Mojito - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Kitchen Nightmares Mojito

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Mojito in Brooklyn, New York.

Mojito Cuban Cuisine is owned by former husband and wife Marcelo Arias and Maria Katalina Velez aka Katalina.

They initially lived in the apartment above the restaurant before their separation.

Katalina says they share responsibilities but Marcelo says that he does everything.

Katalina doesn’t respect Marcelo and Marcelo can’t stand her being in the restaurant.

They constantly fight in front of both staff and customers on a regular basis.

After their separation Marcelo moved out but they still run the restaurant together.

They are now in $300,000 debt and on the brink of losing the restaurant.

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and meets Katalina and gets to find out about their personal situation.

Despite the tense situation he decides to focus on the food first.

He likens the interior decor to that of a garage sale with clutter all over the place.

He orders chicken soup and it comes fast but it is cold and he has it returned to be warmed.

Marcelo checks the soup pot and says that it is hot, blaming the service for the issue.

Katalina apologies but is made to taste the second meal, the black beans and rice and it is salty.

She apologies for the overly seasoned dish as well and takes it back to the kitchen.

She gets into a shouting match almost instantly with Marcelo about the dish and Gordon can hear them in the restaurant.

The Tilapia meal comes and the fish is raw so Gordon doesn’t even taste the dish.

Gordon comes into the kitchen to meet the kitchen staff and he tells them the food is horrible and he heard their raised voices after he returned the tilapia.

Eduardo, the cook, tells him the shouting is normal for the kitchen and happens all the time.

Marcelo claims Katalina pushes him and makes the workplace unbearable.

Gordon walks around the restaurant and notices the blue bottles on the front windows, blocking out natural light.

Marcello says it is toilet water they used to make the blue liquid for the display.

During dinner service, Marcello has no control of the kitchen and food moves out slowly but meals keep getting sent back to the kitchen.

The bickering from the owners starts again and customers can hear their arguing.

Gordon checks the fridge and sees an outrageous amount of fresh produce, with fresh in front and older produce at the back.

After the dinner service, Gordon meets with the staff to discuss what he observed.

He brings out tubs of produce from their fridge and shows them the pre-cooked chicken, revealing there’s enough food for 5000 customers in storage.

Gordon speaks with the owners separately.

He finds out 7 years prior, they were happy till they decided to try for a baby. The efforts failed and Katalina had an affair.

They were unhappy and separated for some time before eventually getting divorced.

They both agree they need to move on from their marriage but they both don’t want to lose the business.

Gordon creates a challenge for them to work together making a Cuban dish.

They immediately start cooking two different dishes rather than working together.

Gordon asks them to do it together but they don’t and continue with individual dishes.

Katalina makes a great shrimp dish but Marcelo makes a mediocre chicken dish.

Gordon works with Eduardo on some new menu dishes while Katalina asks Marcelo to switch roles for the dinner service.

That night the specials are Gordon’s chicken dish and Katalina’s shrimp dish.

Gordon is happy that Katalina and Marcelo finally agreed on something together.

Katalina starts well and customers are enjoying the specials but hate the regular menu.

Customers complain of strange tastes to the dishes and send food back to the kitchen.

Katalina begins to struggle in the kitchen, she gets confused with the rising orders and lost tickets.

Gordon finds a spike for the tickets and order is restored for a strong finish by Katalina while Marcelo shines in front of the house.

Gordon insists on Katalina and Marcelo getting on the same page.

The next day the new Mojito is revealed, the decor is more open with a lot more natural light after the bottles are removed.

The menus have been cut in half for speed and ease of service and they will be making better use of fresh ingredients and serving smaller portions.

The dishes are new and exciting and with the changes both the owners and staff are hopeful.

For relaunch night, Marcelo and Katalina decide to work the front of the house together leaving Eduardo alone in the kitchen.

Gordon informs them he has a special guest coming in that night.

Eduardo is quiet, food is coming out slowly, food orders are mixed up and sent back to the kitchen.

During this, the Brooklyn Borough President comes in.

Gordon has to talk to Eduardo privately to get him to start directing in the kitchen.

Marcelo returns to the kitchen to help to call out orders and works well with Katalina.

The Borough President and his companions loved all the food they are service.

The relaunch night is a success and the owners are happy their restaurant has a future.

What Happened Next at Mojito?

Thanks to the smaller menu Mojito buys less produce and have implemented a new promotion at the flea market to get new customers.

Katalina and Marcelo are also fighting less.

Gordon revisits in a Kitchen Nightmares Revisited episode and the restaurant is doing well.

Business had increased by 30%, both owners are more relaxed and the fighting between the pair has stopped.

Marcelo and Kata did give the relationship another go but the feelings had changed and it did not work out.

Yelp reviews for the restaurant were very mixed after Gordon's visit, with a solid mix of 1 star and 5 star reviews.

Trip Advisor reviews are also very mixed.

Mojito closed in March 2016, posting the below onto on Facebook -

"In behalf of our entire staff. We want to thank all our Patrons for 13 years of support and loyalty, Mojito Cuban Cuisine . Brooklyn location is Closed Stand by for our next Chapter. All the love #chefmkv"

Mojito aired on February 25 2010, the episode was filmed in May 2009 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 3 episode 4.

This post was last updated in March 2023.


  1. She was also on a recent episode of "Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell" (she was either the first or second chef eliminated)... which, I guess, means she and Marcelo went their separate ways (if Mojito IS indeed still open). : ?

  2. Last time I passed mojito it was still open. However after seeing my favorite Chef Ramsay make an appearance and give the rest. A makeover, i went to the rest with my friend (we live in the area) to show off to my friend about Chef Ramsays work, we walked in and there was one table having dinner and I could not believe no one turned around to greet us. One server was on his phone the others were gathered around chit chatting. We stood there for a few minutes and I showed my friend what had been changed, I basically gave my friend a one noticed. I decided to ask for a menu and without loking at us one server turned around and pointed to the front desk and said "they are over there". IT WAS THE MENU FOR TAKE OUT!!!!!!! We left and I browsed through the menu...although I did not eat the food their prices are ridiculous. I know I'm latina and as a foodie know, cuban food is not that expensive, looking at their location rent should not be a problem. Do not think I will go back.

  3. The episode of chopped that she was on was Season 12, Episode 15 if anyone is curious.

  4. Katalina ALSO recently appeared on a THIRD Food Network show, "Cutthroat Kitchen"... and, lo and behold, this time she WON. : O

    1. She only won because the other chefs kept messing up and/or sabotaging each other instead of her. I think she made it through the entire ep with only 2 sabotages.

      She most definitely did NOT win based on her abilities. She's obviously a "tv whore", doing anything to get her face on any channel. I've seen her somewhere besides Food Network, too. I just can't recall where. I hate when networks give these ppl the unnecessary attention that's so undeserved.

      If Mojito's is still open, let's all hope that Marcelo is the chef. I definitely wouldn't pay to eat anything she made, not on Chopped, Chef Wanted, nor Cutthroat.

  5. As everyone said... Yes, she was on the episode of chopped... but it mentioned that she's a chef at Mojito... so, I guess they're still together?

    1. no, they're split.
      They work together but only as business partners not as a couple.
      They told that at the revisited-episode.

      A big, big thank you to the blog-owner for all the work & energy you put into this for us KN insanes!


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