Kitchen Nightmares - Mangia Mangia - CLOSED

Mangia Mangia Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mangia Mangia in Woodland Park, Colorado.

Mangia Mangia was bought by owner Julie Watson, who just wanted to own a restaurant.

She is a former realtor who bought the building of a fast-food and drive-through.

She settled on setting up an Italian restaurant seeing as there were none in the area.

Julie thought that without any competition they would be able to thrive in the area.

The staff believe that Julie is bad at running the restaurant.

She yells a lot at them and inspires fear in her staff.

Julie especially likes to have control over her head chef Trevor.

Head Chef Trevor is also problematic and causes issues at the restaurant.

He talks back, throws fits, intentionally messes up food orders and has walked out on service.

The restaurant has a drive-through window, which is functioning and clashes with the fine dining theme of the restaurant.

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and is puzzled by the window.

He drives through it to talk to Janelle, Julie’s daughter.

He finds out they have tables inside and a few people use the drive through.

Gordon orders the soup of the day from the window.

It takes them a while to pack it in a Styrofoam cup but they forget to include a spoon with his order.

Gordon does not find it appetising and uses the supplied knife and fork to eat it.

The soup is thick and the cup is only half full.

He goes inside and meets Julie giving her the feedback that the soup was not great.

Gordon notices the frilly curtains dividing the booths, the fake flowers and the Christmas lights.

He comments that the space still looks like a fast-food chain restaurant with nothing Italian about it.

Julie has never been to Italy and is complementary of most of her staff.

She says that her chef has an attitude but she puts up with it because of how hard it is to find a replacement.

She also reveals that Trevor has no formal training and was promoted to chef from previously washing dishes.

Julie admits the menu has not been changed for four years but insists the food is good.

Gordon then meets Andrea and Trevor, who rates his own food as only a five out of ten.

Janelle gives her own poor rating of his personality and they bicker in front of everyone.

It becomes clear there is tension between the two as they used to date.

She says Trevor tried to punch her in the walk-in a while ago.

Gordon sits down to order from their menu.

Gordon orders mushroom ravioli, veal piccata, salmon, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs.

First to arrive is a mushroom ravioli but it looks bad and is served with a glowing white sauce.

Gordon finds out it was store bought and defrosted.

Trevor does not know how to make ravioli so Gordon gives him the recipe to make pasta.

Trevor tries it out and fails.

Next is the meat lasagne and there is a finger print of sauce on his plate.

The lasgne is watery and still cold in the middle so he sends it back.

Julie blames the use of a faulty microwave on why it wasn’t fully cooked.

The spaghetti and meatballs are also store bought.

Trevor used to make meatballs but was not good at it so they started buying them in.

The meal is full of water from the spaghetti and the meatballs taste like warm foam and are cold in the middle.

The Veal Piccata is still raw and not hot so he sends it back as well.

Gordon wants to see the bowl of pasta Trevor started but it has been thrown away.

Finally the Salmon dish tastes frozen, it is drenched in balsamic dressing and the potatoes also taste old.

They find out the potatoes were cooked the night before.

Gordon meets with the staff to give them feedback.

No member of staff has any training, all their food is frozen except the sauces, which are made fresh but they are bland.

Julie is oblivious to their menus stating that the food is made fresh.

Julie is in denial and is defending the criticism of the food.

She talks back to her staff when they say the truth about their produce.

Gordon lets Trevor know he is way out of his depth and failing to manage the kitchen.

Gordon walks out and Julie bursts into tears.

Gordon returns for dinner service to watch the kitchen team work.

Gordon is not impressed by the set up and witnesses several dishes sent back to the kitchen.

Everything is cooked in the microwave, they are serving yellowed spinach and dishes are poor quality or over seasoned.

Most of the food is returned to the kitchen but is thrown away without Trevor tasting it.

Gordon inspects the walk-in and sees multiple containers of pasta.

There is enough for 400 customers even though there are 47 customers in for dinner that evening.

They microwave meals several times with new ingredients that makes it tough.

There are more microwaves than ovens in the kitchen.

Julie is called to see the tough food and she blames the staff for it despite the problem being the use of the microwave.

The staff are open but Julie is oblivious saying things are done accordingly and claiming not to know of wrong doings.

The staff reveal that the cooks change the breadcrumbs every other day.

The cooks are coating both egg plant and chicken leading to cross contamination.

Julie is fine with the reheated frozen food and thinks that is the way things are done.

Frustrated Gordon announces to the restaurants customers that the food is 95% frozen and the customers are not surprised.

