Friday, 23 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Quelcuttis Tapas - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Quelcuttis Tapas

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Setla, Spain to help turn around Quelcuttis Tapas, a tapas restaurant and bar. Del and Sue Quelcutti opened the place with the view to passing it on to their children. Del's dad was Spanish so him and wife Sue decided to invest their retirement fund with their children all working in the restaurant. Joe runs the bar with Ruby helps out and self taught Terry cooks in the kitchen. We are introduced to the unpopular breakfast burger. Del and Sue wanted the place to be a restaurant but Joe and Terry are more interested in running it as a bar, as a result the food has been neglected. The business is losing £10,000 a month, they have one season left and the family haven't paid themselves in a year. Gordon arrives in the town and is directed to the restaurant. He meets Del and Sue and has a talk outside the restaurant. They tell Gordon that the children are giving away free drinks, have no business sense, lack responsibility and don't listen to them. Gordon arrives and meets Joe, Ruby and Terry and notices that it looks more like a pub.

Gordon is impressed with the area but not impressed with the boozers. No one is in charge, they all like to think they are all in charge and even worse, they get hammered after service. Gordon decides to try the food and tries to order food but salmon is unavailable. He orders swordfish, salad and chips and a chicken kiev. He is given a pork on toast amuse bouche and finds the pork is dry, bland and greasy. Terry can't find any kievs and goes back to tell Gordon so he orders a gourmet burger instead. Terry disappears into the corner to get a frozen burger bun out of the freezer in the corner. Terry stands there staring before being told to go away and Joe offers him some wine with his meal which is from "this bottle". Gordon asks for a sick bag for his burger and the wine tastes like diesel gone wrong. Gordon looks through the fridge and finds some really old Serrano ham. Gordon confronts them about their drinking, opening up about his father's death through alcoholism and they throw away all the old food.

The next day Gordon is questioning their commitment and they begin to realise they need to change. Gordon visits the market and brings fresh food to challenge them to cook with fresh food for 15 locals. Joe fails to impress at front of house and Terry struggles to get the food out of the kitchen. The customers aren't impressed with the food, one does enjoy the salmon but not the side dishes. Del and Sue arrive for lunch to witness Joe's customer service first hand, they aren't impressed as Joe argues with regular customers. A customer Neve finds a cockroach and tells Gordon about it, Joe kind of accuses it of being planted but fails to say who he thinks planted it. A rather merry customer Keith starts helping out behind the bar with taking drinks out to other customers. Gordon comes to the conclusion that Joe is the biggest problem and takes Ruby aside. Gordon calls a family meeting, Joe thinks the service was a success but in reality it was a disaster. The family write heartfelt letters to each other, cue the tears, even Gordon is welling up. Gordon gives Terry a crash course in cooking tapas using fresh ingredients including fish stew, the family sample the food and they enjoy it. Gordon asks Joe to match a drink to the dish and he struggles as he isn't familiar with wine. He spits wine into a glass and re drinks it. Gordon takes the staff to another restaurant to work with their staff to learn how a successful restaurant runs, they cook, serve and taste wine.

Gordon revamps the restaurant, removing the pool table and adding pictures of the family to add a personal touch. They are relaunching as a tapas restaurant with a mix of fresh tapas dishes and great wines. For relaunch night, the restaurant is fully booked and Sue is helping out for the evening. Joe pushes the wine but hasn't put any food orders through. He over compensates by putting all of the orders in at once, putting the pressure on the kitchen. Terry begins to struggle but holds it together. Gordon reveals that he has invited a special guest, the Mayor who Joe neglects. The customers love the new food and the wine, the regulars aren't happy with the new prices but Joe manages to get them on side with the price changes. Overall, the relaunch was a success.

What Happened Next? 

Gordon returns a month later for a surprise visit, the restaurant is busy, they are making money, paying themselves a wage and no longer drinking in the restaurant. Terry is enjoying cooking in the kitchen and they have added their own dishes to the menu. Reviews since Gordon's visit appear to be very positive, with compliments on the friendly service, food and entertainment also offered.

Mark Haggan's comments on his visit are that "The food was excellent, and remarkably well priced. The staff were great, and could not have been more friendly or helpful. If you find yourself in the area, it’s certainly worth a visit."

