Sebastian's - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Kitchen Nightmares Sebastian's

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Sebastian's in Toluca Lake, California.

Sebastian's owned by Sebastian Di Modica, a part time actor.

Sebastian is a self taught chef.

He was taught to cook by his mother from a young age.

Sebastian bought the restaurant two years ago.

He has a temper and staff say to expect pans flying.

He also has little patience with staff and has fired 49 people in the last year.

Gordon arrives at Sebastian's.

He thinks that the restaurant is in a prime location.

The restaurant is surrounded by major Hollywood studios.

When he finds the restaurant he thinks the outside decor is a little tacky.

Gordon is greeted at the door by Sebastian, who tells him he greets every customer.

Sebastian introduces his unique restaurant menu "concept" to Gordon.

It is a concept where you can choose different gourmet flavour combinations.

They are losing money each month.

His wife Nichole has invested $300,000 to keep the restaurant open.

Gordon isn't impressed with the photos on the menu.

He orders the "fresh" calamari, a New York strip steak and a pizza from his waitress.

Sonja is also a part time actress.

Sebastian assures Gordon that everything on the menu is fresh.

Sonja tells Gordon that the calamari is frozen and Gordon asks her for a sick bag.

The "Popeye Pizza" is watery as Sebastians pizza base is frozen.

The New York strip steak is cut into pieces and looks like dog food.

Gordon gives Sebastian feed back on the food.

He tells him he hopes he can act because he can't cook.

Gordon grills him about lying about the freshness of the calamari.

He admits that the pizza dough comes in frozen.

Gordon is surprised as he thought that it was their speciality.

Sebastian says it is the menu concept that is what they are famous for.

Sebastian tells Gordon that he hopes one day to sell his pizzas in supermarkets all over the world.

He also wants to turn the restaurant into a franchise.

Gordon arrives to observe a dinner service.

He sees the waitresses struggling to explain the menu concept to the customers.

Sonja explains that a full explanation of the menu can take up to 20 minutes.

Gordon looks in the freezer.

It is packed with frozen foods including frozen pizza dough and frozen burgers.

Even the sauces are bought in, very little if anything is made fresh on site.

Sebastian wants to impress Gordon so sends Lou off to work another station.

He takes over so that he can show Gordon what he can do.

This is a disaster as he serves a salad with his hair in.

Over $300 of food is comped as a result of the microwaved food.

Gordon notices that the wood burning ovens aren't used at all.

Instead, the microwaves are constantly in use.

Gordon tells him that 95% of the food is frozen.

Even the mashed potatoes are bought in.

Sebastian says he doesn't care about the quality of the food.

It is more important to him that he can go and meet customers.

Sebastian is still fixated on opening up a franchise.

The next day, Gordon sits down the staff.

He tells them that the first big change is going to be a new menu.

Sebastian isn't pleased to be losing his concept menu.

Gordon attempts to persuade Sebastian that their speciality should be wood burning oven cooked pizza.

He brings in professional pizza tossers to show the staff how to toss pizzas.

This will be a great spectacle for diners to watch whilst they are waiting for their food.

The staff are also taught the rest of the new menu ready for relaunch night.

Overnight, the restaurant is given a makeover.

A new fresh dough mixer is unveiled.

This leaves Lou-Bertha in tears at the prospect of being able to cook with fresh dough.

For relaunch night, Gordon rolls out a red carpet.

This is in honour of the Academy Awards that are taking place that evening.

Gordon introduces the new menu to the staff.

It is clear that Sebastian isn't happy with the changes.

He says that he sees no uniqueness.

Whilst the kitchen is preparing for the evening service Sebastian is hoovering.

He is ranting and shouting at his staff from the dining room.

As the customers arrive Gordon tells him to step up and take control of the kitchen.

The new simple menu is a hit and flies out of the kitchen to happy customers.

Sebastian decides to revert to the old menu.

The kitchen becomes confused as the two menus conflict.

