Wow. That's nuts. I see exactly what you mean. Not sure what I would do after picking my jaw up off the floor. I'd be tempted to visit the kitchen myself. If the server is so afraid of the chef, he must be as volatile as Ramsay. Could make for an exciting night. (I would hope Ramsay would never let a dried up, burnt lobster go out, even if he figured out how to burn one...) As a manager, I'd be ashamed if I found out any client, customer, or employee felt they could not bring a problem to my attention, especially if I am the one responsible.
I agree with you 100% in the situation you described. While she was not responsible for the dish, the server was responsible for the bad customer service, which would rightly be reflected in her tip. Everyone makes mistakes and if an chef-employee/chef-business owner can't accept the fact that they might be called on one by a customer or co-worker, the chef should consider a line of work where no one will notice his or her mistakes (if you can think of one, let me know), or get good at scratching Lottery tickets. The server clearly did not recognize the fact that at that moment, she was the "face" of the business and the entire organization was judged on her actions and attitude.
It's strange how there is so much talk about the American economy changing to a service based economy, yet customer service levels have declined in recent years. While voting with our feet/wallets is a sure way to reward good service and punish bad service, I'm not sure the loss or gain of business is always attributed to the correct factor, in this case, customer service. Anyone can be trained to follow a set process or procedure, but what separates the good employees from the warm bodies is how they deal with situation where the process breaks down. Are they focused on resolving the issue and keeping the customer happy, or are they afraid to take ownership of the issue, fearing reprisals for making decisions outside of their normal job range, or lack of interest (not MY job syndrome)? I often judge vendors and employees by this criteria. Even if the issue is not completely resolved the first time around (which can happen in my line of work), I appreciate working with people who are willing to try and resolve any issues to my satisfaction. (I'm a firm believer that 1. It's cheaper to keep a customer you already have than it is to find a new one, and 2. Bad news/bad experiences travel faster and farther and last longer than good news and experiences.)
As a side note, a college I was working at recently had such poor customer service in several departments, upper management contracted with an outside firm and forced EVERY EMPLOYEE, from the president to the handyman, to take a six hour, online course on customer service. While it did result in significant improvements, I had to chuckle at the delivery method, as one of the most frequent complaints I hear about customer service is how people hate technology-based solutions such as voice menu prompts when calling a business. (And I'm a technologist by profession.)
I guess I've been lucky never had such a reaction from a server when I complained as you did. For the most part, my experiences have been anywhere from "I'm sorry, let me take care of that" to "I'm very sorry, we'll take care of that immediately or get you something else and take it off the bill" along with an apologetic visit from the manager.
Sorry for such a long post. You hit a nerve and I'm fired up!