Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - Zeke's - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Zeke's

Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Zeke's, Metairie, LA,originally owned by a local icon named Zeke, the restaurant was very popular with the locals. Sadly Zeke died in Hurricane Katrina and the restaurant was bought by current owners Darryl and Ellen Cortello. They sacked all of the staff, raised the prices but lowered the quality. Gordon visits locals before the restaurant and they say they have stopped going due to this. Gordon arrives during lunch service, is greeted by Ellen and orders some food. He is told the menu has remained the same with a few additions from Darryl. Gordon orders oysters Cortello, boiled shrimp, chicken fried steak and bread pudding. He is not impressed with the food especially the shrimp which he finds out is bought in frozen, the oysters are no good  and the chicken fried steak has no seasoning or taste. He is however impressed with the bread pudding, made by Chef Emil.

Gordon enters the kitchen to discuss the lack of fresh shrimp, Darryl claims he doesn't have time to buy it but Emil reveals it was Darryl's decision to use low quality meat. Darryl claims Gordon knows nothing about New Orleans food as he has a full dining room and no food returned. At the dinner service Gordon discovers that the shrimp is prebagged and is not impressed. The food is going out cold and he discovers that the lasagne was made a week ago. As Darryl sees nothing wrong with this Gordon announces to the dining room that it was made a week ago, the customers leave the restaurant and Darryl tries to defend freezing leftovers. Chef Ramsay calls a team meeting the next morning and encourages them to voice their views to Ellen and Darryl. Jason tells them they are more concerned with customer numbers than good quality food, customer service, respecting the staff and paying a decent wage. Ellen defends it by saying they have had to use their own funds to pay the wages and don't make anything themselves and Darryl angrily tells them "If you don't want to be here, don't be here".

Gordon sets a challenge for the chefs to go to the Grocery store and come back with ingredients to cook an impressive seafood dish. They make Salmon and Grits and Red Fish with Grilled Vegetables. Gordon serves them to Ellen and Darryl pretending he has made them, they love the dishes and Gordon reveals they are made by Emil and Jason. The restaurant has a makeover overnight and has a new area with fresh shellfish. Gordon also revamps the menu with new items such as a bucket of shrimp, catfish and alligator. On relaunch night, some of the put off locals are present. Gordon encourages the servers to push the seafood buckets as it takes pressure off the kitchen. Darryl is expediting the rest of the menu, it starts to fall apart as he calls lots of tickets together and shows he is still only focused on getting the dishes out quickly as many dishes go out under cooked. Gordon tells them to focus on one dish at a time and communicate better. The relaunch turns into a success and the customers love the food. The local news channel arrives to cover the relaunch. Gordon congratulates everyone on the successful relaunch.

What Happened Next? 


In the following weeks, customer numbers are up and morale has improved. The restaurant is still open and reviews look mostly good since Gordon was there. They hired a new Executive Chef Michelle Matlock who had plenty of experience and some vegan specials for the menu (see blog review). As of October 2012, the restaurant closed and was sold.

Extra Reading


Zeke's Yelp Reviews

Gordon Ramsay Shames a Restaurateur Over Frozen Lasagna



Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

36 comments:

  1. "Level of stubbornness of owner: 5/10"

    More like 10/10!

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  2. Now Porters & Lukes. It is completely remodeled. The owners are Amazing, great customer servies. Variety of food such as oyster barriataria, eggplant vincent, many others very good food between $10- 40. If your ever in the area stop by for lunch or dinner. 1517 metairie rd, Metairie, LA. Also has very nice bar. Reserve large parties up to 20 or so.

    I think you and Gordon Ramsay would be impress

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    1. This sounds suspiciously like someone who has some stake in the restaurant. It reads like an advertisement, albeit one that someone forgot to proofread.

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    2. blatantly someone with an ownership interest in the business! didn't even try to disguise it! because when people ask me how I feel about a place I had dinner at, I tell them all about how wonderful it was, that I didn't have a single complaint, then give their address verbatim and tell them to "stop by sometime."

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    3. Yeah, whenever I review a restaurant I always forget to tell people how good the food was and what I ordered and instead tell everyone about party reservations and the address.
      Poor Zeke. What a bunch of p.o.s. that have taken over his legacy.

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    4. Yup and when I review a restaurant, I also tell people to reserve a table for 20+ people!

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    5. I sense no sarcasm whatsoever ;)

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  3. Are the 2 young chefs still there?

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  4. where are the 2 young chefs? They seem so talented.

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  5. No wonder the place failed with two ignorant, arrogant owners.

