Sunday, 29 May 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - Spanish Pavillion - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Spanish Pavillion

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, New Jersey, opened in 1976 by Antonio Fernandez, he left the restaurant to his daughter Balbina and his grandsons Michael and Jerry. Since they took over it began to struggle, the customers dislike the food and the lack of interest in the business is visible from Michael and Jerry. Michael is barely in the kitchen, Jerry is barely in the restaurant and Balbina is stuck in the middle of the feuding sons. The restaurant has few diners and is in $550,000 debt. Gordon arrives at the restaurant at lunch service and is not pleased with the waiters in their tuxedos. He is greeted by Jerry and Balbina and is given the history of the restaurant.

Gordon sits down to sample the food, he orders lobster bisque, paella and a chicken and garlic main course. Gordon is not impressed with the bisque saying the lobster looked like it was already dead before it was cooked. Jerry tells him that the lobster came from the tank and when he looks in the tank there is a dead and decaying lobster, a risk as the lobsters will eat the dead one and become infected with bacteria. Gordon tries the dreadful chicken and garlic dish, it arrives swimming in oil and the chicken is dry. It doesn’t get any better as the paella is over seasoned and over cooked. Gordon is astonished to hear that the head chef Michael didn't cook or taste any of his meal.

Gordon arrives to observe a dinner service and Michael is behind the bar. The food goes out at a reasonable pace but is soon returned to the kitchen. Both brothers go into the kitchen to try rectify and improve the situation but instead make it worse. They argue and as Michael gets more angrier he ends up pushing cook Al and is removed from the kitchen and severely reprimanded for his unacceptable behaviour.

Gordon arrives the next morning to have a look around the restaurant. He finds multiple bags and buckets of shellfish in the freezer with no dates on. The walk-in is absolutely packed with meats and the fridge in the kitchen has dead lobsters inside. A rogue pigeon is flying around the kitchen. Gordon shows them what he has found and tells Michael that he is wasting money buying so much food, he admits he is to blame but he is overwhelmed. Gordon teaches Michael a garlic chicken dish and Michael makes a octopus special that Gordon loves, both dishes become the specials for that evenings service. Server Joe struggles to learn the new dishes as he has been used to the same menu for 20 years!

For the evening dinner service, Michael is working behind the line and Jerry is expediting at the pass. Michael shows his lack of confidence at first but the customers love the new dishes. Michael begins to fold under the pressure and customers begin to get frustrated at having to wait A chicken dish is sent back to the kitchen and Gordon discovers they have used spoiled chicken! Jerry steps up
 and the food begins to leave the kitchen and customers are happy. Gordon is impressed with Jerry  but the quality control needs to dramatically improve.

Overnight, the restaurant is given a makeover with new furniture and china. Michael and Balbina love the new makeover. Gordon shows them there are 40 Spanish restaurants all  2 miles, the market is saturated they need something that will make them stand out. Gordon introduces a range of  home made tapas dishes and tells them no more tuxes for the waiters!

For relaunch night, both brothers are excited but worried. The kitchen gets off to a great start as customers love the food. But as more diners arrive the kitchen begins to fall apart with Michael getting confused and not listening to Jerry. Michael starts to get angry and Gordon pulls him aside to tell him to get it together and respect his brother, he turns it around and the relaunch ends a success. With a final pep talk from Gordon he tells them they can turn this around and praises them for the good job they did at the relaunch.

What Happened Next? 

Gordon revisits and sneaks around the back to have a look in the fridge and finds it organised and clean. Jerry reports business is good and that Michael is no longer involved in the restaurant. Gordon checks the lobster tank. Gordon orders a paella and Jerry sits down to eat with him, he says it is delicious. Sadly his Grandfather passed away between filming and the revisit. They are open with mostly good reviews.

Extra Reading

Spanish Pavillion Yelp Reviews

Gordon Ramsay of 'Kitchen Nightmares' revisits Spanish Pavillion in Harrison

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares


  1. I'm glad to hear that they are still open. Equally glad that the walk in is clean! Very sorry to hear their grandfather passed. My condolences.

  2. Well, I have to be honest. I was willing to bet that this one was going to close, simply based on the amount of area restaurants serving Spanish food. Being from Minnesota,which is essentially in the middle of the North American continent, there aren't many Spanish restaurants and I have never tried it before. Plenty of Mexican, but no Spanish and I think that it's safe to say that is like comparing Chinese and Japanese food.


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