Chef Gordon Ramsay visit's Cafe 36, La Grange, IL , where couple Terry and Carol Gilmer who have ploughed their life savings into their dream of opening a restaurant but they are losing money every day. Gordon sits down to order some food and orders the Duck Salad, Risotto and Crepes, the mismatched plates on the wall look like they've "picked up at the local flea market or Dollar shop". Gordon's food takes a long time to arrive and is rolled out to his table on a trolley. The Risotto was a mush, salty and just deteriorates, the Duck Salad turns out to be a bizarre combination with orange, strawberries and candied walnuts and the crepes were store bought, mushy and hideous, deemed by Gordon as Crap of the Day. Gordon meets the chef and upon asking to see the risotto rice discovers it is a week old based on the date written on it! Gordon sits down with the couple to discuss the restaurant. Gordon investigates the walk-in and freezer and finds lots of items half frozen floating in water. Pinto explains that it's "fresh frozen" and that everything is frozen and they are taking it out a portion at a time.
Gordon watches a dinner service, in which customers wait a long time for their food. Chef Pinto Das and Sous Chef Barney Smith don't work together in the kitchen at all. The customers send the food back and Gordon finds out of season expensive vegetables such as asparagus. Pinto boasts that they are out of season and Gordon shouts at him as they are more expensive, which makes no sense when he can get cheaper produce which is in season. Gordon teaches the staff to make a fresh mushroom risotto and special salads, which are a big hit. That evening, the service is still slow despite losing the serving trolleys, the food is cold and the wrong sized portions are sent out. Gordon also notices that they are still not working together. Overnight, Gordon's team revamps the restaurant replacing all of the mismatched china. On relaunch night, Pinto is still slow, quiet and gets behind on the orders, for some tables the food takes over 3 and a half hours to get to them! Barney is doing all the work in the kitchen and Gordon takes Terry aside for a chat, afterwards he starts running the line and the kitchen gets back on track. Gordon sits down with Terry and Carol for a heart to heart and they give him an old expensive bottle of wine that he decides to keep there to be opened when he revisits.
What Happened Next?
At the end of the show, we are told that Pinto was fired and Barney was offered the Head Chefs job but he left to finish his culinary degree. He was replaced by Jorge Flores and Pinto was said to be working as a chef for a family in the area. Cafe 36 closed on 18 April 2009 blaming the economy and Gordon's changes to the restaurant but reviews after filming still complain of poor quality food.
Cafe 36 Yelp
Behind the Scenes Review from the taping of the show
Gordon Ramsay gives La Grange's Cafe 36 the 'Nightmares' treatment
Cafe 36 Info
Read About More Kitchen Nightmares