Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - Burger Kitchen - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Burger Kitchen

Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Burger KitchenLos Angeles, CA, the restaurant has been open for just 1 year this restaurant has serious issues. In order to maintain the restaurant Alan Saffron used his son Daniels inheritance money without his permission and doesn't treat him as a partner, barring him from knowing about the restaurants finances. No one in the family is getting along and no one in the kitchen is either, which is mismanaged and serving below par food. Gordon is impressed by the location and interior but the owners say they are losing $6000 per month and blame ever changing chefs, menus and a Yelp conspiracy as Yelp are deleting good reviews. Gordon samples the food: a range of burgers and a meat pie. He is not impressed, calling the food bland, flavourless and not cooked properly. Chef David is the one said to be to blame for the flavourless food but he says he is not allowed to change anything and also says he has not been paid wages. Daniel is at a loss on what to do and does not trust his father.

David is challenged to cook a fresh burger, he comes up with the "Redemption Burger",whilst owner Alan cooks up a prepared burger. Gordon loves David's burger but hates Alan's, this leads to a walk out. For the evening service, Daniel is sent out to work front of house and there is ticket confusion. Food speeds out of the kitchen just to speed back in so Daniel and David argue and Daniel throws him out the kitchen. The guests start to leave and David comes back for the money he is owed, Gen writes a check and asks Daniel to put cash in to cover the cheque. Daniel's partner Wendy tells Daniel's parents he isn't putting in any more cash and another argument breaks out. Daniel breaks down and is taken off for a chat by Ramsay.

After all the drama, Gordon invites them all out to a theatre and brings out the Yelpers to quash Alan's conspiracy theories against the website. There is even a rep from the website and Alan still refuses to believe that the reviews are real so another argument breaks out between Daniel and Alan. A fellow restaurant owner talks on how to deal with Yelp and finally Ramsay gets through to him. The next issue Gordon needs to tackle is the relationships and Daniel reveals that the problems are mistrust due to them taking his money. They agree to try and move past it for the restaurant. All attention then goes to the food and creating a tasty burger.

In the evening, the dinner service begins with Daniel expediting, there are small hitches but he deals with them successfully. Overnight Gordon's team gives the restaurant a makeover and the menu is also updated. For the relaunch Gordon has a surprise, the restaurant is going to be packed with writers from Yelp, Urban Spoon, Chow and other major review sites and blogs. Daniel gets off to a good start but Alan just can't stay out of the kitchen, distracting Daniel in the process. This leads to some food for Chow being sent back and Gordon loses it, urging Alan to let Daniel get on with it as he has proved he can. Alan and Gen promise to let Daniel run things without interference and the show ends.

What Happened Next?


In August 2011 the restaurant is said to have changed ownership and by October 2011 there was a new menu, team of Chefs and management in place. Yelp reviews continued to be negative, the "yelp conspiracy" carried on. The restaurant closed in February 2012.


Extra Reading









The Yelpers & More


The Bloggers 









55 comments:

  1. Brand new info:
    Burger Kitchen closed at February 10th 2012
    http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/02/10/burger_kitchen_donzo_luigis_moves_in_next_week.php#reader_comments

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  2. This episode makes a lot more sense once you read into the story of the grandfather and the fathers book tour.

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    1. But the sequel is alot worse though, the grandfather left Alan money, Alan didnt leave Danny any, he took Dannys money. Who is the greater SATAN?

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    2. The sequel is much worse, atleast the grandfather left Alan money. Alen left his son with his debt. Alan stole his sons money. What title should be given for being worse than the mythical Satan? The Donald?

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  3. That waitress Marilyn is BEAUTIFUL!

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    1. I was wondering if anyone else was going to say that. She's pretty hot.

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    2. Hell no. She looks like Will Ferrell.

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  4. I saw the episode and I really felt for the son Daniel. His parents need to just leave him alone and let him run things. The Mother seems to care less as she falls asleep in Theater. Pretty RUDE!! Seems like they need a few better cooks if the food is coming back RAW... don't they know the difference between RAW and COOKED..Really? If the restaurant is really closed I am sorry to hear that I would have liked to come by sometime. If it's anything like Ramsey's BURG'R-- LasVegas..YUUUUUM... Good Luck Daniel! Hope your life turns for the best... if your parents could give you some space. \~_~/

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  5. I have not read the book but the description he told the Chef Ramsey sounded a little ironic to me.