Gordon is not pleased when he discovers that he has tried to sabotage the evening.

Gordon tells him that he has never met someone he believes in as little as Sebastian.

He thinks he will just go back to his old ways as soon as he leaves.

Sebastian is furious.

He chases after Gordon shouting and screaming at him and getting in his face.

Gordon returns because of how impressed he is with the staff.

Sebastian finally realises that Gordon is right and he needs to change.

He returns to the kitchen and gets to work turning around the service as he doesn't want to fail.

The staff pull together and the food starts leaving the kitchen quickly.

The relaunch is deemed a success.

Lou-Bertha is recognised as the key player in the success due to her infectious enthusiasm.

What Happened Next at Sebastian's?

After Gordon left, the old menu returned.

This was complete with the confusing combination concept.

Sebastian's closed in January 2008.

Sebastian sent the following email to his subscribers,

As of January 20th Sebastian's will be closing the doors. We are moving back to Boston for family reasons.

We are grateful and appreciative of all of you for not only your business support but the lifetime friendships we have made with a lot of you.

For those of you who know Nichole and I this is not an easy thing for us to do because this was our everything, but without family you've got nothing and they need us right now.

Yelp reviews prior to the closure are mixed.

Chef Q is seen in Season 4 of Kitchen Nightmares as the Head Chef at Casa Roma.

He says Sebastian disappeared from the restaurant and it closed.

Sebastian Di Modica is now running a Tree Removal/Landscaping company and a financial/business consulting firm with wife Nichole.

Sebastian had a role in 2013 movie Angels Around Me as a detective.


Sebastian's became Robano's, an Italian/pizza restaurant.

They kept a lot of Gordons decor.

They served pizza using the pizza ovens and the feature is pizza by the slice. The Yelp reviews were mostly 1-3 stars before it closed in 2014.

It later became The Red Door and Yelp reviews are very positive.

Sebastian's aired on November 07 2007, the episode was filmed in February 2007 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 1 episode 6.


  1. I did some research and Sebastian and his wife Nichole now run some financial consulting firm in the New England area. Most likely the bread winner wife made him sell it... The guy Sebastian was also in the movie with the Olson Twins. Lol.

    1. I had read somewhere that Sebastian's wife was VP of Marketing for the Olson Twins' company.

  2. If Sebastian have money problem at the pizza place, how can he run the financial consulting? Don't he know how to do the financial book? I would not go to him on financial consulting.

    1. Hahahaha! It doesn't look like he's learned from his failure.

      Of course, he does have practice in filing bankruptcy paperwork. That's more than he had in the kitchen.

  3. I love the fact that ramsay exposes these filthy restaurants. A question; Why does every restaurant that asks for chef ramsay help think their food is the best, especially if you have no customers?

    1. I really think Sebastian just lived in his own little fantasy world. It's hard to diagnose someone just from a well-edited TV show, but he really struck me as narcissistic--he lied constantly to Gordon and just could NOT deal with the idea that reality did not mesh at all with his self-image. He had immature outbursts constantly, threw incoherent-shrieking drama-queen fits in the earshot of customers, snuck around behind Gordon's back to try to push his "unique concept" on customers again long after it'd been shown to be a total failure, was extraordinarily defensive when challenged, and couldn't concentrate on anything, but instead had this overblown, utterly unwarranted sense of skill and importance. If people didn't like his "unique concept," it was all their fault, not his, and if he just kept pushing it and pushing it, people would eventually learn to like it. It was clear to me that this "unique concept" of "flavor combinations" was the angle he'd decided was his ticket to stardom and riches.

      It was the lying that made me immediately suspect that this guy was not only incompetent but stupid though. He really thought he was so smart he could slide a lie in front of one of the most talented chefs in the business. All I can imagine is that the guy doesn't actually know what good food tastes like, and assumes (like a narcissist would) that if he doesn't, a true professional like Gordon wouldn't either. His poor wife! I hope Lou found a great restaurant though. She deserved it. What a sweet, brave soul she is. The whole staff looked awesome. I'm sorry they had a terrible, dishonest chef abusing them.

