Kitchen Nightmares - Anna Vincenzo's - CLOSED

Anna Vincenzo's Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Anna Vincenzo's in Boca Raton, Florida.

Anna Vincenzo's is owned by CeCe, who opened the restaurant in 2001 with the help of her father, a former pizzeria owner.

Boca Raton is a wealthy community filled with stately homes, luxurious golf courses and miles of beautiful beaches.

Her father, Angelo, lent her over $300,000 that he had earned being successful in the restaurant business.

He had been in the business before CeCe was born and she was raised in the kitchen.

Now, she is raising her own family along with her husband and facing the demands of being a restaurant owner.

CeCe is a self-taught cook who doesn’t think there are any rules in cooking.

Her menu is based on serving whatever she likes and wants to cook.

After opening the restaurant, business was bursting and making money.

The restaurant began to decline and it has got so bad and overwhelming that she is losing interest in the business.

The head server states that CeCe is the biggest problem the restaurant has as she doesn’t really care about what is going out of the kitchen.

She often has mood swings, from crying hysterically to screaming at everyone and threatening to close the restaurant.

CeCe is on the edge of bankruptcy and about to lose her house, with debts of over $190,000 owed to her father.

Gordon arrives and is impressed with the decor of the restaurant.

He is greeted by CeCe and meets her father and head server Michael, who is also her husband and Gordon jokes that he looks like a hitman.

Gordon meets waitress Ashton and orders for one of everything on the kitchen’s menu even before seeing it.

CeCe asks Ashton tell Gordon if he is certain he wants everything and hopes he hasn’t eaten in a week.

Ashton clarifies that the menu is massive and they would struggle to cook it all.

Gordon goes into the kitchen to tell CeCe that it is too much for her to cook and that he was joking.

From the huge menu, he orders the salmon divino salad, snapper Anna and a pizza.

The salmon is dry and overcooked. They say that the salmon is fresh but in reality it is frozen.

Gordon comments that it tastes like cardboard and the Snapper Anna looks like a dog’s dinner and tastes of mush.

He calls Michael to taste it and the latter says that it is soggy and should have been baked for longer but CeCe refuses to taste it.

CeCe tells Ashton to tell Gordon that there are people starving and they won’t serve him anything else if he keeps wasting her food.

He tells Ashton to report back to CeCe that she should voice out her complaints herself when she is done in the kitchen.

CeCe and her dad were both furious at Gordon’s comments in response.

The Favorito Del Nonna is soggy in the middle and crispy on the outside and generally bland.

CeCe says that she wants to rip Gordon’s head off and that he is British so he knows nothing about pizza.

After the disappointing lunch, Gordon gives CeCe his feedback on the dishes but she gets defensive about the food.

She says it was all okay so Gordon asks Michael to tell CeCe his opinion about the snapper but Michael says that it was tender.

CeCe reacts badly to Gordon's criticism of her food.

They both argue and CeCe keeps shouting at Gordon furiously causing him to leave the restaurant.

Gordon returns to observe CeCe and her staff in action during a dinner service.

He begins by inspecting the kitchen where he finds frozen gnocchi and a tray of overcooked meatballs.

The food goes out quickly and is sent back just as fast as her customers were unhappy with what they received.

One customer receives a tasteless veal dish and another complaints of chunky, cold calamari.

The criticism pushes CeCe over the edge.

CeCe continues to be defensive of the food, refuses to recook dishes and out of frustration.

She eventually walks out the kitchen, telling the staff to send the customers home.

Michael steps in and attempts to get food out but many fed up customers leave the restaurant without ever receiving any food.

CeCe breaks down into tears outside and admits that she is scared of failure.

Gordon tells her that he can’t help her unless she comes to term with the food being the reason the restaurant is failing.

The next day, Gordon comes in early to meet the chefs and asks them to cook the entire 181 dish menu.

He reveals all the dishes to CeCe and the rest of the staff, which was overwhelming for them to see.

Gordon says that the menu is too big and this has a huge impact on the kitchen.

Next, he asks the servers to put stickers on the items that are fresh or frozen and 80% of the dishes on the menu are frozen.

For the next dinner service, chef Ramsay introduces a special that is not only fresh and delicious.

It will position the restaurant as the ideal place to get value and quality for a family dinner.

Gordon works with CeCe to reduce the menu and introduces a family style lasagna special and a new soup.

Gordon believes CeCe is now willing to take his advice and move forward.

He and his team work together to pull off a big surprise for CeCe and her staff.

The restaurant has a makeover with all new tableware, a caricature of CeCe and a new family style menu.

CeCe was so happy that she hugged Gordon and is in tears.

CeCe’s dad was also grateful for Gordon’s help and says that he’ll never forget it.

Gordon reveals the new menu, which was half the size of the previous one so they can keep the costs down and serve fresh food.

Gordon brings in a restaurant consultant, Daniel, for a month and reveals his marketing plan of a pizza making contest in front of the restaurant.

Local sportsmen and radio stations are invited to the pizza-making contest between the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Heat and the Florida Panthers.