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  6. fresh frozen shrimp, portions, wtf , eventually the standards fell again

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  7. I watched the episode and cannot believe how moronic Darryl and his wife are. The worst business owners I have ever seen. How sad... glad the restaurant was closed. Hope Darryl and his wife are bankrupt. They deserve it.

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    1. Very disgusting comment. I saw the episode too, but I would never wish bankruptcy on people. Maybe I might wish they would improve or learn a lesson about stubborness but to wish financial ruin??? Not only is that mean but bankruptcy also costs other taxpayers $$$...I find that when people wish bad things on others it usually happens to themselves. And the funniest part...they weren't even that bad in the end. You are an idiot.

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    2. Evil comment.

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    3. Get off your high horses. You're probably both terrible people unless you're being arrogant.

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    4. LOL at people getting butthurt over people they don't know...

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    5. Ofcourse it is bad to wish bankruptcy over someone but there are exceptions.
      Those 2 were so incredibly incompetent that them losing money was their own fault. So if they did go bankrupt then it would be completely their own fault.

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    6. Moreover the staff were taking pay cuts and working longer hours... I definitely support the 2 former owners going bankrupt .AND STAYING THAT WAY !

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  8. I think I want to chime in with the same question others have asked... what happened to Emil and Jason, the young chefs that seemed to have the acts together??? I sure hope some success came their way.

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  9. Yeah i worked at one of those mom and pop places everyone loves so much because the owners are good hard working folks. They bitched when the state wanted to raise the minimum wage from $3.15 to $3.50 and said they would close the place down before they paid us more. Meanwhile, myself and other workers got to hear about the mountain cabin they had built, see their matching sports cars and how their daughter was going to the best college in the state. Fast forward 20 years. They divorced lost their business and she's living poor in some small town and you had better bet i have her on my fb and she gets to see my new car, trips to hawaii and the college my daughter is going to be attending. Oh yeah, it comes back around.

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    1. angry much? Sheesh! Could you be any more bitter? So what if they had nice stuff and talked about it? Man talk about extreme jealousy. You are a nasty piece of work and I hope YOU lose everything very soon.

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    2. Do you even recognize your own hypocrisy? You call him nasty for taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. And in the same breath wish misfortune on him.. that makes absolutely no sense

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    3. "Do you even recognize your own hypocrisy? You call him nasty for taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. And in the same breath wish misfortune on him.. that makes absolutely no sense"

      Hahaha LOL best comment of 2014.

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    4. Just because the owners are hard working folks, doesn't mean they treat their staff correctly. I never wish people misfortune, but sometimes you wish that they experience what they are inflicting on others.

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  10. Darryl is now a life couch. A quote from his linkedin page I found interesting: "I have made the transition from businessman to life coach. As a business owner for over 25 years, my true pleasure was realized in coaching my employees, specifically, working with them to unlock their capabilities."

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    1. Oh the irony

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    2. Lol!!! This dude telling people how to live their lives? What an absolute joke! This is why I have a hard time trusting industries like 'Life Coaching'. Go get coached by the guy who sells week old lasagna as fresh daily special. I'm sure that'll work out. Rofl, this whole story just gets better and better.

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    3. Wow, that guy is a life couch now?! I would have pegged Darryl as more of a sectional or rocking chair kind of guy.

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  11. Lol "Some things are good frozen"

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    1. Ice cream is good frozen!

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  12. Watching an old episode of KN, and wondering what happened to this restaurant. I'm sorry to see that they have closed. The chefs seemed truly talented, and I hope they were able to get new, better, jobs.

    The owners didn't seem like they had taken much about respecting and paying their staff to heart, and I know from experience how that can ruin morale, and how bad morale can tank a company. It's such a shame, but a happy staff counts for so much.

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  13. These two owners of Zeke's were very rude to their staff. These employee's were like family to each other due to their long career at Zeke's when the original owners opened it. I felt sad when I saw some of the staff tear up while owners listened with Gordon that they didnt want to leave each other. Then owner said don't want to be here ,leave, how selfish these owners were to employees that wemere dedicated and put up with owners crap so they could stay a family. Owners fate in the business was inevible and I hope best wishes to the staff employee's of this Kitchen Nightmare. I hope they all were blessed with rewarding careers. The chefs obviously new how to cook, I would like to eat wherever they are cooking now.
    RJ Yarbrough

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  14. Watching it now. I know, I'm late but I'm sure they tried to sell it for profit with Gordon Ramsey's name on it. Jerks!

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    1. Less debt they pass on to the taxpayers when they declare bankruptcy.

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    2. Taxpayers don't take the hit on debt in bankruptcy, creditors do. Now back-taxes, on the other hand...

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