Chef Gordon Ramsay visits La Lanterna, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, an Italian restaurant in a trendy city. Owned by Executive Chef Alexander Scott with best mate Gavin and girlfriend Emily as front of house. He is losing £1000 a week and has debts of £180,000. He calls himself Alesandro. He has a polish 2nd chef with lots of attitude. Gordon arrives and meets Alex in the kitchen where he finds none of the ingredients are Italian. He has packet bechamel sauce and precooked vegetables reheated in the microwave. Gordon sits down to a meal where he has packet bread sticks which are in pieces. His starter is minestrone soup that he finds is greasy and an Italian sausage dish for main, which looks like "2 poodles penises doused in parsley", the amaretto cake is bought in and still frozen in the middle. The kitchen hasn't been cleaned and is filthy. The food store has old food and pot noodles in it.
Gordon walks out and sees Alex's car number plate which spells A1 Chef. Alex tells Gordon he has done everything to try save the business including a radio advert. Gordon is shocked by the hygiene in the kitchen so they give it a deep clean. Gordon says the main problem is Alex's cooking. Gordon undresses. Gordon watches a dinner service, Alex runs around the kitchen wired on Red Bull but is not cooking properly. Most of the food is frozen or from a packet as he does no prep for service. Gavin isn't running the dining room properly. Alex tells Gordon he was taught by a well respected Italian chef, Gordon hunts Mario down and finds out he is now a taxi driver. Gordon finds out he hasn't paid himself for 4 months but after 2 weeks of running the restaurant, he wasted £46,000 on a BMW despite living above the restaurant. Gordon persuades him to sell the car to generate more cash for the restaurant and gets him a new cooker. Gordon phones some celebrity chefs to try sell the A1 Chef number plate, these parts are hilarious!
Gordon sets a challenge for the chefs to make a pizza and the best will go on the menu. They go onto the streets to get the public to come in to taste the pizzas. A vegetarian is featured and unknown to them at the time of tasting the vegetarian pizza actually had parma ham in it. Gordon bans plastic sauce and it is so thick it doesn't go down the plug. Gordon cuts the menu in half. Gavin and Emily have no prior experience in a restaurant and cause problems for the kitchen. Gavin allows 40 people to arrive at once after not staggering the bookings which puts pressure on the kitchen and it falls apart. Gordon takes Gavin out to try and get him to "man up" and be in control of the staff. Gordon gets Alex to smarten up with a shave and a manicure. Gordon does a taste test to decide which pasta would go best with swordfish and they chose the Pot Noodle. Gordon takes him to a rival Italian restaurant where they enjoy the simple, fresh food. The car does not sell. They work on the interior which was designed by Emily. They repaint the dining room and revamp the menu.
They relaunch the restaurant with the promise of no more microwaves and packet sauces on the menu. The dining room is full and the cracks begin to appear again and customers are made to wait. Alex burns food and is running around the kitchen. Gordon calls Gavin in to push the specials that are ready prepared to take pressure off the kitchen. The customers like the food and the relaunch is deemed a success.
What Happened Next?
Gordon revisits, the pre-prepared vegetables are gone and the kitchen is much cleaner. Alex is doing prep, making his own deserts and home made ravioli. Gordon tries his food and likes it. He cleared £20,000 of debt, takings are up and he is paying himself a wage. On airing, the meat pizza and the vegetarian incident didn't go down too well causing outrage amongst vegetarians. Alex speaks to the press and says he is making around £4,000 a week and is making profit. In 2006, the restaurant closed and the building was put up for sale.