  4. I think Sebastian should get together with Dave from Black Pearl and Peter from Peter's and start a business specializing in roids, fake tans, lobsters, and chinstraps.

  5. I think that "Tree removal company" means that he started working in the forest cutting trees.

    1. But if no one is there to hear it, did it actually happen?
      Maybe he uses his incessant self-praise to submit the tree into falling, sans-serif equipment.
      There's a concept.

    2. Sans-equipment, that sans-serif drove me nuts. Sans-serif, in my experience, is pertaining to fonts without serifs, sans means without. So without equipment would be sans-equipment not sans-serif equipment

  6. What scares me the most is that these people are TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS to their stupidity... and they talk like they're EATING stuff like that! How do they even survive on something scraped off the floor?

  7. I wonder what happened to Lou-Bertha and the rest of the staff. Lou was definitely my favorite of them. I hope she did well in another restaurant!

    1. Q ended up head chef at Casa Roma, another of Gordon's kitchen nightmares. He's shown in one of the Revisited shows.

    2. I know that when I watch Kitchen Nightmares, there are some really good, well-meaning chefs, cooks, and wait staff that I hope have finally landed in good, well-run restaurants somewhere. They are the ones who I really feel sorry for. I hope that Lou-Bertha found a good job somewhere. It looks like she really cared and had some real talent for pizza.

  8. I just watched Gordon Ramsey's kitchen nightmares and was appalled by the inadaptable Chef Sebastian. I only hope now, that the new owners of Robano's adopted most of the original staff featured in that episode. I liked the staff - I only disliked that terrible chef!

  9. I've been trying to track down what happened to Lou, but I can't find her. I hope she ended up somewhere good.

    1. Her and Q were holding that whole thing together. I wish it had succeeded for them alone. That owner though had to go. I think a new owner would have been able to save that train wreck. I can't think of many chefs that would be able to handle that menu (even if it is all frozen)

  10. This episode really made me think maybe Ramsay should employ a psychologist to help him with some owners. Maybe a whole team of them.

    1. There's already got to be at least one psychologist on the team, since I've seen a number of techniques that help people, including in later episodes where they push the people to break before the final night, that way the new decor is less of a shock and more of an invited change that will help them not revert back to their old way of thinking. When he interviews with them in the middle of some episodes, I can tell the questions are pointed because a psychologist knows something Ramsey doesn't see just yet. The screaming off a cliff, the punching in a gym, that's not just for show but actual psychological techniques to get to men's issues, since it's harder to get them to open up.

    2. I'm reasonably sure it's Gordon's own therapist who's on hand to assist with all that.

  11. I just wached the episode on TV I knew Sebastian was not going to make it. He was in his own way.

  12. This guy is a mental case. How his old lady stays with him is beyond me. I sure want him raising my kids!

  13. Watching the episode again right now, and the guy is so insane. I think in the end, the only reason he went with it, is because he saw it as a role to play. A way to break out and get famous.

    1. Totally agreed, it was all a role to play

  14. Sebastion seemed mentally ill. He was divorced from reality. Sometimes these shows are depressing. Lou seems like a fun person-I hope she's getting success in life. Ramsey should have hired her, lol.

  15. Holy crap Sebastian is a psychopath. Watching this episode now omg just wow. Who called Ramsay to help them out then? They never mention on the show who made the call to get the restaurant on the show. Maybe the producers sought out failing restaurants on their own? or ?

    1. Go back to the very beginning and there is mention that his wife had called Ramsey in because she had just invested another $300,000 to keep the business afloat.

    2. I had heard that Sebastian had auditioned for Hell's Kitchen and not made the cut, but he was such an interesting character that they decided he would make for good TV on Kitchen Nightmares.

