September 18, 2008 08:42 PM by Lisa Stauber
Kitchen Nightmares, with Chef Gordon Ramsay, features a family Italian restaurant. The father is controlling, the son can’t run a kitchen, and Mama can’t work with either of them. They are on the verge of losing their homes,and Ramsey is their last hope. Can he turn the restaurant around?
Giuseppi’s Trattoria was supposed to be Sam’s inheritance, but his father Joe seems to be doing all the work. “It’s a nightmare because of the hell that goes on in the kitchen,” Mama Kathy says. Brian, the sous chef, thinks Chef Sam isn’t ready to lead the kitchen. “I have my house in foreclosure,” she tells Ramsay. “At my age, I can’t start over again!”. Kathy is on the verge of a breakdown in family and finances.
“It’s not just as simple as a menu change,” she says. “It’s a bit more complex.” Ramsay arrives and Sam is cooking Joe’s menu and recipes. Ramsay orders octopus salad, and finds it chewy. “It’s like a mouthful of Hubba Bubba,” he says. Ramsay makes the waitress try some food and she thinks it’s gross. The main course, an eggplant dish, isn’t tasty either. Meanwhile, Joe is telling Sam that he can’t cook.
It’s time for Ramsay to tell the staff what is wrong with their place. “The palate’s sh**”, he says. Brian admits to microwaving the eggplant. Ramsay questions why there are potato skins on the menu of an Italian restaurant. He lays it on the line with Joe. “The food’s crap, guys,” he says, and takes off, but returns for the dinner service. He makes fun of the waitresses’ hair and watches Brian microwave some potatoes. Sam, meanwhile, thinks the food comes out too quickly and hates the microwave.
A plate is returned to be warmed, and another is brought back to be swapped. Twelve dishes are sent back to the kitchen, and then Joe starts telling Chef Sam how to cook. “Sam is like a new puppy that you have to constantly pay attention to,” Joe says. They have to redo a Cajun blackened steak three times. Finally, Joe kicks Sam out and cooks himself.
Now that Ramsay has seen a dinner service, he’s ready to start solving problems. “No one’s striving to be better,” Ramsay says. “Tell me how you feel about the frozen food?” Sam hates it. “I want to cook fresh,” Sam says. Dad doesn’t agree, and won’t say that Sam is good cook. It comes out that Sam’s not commmitted to the restaurant, because he thinks his dad hates him. Dad wonders why Sam won’t try harder. The situation quickly turns into a yelling match between father and son. “I have not served him anything without him saying it’s not done right,” Sam says.
“I want to see some passion,” Ramsay tells them. The next day, Ramsay focuses on Joe and his diabetes. Since Joe started the restaurant, he’s been without insurance and his disease causes him a lot of pain. Joe wishes that Sam would just run the place, and doesn’t know how to make him take control so Joe can retire.
Ramsay decides to see how good a chef Sam reallly is, and announces a cook-off between Sam and his Dad, with a blind taste test with the staff. Sam goes for fresh salmon, and Joe goes for a pork chop. Mama Kathy likes Joe’s meat and Sam’s sides. Most of the staff likes the pork chops – Joe’s dish – better, but Ramsay thinks both dishes are menu worthy.
Now Gordon tackles the communication problems. He tells Kathy to write a letter to Sam and Joe, but keep it hidden for now. Ramsay trains the staff on the new specials, and then tells Sam to write a letter to his dad.
The dinner service starts, and Sam is having a blast cooking up fresh meat in the back. Joe starts nagging at him and criticizing the food instead of doing his job of expediting the orders. Joe can’t stay away from the stove! When the service is over, Ramsay pulls Joe aside and has him write a letter to his son.
The staff goes home, and Ramsay’s crew swings into action redecorating the restaurant in a modern style. Kathy loves the new look, and Joe tears up when he sees the pictures of himself holding a newborn Sam on the wall. A marketing makeover is next, and the restaurant staff is going to participate in a bowl-a-thon for the American Diabetes Association. They are passing out samples of soup and appetizers while helping the cause. Finally, Ramsay introduces a new menu that is fresh and features only Italian food. It’s time for relaunch!
The dinner service begins smoothly, but Sam puts his foot down and won’t let his dad cook. Ramsay is expediting, and gets some pink chicken. The lasagna comes back, and it’s cold in the middle. Ramsay kicks Joe out and leave Brian and Sam to cook alone. The kitchen is falling behind, as Brian is playing around. The customer’s food gets later and later as Brian and Sam get louder and louder. Ramsay yells at the chefs to pay attention and stop messing around. Brian tells Ramsay that it’s his fault things are going badly, and Sam’s embarrassed at Brian’s behavior. “What an idiot,” Ramsay says. Meanwhile, a customer leaves without eating, since she got tired of waiting.
Brian takes off early, leaving Sam in the kitchen alone. Joe steps up and takes over as sous chef. “I’m so happy to know that me and my father can work side by side,” Sam says. The customers are finally loving the food. Joe realizes that family is everything, and the night is a huge success.
Ramsay calls a final family meeting, and has everyone read their letters to each other. “We need real change before it’s too late,” Kathy says. “Joe, I don’t want to be a widow.” Sam reads his letter to his father. “I have always looked up to you,” he says, “I feel like I am a disappointment to you. I love you, Dad.” Everyone’s bawling by the time he finishes. Now Joe going to read his letter to his son. “Chef Ramsay brought back the love that we had,” Joe says.
Tune in next week for a two hour special with a two restaurants fixed and two arrogant chefs put in their place.
Photos courtesy Fox.