Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - El Greco - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares El Greco

Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits El Greco in Austin, Texas, a Greek restaurant owned by son Jake and mother Athena. Business was great for the first 6 months but it has gone downhill. Jake only spends a few hours there as he is fed up of being nagged by Athena. The staff feel morale is low and that the food is bad. Athena has put all her money, $800,000 into the restaurant. Gordon arrives and meets them both, Jake is a trained chef but Athena ad sister Kiki also cook and do the prep. Jake turns up late and a fight breaks out. Gordon finds out he is only there 3 hours a day.

Gordon sits down to sample the menu, he orders the stuffed zucchini, the lamb shank and the moussaka. He says the zucchini is like "something out of an alien movie" and the others dishes aren't much better. Server Dustin tells him the food was cooked by chef mike aka the microwave. In the kitchen Jake defends his food as high end quality food and Gordon believes he just doesn't care any more, Athena agrees.

 Gordon observes a dinner service and is amazed that with so much cooking appliances that they use the microwave so much. Jake defends his use of the microwaves by saying he isn't cooking but reheating which astounds Gordon who tells him he needs to respect what he is cooking. The next day Athena and Kiki are left to do the prep and when Jake arrives another fight breaks out. Gordon tells Jake he needs to arrive earlier each day and that the sisters need to back off. Gordon throws chef mike out of a third story window. Jake admits he has lost his passion and Gordon teaches him some Greek dishes. Overnight, Gordon's team revamps the restaurant and the menu is changed.

On relaunch night everything is to be cooked fresh to order. Jake does not delegate and is doing everything in the kitchen, this slows the food leaving the kitchen. Gordon steps in and tells the staff to help him. Things get back on track and the relaunch turns into a success.

What Happened Next?


In the following weeks, progress is made however the debts were too large and too difficult for them to over come and because of this El Grego closed in December 2011. A lot of the staff had left after the episode was filmed. Yelp reviews after his visit were mostly bad with negative comments on both food and service.

Extra Reading


El Greco Yelp Reviews

Post-Gordon Ramsay Departures, Controversy at El Greco

Did Gordon Ramsay Change El Greco For The Worse?



Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

24 comments:

  1. I felt bad for the mother in this one because she had sunk so much money into the restaurant but the son obviously did not care to run it anymore. From what the show portrayed he wanted to spend his time at home playing video games and leave the cooking to Chef Mike.

    That seems to be a common problem for restaurants that end up on Kitchen Nightmares though, one or two people invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the restaurant yet depend on a non-investor to run the place (Fiesta Sunrise, Trobiano's). The person who doesn't have that kind of money, a house, etc at stake isn't as motivated to make things work and can simply walk away when things go down in flames.

    Another thing I remember from this episode is that the makeover looked cheap and awful. Maybe the Kitchen Nightmares crew knew that the restaurant wasn't going to make it and so didn't want to invest a lot in the makeover, or maybe someone in charge of the design just has cheap taste in things. The silhouettes looked like they were done as an elementary school class project and apparently the pitcher and cups were glued to each table, wtf?

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    1. As someone who lives in the area the remodel was especially bad. The understated, bland look they had is pretty typical around here. Near campus a lot of their competition would be food trucks, Pho and BBQ. A mild decor with great food would do fine. An "it's all about the food, y'all" attitude works. Cheap try too hard BS does not.

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    2. ALL of the so-called redecorations are cheap and half-assed. I've noticed on one episode Ramsay will complain that the colors are too bland & subdued (I.e. tan) and that a "more vibrant look is needed to put _______ back on the map." Ramsay uses a quote like this in EVERY episode. And then in another restaurant he'll say it's too dark and dreary and they wind up painting it either tan or eggshell.
      But the El Greco episode? All I can say is that Jake needs a good ass-kicking for being so disrespectful to his mother and aunt. No wonder why so many employees walked after Ramsay taped the show. I'm not foolish enough to believe that Gordo can fix these places. Most are too far gone long before Ramsay ever shows up. And NOBODY can fix a broken restaurant in a week, no matter what happens on the show. If you are over a half million dollars in debt with little income, the only realistic course you have is bankruptcy court. The restaurants that survive aren't that bad off to begin with. You know that a multi-million dollar show on a major network is going to do some VERY THOROUGH homework before coming. Regardless of all that, if I ever saw that Jake douchebag, I'd knock him upside his head for treating his mother so badly. He needs a good, swift kick in the yam bag to set him straight.