Mangia Mangia Part 2

Julie walks out of the restaurant as she is embarrassed about what has just happened.

Gordon follows her outside to tell her he did all this to open her eyes.

The staff follow them outside and they say she does not listen to anyone.

Janelle defends her mother and says the staff take drugs often and it impedes their work.

Janelle has a melt-down about Trevor and other staff members.

She tells Gordon that Trevor tried to punch her at work.

Also, the staff don't always turn up for shifts and Kevin and Trevor have both often come to work high.

She is sent to calm down inside with a glass of water.

Gordon tries one last time to get through to Julie that she should be making the customer experience better.

The next day he has a meeting with the staff as everyone has calmed down.

The tensions quickly rise as Chris points out Julie is rude, disrespectful and are all treading on egg shells around her.

They get into another heated argument.

Chris is accused of badmouthing the restaurant and Julie to the guests.

Trevor is called out for being high at work and lashing out.

Janelle explains an episode Trevor was throwing things in the kitchen and scaring customers in the restaurant.

Trevor admits he was high and has a drug problem so Julie fires him.

Gordon tells her that she needs to fill the void with a new chef and rehire as soon as possible.

He then shows them how to make lasagne and a salmon dish from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Neither dish will be cooked in the microwave.

Gordon announces he has found an interim chef Don Wolf.

Don is local but also has experience in Italian restaurants and the cuisine.

He will be consulting with them for two weeks until they find a new chef.

Kevin is eager to learn from him in the kitchen.

Some days later Gordon arranged a community family event to drum up marketing for the restaurant.

It is a fair with a sampling of food from the restaurant and a pasta eating contest for some local dignitaries.

The community love the food and are excited to visit the new and improved restaurant.

Over the next 24 hours Gordon’s team worked on the restaurant.

The interior is brightened with fresh colours and it looks like a proper restaurant after the booths are removed.

The staff love the new look and are even more impressed by the new menu.

They taste the food and think it tastes heavenly compared to their old menu.

The staff joke that the new plates cannot even enter the microwaves anymore.

For relaunch night Julie is expediting in the kitchen.

Things start well but Julie soon falls back into old ways wanting food out quickly and asks for too much food to be fired.

She is reminded that they are making food not reheating and things will take longer.

The food going out is great and customers are loving the dishes.

Julie gets confused and rushes food out to customers.

Desserts are ready even though the table is still eating their mains and the desserts cannot sit around.

With a word from Gordon she slows down and food is leaving the kitchen at the correct timings.

The customers are impressed with the new decor and also with the food and the staff are also much happier in the restaurant.

The night ends well and everyone is happy with how Julie handled it overall.

Gordon leaves after getting a promise that they will not go back to fast food or microwaving meals.

He then stops at the drive through window to collect their microwave.



What Happened Next at Mangia Mangia?

In the following weeks, the positive feedback continued.

Julie asked Don to stay on to continue training the kitchen.

Reviews were mostly good on Yelp and Julie had responded to the negative reviews.

Reviews on Trip Advisor were positive after Gordon's makeover and the filming of the episode with compliments on the food and service.

They initially kept most of Gordon's changes before returning a number of menu items to create a menu with both new and old shortly after Gordon's visit.

They also returned to serving soup or salad with main dishes and returned their old ciabatta bread as Lisa did not like the new bread.

Julie also hired a new head chef as Don left shortly after the episode was filmed and she also hired new servers.

Some customers said that Julie remained a problem and mistreated both staff and customers.

Mangia Mangia closed in November 2014.

Trevor's dad posted an update on Facebook on how Trevor was doing after the show,

Many of those who saw the show have asked for an update about Trevor.

Shortly after the show was taped, he moved out of Woodland Park.

He entered rehab and after 6 months has "graduated" from the intensive aspect and is in a maintenance mode.

He is now 9 months clean and sober.

He is in the process of chosing a culinary school to enroll in.

There are many aspects of the show that were not aired, so please don't judge too quickly.

In case you're wondering my source, I'm his Dad and I'm very proud of what he's accomplished

Mangia Mangia was aired on 25 April 2014, the episode was filmed in August 2013 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 7 episode 5 and 6


Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Kati Allo

Next episode - Zayna Flaming Grill

This post was last updated in June 2021.

19 comments:

  1. I went to this place several months after Ramsey came and this restaurant was just par. Pretty much forgettable after eating there. I've tried the other Colorado Kitchen Nightmare place and it's excellent. I would recommend Pantaleones to anybody who wants to try one of Ramsey's successes.