The restaurant closed in August 2015, owner Joe blames the changes that Gordon made for the closure and reveals that his relationship with his brother Mark is at the worst it had been.

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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - La Granada Divino - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares La Granada Divino

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits  La Granada Divino in Gaucin, Spain, he arrives to the town on his bicycle to a restaurant that has only been open 8 weeks and is owned by Milan and wife Gina. They invested their entire retirement fund in creating their dream restaurant. They recruited head chef Neil based on some pate on a stick at a Christmas fayre and expect him to manage the restaurant as well as cook in the kitchen. The restaurant has no customers, is losing £4,000 a week and they are blaming Neil. Gordon arrives and find that the restaurant is empty, he finally finds the owners on a rooftop terrace where Gina tells him they serve pizza as people get fed up of Spanish food. The restaurant is on multiple levels but their lift is broken. Gordon sits down to order food, the waitress suggests a fish cake and kebab, he also orders a terrine, risotto, lentil salad and steak. The pate looks like something out of the 80's and tastes of nothing, the risotto arrives 40 minutes later, looks like a Barbies doll house and is undercooked, the salad is terrible and the steak is tough. Gordon meets Chef Neil who likes fiddling with knives and seems to take Gordon's criticism quite well, which is a nice change. 

Gordon arrives for a dinner service, he has invited 50 guest to dine for the evening. Neil has two cooks to help in the kitchen but they seem to be only preparing salads. As Neil is doing everything he begins to cut corners to be able to send food out whilst the two chefs stand there watching. Gina is drinking wine on the terrace and admits she has never seen him in the kitchen for a service. Two hours in to the service and only half of the customers have had their food. Neil has lost control of the kitchen and fish has been left to over cook, Neil decides to throw it away and recook it. The customers aren't impressed, they can cook better at home and say they won't return. Gordon meets with the owners who admit that they never even did a background check on Neil. 

Gordon calls some contacts to check Neil's credentials who reveals he was a seafood chef and seemed to be distracted. He was never Head Chef as Scott's or Harvey Nicks. Neil tells Gordon that he has never said he was running restaurants or put it on his CV, the owners have come up with that themselves. Gordon tells Neil that he needs to delegate and communicate with the rest of the staff, Neil reflects that things need to change. Gordon challenges Milan to run front of house and Gina to cook in the kitchen with Neil. Neil struggles to communicate and Milan struggles in the front of house, failing to find ice and sweating. Gordon is forced to apologise to customers on behalf of the owners and the food takes two hours to reach the customers. Gina and Milan finally see Neil's struggles, Gordon tells them they have expected too much of him and asks them to promise to fix the lift. Instead they chat outside the front of the restaurant and discuss replacing Neil. 

Gordon suggests a roast chicken special to be served at the table to take some pressure off of the kitchen using fresh, local ingredients. Gordon tries to lighten Neil up and make him more approachable to customers. For the evening service, Gordon asks Neil to delegate tasks to the chefs to help take pressure off and the waitresses are pushing the chicken special creating less work for all. Neil leaves the kitchen to speak to diners in the restaurant and the customers enjoy the food. Milan, Gina and Gordon take to the streets with samples to promote the restaurant and gain new customers. A new menu is devised featuring Spanish inspired food and sharing plates, the kebab is gone and Gordon has fixed the lift to improve the service and take some pressure off of the wait staff. Gordon suggests that Emily is made the manager of the restaurant which is supported by the owners. 

For relaunch night, Gordon tells the staff to try and sell 3 courses to the customers, starters, sharing plates and desert. Gordon reveals that he has invited the top, local food critic to dine with them this evening and the restaurant is fully booked with 60 customers in the restaurant. Communication is good and the sharing plates are taking the pressure off of Neil in the kitchen and are going down well with the customers. Neil starts to slip, Gordon tries to pull  him back but disaster strikes when they sell out of sharing platters and Neil has to serve individual dishes. Neil slips into bad habits, the communication slips into nothing and the cook tries to send out food before it is ready. Gordon gives them a pep talk and the communication recovers with great food leaving the kitchen. The food critic brands it the best restaurant in Gaucin with great prices and he is particularly impressed with the lamb chops. 

What Happened Next? 