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  2. I thought the makeover looked pretty good, I think they were just in too much debt to be able to climb out in time.

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  3. Not shocked it closed, the "chef" had one of the worst attitudes I've seen in the show. His aunt was right on point about him. I do feel bad for Athina, hope she's ok

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  4. Jake is a lazy fool. He says, "I don't like comin' down here because my mom and aunt yell at me!"

    Yeah, they yell at you because you're a lazy idiot who doesn't keep his word, knucklehead! Why do you think they yell? You think they'd do that if you actually kept your word and worked hard? You're a child and an IDIOT!!

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  5. I'm amazed Jake wasn't put down with the way he spoke to his mother.

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  6. I feel bad that 2/3rds of the restaurants Gordon visits close down. What does that tell us? He arrives too late? This is more about entertainment than really helping? What?

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    1. In some cases, the debts are too significant, and an improvement in the business would have to be fast and huge to keep creditors at bay. By the time KN comes in, many of these places seem like they should have been forced into bankruptcy years before! In others, stubborn owners or chefs revert to the old ways that were failing them in the first place. I do sometimes wonder if the short time Gordon spends at each place is simply not enough to undo existing damage - be it family drama, incompetence, bad reputation, etc.

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    2. I don't think it's on him. If he didn't visit, 100% would close.

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    3. well alot of the places he does help seems to be so deep down in debt when he already arrives alot of them seem to be around 1 million in debt which is obviously gonna take some time to pay off and as such they could close for that reason but it can also be that they just go back to their old ways or sell it to someone else.

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    4. You have to keep in mind that turning a profit in the restaurant business is very hard as is. The fact that 1/3 remain open in the worst business venture there is, is pretty great.

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    5. The thing is that the majority of the time, Gordon Ramsay doesn't come in and talk to the owners about how to price food, how to run the business in general. It's a redecoration, a new menu, maybe a little therapy, then gone. But the best menu on the planet isn't going to save a restaurant owner who doesn't know how to price his food, pay creditors or invest in the right things to make the business work.

      So yeah, of course most of the failing business still tank. They're on their last legs anyway, but not getting a proper education on how to run the business end and pay off their debts really helps them along.

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  7. @Mark Holloway what it shows us is that people are either to stubborn, uneducated, or impassionate to ask for help before it is to late. Gordon is a very successful restauranteur and I feel sure that those restaurants that have made a come back thanks to his help were caused by a genuine desire to have their restaurant succeed.

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  8. If I were to speak to my mother the way this guy did, I wouldn't have lived long enough to regret it. He is a disrespectful little turd! The only reason I can't say I'm happy his business failed is because he dragged his mother down with him.

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  9. Moral of the story: If you have a family business and your descendants don't give two f**** about it, don't let them in the business, go get someone who has experience and knows what they are and have to do and just let your "kids" wank around but don't bother the real workers or tell em to f*** off. Some people have no respect for their parents.

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  10. I felt bad that Jake had been reduced to speaking to his Mom the way he did. He seems like he has a good heart and deep emotions, but his heart just wasn't in what he was doing anymore. None of us know that mans true soul or the burdens he carries within himself. True it's no excuse to talk to or treat your Mom that way, but they " the Aunt" talked to him like he was trash. Calling him bastard and other degrading names....was very belittling. He was obviously a man in turmoil and hurting. I hope he finds peace and someone who will love him completely and respect him. I hope his Mom gets the respect she deserves from her son. I just wanted to take him aside and hug and kiss him until his pain went away.

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  11. Just started watching this show and Im up to Season 5, I think Michons was the only restaurant so far that was not in so much debt.

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    1. Its pretty clear how business savvy the parents were. They had a good business and could also see the train wreck was coming long long before hand.

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  12. the aunt would have been a hottie bk in the day.

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  13. Another so called "CHEF" in these episodes thinking reheating pre cooked food is just fine lol. Poor mother with useless son maybe he should play video games as a job and see how he does.

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  14. I hope that now that the restaurant is closed that the mother and aunt have a place to stay with other family members,hopefully the son would take better care of them though.

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  15. chef useless with bad attitude and so lazy rip chef mic

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  16. Chef Mic isn't much of a cook but at least he shows up on time.

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