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  2. ... and BBC America ... I'm watching it on BBCA now!

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    1. Today is July 9, 2015 and they just finished airing part 2 of the episode. I'm trying to find out why they closed, other than the fact that the owner was on the other side of crazy and her daughter had more than her share of issues as well. If they were the only Italian restaurant in the area, one would think that with Ramsay's help and the positive reviews afterwords, they could have made it. Personally, I would have changed the name to something more recognizable in an Italian theme because not many people are probably aware of what "Mangia, Mangia" even means, let alone know that it's Italian for Eat, Eat. Something simple like "Mario's" or "Luigi's" to convey the Italian theme to the locals who had been there and had a negative experience might have helped. I know how trivial that sounds, but a name, good or bad, can affect a business for a long time. I feel bad for the people who lost their jobs, but the owner's attitude and possible mental health were not conducive to a successful business.

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  3. The daugher is so obnoxious. Ugh.

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    1. Yeah. Whilst she certainly had her reasons (Who wouldn't be enraged at working with a disrespectful drug-addicted incompetent who tried to assault you), she's hardly any more competent, constantly whines and seems to defend her mother more than she should.

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    2. I actually rather liked the daughter, Janelle - considering the stock that she came from. That mother/owner Julie was clueless and in full denial. I'm guessing they both suffer from bad taste in men, as well as poor taste in food. Dating Trevor was clearly a poor decision, and one that she will hopefully learn from. Janelle's overflowing emotions were perfectly understandale, considering the stress of running a failing restaurant and being abused by the nutjob ex-BF chef on a daily basis.

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    3. Trevor atleast had the balls to admit his mistakes. The mom and daughter never admitted to anything. It was never the mom or daughters fault according to them.

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  4. I agree! I felt like the owner was using him as a scapegoat because it was an easy out. Blame the junkie, can him, then turn things around and no one will realize the problem with the owner!
    I was honestly surprised that they didn't give a follow up on what happened to Trevor, and also surprised that Gordon Ramsey didn't take more time in a double episode to address the issue.

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    1. Because Ramsay already did a double episode for this restaurant.
      And this particular season they did follow up days to only weeks after, whereas Trevor's beginning recovery was a year later.

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  5. I love the confusion over 550 grams of flour.

    Is it just me or does Julie remind you of a female version of Alan Love from the Loves Fish UK episode in both her mannerisms and way of speaking?

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  6. I was really worried for Trevor as well. I would love to hear from a local that he found a better place to work and didn't turn to drugs after getting fired in such a humiliating way!!!!

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  7. For those, like me, asking about how Trevor is doing, I found this FB link where supposedly his dad left a comment on the post. It is from 2014 tho. According to the comment, Trevor went to rehab, followed by drug-free maintenance outside, and then at the time is looking into going to culinary school.

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152339435757159&id=263055712158

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    1. This is wonderful! I hope he continues to do well. Addiction is a scary road and without support and love it can be difficult. I wish him and his future the best. Thank you for providing this info. I was searching for the same thing!

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    2. Ah, good news from this mess!

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    3. That's absolutely great news. I was in tears watching it as I also cooked at an early age and struggled with addiction. It really hit home. Very good that he took steps to better his life

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  8. Janelle said in that show that Trevor had been on for like 3 years. I didnt hear how long he worked there or when they went out or whatever be he clearly had drug issues long before working there. I mean i m all for giving someone a second chance in life or whatever. But, the society today needs to stop with all this blame everyone else for your on personal choices. Awww... they were mean to the poor guy. Let, me tell you this is that guy ever even thought about hitting my daughter.... mean? i would beat the brakes off the kid. Grow up people take reasonably for your own bad choices.

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  9. I felt sorry for Trevor - he was used as the perfect scapegoat.

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  10. KEVIN WAS THE STAR of Mangia Mangia !
    Always looked fantastic and well mannered even when aimed for attack.
    Sorry he is not working where I could find out how well he is doing now.

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  11. I honestly feel like this place was doomed from the get-go. There was absolutely no way Gordon was ever going to go in there and make the necessary changes to keep it up and running without throwing the whole thing away and starting over fresh.

    I am not defending him or his actions but I can see why Trevor was pushed to his breaking point. The way Julie and Janelle talked to him and got in his face--it makes total sense. If someone screamed at me like that or got in my face like that, I'd defend myself too. It would be one thing if it was a 1 vs 1 situation but it's the entire staff vs Janelle and Julie. Those two are in complete denial and refuse to admit to any wrong doing/mistakes. The best thing Julie ever did was close the doors and sell the place.

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