Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Anna Vincenzo's, Boca Raton, FL, an Italian restaurant owned by self taught cook CeCe who moved from New York with her father Angelo and husband Michael. Her father lent her $300,000 in 2001 to get her started with the restaurant as Angelo has been in the restaurant business for years with a successful pizzeria. She doesn't want to hear any criticism or that her food is not up to par and often has mood swings from crying hysterically to screaming at everyone and threatening to close the restaurant. No one stands up to her so she continues in her ways. She is on the edge of bankruptcy and about to lose her house, with debt to the tune of $190,000 to her father and no customers.
Gordon arrives and is greeted by CeCe, stared at by her father and also meets Husband Server Michael who he says looks like a gangster in his suit. He surprises server Ashton by ordering everything on the menu before seeing the menu, he then discovers that the menu is huge and reveals that it was a joke. Gordon orders the salmon divino salad, snapper Anna and a pizza. The salmon is dry and overcooked, tastes like cardboard and Gordon asks if it is fresh or frozen, it comes in fresh and is then frozen. The Snapper Anna looks like a dogs dinner and tastes of mush, Michael tastes it and says that it is soggy and needs to be baked for longer. CeCe refuses to taste the snapper. CeCe sends a message to Gordon via Ashton and he tells her to send CeCe out. The Pizza Del Nonna is soggy in the middle and crispy on the outside and generally bland. CeCe says that as he is British he knows nothing about pizza and when he tells her his opinion of the food she is not impressed with his criticisms. Gordon asks Michael to tell CeCe his opinion about the snapper he tried and he now says that is tender. Gordon has enough and walks out.
Gordon returns to watch a dinner service, he begins by inspecting the kitchen. The gnocchi is frozen and there are overcooked meatballs. The food goes out quickly and is sent back just as fast as there is no flavour. CeCe continues to be defensive, refuses to recook dishes and walks out the kitchen. Michael steps in and attempts to get food out whilst many customers fed up walk out of the restaurant. CeCe breaks down into tears outside and admits that she is scared of failure and Gordon tells her that he has failed as he has had to close 3 restaurants.
Gordon comes in early to meet the chefs and asks them to cook the entire 181 dish menu before the rest of the staff arrive. The staff arrive to the restaurant filled with the dishes and huge printed menus and asks the servers to put stickers on the items that are fresh or frozen. The majority of the items at 80% are frozen! Gordon works with CeCe to reduce the menu and introduces a family style lasagne special and a soup. Overnight the restaurant has a makeover showcasing a much lighter, contemporary restaurant with all new tableware and a caricature of CeCe. The new family style menu is revealed and it has been halved. Gordon brings in a restaurant consultant Daniel for a month to help get the kitchen back on track. Gordon reveals his marketing plan of a pizza making contest with local sportsmen and radio stations invited to take part with the Miami Dolphins declared the winner. The new menu is introduced to the staff, showcasing the freshness of the food and they are impressed with the taste.
On relaunch night, the service starts with the food going out quickly and enjoyed by the customers. The special sells out very quickly and CeCe abandons the quality control attempting to send out poor quality and burnt dishes before instead recooking the dish. The customers continually compliment the dishes and the relaunch is a success.
What Happened Next?
Gordon revisits and Anna Vincenzo's has gone out of business. Gordon talks to ex server Ashton who reports she went back to her old ways, raising prices and made portions smaller. He then visits CC at home and she looks fantastic! She lost a lot of weight. She sold the restaurant to spend more time with her kids and her and Michael have separated. In Anna Vincenzo's place Nino's of Boca II has opened, the East Side restaurant of Ninas on the West Side.
Review: Anna Vincenzo's
Anna Vincenzo’s Pizza Boca Raton - Review
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