Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mangia Mangia in Woodland Park, Colorado, bought by owner Julie Watson, who just wanted to own a restaurant. There was previously a fast food restaurant in the building, she chose to make the restaurant an Italian restaurant because her daughter told her there was only Mexican and Chinese restaurants in the town. Cook Kevin admits that everyone hates the head chef Trevor. Arriving at the restaurant Gordon notices that there is a drive thru and decides to pull in, he is handed a laminated menu and is confused that a restaurant offers a drive through service, usually reserved for fast food joints. Gordon orders the soup of the day which turns out to be a chicken soup, Janelle forgets to give him a spoon but as the soup is a solid sludge the fork works well. Gordon compares the soup to gruel and is not impressed. Gordon decides to enter the restaurant and sits down with Julie, telling her that the restaurant still looks like a fast food restaurant. She thinks that the decorations she has added makes the restaurant look like a restaurant. Ramsay questions her on her knowledge of Italy and she claims she has never been. Julie takes Gordon into the kitchen so that he can meet the staff and meets the young Head Chef Trevor, who used to date Janelle.
Gordon sits down to taste the menu and orders mushroom ravioli, veal piccata, salmon, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs. The ravioli is clearly bought in with terrible glowing white sauce so Gordon sends the waitress into the kitchen to see if Trevor knows how to make fresh ravioli, he replies that he has no idea how to make it. Gordon writes down a simple recipe and sends it into the kitchen, Julie reacts by questioning what 550 grams is, it appears no one is familiar with the metric system or conversions. The lasagna is next, Gordon sends it straight back as there is a thumb print on the plate. The plate is cleaned and sent back out and Gordon discovers that the lasagna is still frozen in the middle. Julie's reaction is that Trevor must have used the wrong microwave as they have a good and bad microwave in the kitchen. The meatballs are cooked through but taste like "warm foam". The veal is not any better, as it is still raw in the middle and finally the balsamic drenched salmon tastes frozen. Gordon confronts the staff in the kitchen and discovers that none of the staff have any formal training, including the head chef. Julie is defensive about the food, telling Gordon the food is good repeatedly but admits that the veal is old. Gordon can see he is not getting anywhere and walks out, Julie bursts into tears.
Gordon returns for a dinner service and it is a disaster, every dish bar a few is returned to the kitchen and Gordon asks Trevor if he tasted any that were returned and his answer is merely "F*** it". With his attitude, Gordon decides it is time to inspect the walk in and finds a never ending supply of pre-cooked pasta, around 400 servings. Julie's response is that she has the pre-cooked pasta so that people don't have to wait, one dish takes a mere 90 seconds to cook. She blames Trevor for trying to make her look for every dish on the menu being frozen. The staff reveal that Julie shouts at them for any reason and the cooks change the breadcrumbs every other day to save money, coating both egg plant and chicken and causing cross contamination. Ramsay goes on the attack of everything being frozen and Julie's defence is that the food isn't frozen as it is defrosted. Frustrated, Gordon walks into the dining room and asks the customers how much of the menu they expect to be fresh and they expect 90%+ so Gordon explains that only 5% of the food they were served is fresh. Julie walks out, the service stops and the staff go out the back to smoke and moan. The dirty laundry begins to air, Janelle tells Gordon that Trevor tried to punch her at work, the staff don't always turn up for shifts and Kevin has come to work high on several occasions, whereas Trevor comes in high quite a lot of the time. Janelle leaves in tears and they shut the restaurant and everyone is told to go home.
Gordon gathers the staff to talk though some issues and the problems the staff have with each other. When it comes out that Trevor has a meth problem, Julie has little option but to fire Trevor. Gordon steps in to help the staff to learn some basic but classic Italian dishes without using microwaves. He recruits Chef Don from Denver to run the kitchen and hosts a family fun day to advertise the restaurant. The restaurant decor is given a makeover and no longer looks like a fast food branch. The menu is also given a makeover with real fresh food on the menu.
For relaunch night, things get off to a bad start when Julie fires orders at the kitchen with great speed, like in the old reheating days and is told to slow down as the fresh food takes longer to cook. The customers are impressed with the new décor and are impressed with the food, the staff are also much happier in the restaurant. As a final prank, Gordon pulls into the drive through to pick up the microwave from the kitchen.
What Happened Next?Reviews were mostly excellent after Gordon's makeover and the filming of the episode with compliments on the food and service. It appears they kept most if not all of Gordon's changes and followed his advice. However, the restaurant closed in November 2014.
Mangia Mangia Yelp Reviews
Mangia Mangia Trip Advisor Reviews
On Walkabout Review - Mangia Mangia
Gordon Ramsay and "Kitchen Nightmares" are talk of Woodland Park - The Denver Post
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