Friday, 9 June 2017

Kitchen Nightmares - Mama Rita's - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Mama Rita's

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mama Rita's, Newbury Park, CA, a Mexican restaurant named after owner Laura's Grandma. She was successful in the catering business so thought she could succeed in running a restaurant. The restaurant was busy at first but the customers have dwindled. Laura is in $2.2million debt and at risk of losing her house. Gordon arrives and says the restaurant is stunning. He orders the tamales, chimichanga and a burrito. The tamales are compared to soaking wet newspaper but dry, the chimichanga is microwaved then fried and the chicken is dry and the steak burrito is compared to eating wet cardboard. 

Gordon enters the kitchen to meet the staff and they reveal that it is the same food as they use for the catering service and they cook food in big batches and steam them to reheat. Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service, the food goes out fast to the customers but they are not happy with the food they receive. Gordon suspects they are taking short cuts, he looks in a freezer and pulls out a lot of frozen food. He describes the kitchen as a factory processing plant that defrosts and serves. Gordon empties the fridges and freezers and puts all the food on display in the restaurant, the amount is huge and some of the food is dated as far back as last year! 

Gordon invites ex customers to talk to Laura about the restaurant, they say the food isn't creative and some got sick with stomach problems. Gordon challenges Laura and Perla to each cook a new dish for the menu with fresh ingredients. Perla struggles but comes up with "garlic breast", which is bland and lacks creativity. Especially when compared to Gordon's steak and Laura's blackened shrimp tacos. For the evening service, the specials are popular but the kitchen struggles to cook fresh fish and Perla struggles to run the kitchen. Gordon invites Chef Naris Mardirosian as a consultant to help the kitchen and the menu is revamped with fresh ingredients. The staff taste the food and love it.

For relaunch night, Naris is overseeing but Perla is not working with Naris and is struggling. The cooks stand there doing nothing while the customers face a long wait for food. Food is sent back with burnt chips, missing beans and cheese, more raw steak. Even Chef Naris struggles with the chaos of the kitchen caused by Perla, there are tears from both Chefs. Gordon makes it clear to Laura that Perla is not capable of running the kitchen and Laura should consider getting rid of her. Laura and Perla have a heart to heart conversation but Laura refuses to remove Perla. Naris is forced to step up and the service finishes well with her help and the customers love the food. 

What Happened Next? 

After Gordon left Naris stayed for a few weeks to help get the restaurant off the ground, Perla was removed as Head Chef and continued working in the catering side. Laura reverted back to her old menu abandoning Gordon's menu and Yelp reviews were mixed after filming. 

Mama Rita's closed in December 2010 but the catering business was still in business for a number of years. Laura is now running a restaurant called Mission Oaks Cafe in Camarillo, CA and Yelp reviews are average.

Mama Rita's aired on March 19 2010, the episode was filmed in May 2009 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 3 episode 8.


  1. She went back to her old menu and kept that incompetent chef? Then the restaurant deserved to close. Can't help people who refuse to be helped.

  2. The "Head Chef" was just a catering chef and it showed.

  3. They deserve to go out of business selling old food .They should make amends by offering the food for free or at cost since they had so many disatisified customers.

  4. That's too bad, owner seemed really nice. But no one goes to a restaurant hoping for microwaved food.

  5. Grandma Rita must be so happy that her name is no longer on that restaurant.

  6. You'd have to be mad or desperate to hire that lot for your catering. Useless, hopeless lot.

  7. What happened with the manager? She was hammered by Gordon because of not knowing why guests didn't come back. Then she moved quietly to the background. What a joke!

  8. That was not Mexican Food, that was Tex-Mex food. To be honest, a cultural trait that is notorious in latinamerican people is the strong friendship bonds. It is a double edge sword.


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