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  6. Daniel needs to sue the crap out of his dead beat, back stabbing, lying, worthless parents! No decent person, let alone parent, would steal from their own child. Plus treat his girlfriend with such disrespect. So sorry it didn't work out. But, better to be rid of the nightmare of the people who he was saddled with called "parents".

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    1. I couldn't agree more. I've seen a few posts on here that pass the blame back to the son, Daniel, for letting it happen, but he didn't willingly give the money to his deluded, criminal parents. I mean, did you hear the dad say "I opened up a restaurant because I like meat." How stupid can somebody be? He kept raving about how good the beef quality was (waygo) but from what I have heard,it's like eating old milk cow, tough, flavorless and a funky smell. I only hope that the kid at least got back what his father stole from him, but I doubt it.

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    2. His parents are narcissists! Textbook case! The dad is delusional and selfish and the mother is self-centered and dramatic. What a disgusting pair. I hope Daniel got his $ back and cut them out of his life. Trash!

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  7. I wish Daniel had pressed charges over the theft of his money. His father was a straight-up criminal.

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    1. Runs in the Family. His Grandfather was apparently a notorious criminal.

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  8. Was everyone in this place completely psychotic? I couldn't figure out who was the craziest of the bunch!

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  9. I don't care WHO in my family it was, you steal a quarter of a million dollars from me for YOUR nonsense...to jail you will go.

    I feel sorry for their son.

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  10. What everyone should realize is that the mother, as spiteful and petty as she was obviously has a prescription drug problems. Take a close look at her eyes. That is the reason the chef David was so adamant about the hole Prozac thing and why she was defensive about it. You can also pay attention to the way she scopes out the remodel looking for what she could sell to make a quick buck. What really bothered me was the fact that the parents did not have any money but expected the son to pay for everything. Pay close attention to the argument in the restaurant about the finances. They knew that he had $160,000 in the bank. The parents are manipulating thieves that want the money that they believe they should have gotten from the inheritance. They are the worst kind of people. If the son reads this then I hope that will take the kind words of someone who knows what he is going through......... Get away from them and leave them to there own demise. You have your own life and a family of your own to start. Good luck.

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    1. Well said.

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    2. He obviously had put up with a lot of guff by this point. Narcissists often push the sane into acting in ways they wouldn't otherwise act. He was something like the 20th chef since they opened 18 months prior. That is what those in law enforcement call a clue.

      It had nothing to do with him as much as it did with them.

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  11. I say Daniel needs to get away far from his parents who are both evil.

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  12. Daniel father is a criminal & should be in jail. WTF

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  13. David Blaine was a bit of a dick, no doubt..but I think he was a dick because he was fed up with the conditions. It was obvious he could do far better. He, well, did. When he made his own burger.

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  14. First of all there are so many discrepancies with the show it doesn't make sense.
    -how could his dad steal his inheritance money? Daniel is old enough (not like it happened when he was a kid and didn't know) and it would be illegal
    -the chef claims that he's treated poorly...why doesn't he just leave?! He demands a check, only $1,000 (how long did he work there?) even if as an executive chef he was only paid minimum wage, that means he only worked there for a few weeks. Why would anyone take a job and not get paid? Also, they wrote a check to him (do they not pay taxes...basically under the table money)
    -the chef also says he has no say in the menu or changing the items. What he does have a say in is letting those burgers go out all uncooked/raw. How do you run a kitchen like that? even if the burger tasted disgusting, it should be cooked properly.
    -Daniel acts as if he has no say in anything...poor me story. He can certainly do more (seek legal action, get another job that supports him better, etc)
    -Yelpers coming to speak about how the reviews are real and that the restaurant really sucks? it may suck but who has time for that? publicity
    -if you look up the family name, there's a whole criminal history with the grandfather...how come none of that was mentioned in the show?
    -the way they portray Alan's book... it seems almost like a publicity stunt to promote it.

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    1. Excellent points! I hadn't thought about the whole paycheck/taxes thing. I did notice that they kind of used the show to promote Alan's book.

