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Kitchen Nightmares - Lela's - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Lelas

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Lela's in downtown Pomona, California.

Lela's is owned by Lela Guillen and is only 8 months old but is struggling to stay open. Lela has invested her savings and cashed in her retirement to fund the restaurant.

Gordon arrives and compares the area to a ghost town and the restaurant is empty too. Gordon is impressed with how clean the restaurant is.

Gordon meets Tabitha and notices the spelling mistakes on the menu. Many of the items Gordon wants to offer are unavailable and Tabitha isn't happy to tell Gordon items are not available.

He orders tomato and basil soup, nachos and rack of lamb with a mint chocolate sauce. The fresh soup tastes canned, the nachos taste old and the lamb has no meat on the rack.

Gordon asks Tabitha if anything on the menu is fresh and is told that it is all frozen. Gordon orders a brownie and a huge argument breaks out between Tabitha and Ricky as there are no brownies left.

Gordon arrives the next day and decides to inspect the kitchen. The walk-in isn't cold and as a result everything is going bad and he makes the staff deep clean the dining room and kitchen.

Whilst they are cleaning, Gordon goes into town and finds a lot of young hip people who like to eat good food but who can't afford fine dining.

Gordon arrives to observe a dinner service, busier than usual due to a theatre performance nearby and it is a disaster.

The kitchen runs out of many of the dishes on the menu and they serve the customers powdered mash potato.

Buzzard decides to leave early without permission and Gordon catches up with him and asks him to return. He returns and his bag full of food and wine is revealed to Lela.

The next morning, Buzzard returns to the restaurant and Gordon confronts him about the goody bag, Lela has no option other than to fire him.

Gordon sets up a taste test to see what the Chefs know about food. Ricky struggles to tell the difference between chicken, pork and beef, whereas assistant Lex gets them all correct.

In light of this Gordon suggests they switch places for the service, Ricky is annoyed but agrees. Gordon sends Lela off for a pampering day whilst the team gets to work.

The new menu is revealed and the waitresses sample the next dishes, he adds that a good burger is needed and reveals Lelas Famous Burger as a special.

Gordon sends them out onto the street with a catering truck full of burgers to promote them to the locals. The locals are thrilled with the burgers.

Whilst they are out, the makeover team are in and redesign the restaurant. Both Lela and the restaurants new look are revealed and the staff are over the moon, Tabitha bursts into tears.

For relaunch night, Gordon asks Tabitha to manage the restaurant and Lex to be the head chef with Rickys support. Gordon has invited a load of locals and the place is packed, the mayor also arrives.

The waitresses do an excellent job at the front of house but Lex struggles in the kitchen and has a meltdown.

The food comes out erratically and some tables are missing dishes, people start complaining so the waitresses panic and grab whatever food they see.

Lex walks out and Lela follows him to shout at him, Lex drives off and Ricky takes over.

With Ricky back in control the food starts to go out and everyone is impressed with the food including the mayor. Lex returns but as Ricky's assistant.

Gordon congratulates Ricky and admits that he proved Gordon wrong.

What Happened Next at Lela's?

At the end of the episode we hear that both Ricky and Tabitha excelled in their roles but Lela's closed as Lela's debts were too high.

Yelp reviews were mostly negative.

In it's place now is Aladdin Jr Restaurant & Cafe, an Arab restaurant with good reviews.

After Lela's Ricky went on to become Executive Chef at The Corner Butcher Shop in La Verne. He later worked for Silver Spoon Catering and is currently working at Hollywood Park Casino.

Lela's aired on November 21 2007, the episode was filmed in February 2007 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 1 episode 8.

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Finn McCool's

Next episode - Campania

This post was last updated in September 2019.

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  1. The owner should have listened to Tabitha who nailed it all along. Yeah, she sounded "rough" but was right to do so since we're talking about crooks in the kitchen. I wish Tabitha the best and hope she gets a new job where she can be respected. Just sad.

  2. debts too high and not enough money coming in? sound like the government.

    1. Government can print its own money, unlike a restaurant.

    2. Goddamn! Print its own money? What are you, twelve?

    3. To the guy above me, you're the one who should be questioned of age. The government can print more money or destroy money currently in circulation based on how well the economy is going. While it may seem weird why they don't just print money all the time, that's how the value of a country's currency drop. They print more money to compromise for the missing money but the missing money is still considered as part of the economy's money but is in negative value.

  3. A few observations from this ep:

    - Lela seemed to be the same kind of on-the-ball, take-charge restaurant owner with a great sense for what makes a successful business just like Sue, the owner of Bonaparte's [sarcasm intended].

    - Buzzard was a parasite, but Gordon's chasing him down in the street and dragging him back over food that people didn't eat was a new low point for him and his show, and as you can imagine, that's up against some pretty stiff competition (from all of the other low points this show manages).

    - I would have given that Tabitha about 5 days to STOP her constant shouting, and if she couldn't rein it in, then I'd can her. Yes, other people yelled, but she seemed to be the main instigator/offender.

    1. "Buzzard was a parasite, but Gordon's chasing him down in the street and dragging him back over food that people didn't eat was a new low point for him and his show"

      Don't forget the bottles of wine which he didn't pay for.

    2. Tabitha might not have been the nicest person, but she nailed what was wrong with the place and was honest with Ramsay. The others didn't seem to care about Lela at all. Also, he did the right thing chasing that thief. "Food that people didn't eat" yeah like those brownies Ramsay ordered or those bottles of wine? You sir, have no idea what you're talking about. As we say in my country, you missed a great opportunity to be quiet.