Since Gordon left they are taking £5,000 a week and Gina and Milan have taken a step back from the restaurant allowing the staff to run the restaurant. Reviews since Gordon's visit appear to be very positive, with compliments on the service, food and presentation of the food and they appear to have kept the concept of sharing platters that Gordon introduced. 

The restaurant closed in September 2015, as owners Milan and Gina retired from the restaurant trade, they posted the below on their website. 

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Le Deck - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Le Deck

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Capbreton in the South West of France, arriving in a beautiful convertible Morgan. Tim and Debbie Wall who emigrated to France 28 years ago,  met as holiday reps and married 6 years later. They opened restaurants in the Alps before settling in Biarritz. Le Deck  opened 3 years ago to replicate their  successful restaurants, using the 1 million euros profit he had made. The restaurant  has not been successful and is losing £50,000 a year. Gordon surprises them by arriving  mid afternoon and the place is empty. He meets the General Manager and is surprised to see the Head Chef Steve lingering in the mezzanine in the restaurant, which is housing for Steve and 7 other workers! Staff appear from outside and various rooms inside the restaurant and eat a lunch of steak and chocolate mousse. Owner Tim arrives and is not impressed the staff are eating steak and tells them they are taking the p***. Gordon catches Steve sneaking past a bag of frozen red mullet and Steve defends the steak by saying they were in a rush. Tim rants about the steak some more and is clearly on edge.

Gordon sits down to order food, he orders fruits de mer en croute, the Le Deck Burger and  the Le Deck Fish Salad. The fruits de mer en Croute is greasy with no pastry, the Le Deck Burger is raw  and the Le Deck Salad is just as bad. Gordon comments that the mussels aren't cleaned and the prawns smell. Gordon asks Tim about the prawns and he tells Gordon they frozen. Gordon fills the restaurant with 60 guests  to test the kitchen. Steve tells Gordon that it isn't his menu and he isn't able to change it. The orders flood in and the kitchen struggles to get the food out and diners are left waiting for 45 minutes. Tim tries to take over and tells them to get the food out. The kitchen runs out of food and asks him to stop taking orders so they can check what is left but Tim keeps asking for items they have run out of. Manager Chris is sent out to buy/borrow more meat from another restaurant! Gordon tells Tim  that he is speechless at how he was running around and couldn't believe that he allowed in more customers and he tells him that he hates refusing people as he needs the money. Steve tells Tim he has to answer all questions on the food as it is his menu.

The next day,  Tim tells Debbie he wants to spend more time with the children. Gordon arrives at their house to talk about finances as Gordon doesn't want them to lose their house. Debbie tells him they can walk away if it continues to get worse but Tim says he is willing to change. Gordon takes Tim to a local oyster place to eat oysters and talk business. Tim talks some randomness about shirts and t shirts and confuses Gordon. Steve admits he has lost some passion and Gordon takes him to the local fish market. He wants Steve to create a fish special and discovers that Steve can't speak a word of French. Steve and Stuey have created their own  specials, Steve's is sole with green beans and lentils and Stuey's is curried monk fish with a salad of mango, rocket and beansprout salad. Tim loves the specials and Gordon bans Tim from the kitchen. The specials are popular but Tim struggles with being excluded from the kitchen. Gordon supplies the team with oysters to devise 4 new oyster dishes and 4 new cocktails to accompany them. 

Tim is told to take Debbie out for dinner for the evening  and Debbie tells him they need to have more time together as a family. Gordon is impressed by what the staff have come up with and so is Tim and Debbie. Tim is agitated because the staff have such excellent ideas(?). He gets angry and screams at the staff for being brilliant but scruffy (?). Everyone is shocked by Tim's outburst, Tim and Debbie argue outside and Debbie tells him he doesn't deserve respect. 

The next day, Tim and Debbie arrive at the restaurant, they go into the dining room and Tim tells the staff that he has been like a tornado and not communicating. Tim decides to paint the walls white and has delegated the staff to paint the walls. The front of house staff have given the restaurant a makeover. Gordon brings Tim and Debbie to the restaurant, showing them the new sign and the new oyster bar. The new menu pleases Tim and he hugs Gordon, Tim is in tears and is pleased with his staff, congratulating them on the transformation. 