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    2. As for the inheritance, most or many trusts are held until the receiver is 25 or older. I didn't catch Daniel age, but I bet he was under the age when Alan took the money. The reason he doesn't leave is because he is now tied to the business with his money sunk into that mess. He has a stake in seeing it succeed and become profitable. Maybe he should have sued, but believe it or not to some people family still comes first. I do think the girlfriend was not helping by being so confrontational.

      Honestly, I was not surprised to see this place closed. I bet Alan sunk right back into his old ways. Nobody that old, stubborn and in denial can really change overnight.

      Pity though.

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    3. I did a little digging myself, and it would seem that Alan's father was actually an infamous crime lord in Australia named Abe Saffron, which is where presumably the "inheritance" that Daniel was talking about came from, Alan has an extensive criminal history as well, so i don't believe legal action was anywhere within the realm of possibility for anybody in the family!

      That explains all of the odd inconsistencies that many people noticed, such as simply writing a check for $1,000 dollars to the head chef. Maybe a little research should have gone into the background of these people before Gordon attempted to rescue these people.

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    4. or maybe he prefers walking without a limp lol

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    5. Thing is, when you cook with frozen burgers and throw 'em on the grill they don't cook evenly. So when people ask for medium rare burgers with meat that's frozen and shipped overseas it really becomes hard to cook it right much less consistently. That chef did what he could but let's be honest though this is reality TV so while I'm sure a number of people did indeed receive burgers improperly cooked the ones that were cooked right likely were not shown in the episode.

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    6. The whole writing a check to the executive chef for $1,000 isn't out of the ordinary. If he is on a 1099 form he's considered a subcontractor so the chef just pays a rough estimate of around 30% of his yearly income to the irs at the end of the yr. So yea I think that argument is invalid

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    7. I just watched these episodes today. The son was 29.

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  15. don't blame Chef Blaine I'd probably react the same way working at that place.

    Hope he got a good job elsewhere in a restaurant where he can cook with fresh ingredients.

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  16. There are some people here who say Daniel should've sued Alan. Speaking as a total stranger to both of them, I'd say that would've been the proper thing to do: Daniel would get his money back (he seems like he wants to live a straight and narrow life, unlike his criminal father and grandfather), and Alan would have to own up to his financial abuse.

    However, I can also see why he wouldn't do so: Because Alan is Daniel's father. Now, I don't know how Australian culture works, but in the culture my family comes from, family takes absolute priority. You do not betray your parents. Ever. To turn against one's parents, in this culture, is socially speaking the absolute worst thing you can do. Even if you know your parents are doing something obviously bad, the right thing to do in such a culture is to have a talk with them to persuade them out of their ways (not going to happen with someone like Alan, who was oblivious that he had become his own father) or quietly tell an authority figure without making it obvious to the public that you tattled on them. A person in my family's country who goes against his or her parent's wishes is stuck with that stigma for life. They will be unable to find a job, they'll have much difficulty finding a decent home, they will not be able to find insurance, people will bully them on the streets, and they likely won't live for much longer. This person's siblings and children will also suffer the fallout too. That's how bad it is.

    I can imagine Daniel had come from such a culture as this--while it's fine to turn against one's parents in the United States if you think your parents are doing something criminally wrong (and you are applauded for such a thing), Daniel might have been too scared of the social ramifications to say anything against Alan until the Kitchen Nightmares episode.

    I can only hope that he has since then managed to live a life of his own.

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    1. This isn't about 'Australian culture'. The grandfather was a mobster - illegal gambling, drug running, prostitution, corruption, gun running the works.

      The apple didn't fall far from the tree with the son, but kudos to him for getting out of Australia and away from the grandfather's evil influence.

      The son should have just written off the 1/4 mill and walked away - that family did not deserve his respect.

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    2. Wikipedia page for the grandfather with reference to the book the father wrote and gave to Gordon during the episode.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abe_Saffron

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    3. Thank you for the legal advice. Somehow, it's so much easier to obtain legal services and sound legal advice on these blogs than in the real world. I'm so glad I did not pay $350/hr for a proper legal opinion when the right answer was here all along!

