bar, and they disagreed with the comments hence them writing in.
      There is a strong community spirit in this village and we have a lot of loyal customers.The villagers were at one time going to club together to buy the pub with a "save our pub " campaign, but don't need to now, as they, unlike you actually know the real us ( not the TV show edited us )and like what we are doing. We must be doing something right to increase the turnover 10 fold in such a short time. Re Tripadvisor, most are good and some are pure fiction. Brian

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  20. You want to talk about fiction? What about all of those reviews you wrote above under different names? That was you!

    Maybe you should spend less time online to try and improve the reputation of your food, and more time actually running your restaurant to produce a better product. Gordon Ramsey showed footage that he filmed of you. Sure, they may have picked out the worst parts to show on TV, but it was still reality. You're on a different planet.

    And, please explain to me how the weather produces bad potatoes on the customer's plate.

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  21. The reviews I write have my name on not someone elses.The wet weather has produced the lowest yeid and poorest quality potato since 1976. When a potato becomes chilled in cold weather ( which we have had ) through either being stored at very low temperatures it undergoes a change that converts some of the starch ( high starch content makes it worse) to sugar to provide energy to combat the cold.
    Potatoes affected this way when chipped and fried will turn a dark brown in colour. The resulting chip will also taste sweet and will soon become soggy. Thats how wet and cold weather effects chips. Brian

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    Replies
    1. Brian you just posted as anonymous... I was thinking dementia or schizophrenia throughout the entire episode. I have a good friend who's schizo and he shared some of the same mannerisms as you. It doesn't make you any less of a person, but it does seem you have a hard time recognizing or accepting your weaknesses. It's really sad because I think you two are really nice people who work really hard but micro manage way too much. Let the others do what they do and bring in the cash.

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    2. "Potatoes affected this way when chipped and fried will turn a dark brown in colour. The resulting chip will also taste sweet and will soon become soggy. Thats how wet and cold weather effects chips. Brian"

      THEN DON'T SERVE THEM!

      Delete
  22. Went there recently. Utter garbage.

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  23. Oh My God That Long WInded Explanation AboutTthe Weather And The Rain , Then Something About Potatoes Simply Screams Denial.Simple Fact Is You Should Taste The Food Before You Serve It To People . Chances Are If It Tastes Like Crap To The Cook , It Probably Would Taste Like Crap To The Customer...Regardless Of The Weather.Pathetic.

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  24. I hope the restaurant is doing well. Ignore the haters on here. Anonymous is probably a recluse that fondles himself all day. Ha! Stay strong!

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  25. Probably my favourite episode. Clearly Brian was a complete nutter but with a good heart. It is just fascinating to see that a person that much in debt starts collecting expensive plates with no purpose.

    I am also amazed how oblivious the owners are to Gordon's advice. They need the help, they get the help and they ignore it. Twice! ButI do feel for the couple: working every single day, 120 hours per week! inhuman and no wonder the poor sod got 4 heart attacks. Than again, it is his own fault. Itis not easy running a restaurant, but with the right tactics it is not rocket science either. Just do proper research about what the customer wants. And than promote the concept

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  26. I'll always remember Gordon filling in potholes with the gravy.... haha that was great!

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  27. Is there really a need for people to be so mean spirited. What does it achieve. Brian, I am very glad you have a new venture that is doing well in a supportive community. I do not think you need to respond to the negative remarks of those outside who are making snap judgments, it will only fuel the fools. Less plates more days off and holidays. Your health is your wealth. Your episode was great fun. Best of luck, Eric and Jeri.

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  28. The new menu "drove away trade"? What trade? The pub was sinking when Gordon got there.

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  29. Brian was merely delusional. Reminds me of Obama is

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    1. You are right on the money. Congress is not to blame. Obama is a Radical nut-job. As for Brian, he does seem very clueless. He has crappy taste that most people do not share. He's also stubborn to the point where it is destructive. I don't wish failure on anyone but he did bring it on himself. And maybe Brian didn't write those laughable glowing reviews but they were obviously written by one person. Perhaps Brian has a customer whose taste is as bad as his. And who cares about Grammar? Seriously?! Only someone who is anal-retentive would care.

