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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 12:23 GMT
Kitchen nightmare for TV success
Charita Jones
Charita Jones at Lewes Prison, where she opened a new kitchen
The owner of a restaurant turned around by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has said she fears closure because the business has become too big to handle.

Charita Jones, owner of Momma Cherri's in Brighton, said she feared she might go out of business by Christmas.

Ramsay filmed an episode of his Kitchen Nightmares for Channel 4 at Momma Cherri's Soul Shack in 2004.

"It was such an overnight success that I had to go to larger premises. I am finding it really difficult," she said.

"It would be such a shame if I had to close because I can't handle the business side."

Before Ramsay visited the Soul Shack, it was 65,000 in debt.

Perhaps I do too many things for free because I don't know how to say no
Charita Jones

Ms Jones said that after he overhauled the menu, the prices and the running of the kitchen, she was turning away 80 people a night and had a six-month waiting list.

Last year she moved to the former Choy's restaurant in Little East Street and opened the five-floor Big House.

She said: "On paper we are profitable. We can keep our head above water day to day, but it is sinking - last year I cancelled Christmas for the first time in my life."

'Mega Christmas'

Ms Jones, who has fostered 33 children, said she enjoyed working on community projects such as teaching her recipes to prisoners at Lewes jail, where she opened a new kitchen.

"Perhaps I do too many things for free because I don't know how to say no," she said.

"The business community in Brighton has given me help in terms of business advice and we are working with a business coach.

"But this may be it for me - so if I am going out big-time. I am having a mega Christmas this year - I will go out flying the flag."

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