Friday, 13 May 2011

UK Season 2 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - CLOSED

Open or closed? CLOSED
Location: Brighton

Episode Summary: An American Soul Food Restaurant run by Momma Cherri aka Charita Jones that is suffering from a lack of midweek business and the debts are mounting. She has a part time Head Chef/Cook but does most of the cooking herself. Gordon sits down for a meal and eats a Catfish Goujin starter and says it's quite nice and light, for mains he has a "clumsy mess" of soul food, he thinks its phenomenal and clears his plate! Charita does all the prep herself so that she can save money and most of it goes in the freezer. The part time staff seem to turn up whenever they feel like it. (Gordon getting changed into whites). Gordon watches the first service and sees the Chefs just reheating food and plating food and Charita trying to do everything. The next day there is no one at the shack and food left outside. They have a cook out on the beach to promote the restaurant and it goes well and Charita is a natural. Gordon removes Charita from the kitchen and puts her as the host. Gordon does a business cake with Charita to see where she is going wrong. Bookings start to pick up from the earlier beach exercise. Gordon comes up with the Soul in a Bowl midweek 3 course menu. Charita toughens up on the staff setting out new rules. The evening was a success making over £1000. Gordon gives Brian a man to man talk before leaving.

What Happened Next: Gordon revisited, comments on her new celebrity status and Momma Cherri's had moved into a much larger restaurant renamed as Momma Cherri's Big House. Although fully booked far in advance with many extra chefs. The Chefs were struggling and the food had gone back to pre-prepared, frozen and passionless food. Both Gordon and the customers were disappointed with the bland food and small portions saying they would not return. Gordon stays an extra week to help them sort out the food. In 2007 Charita released her cookbook "Momma Cherri's Soul in a Bowl Cookbook". Head Chef Brian also left in 2007 to focus on art projects. In July 2007 the restaurant was inspected and scored 0 stars in the food hygiene ratings. In 2009 the restaurant closed with large debts and administrators were called in. She then opened Momma Cherris Speakeasy also in Brighton but this closed after just two months. Charita Jones has made many tv appearances on various cookery programmes including This Morning on ITV, Market Kitchen on the Good Food Channel and many more gaining her the "title" of a celebrity chef. In 2010 an Indian restaurant called Rasa opened there and in 2012 an Indian restaurant called Chaula's has moved into where the Big House used to be. 

Extra Reading

Rasa Website

Love Hotel Hell? Visit my Hotel Hell blog here.


  1. guess that is the bad side of celebrity...

  2. Such a shame
    But Gordon helped her all her could, I even think he went far and beyond of what he usually does with Mammi

    No one to blame but herslef.

  3. Man, I just watched the last 20 minutes of the 2007 show on the Momma Cherri's Big House. So sad to read that it closed. Was hoping to add it to my bucket list for some good soul food. :(

  4. One of the best episodes. I just love Momma's very warm character.
    The fact that she was underpaying herself broke my heart. Only real honest people do that, and she belongs in the soul food. I might even consider buying her book!

  5. Still the only episode from either country where Ramsay largely enjoys his initial meal?

    1. Indeed. Never seen him finish a plate, or even most of it.

      Seems like Charita got greedy. Chef Brian became an Art student?

  6. A real shame although unfortunately the writing was on the wall from the start. Unlike most other places the food was not the problem here it was that Charita had a poor head for business. After her initial spike in popularity she over-expanded by moving to larger premises and this proved to be her undoing.

  7. I recent watched the episodes. I am very disappointed to read the bad news. The food was great. Gordon loved the food. I was surprised to see him enjoy the first plate. However, Charita poorly ran her business.

  8. I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and want you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.