For relaunch, Tim is placed as Front of House with Gordon overseeing the kitchen. The oysters are popular but Tim lets customers in without checking the bookings or crossing them. The kitchen begins to push out the dishes but struggles as more guests arrive. Steve takes control of the kitchen as Tim stresses over portion size. Gordon reminds him that for 6 Euros the portion is more than adequate and promises to throw him in the port if he continues to interfere. The customers love the food and fresh fish dishes. Tim consults with the kitchen before offering out more tables and with fish taking less time to cook, they are quickly turning tables and they have also sold over 160 oysters within the first hour. The relaunch is a success, the kitchen have stepped up to the plate and they have made over 2000 Euros in one service.

What Happened Next?

Over the past month, Le Deck is averaging 15,000-20,000 per week, Stuey is now the Head Chef as Steve has returned to the mountains. Tim is taking a step back and allowing the staff to do their jobs. Reviews on Trip Advisor are mostly good since Gordon visited the restaurant with some complaints shortly after Gordon's visit that were focused on poor service. There are also negatives about food prices and quality. 

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Mayfair / Jacks Chicken Shack - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Mayfair / Jacks Chicken Shack

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Fuengirola, Spain to help turn around Mayfair Restaurante, run by South Londoner Pat and her Spanish husband Jack. They met whilst Pat was on holiday  settled in England but moved back to Spain 28 years ago. They ran a successful restaurant in London and when they moved back they opened the restaurant. The restaurant is outdated, the children criticise the restaurant but he doesn't listen and they are losing money every day. Gordon arrives and comments that every other restaurant is full except theirs. 

He sits down with the owners to discuss the restaurant and finds random stuff in a broken freezer. Gordon finds another broken freezer. a room full of clutter, that has been there 6 years and the restaurant has been restricted in size to make room. Pat reveals she has sold her house and is using money from the sale to support the business. Son John is willing and ready to take over the business but Jack won't step aside. The tapas counter reveals more horrors as raw and cooked meat are stored next to each other. Fresh produce is dumped on top of old produce and Jack is buying fresh food everyday. Gordon discovers a rotting chicken at the back of the fridge and he says it was cooked 4 days ago. Gordon orders the kitchen and restaurant to be closed and John is clearly frustrated by the state of the kitchen, in his father and Chef Juan.

Gordon comes back the next day and Jack has cleaned the kitchen. Gordon sits down to order some food, he orders a tortilla and is offered ketchup or brown sauce. The potatoes taste rotten, he asks if it went in the microwave and is told no. The fish dish, with calamari and squid is rubbery and sloppy. Gordon tells Juan to taste it and he says it is fine. Jack takes over in the kitchen and serves Gordon a 2 day old chicken. Gordon orders John to taste the sauce and he finds it revolving, Jack tastes it and calls it salty. Jack walks out whilst Gordon tells Pat it's a joke. Jack is stubborn, in denial and doesn't listen to John. Marie agrees Jack is hard headed and says Pat also blocks it out, John and Jack often disagree and argue. Gordon puts down a line and tells Jack he isn't to enter and if he crosses the link he'll put him in the sea, John is to run the restaurant and Juan is not to use a microwave.

The restaurant is full and Juan is under pressure to cook fresh, Jack is out front charming the customers but the kitchen is falling apart. Juan is reacting to the loss of the microwave by overcooking meat.  Jack refuses to sack Juan as he feels sorry for him and paying him 1500 euros a month. The customers aren't happy with the wait and substandard food. Customers have walked away without paying and son John is furious. John runs a car rental firm and Gordon visits but John is losing money, the cars are falling apart, 40,000 euros came from his parents and Gordon tells him to sell the business to pay them back. Gordon orders them to declutter the restaurant whilst he visits local restaurants. Gordon returns and finds Jack struggling to let go, Pat tells him everything is going and nothing is going back in their home. With the clutter gone the restaurant has doubled in size with more earning potential.

Gordon reveals a new sign funded by selling Jacks junk, Gordon reveals the idea of the restaurant being a fried chicken shack but with a twist. The restaurant has been repainted and more tables have been added. Gordon shows them how to make fried chicken using fresh chicken, the menu is very simple and cost effective and the family love the new fried chicken. There are sauces and salads to up sell to customers to help boost income.  Jack, John and Pat are in the town promoting the restaurant in chicken suits and a new chef has been hired, Juan is demoted to pot washer. 

