Chef Gordon Ramsay visit's Rococo in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, owned by a Michelin Starred Chef Nick Anderson. Nick is losing £2000 a week and is at risk of bankruptcy, to make matters worse they live above the restaurant so if they lose it, they will also be losing their home. Gordon arrives and is impressed by the church that the restaurant is next to, he enters the restaurant and is not impressed with the décor. He meets Nick in the kitchen who tells him that the business is falling away and on a Saturday night they only have 8 booked, he describes the food as a full a la carte menu with Modern British. He tells Gordon that he is at the end of the spring menu but it's July...
Gordon sits down to taste the food and sits in the entrance area to read the menu, he feels claustrophobic with the huge sofas. Gordon notices that he has one of his own dishes on the menu, Gordon samples a fish soup that arrives in a tea cup and he thinks that it smells off. Next is mushroom and a duck egg on toast, one of Gordon's favourite foods, he likes it done simply but feels like Nick's is overcomplicated, soggy and like eating a wet flannel. The next dish is one of Gordon's dishes and he asks for Nick to explain where he got the idea, he thinks the scallops taste frozen and milky. Gordon asks the server to leave him to eat as he is hovering over him. The sauce on the duck dish is like Benolyn, the duck however is cooked well and Gordon is not a fan of the baby veg. He enters the kitchen and tells Nick that the food is over complicated but is set in the past. Nick explains his past in the kitchen filled with accolade including a coveted Michelin star, in 2004 he parted ways with his backers and then struggled including filing for bankruptcy.
The next morning, Gordon ventures into Kings Lynn to find out what the locals think, they believe it's expensive, with small portions and question the value for money. Gordon however, believes that the prices and overcomplicated nature of the restaurant is the problem. Gordon meets Nick and his Chef Tim Stanford in the kitchen and they tell Gordon that no one was in for dinner the previous evening. Tim tells him that he picks up ideas and inspiration from Ready Steady Cook, Gordon inspects the food in the kitchen and discovers all of the fresh, high end ingredients and believes that he is mad. Gordon discovers that anything they don't sell, Nick will eat. Nick tells Gordon that he struggles to find fresh shrimp and relies on the frozen.
Gordon wants to see them on a busy service but with no customers, they ask friends and family to come for dinner. Gordon isn't a fan of the 90s baby veg but Nick uses them on every dish. The food takes so long to prepare that many people are left waiting and Gordon is not impressed. Nick caves under the pressure and falls apart in the kitchen, he thinks the evening's service was horrendous. Gordon tells him that most of what he is doing is unnecessary and it's painful to watch, less is more. Gordon asks Nick to declutter the entrance to the restaurant by removing the Good Food guides. Gordon gives Tim and Nick a Ready Steady Cook challenge, he gives them a bag full of ingredients and asks them to come up with some dishes. Gordon is disappointed as he wanted two simple dishes and neither won the challenge. Gordon talks to Susanna, who tells him that they don't go anywhere, have no money, Nick has lost his inspiration and that they are relying on financial support from friends and family. They are £100,000 in debt. Gordon tries to get some passion out of Nick with some tough love but he doesn't give it to Gordon.
Gordon arrives at the restaurant to find that the door is locked, he rings the doorbell and no one answers. Eventually Nick comes to the door and he and Gordon discuss the previous evening with a heart to heart. Gordon tells Nick that he needs to change the name for the restaurant and create a new identity for the restaurant. Gordon suggests Maggie's due to the local church being called St Margarets, Nick is reluctant and his reluctance shows in the service, it is clear he is struggling to let go of the past. Susanna is unable to work it out either questioning whether it is a sense of pride or ego. Gordon is concerned as he doesn't see a man struggling with 100k of debt, potentially dragging down his friends and family. Gordon takes Nick back the restaurant where he received great accolade and tells him about his experiences at Aubergine.
For the relaunch, Nick agrees to go with the name Maggie's and replace the decor with a fresh coat of paint and furniture. They go into the town to bring in the locals and Gordon discovers that Nick has got the guides back out of the bin. The restaurant is packed and communication in the kitchen is good between Nick and Tim. The relaunch is an overall success and the customers love the food and atmosphere.
What Happened Next?
Gordon revisits and the restarant is busy, they are averaging £5000 a week and Gordon sits down to try the food. The menu is full of locally sourced items and he tries an onion bahji and a local sole dish with cockle butter. He loves the onion bahji and the sole is delicious too. Tim refuses to give Gordon the recipe to the bahji. Maggie's closed in September 2007 and they filed for bankruptcy. The restaurant passed to Tony and Karen Lombari who opened Luigi's in June 2008, which then closed and it is now Market Bistro, serving local produce with food cooked fresh from scratch. Nick Anderson worked at The Wiveton Bell before moving to The Bell at Kidlington, just outside Oxford.