  16. Chef < Trying to be famous

  17. I wonder if he went back to his original menu and concept not because he wanted to push his menu and vision but because he wanted to get his old frozen crap out and sold to the crowd he had that day because he couldn't guarantee ever getting those seats filled like that without a celebrity chef there. He said he didn't like the menu change and fresh dough because he still had inventory he hadn't moved, because it would cost, meaning the cost of buying new ingredients and throwing out the old. His cook even ask him, the new recipe or the old, for a simple dish, not a pick and choose dish, and Sebastien said, the frozen. He wanted to get that stock out before he lost the crowd of people shelling out money for food. That's all he saw them as, people with money that was guaranteed to go into the register, not people who wouldn't pay if not pleased.

  18. There are chefs there are cooks then there are reheaters. He should take chef off his jacket and put reheater on it.

  19. Only owner to give amy and sammy of amys baking company a run for there money

    1. I do agree that Sebastian as an owner/chef is up there with the most unbelievable owners and or chefs; however I would have say the Chappy beats out Sebastian to 2nd place behind Amy's Baking Company. I would put Sebastian at 3rd.

  20. I watched this episode for the first time last night. I ended up having a nightmare about it. I had to google to see what had happened to the place. Sadly it was EXACTLY like my nightmare.

  21. It was his own fault he failed. He should have stuck to the fresh menu, not the concept frozen crap he went back to. He would have been a success. Gordon Ramsay knows what he is doing.

  22. If only he'd stayed with the simplified Ramsey menu! But of course he never would have because he is completely insane. If this were me I'd have just gone with the flow and enjoyed the whole experience and embraced the change looking forward to the £££ or $$$ ching! In the register. This restaurant is a great size too with so much potential it was given a fresh new look. Sebastian deserves to be a failure.

  23. It seemed to me that he was thinking that a franchise was the answer and was expecting Gordon to help him launch it. That's why he was so upset about the menu change.
    Sad to watch someone behave like that and pass over opportunity. He owed it to his wife and employees to succeed.

  24. I dont see how brick oven pizza, and a few fresh heroes and other italian dishes can fail.

  25. I don't mean to defend Sebastian's behavior, because as many have already said, he wasted an opportunity and wouldn't let go of the stupid complicated menu.

    However, part of me feels bad for him, even though he made foolish decisions. He had his whole life, all his hopes and dreams - who he could become, tied up in that restaurant. He was grasping at something more than "just" being a successful pizza place, he probably wanted to be a success himself, for who he was.

    He needed feet to stand on, in order to stick to change, but that restaurant was all he had, and he wanted so desperately for it to work.

    1. youve got to be kidding. he had a successful wife that made a lot of money backing his every move, he treated his staff poorly, didn't give a rip about his customers and his claim to fame was his insane menu that took 20 min to explain. He was a ego driven hot head that thought he was cute. Ramsey set him up, staff was rocking it, and his wife was paying for it and he rejected all of it because it was not his ideas. Sorry if I don't stop your violin playing.

    2. Well, serving frozen food that you can eat at home as opposed to fresh food and having delusions of grandeur is certainly not the way to do it. People need to learn to take and accept criticism from their own mistakes.

  26. When I see Gordon exposing all this restaurant fraud, it makes me think twice about dining at expensive eateries. The mark up is huge, 4o $ for a ribeye? I can buy one for 10 and grill it up in 10 minutes.

  27. I just found a station that airs
    Kitchen Nightmares reruns.
    Imagine my total shock when I discovered that Sebastian is actually one of my neighbors. And yes he does own a tree removal and Landscaping Company north of Boston.
    He and his wife are very nice people and until I watched that episode, I had no idea that
    he ever owned a restaurant in California. The Sebastian I know does not act anything like the man I saw on the TV show. Of course that show aired in 2008 I believe, and many years have passed. And people change.

  28. I actually loved Chef Lou-Bertha and Chef Q. They were honestly the glue that held that restaurant together. Wanted this one to succeed simply for them. But Sebastian simply need a reality check that he completely rejected.


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