  4. Watching the rerun of this episode on FYI (formerly Bio) and I noticed that the postscript indicating that Lela's had closed has now been edited out of the episode.

  5. If Buzzard would steal half bottles & returns, he would steal full bottles & whole sides. Once you allow any theft in your business you are doomed & all will think it's o.k.

  6. So far as I could tell from watching the episode, Lela had virtually no involvement in anything having to do with running the restaurant. When Gordon sent her off to the spa' I was like, "Why? What exactly does she need a respite from? Her own complete apathy and neglect?" Gordon had to practically corner her into firing someone who was STEALING from her, for Christ's sake!

    One of the worst owners ever on KN. She more than deserved to fail.

  7. I hope Buzzard is in jail where he belongs.

  8. Watching this episode on Hulu. That Ricky guy, the "executive chef" needs to go work in a McDonald's kitchen. I would have fired him as soon as he started with that attitude. The owner was weak and irritating. Tabitha's frustration had merit.

    1. Yea but he's got "diamonds on his fish". He's going places, he could work at Wendy's or Carl's Jr., I think a Chic-fil-a would be a reach school for Ricky but he should at least apply. Yea...going places.

    2. have you watched the complete episode, where he took over after Lex left and pretty much saved the day and got big compliments from Gordon?

  9. The owner Leyla was a sweet lady. I just think starting a restaurant was a mistake for her; either because of poor planning or no clue as to how owning and running a restaurant is supposed to go. And I believe she was Sincerly hoping it would all workout for the best. I don't blame her alone. It was a failur for many reasons. Kudos and a high five to The chef Ricky for stepping up and pulling every thing together at the end .

  10. Just watched reruns.
    I think there are five characters that needed to be addressed: Leyla, Tabitha, Ricky, Lex, and Buzzard
    Leyla finally understook the cutthroat business. I think she knew but she just couldn't stand up for it to make the changes. We all know changes are scary.
    Tabitha has strong observant point but has a cruel mouth which is kinda upsetting. I think she can be better but just gotta fix that loudness and choice of words. Overall, I think she will do well as a manager in other restaurants.

    Ricky is a man who lost sight and lost his flames. I just think he can control the flow but can't handle the appreciation for the food while the surrounding is blaming him. After that re-ignition by Gordon, I think he understood what cooking means.

    Lex is too young to be sou chef or head chef. I say that because he cannot handle the responsibility that comes with the title. It's not his age that makes him unable to achieve title but it's his experience. He has great sense of palate and I think he should continue pusing further. But he need's proper guidance from a good well mannered head chef. He needs to learn how to take control of the flow which experience and time can only give.

    Lastly, Buzzard. Buzzard is plain ol thief. This is nothing to do with race or sex. This is simply a man who just took what he wants and walk out through backdoor. It's bad enough him eating inside a kitchen while working or even on breaks (eating what he wants should not be a given but a privilege, especially a fine dining restaurant. Taking wines are extremely rude, wines are expensive and taking one is enough but three. I'm sure this is not the first time despite what anyone says. I honestly believe what Ramsay did was not enough, Buzzards needs to be charged for the amount he has taken over the years or receive jail time. This is just going into a wine store and taking three wines without pay. It's that simple of a crime.

    Note: that other guy eating in there was also very slobbish and unethical. At least usin a fork would be great and eating during breaks, not while the restaurant is packed with guests.

    Overall: I don't know how it can go this bad. There could have been numerous stopping point such as firing buzzard before all these inappropriate actions or making changes by firing one of the two: Ricky or Tabitha (unfortunately). Or even before that, hiring all these amateurs or kids. There was not a single one who was well behaved and shown respect to the kitchen, enough to not leave the post. Ricky is the only one that has made a great change. Leyla had many times to do all these but didn't or in her case, couldnt. That is my conclusion for her incredible debts and downfall. Very unfortunate. Hiring a strong professional leader Head chef could make this place whole lot better. Ricky who can manage flow. Lex who can learn. Tabitha who would coMcLain to Head chef that understands the business. (Tabitha is only was on point about what was going on, no food in a restaurant (same thing as no money in a bank, no teachers or students in a school)

    1. Buzzard probably started stealing once he figured out what he could get away with. And everyone in that kitchen knew what he was doing so they are equally as guilty. And he probably wasn't the only one stealing. When a kitchen is busy there can be a lot of confusion and it's easy to grab what you want.

      And if you're yelling/swearing in the back of house everyone in the front of house can hear it.

  11. Everyone who worked as a waiter will totally get Tabitha's frustration. When the kitchen is a mess like this and you have to apologize to the customers over and over and over and over... this really drives you crazy. Honestly, that could have been me.

  12. To me Leyla seems unsettlingly off. Look at her expressions when shit goes down or when she "finds out" Buzzard has been thieving. Why are you smiling you freaky woman?!?! She has employed people designed to run a business into the ground while dragging her sister down with her. All while this coy aloof smile with no care cause she knows shes just going to flip the place while Gordon focuses on the rag tag green staff. Just ugh shes creepy.

  13. I definitely agree Lela is very creepy, she seems kind of like how Verinda was for the Brick Hotel, benignly smiling while the customers are outraged and the restaurant is burning down all around her. Its like her saying 'I didn't even know he used mashed potato' like, how can you not know, its your business. But then again if she lets thief's rule the roost.. what can we expect.

  14. After this restaurant closed down, I feel sorry for Tabitha the most. Honestly, she even said she can't leave the owner, because the owner is clearly too helpless to manage the restaurant.


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