      Delete
  30. The last comment is delusional….Obama is far from it -- he just has an dysfunctional congress to contend with. Your comment makes no sense, nor does your grammar. As for Brian & Elaine, we wish you good luck with the new pub. May it continue to be a success. Please consider keeping the gravy REAL and the food SEASONAL. No one wants pies in the middle of the summer, Gordon is right about that. Yes, Brian, it is very sad you keep choosing to be in denial instead of embracing change. Change is GOOD and can heal what ails you. Consider therapy for a short time to figure out why you keep reverting back. Obviously fear is a big factor here. I think you deserve to your own self most of all (more than Elaine, staff & customers) to figure out why you responded to change with fear & a "change back" mentality. You don't have to be a victim all your life. Make your life better-- and then take a fresh look at your pub. Maybe it's fine now, but at least do this for yourself because you clearly are not fine. Be kind to yourself and your staff. Bless Elaine too -- but please know, Elaine, you are not helping him by not using your voice & taking a stand. All the best to you both.

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    Replies
    1. Obama is and was utterly and hopelessly delusional as well as an intellectually challenged incompetent!

      Brian is merely a senile old man, set in his ways and living in a dream world.

      Delete
  31. we all seem a bit off point here...the blog is "open or closed"...the Fenwick Arms is supposedly open with new owners and Brian and Elaine have moved on to The Ship and it is still open as well.... Godd Luck and Best Wishes to both businesses.

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  32. Clearly, anything positive was written by Brian and Elaine.

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  33. This is just crazy! After everything Gordon did for them and proved that the new menu etc was a winner they still kept wanting to do it the wrong way. So frustrating.

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  34. First off, Brian is an inspiration...to myself anyway. I'm 42 and have had three heart attacks and keep going. Good to see he is after 5. I did agree with Gordon's ideas but still think Brian can incorporate his own flair into those ideas. And I disagree with A Richardson. Obama is a buffoon, and in his own words has a phone and a pen and isn't afraid to use either one. You can't blame Bush this late in the game. I was a Hillary supporter until the Benghazi mess. G-d bless you, Brian :)

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  35. I couldn't watch this episode for one single reason: Brian's tongue. The way he just kept wiggling it around his upper lip like some disgusting worm made me cringe. Why wouldn't he just listen to Gordon?

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  36. I couldn't watch this episode for one single reason: Brian's tongue. The way he just kept wiggling it around his upper lip like some disgusting worm made me cringe. Why wouldn't he just listen to Gordon?

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  37. How do they possibly buy a new pub when they were $250k+ in dept??! Also major BS on 120hr work weeks...seriously, two elderly people with one having multiple heart attacks! ? It is Frick en impossible to work 18 hrs a day, 7 days a week, for decades!!!

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  38. Whole episode seems like BS to me..

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  39. I had thee best laugh with the Gravy Parade! As for "the new menu drove away trade"... I don't believe it for one bit. The business was in dire straights and that's why they invited Ramsay to begin with and you can see the business was bustling even a month later when Ramsay did the revisit.

    Regardless though, glad to see Elaine and Brian doing well with the new restaurant and I would bet the location and the much nicer looking establishment is whats making it more profitable.

    Brian if you see this answer some questions if you can:

    1) Do you feel as though Ramsay hurt your business?
    2) What percentage of the show was real?
    3) Are you still cooking?
    4) Are you still making "real gravy"?
    5) Did you bring all your plates with you? LOL *sorry... couldn't resist*

    I looked at your menu at The Ship and it looks to me like you took to heart a lot of things Ramsay said, because I don't see the extravagant over the top dishes... they seem more contemporary and pubish. Also chuckled when I saw the "Infamous in the glass" prawn cocktail.

    Good stuff... and wish you both many years of success. And a sidenote: Would love to come visit over there but probably won't ever be in the financial situation... as I am in America.

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  40. OMG at the sock puppet comments in here! The desperate grasping cries of the deluded in denial.

    And "All my posts have my name on them" while posting as Anonymous! Hilarious!

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