The Miami Dolphins are declared the winner of the contest.

After the event, consultant chef, Daniel, works with CeCe to prepare the new menu.

Gordon introduces the dishes to the staff to taste them and get to know the new menu.

On relaunch night, the service starts with the food going out quickly and enjoyed by the customers.

The family special sells out very quickly but CeCe abandons the quality control, attempting to send out poor quality food and a burnt pork chop.

Gordon steps in and stops the dishes reaching the customers, CeCe reluctantly recooks the dishes.

The customers complimented the dishes and the relaunch ends in a success.



What Happened Next at Anna Vincenzo's?

After the episode, CeCe continued to follow his advice.

She kept the smaller menu and buys fresh ingredients and was hopeful for the future.

Gordon revisits in a revisited episode and Anna Vincenzo's is closed.

Gordon talks to server Ashton who reports that she went back to her old ways.

Cece raised the prices and made the portions smaller.

Gordon visits CeCe at home and she says it was time to sell Anna Vincezo's to focus on her family.

Gordon comments on how different she looks and Cece shows off her weight loss, that she puts down to stress.

Anna Vincenzo's closed in April 2010.

She sold the restaurant so that she could spend more time with her children.

Cece and Michael had separated and were living separately.

The few Yelp reviews after the filming are mostly positive.

In Anna Vincenzo's place Nino's of Boca II has opened, the East Side restaurant of Ninas on the West Side and Yelp reviews are average.

Anna Vincenzo's aired on March 26 2010, the episode was filmed in July 2009 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 3 episode 9.


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This post was last updated in April 2021.

25 comments:

  1. It closed. It was a terrible restaurant and the food was the worst I ever had.

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  2. Stopped by after show first aired. She had already gone back to old ways. Best thing to happen to Boca ever was her failure.

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  3. Before anyone passes any further judgement, these points need to be made...

    Have worked in television production for some time. First and foremost, these shows are EDITED down to only show scenes that will make people watch. Second, the shows producers/director tell the restaurant owners to "push the envelope", meaning start up something with Ramsay. If every owner was going to just go along with whatever Ramsay said, it wouldn't get a rating point.

    In the case of Anna Vincenzo's, was told by someone who's "in the know" the restaurant owner (CeCe?) was given 1 time slot when they were filming which was less than 2 months from her giving birth. The restaurant was struggling and the owner decided to allow filming to try to bring some attention in the hopes that business would improve.

    What was shown was a typical quasi reality program the only difference being there were no actors but plenty of direction from the shows staff. Some of the scenes are actually shot over multiple takes to get the desired result.

    Shouldn't take it seriously...

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    1. I'm with these guys. I hate the gimmicks and TV-fakery, but the fact is that she was doing a lot of stuff wrong, Ramsay told her to change that stuff, and she was too lazy to do it.

      It's not hard to judge plain facts. Of course you can't get local produce in Jersey in February. Of course some of the shouting and tantrums on the show were encouraged for ratings. I'd like to think not, but I accept it's pretty doubtless.

      But this stuff is irrelevant to clearly shown and admittedly poor business practices. This stuff is irrelevant to the good advice Ramsay, an extremely successful man, offers them. And this stuff is irrelevant to people lazily ignoring his advice and failing.

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    2. Two months after giving birth? That kid is at least 10 months old. I suspect the "in the know" source was CeCe making excuses

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    3. Alternatively, she could be 7 months pregnant with her 2nd at the time of filming? When GR asked her what had happened, she had this little smile that to me said, "oh, you know, lost the babyweight, but the producers doesn't want me to say that."

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  4. I know that all shows are edited but if you count the number of times she made a snarky comment or the number of times she cries, no amount of editing can manipulate us into thinking that the producers faked all of that.

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    1. Exactly. The way she wouldn't open her mouth to talk, the way she stuck out her lower lip, the way she went nuts over the smallest bit of criticism. She is a giant toddler. A spoiled brat. Even if they only used the worst of the worst, there is no excuse for behaving like that. Ever.

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  5. I especially liked how - in addition to all the smack talk that the restaurant owners try to give Gordon for being a meaniehead - she constantly went on about him being a brit.

    Stay classy.

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  6. Personally, I can't stand her voice. It is grating. I wouldn't be able to work with her on the quality of her voice alone. I could barely watch the episode, she sounded so painful on my ears.

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  7. Sad to see the restaurant close down, especially after all the work Ramsay put in for her.

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  8. Throw on some mozzarella and some a basil and a call it a Italiano no.

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  9. As someone who has worked in production I think the poster of the explanation for how it is produced is off. If you look at the show the general idea is Ramsay going in and turning a fail into a success. This often means changing almost everything and as such most owners/chefs aren't fond of that at all. It's not hard to pull 43 minutes of drama out of a week of some outside force telling you this and that sucks.

    It also doesn't make sense for all these failures to sit there and be like "oh yeah, I'll look like a complete bitch on national TV, and ruin any reputation I might have." In interviews, of course they have several takes and they have leading questions but at the end of the day if they say something ignorant and stupid, that is all them.