On opening night, there are all hands on deck with the whole family in the restaurant. The kitchen is prepared but front of house have given 5 big orders to the kitchen at once. Gordon orders them to stop taking orders for 5 minutes. Food is taken out by Jack after struggling to find the correct table but there is confusion as the server hasn't told them what the food is. Gordon despairs as Jack returns to the kitchen with raw chicken that had been rushed out and he orders them to slow down and work as a team. John steps in and supports the kitchen and the kitchen runs smoothly. The customers are happy with the food despite the wait and they have made over 700 Euros. 

What Happened Next? 

Gordon returns to the restaurant 4 weeks later and they have kept the chicken theme. Gordon arrives at lunch time and the restaurant is busy. Juan has left and the kitchen has kept up the cleaning regime. They are averaging 500 Euros a day and John has sold the cars but hasn't repaid his parents and he hasn't managed to persuade Jack to retire. John writes an IOU to his parents and it is put inside the till. In the 3 months prior to airing, they are averaging £1500 a week, John has sold 2 cars and still hasn't paid his parents back. The owners have reported that both customer satisfaction and sales are up. Jon has since reverted to his own recipe and told the Mirror in October 2014 that he was losing £2500 a month. 

Reviews since Gordon visited are average with a mix of both good and bad reviews. Twitter user Chris, visited the restaurant in June 2014, below is his experience....

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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Bella Luna - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Bella Luna

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Bella Luna in Easton, Pennsylvania, an Italian restaurant owner by Rosario Scollo. She bought the restaurant for her son Gianfranco to celebrate him completing culinary school. The restaurant is a family run business with Rosario's son Maurizio also working in the restaurant as Manager. The customers aren't thrilled with the poorly cooked food or the hairs that have been found in dishes. The décor is terrible, manager Traci thinks it looks like a morgue, she also criticises Rosario's leadership skills and believes her to be very disorganised. Gordon arrives at the restaurant and is pounced on by Traci, who throws herself upon Gordon, and is clearly pleased to see him! Gordon enters the restaurant and sits down with Rosario who assures him that they only serve fresh food and never use frozen food. She believes that the customers are the problem, that they are used to poor quality frozen food that they are unable to appreciate freshly cooked, authentic Italian dishes. 

Gordon sits down to sample the food and orders the Mussells Marinara, Veal Saltimbooca and a Penne pasta dish. Gordon tastes the strange looking veal dish and is not impressed, it is over cooked, under seasoned and there is too much flour in the sauce. The penne pasta dish is just as unimpressive. Gordon hands some yellowing herbs to Traci and declares that it tastes like baby vomit. Finally the Mussels Marinara is brought out to Gordon, which has very few mussels and plenty of marinara sauce. Gordon finds the mussels chewy and asks whether they are frozen, it is confirmed they are frozen, despite Rosario's assurance that everything is fresh... Gordon goes to speak to Gianfranco about the frozen mussels and his defense is that the menu is so large they can't keep fresh mussels as they would not sell them, he wants to take them off the menu.

Gordon returns to observe a dinner service and with Gordon in town the place is fuller than usual. He discovers that they don't have tickets for orders, just scraps of paper with orders written on. The cooks defrost shrimps in the microwave, Gordon finds that frozen chicken has been defrosting in a sink and begins to question Rosario's claims of everything being fresh. Gordon decides it is time to inspect the walk-in and freezer and finds container after container of frozen chicken. Rosario tells him that they buy the chicken in fresh and then freeze it, which somehow doesn't mean that they are serving frozen food, she continues to insist that the food is fresh. The walk-in is no better, there is mouldy food and food well on it's way to being mouldy. Rosario has the usual excuse of the produce being her own or being stored for someone or something else. Gordon tells Traci to shut down the service and ask the guests to leave. Gordon tries to talk to Rosario who continues to be in denial about the restaurant.  

