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, a very pretentious chef who is in denial about his restaurant. Joe 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. Joe talks down to his staff and blames them for problems that arise in the restaurant. The comment cards focus on Joes poor customer service skills and the way he talks to the customers. 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. Joe tells Gordon that people think he is pretentious but he isn't he is just passionate. Skinny the goat tries to butt Gordon, haha. Gordon is excited after visiting the farm and is excited to taste his food. Gordon isn't impressed with the name badges that the staff are wearing as it is not a chain restaurant and asks his server to take hers off. The server says the problem is the way Joe interacts with the staff. 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. Gordon asks the staff to introduce themselves to him and ditch the name badges. The french onion soup is greasy, watery and short on cheese and onions, the oyster rockefeller has bitter oysters and the oil garnish is all over the oysters, the scallop en croute has micro carrots as a garnish, the scallops are like bullets and the pastry is raw the quesadilla is chewy and tough, the vegetable ravioli is covered in the same oil garnish and is ice cold, the fish trio is dry, rubbery and greasy and tastes if out the freezer and finally the elk feature is tough as old boots and impossible to chew. Gordon describes the food as farm to garbage can and is shocked to hear the elk feature costs $35. Joe shows his true colours and believes that some things in the restaurant are below him and should be handled by staff and not the owner of the restaurant. 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 with anything and did not take more than 2 bites of anything. Joe reveals that the fresh catch of the day is actually frozen. Joe is defensive of his food and Gordon tells him he is in denial. Gordon tells Joe to prove him wrong at dinner service. Gordon notices the huge Quiet sign in the kitchen and Joe tells Gordon there is to be no talking in the kitchen. The food leaves the kitchen at a reasonable pace and the food leaves 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. She has a catalogue of photos on her phone of old, terrible 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

The second part of Mill Street Bistro returns to Gordon and Joes argument over the onion soup continuing. After the argument, they agree to draw a line in the sand and make things better in the restaurant. The next morning, Gordon calls the staff into a meeting, they let out their frustrations about Joe, who is secretly watching the meeting in another room. The staff are fed up and all admit to being on the edge of quitting the restaurant. After they have got all their frustrations off their chests 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 but they don't believe he can. Gordon tells Joe that he thinks the prices at the restaurant are too high. To demonstrate he brings out bags of fresh groceries with enough fresh food to cook five meals a week and compares the value to a meal at the Bistro. Joe agrees that the restaurant is too expensive. Gordon meets with Joe and Tom to show them some new affordable dishes including a burger and a walleye dish.

Gordon arrives for a dinner service, testing the new dishes to see how the locals react to them. The kitchen however cannot cope and it falls apart as the communication breaks down and orders get muddled. Gordon encourages Joe to bounce back from it 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 while an agitated Joe shares his complaints with the customers. 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. The new menu features confit duck, seasonal fish, elk sausage burger and an elk chilli.

On relaunch night, the kitchen runs smoothly with Chef Brian expediting and the customers love the new menu and the quality of the new food. Joe serves a fish dish to the wrong table causing confusion but the food is returned to the kitchen, new dishes cooked and a complimentary dish served to compensate for the error but other than this the relaunch is a great success and food is returned to the kitchen.

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. 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.

Extra Reading

Mill Street Bistro Yelp Reviews

Gordon Ramsay forks out £900 compensation payment after explosive row with restaurant owner Joe Nagy

Mill Street Bistro to become family-friendly tavern 

Gordon Ramsey has a kitchen nightmare as restaurant owner calls in cops after filming

Can Chef Ramsay revive Mill Street Bistro?

Maple City Yelp Reviews

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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 running the business alone so sister Tina sold her business to be able to help Dino at the restaurant. Things started to decline when a rival restaurant down the street and from there on out their relationship began to suffer. The staff however do not believe the problem is the new competition, they believe the problem in Tina and Dino. They are serving poor food, they argue a lot and they do not know how to run a restaurant. The customers are not impressed with the food either. When the subject of what is wrong comes up they merely blame the finger at each other. The relationship is so strained that Dino walked away from the restaurant for over a year to get away from the pressure. As the restaurant is not making money their father Tony has been supporting them financially and if the restaurant fails he is set to lose around $250,000 and has been kept in the dark about their dire situation. 

Gordon arrives and decides to sit down with the brother and sister team to find out what the problems are in the restaurant. They disagree over everything and an argument breaks out. Gordon sits down to order food, he orders stuffed banana peppers, Italian stuffed filet mignon cooked medium rare and the chicken carletta capellini. The Carletta sauce is their signature sauce that came to Dino in a dream.... Gordon talks to a table of customers to look at their food and discovers they have a problem with their olive oil, it tastes like frying oil. Gordon calls Tina over to discuss the olive oil and discovers that it smells off. He also discovers the month old desert samples and they are rock hard and smelling. These are both removed from the dining room. The filet is a mess, raw and he believes it is frozen. He then wanders into another booth, finding crumbs and says that the restaurant is filthy. Tina can't tell him how often the restaurant is cleaned.  The stuffed banana peppers have way too much cheese, are also frozen and watery and he feels like he's eating donkey d**k. The chicken carletta has too much garlic with chicken hard as a bullet and more like a nightmare than a dream. Gordon says it is the worst Italian food he has ever eaten and he believes the owners no longer care. Getting nowhere with Dino and Tina he goes to talk to Tony, telling him that he is not sure that he can mend the relationship between his children but he will try. Tony reveals that the relationship with his wife is also suffering because of the restaurant.

Gordon witnesses a dinner service, alongside Tony who steps into the kitchen for the first time in months. Gordon discovers that half the stoves no longer work and the kitchen are running with limited capability. No one is expediting the food but somehow the food leaves the kitchen to the diners. They are disappointed with the food and it is sent back to the kitchen. Gordon ventures into the fridge and discovers green, slimy, rotten chicken is being served to the customers alongside mouldy sauce that has fermented. Gordon is angry and tells them to stop serving but does not tell them to shut the restaurant as Dino tells the customers he has. Gordon is frustrated that they have told the customers he is shutting it down so he enters the restaurant and tells them he is stopping the owners serving rotten chicken and sauce caked in mould and he is not going to be a party to it. Gordon finds Tony outside, Tony is embarrassed about the situation and Gordon asks him to get more involved. Tony confronts Dino and Tina with Gordon and threatens to close it and sell 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 and the booths are gone. There is a new POS system replacing the old loud cash register. Gordon is also bringing in two new consultants to help with the relaunch, helping with both the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen has been refitted with all new top of the range equipment and the menu has been revamped with sweet corn bisque, lamb shanks and pan seared salmon.

On relaunch night, the customers are impressed with the new look of the restaurant but not impressed with the long wait that some are experiencing for their food as Dino struggles to keep the pace in the kitchen and gets confused with the tickets. To get the kitchen back on track the consultants step up to get the kitchen back on track. Although shaky 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 are mostly good. They actively post on facebook and the photos they post of the food they are serving look absolutely delicious! The restaurant closed as their father Tony retired and they no longer wished to continue with the business. They posted on their Facebook page, before closing the account:

"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..."

Extra Reading

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