Friday, 30 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Mill Street Bistro - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Mill Street Bistro

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mill Street Bistro in Norwalk, Ohio ran by Joe Nagy, who opened the business with no restaurant experience after losing his job in food sales. His staff aren't happy about the way he treats them or the food they are serving. Joe claims it is fresh, farm to table but it is actually frozen, freezer to table. He believes he is a kitchen nightmare as he has no bums in seats. Gordon invites Joe to his farm to show off his ranch where the produce from the restaurant allegedly comes from. Skinny the goat tries to butt Gordon, haha. At the restaurant, Gordon isn't impressed with the name badges that the staff are wearing and asks his server to take hers off. He asks for the "specials" and is told that they are referred to as "features".  Gordon order the elk feature, the fish trio, scallops en croute, vegetarian ravioli primavera, onion soup, oyster rockefeller and the elk quesadilla. The french onion soup is greasy and watery, the oyster rockefeller is bitter with too much oil, the scallop en croute has dated micro carrots, the scallops are like bullets and the pastry is raw. The quesadilla is chewy and tough, the vegetable ravioli is covered in oil and is ice cold, the fish trio is dry, rubbery and greasy and finally the elk feature is tough. Gordon describes the food as farm to garbage can and is shocked to hear the elk feature costs $35. Gordon leaves the restaurant to grab a bite elsewhere and Joe is not impressed.

Gordon returns for dinner service and to give his opinion of the food, he wasn't impressed  and did not take more than 2 bites of anything. Joe reveals that the fresh catch of the day is actually frozen, is defensive of his food and Gordon tells him he is in denial. Gordon notices the huge Quiet sign in the kitchen and Joe tells Gordon there is no talking in the kitchen. The food leaves the kitchen at a reasonable pace but without Joe telling them where it is going. The food does not go down well with the customers and many dishes are returned to the kitchen. A diner finds a stone in her ravioli and Joe tells Gordon he is over critical. Gordon had reached out to an ex employee and she calls to say she is outside. She quit a month ago after being constantly criticised and has a catalogue of photos on her phone of old food and the packages of bought in meat. Gordon decides to investigate the food storage and finds frozen out of date food, half frozen food and the frozen oysters served to him at lunch. Gordon and Joe descend into a massive yelling match and Joe throws Gordon out the kitchen.

Part 2

After the argument, they agree to draw a line in the sand and make things better in the restaurant. The next morning, Gordon calls a staff meeting, they let out their frustrations about Joe, who is secretly watching. The staff are fed up and all admit to being on the edge of quitting the restaurant. Afterwards Gordon reveals that Joe has been listening to them and brings Joe out to face his staff. He realises he needs to soften up with the staff and tells them he is 100% committed to change. Gordon tells Joe that he thinks the prices at the restaurant are too high. Gordon meets with Joe and Tom to show them some new affordable dishes including a burger. Gordon arrives for a dinner service to see how the locals react to the new food. The kitchen cannot cope and falls apart as the communication breaks down. Gordon encourages Joe to bounce back but instead they break out into another heated argument. Gordon shouts at Joe to get out of the kitchen so that he can help Tom to recover and finish the service.  After the service Gordon tells Joe that he can no longer be in the kitchen. 

The next day, the revamped menu is revealed to the staff and he brings in consultant chef Brian Goodman to help in the kitchen. The new menu features seasonal fish dishes, an elk sausage burger and an elk chilli. On relaunch night, the kitchen runs smoothly with Chef Brian expediting and the customers love  the quality of the new food. Joe serves a fish dish to the wrong table causing confusion but this is resolved and the relaunch is a great success.

What Happened Next? 

In the months that followed, the menu has been slightly changed, keeping most of Gordons menu and there has been some staffing changes. Servers Jen, Kayleigh and Rebecca are gone as is Chef Tommy and Joe is back as Head Chef. In December 2013, Joe renamed the restaurant and relaunched as Maple City Tavern, a family friendly restaurant and the reviews are mostly negative. In January 2014, Gordon's production team paid £900 compensation to Joe in respect of items found to be missing after filming. The restaurant closed in June 2015, unsurprising with most recent reviews being 1 star on Yelp.

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Levanti's American Bistro - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Levanti's American Bistro

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Levanti's Italian Restaurant, in Beaver, Pennsylvania, opened in 1998 by Dino Fratangeli using his fathers life savings. He struggled alone so sister Tina sold her business to help at the restaurant and things started to decline further when a rival restaurant opened. The staff however do not believe the problem is the new competition, the owners argue a lot and they do not know how to run a restaurant. The relationship is so strained that Dino walked away for over a year, their father Tony has been supporting them financially and is unaware about the situation.  Gordon orders stuffed banana peppers,  filet mignon and the chicken carletta capellini. The Carletta sauce is their signature sauce that came to Dino in a dream... He discovers the month old dessert samples are rock hard and smell bad so are removed from the dining room. The filet is raw and he believes it is frozen. He then realises that the restaurant is filthy and Tina can't tell him how often the restaurant is cleaned.  The stuffed banana peppers are frozen and watery and the chicken carletta has too much garlic and bullet hard chicken. Gordon says it is the worst Italian food he has ever eaten and believes the owners no longer care. 

Gordon witnesses a dinner service, alongside Tony who steps into the kitchen for the first time in months and discovers that half the stoves no longer work. No one is expediting the food,somehow the food leaves the kitchen but it is sent back. Gordon ventures into the fridge and discovers green, slimy chicken is being served to the customers alongside mouldy, fermented sauce. Gordon is angry and tells them to stop serving and is frustrated that they have told the customers he is shutting it down so he enters the restaurant and tells them what he found. Tony confronts Dino and Tina and threatens to close it if they don't step up and work together. Gordon has discovered there is a gap in the market for an American Bistro and this will be their new direction. The restaurant is given a makeover with a new modern decor with a new POS system. Gordon is also bringing in two new consultants to help with the relaunch, the kitchen has been refitted with all new top of the range equipment and the menu has been revamped.

On relaunch night, the customers are impressed with the new look of the restaurant but not impressed with the long wait for their food as Dino struggles to keep up and gets confused with the tickets. In order to get the kitchen back on track the consultants step up to help in the kitchen. Despite a few problems, the relaunch was a success overall with happy customers and no complaints. Gordon reflects on the makeover, saying that this is his biggest transformation ever and success lays with the town.

What Happened Next? 

In the following weeks, the consultants continue training Dino and Tina and they are working together as a team. Reviews were mostly good. They actively posted on facebook and the photos they posted of the food they are serving looked absolutely delicious! The restaurant closed in November 2013 as Tony retired and they no longer wished to continue with the business. They posted on their Facebook page,

"Hello all! We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your loyalty and patronage over the past 15 years. The people we have met and a lot of the friendships we have made will last a lifetime! We are officially announcing the retirement of our father Tony, and the rest of us are excited to be moving on to pursue other ventures. It has truly been a memorable experience for us over the years and we are saddened to see it come to an end, but anxious to be moving forward. We would also like to announce that we have hand-chosen (and He has hand-chosen us) AWARD WINNING CHEF RICHARD MONTINI (Former Executive Chef at PNC Park) to open his NEW HEIRLOOM RESTAURANT in our location..."

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