The next Gordon sets up a fake trial in a public building and puts all the staff on trial. The crimes are the usual, Rosario is too laid back and lets people walk all over her and Gianfranco has lost his passion in the kitchen. Everyone goes on the defence of their crimes and the trial is over. Gordon isn't finished yet though and brings in locals who have previously dined at Bella Luna. The main complaints are about the poor food and one woman believes she had sour, off cannelloni. After the court room, Gordon brings everyone back to Bella Luna, which has had a makeover over night with new furniture and new tableware. There is a new menu, which has been significantly cut down and is made only with fresh food.

For relaunch evening, Gordon invites the disgruntled customers from the earlier town hall trial. They are impressed with the décor and after some hiccups with the service they are impressed with the food. The relaunch services starts smoothly but Gianfranco struggles with the new ordering system on proper tickets. He tries to send out the most ridiculous lasagne and Gordon catches him doing so. He takes him outside and shouts at him to get it together before chucking the lasagne on the floor. The relaunch was a success overall, despite some hiccups.

What Happened Next?

Bella Luna Ristorante closed 3 and a half months after filming. Rosaria says they did not fail but had a dispute with the landlord and business was up threefold after filming. The landlord however, claims they had not paid the lease in months. After the closure, it emerged that they had been selling alcohol with an expired license. The owners are currently looking for a new premises so watch this space. DeLorenzo's restaurant opened at the address in April/May 2014, reviews so far are good.

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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Zayna Flaming Grill - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Zayna Flaming Grill

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Zayna Grill, a Mediterranean family restaurant on Redondo Beach, California, owned by Fay and her niece Brenda, Fays son Mark also works there alongside Amel and Vanessa. The food is poor and no one gets along. Gordon arrives and decides to meet Fay and Brenda separately to discuss what the real issues are. They both think the other should be fired and no longer be a part of the restaurant. Fay says she has to do everything as Brenda doesn't pull her weight, Brenda thinks that Fay won't give up control so that she can run the restaurant.

Gordon arrives for a lunch service and is entertained by the huge cushions in his booth. Gordon notices the huge typo on the front of the menu as Zayna is described as an "Exquisite Dinning Adventure". Gordon calls over Mark, the waiter for a spelling test and he spells Dining correctly. Gordon orders a dip sampler, fava beans and Kibbi rolls. The sampler features hummus and other Mediterranean dips which are oily and Mark stands across the restaurant staring at him. Amel brings out Gordon's second dish, fava beans with a huge Z on the top in cream. Gordon describes the dish as looking like someone has puked on his plate and the kibbi rolls taste frozen. 
Gordon tests Mark to a reading test of the sign outside, continues to be stared at by Mark and has to ask Amel to go tell him to stop staring. The Zayna combo platter looks the worst out of the dishes, it is dry with no flavour. 

Gordon watches Amel take away his plates and bus them pretty much in the middle of the restaurant. Gordon sits down with the staff to discuss problems in the restaurant. It appears that Fay is alone in the kitchen without any help, although the others say they try to help but that she refuses to take it. She can't let Amel anywhere near the kitchen claiming she is clumsy and prone to injuring herself, a claim that no one else appears to back up. 

Gordon returns in the evening and customers seem excited to try the food, with hummus being a favourite/safe choice for most. Sadly, the hummus disappoints and many are sent back. Gordon takes drastic measures and goes to a nearby grocery store and buys some hummus, which he spoons into the restaurants serving bowls and takes it out to the customers and they love it. Gordon decides it is time to check out the walk-in and freezer. In the freezer Gordon finds months worth of prepared frozen food and old food. Gordon finds frozen meat stored underneath dripping warm water. 

Gordon returns the next day and Fay once again claims she has to do everything as no one will help her. After another argument breaks out Gordon says that the restaurant will be opening for lunch and Fay is going to go home for the day. They will run the restaurant without her and Gordon will supervise. Ramsay then reveals to Fay that she isn't really going home but instead she will be watching from a surveillance van.

Before lunch even begins Marks struggles to work the rice cooker. Brenda holds the fort well and the lunch goes smoothly despite a few dishes being sent back and an argument between Amel and Mark. Fay is brought back in after the service and it is revealed that she was watching and she tells Brenda she was amazing. Gordon's next task is to cook a fresh meal in the kitchen and they show how unfamiliar they are with fresh fish. Gordon goes into town and discovers that no one seems to heard of the restaurant. To rectify this he sets up a prime advertising spot on the pier with free samples and the following day Gordon reveals the new bright interior and gone are Gordon's favourite cushions that attack you whilst you eat.