    Now they might stretch the truth with diners and make it look like they are saying the food is terrible when they are talking about something else. I also would take anybody "in the know" with a grain of salt. Looking at several interviews(outside the show) they are extremely mixed. Generally some of the bitchiest owners/chefs tend to say it's all staged, while others involved say it is an accurate portrayal of the owners/chefs. That was the case with ABC, where the owners were all about how fake it was yet the server they fired AND their online posts revealed that it was very accurate and wasn't staged.

    You can see it through most owners that slam Ramsay online after the show that the way they behave is just like what they are portrayed in the show. David from the black pearl is a good example of that. While they may not act like that all the time, I highly doubt they need to direct the owners like you say to get 43 minutes out of a week. There are also several owners who do not really fight with Ramsay in the show. So for the most part the owners are most likely portrayed fairly close to how they really are compared to other non-fiction shows.

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  10. Either GR has a single busy production team that thinks alike and works on every single show he has ever done, I count 10 different series thus far (UK and US), with multiple seasons of each, or we can take some of LYoung's advice as well as a serious dose of common sense and believe what we are being shown in terms of character, i.e., GR is most genuine, really cares, and I doubt that he would willingly be set people up for drama's sake. There are enough crappy leaders and owners out there to go around, why invent any of them for the sake of a show!!! The only thing that might play into this from a production standpoint (that would pan out in favor of drama creation) is the selection process... out of the dozens upon dozens of submissions looking for "help", do you think the marketeers aren't gonna be able to find some good "natural drama"? They most certainly are. Until I learn otherwise, places like Anna Vincenzo's will have closed for reasons that are fairly self-evident... like a majority of the posters have already mentioned.

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  11. Ummmm people, it's TV....why take it so serious? REALLY, none of you know these people and none of you should put this much time into being so negetive...maybe that is what is wrong with our country :(

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    1. You know... skepticism, like everything else, needs to be kept in moderation. Just like our political beliefs (reference your comment about what is wrong with our country). If you believe everything, you are a fool; if you believe nothing, then you wear blinders and are therefore also a fool. Also, when you call a spade a spade, thats not being negative... thats called an opinion, as well as honesty. There are a number of folks who comment on here that have obvious business experience, or leadership and management experience... listen and learn. Not everyone is some star-gazing GR worshiper, though if GR is respected for his professional and business character, why question it because he is on TV. Do you know the President personally? Nothing but from TV I'd bet. Do you have opinion about his policies and practices? Hmmm, No? So, I'll stop there and get back to kitchens, broken businesses, and pathetic owners. Thank you.

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    2. One of the best written comments I've ever read on one of these forums. Keep up the good work.

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    3. There are only two options. You can either believe there are people who act like that and learn from their mistakes and improve OR you can say it is fake and that they are acting. Thus making excuses for how they act and most likely the similar way you act and learn nothing because you live in excuses.

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  12. This is an interesting episode. In spite of all the friction and anger in the first third, I feel badly for CeCe in a way that I often don't for other owners. Maybe it's that her vulnerability and anxiety rush to the surface more clearly than in other episodes. That isn't to offer any judgment on why the restaurant didn't succeed or on her as a person, just to say that this episode - despite the real nastiness off the bat - is strangely moving. I'm glad GR gave her the chance and I was glad to see her happiness - however else I may have felt at other points.

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  13. My question: Is there a financial commitment made with the show/GR? As in, in exchange for coming we will pay you X% for the next 24 months etc. I know restaurant industry is not easy, especially in some of these locations but it seems like following many of these episodes I find *Closed* after a quick google search. True where there is smoke (struggling business) there will be fire (failure). The couple splitting is no surprise, he seemed like a terrified pushover to her. It's disheartening to read she started cutting corners instantly after the show but we all saw in the episode how *the following night* she was already attempting to send out burned food. How ignorant can you be? You are on National television stating "I don't care". Shocking stuff. And I agree with CC representing a large percentage of the current day American anchor, sinking the society as a whole. I was surprised how much crap GR took in this episode.

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  14. Unfortunately for her father, she lost his money. Her emotional instability appears to be clinical and she really should consider professional help. She is extremely insecure. That is obvious from her need to attack others and from her need for attention through her clothing choices. The restaurant closing is a hard lesson learned. She needed to listen to her staff and customers. Her customers were the ones that buttered her bread.

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  15. I don't get it. Her reaction and many other restaurant owners' reaction to Gordon Ramsey. Have they NEVER seen an episode of his? They did apply for him to come there, and then they are shocked at his reaction and yelling. Why is this always a surprise and unexpected. I think a lot of them want a new makeover for their restaurants so they can sell them.

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  16. I knew she would NEVER make it, way too hard headed, rude, arrogant! She NEVER deserved anything Ramsey did for her, too disrespectful and ignorant.

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  17. I think she tried her best. Not easy when you are so alone. Best wishes for the future, my love. Tom B A, Norway

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  18. Lack of leadership and maturity on CeCe's behalf. I certainly wouldn't want to work for her.

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