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  17. Sounds like chaos. Just because you are a restaurant owner doesn't mean you know everything about food and how it should be cooked. And you would think that people would be willing to accept advice from someone who really know what he is doing.

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  18. I have read your post. I am a regular reader of your post.I appreciate with you.Thanks for sharing the blog and always keep it

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  19. I worked for Saffron back in '89 or '90 while he was dismantling a film archival that went went bellyup while he was the president of the company. His breath was truly foul. He would call me into his office so he could dictate letters for me to type for him. As he would watch me approach his frosty-glass door he would push a button to automate the opening of the door. Whooshhhh! Out would gust the stench of his breath. His wife would come to the building always in a state of perperual irritation and with a nasty attitude. I was unsure if this was the same guy until his son mentioned the foul breathe. He and his wife were truly a narcissistic pair. Just evil

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  20. I watched the episode. I hope the father ends up in prison. Being a manager of somebody's trust fund doesn't mean taking whatever money that you want and investing in your pet project. The mother and father couldnt get along with the sons girlfriend because she knew how much they were taking advantage of the son. Especially since there was nothing on paper about the son being a half owner. I like how they said they didnt have to pay the son because he had 160 grand, and they also wanted him to pay the chef's wages. I don't think the parents deserved any kind of respect from Chef Ramsey after it was revealed that they stole money from their child.

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  21. I wish we knew what ended up happening with this family. The situation is unbelievably sad. His father stole $250,000 from him, then pretends like Daniel put the money in of his own volition. Unbelievable.

    I strongly hope that at some point Daniel took legal action to get his inheritance money back, because his parents obviously care much more about their own desires than their son.

    Yelp seems to indicate that this place has shut down, and that is definitely not a surprise, but it is genuinely sad, when watching the episode again to know that this family is still probably in total shambles.

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  22. So sad they closed. Hopefully family bonding worked out for them.

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  23. Was going to comment but agree with the majority of comments above disgusting parents!

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  24. Late to the party since I'm watching this episode on Hulu in 2016, but the parents are sociopaths. The show is faked or exaggerated significantly for entertainment, but these people are very real. I kind of wish the producers had foregone the usual redemption arc and just gotten real with us. Like bring in a psychologist to dissect the toxic, abusive nature of the parents and to explain to us, the audience, how we should avoid people like them at all costs.

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  25. To be fair to the nutcase mom, David the Chef was a nutjob. TOTALLY DISRESPECTFUL to the owners. A complete moron of a CHEF. What kind of chef talks this way to the OWNERS and the son?????? OMG TOTAL Piece of GARBAGE. Telling the mom to go take Prozac??? Really? David should take some testerone and learn how to be a gentleMAN.

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    1. I don't think you watched the same episode everyone else did.

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    2. i loved the chef, he spoke the truth

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    3. The kind of chef eho isn't being allowed to do his job and isn't paid on time.

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    4. The kind of chef who isn't being allowed to properly run the kitchen and isn't being paid properly.

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    5. The kind of chef who isn't being allowed to properly run the kitchen and isn't being paid properly.

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  26. I can't believe that place lasted as long as it did. I have never seen people that were so out of touch with reality. Alan and Gen seem like they need mental health professionals. The son should have sued his father for the quarter of a million dollars that he stole from him. The only one that seemed to know what they were doing is the chef.

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  27. I liked the chef David Blaine. Maybe the wife is a druggie who know? she looks like one.Poor Daniel though/Hopefully he got his money back.

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  28. What kind of parent would steal from their son. This episode made me feel disgusted. They deserve every bit of their missery imo. I just feel sorry for their son tho.

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  29. Dammit! I really wanted this place to make it. I hope they broke even when they sold the biz. Daniel seemed like a decent guy in a crap situation. I thought his girlfriend was a little odd. I don't know if it was the way they edited or what, but she came across as a total tweeker. Mom and Dad- strange folks. liked David Blaine, too. I hope he was able to move on to better opportunities; his personality just clashed with whatever the hell was going on with the family, which I can understand.

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  30. I don't think he would ever had sued his parents, I bet when they sold it, his parents kept the money... Is it me but the trust fund thing was like strange he looked like he was in his 30s, wasent allowed it till he was 40?

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