On relaunch night, things get off to a great start with the staff being positive and communicating effectively. When the orders start coming into the kitchen hard and fast Fay goes back to the old ways and ignores Brenda and Amel, saying nothing whilst manning the grill. Somehow Brenda manages to get through to Fay and she starts communicating again. Overall, despite some hiccups the relaunch was a success.

What Happened Next?

After Gordon's visit. Fay went back to her old ways and as a result Vanessa and Amel left the restaurant, Brenda however was still asserting some level of leadership in the restaurant. Yelp reviews are mostly good after Gordon's left and it appears that many locals are now frequenting the restaurant. The restaurant has a new owner, Ray Younis, who appears to have taken over the restaurant as of around September 2015 and reviews are mostly excellent. 

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Friday, 16 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Mangia Mangia - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Mangia Mangia

Episode Recap

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.

Extra Reading

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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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Kitchen Nightmares - Kati Allo - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Kati Allo

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Kati Allo, a Greek restaurant in Flushing, New York owned by husband and wife Manny and Christine. It isn't long into the episode that we come to learn that their marriage lays in tatters. Gordon arrives and talks to the couple about how they got into the business and Manny explains that he went for a haircut to the barbers next door and decided to buy the restaurant. They explain that their children have all worked in the restaurant at one time or another and now it is just daughter Evelyn who works there, one day a week as a waitress. They are in huge amounts of debt and have sold their house to finance the restaurant, they also reveal that they are divorcing.

Gordon sits down to try the food during lunch service, he orders the pastitisio, gyro platter and a pork dish. He is not impressed with any of the food, the gyro tastes frozen, the sausage is garlicky and greasy, the pastitisio is a bland pile of worms and is boiling in the middle as if it's been microwaved. Disappointed in the meal he has eaten, Gordon sits down with the staff to tell them about his dining experience. Manny doesn't answer Gordon when he asks if the sausage was fried and instead insists that it's an old recipe, he tells them the food was tasteless and greasy. Gordon decides to talk to Evelyn about the problems, she bursts into tears and claims that the restaurant has ruined her family and her parents have been on the brink of divorce for a long time.

Gordon returns in the evening to observe a dinner service and is not impressed when Manny cuts into chicken on the grill to check it is thoroughly cooked, something an amateur cook might do. A dish arrives in the kitchen via a dumbwaiter and Gordon is surprised to find that it is cooked, which means it was cooked elsewhere. He finds out that there is a kitchen downstairs and there is a member of staff down there microwaving dishes! He goes downstairs to find the woman and the microwave. He also finds the walk-in and more food storage. Inside he finds tray after tray of mouldy food and even worse, jars of food that are over 10 years old! He brings the family into the walk-in and digs out a bucket of a white liquid and insists that they all smell it. Manny is shown the disgusting state of the kitchen and tells Gordon that it's not his fault, it is his staff's fault. Evelyn insists that it is his job to check all this but Manny just says that they need to hire better staff. Gordon heads to their home to see if anything can be done to save their marriage and after a brief conversation they decide to commit to both saving the restaurant and saving their marriage. Gordon returns to the restaurant and teaches Manny and Christine a sea bass dish and then asks them to make the dish together. Overnight the restaurant is given a huge makeover with a more Greek feel. The restaurant is given a lick of paint and all of the furniture, tablecloths and crockery are replaced. When the restaurant is revealed, Christine screams like a banshee repeatedly!

For relaunch night, Manny and Evelyn are running the restaurant together. The kitchen falls apart as many loses track of the orders and storms out yelling in Greek. He soon remembers his new commitment to both the restaurant and his marriage and comes back to the restaurant, turning the service around into a success.

What Happened Next?

Reviews were mixed after Gordon's makeover and the filming of the episode and they closed in April 2014. Kalamaki NYC, a Greek restaurant opened in its place in July 2014. Reviews looks good and it appears regulars from Kati Allo have become customers here too. 

Extra Reading

Bayside eatery gets a grilling

Kalamaki NYC Yelp Reviews

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares
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