November 06, 2008 09:48 PM by Lisa Stauber
Kitchen Nightmares is tackling a seafood restaurant tonight. Jack’s Waterfront is has several owners, personality conflicts, and family feuds making it impossible to run the kitchen smoothly. The crab comes out of a can, even though the restaurant is located on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Bill, Scott, and Tammer are body builders who decided to buy a restaurant. “Jack’s is known for outrageous entertainment,” on owner says. “It’s like Girls Gone Wild every night.” The winter season is terribly slow, as they have a reputation for having bad food.
AJ, Tammer’s dad, was brought in to run the kitchen but he did such a terrible job they moved him to the front of the house. They can’t fire him because he’s family, but he drinks more than he works. He often boogies on the dance floor with the customers. Scott is scary and tough, and they had to make him into a silent partner. Chef Aaron was brought in a couple of months ago, but they won’t let him change the menu. Scott’s invested over half a million dollars into the place, and he’s freaked out because they are behind on their taxes. “If things don’t change, I don’t know how we’re going to survive,” he says.
Ramsay arrives on a snowmobile, and mistakes Scott for a bouncer. He decides to talk to each owner and the manager separately. One owner thinks they have terrible food, AJ sees no problem, and Scott thinks AJ has got to go. It’s time to order. He chooses an omelet, honey pecan salmon, and fish n’ chips. Cott is staring at Ramsay and he can see why customers are intimidated. Chef Aaron reveals that the omelette contains artificial krab meat. Aaron hates using those ingredients, but he has to use what the owners buy.
AJ reveals he has an extreme allergy to shellfish and never tastes the food. The fish and chips come out, but it’s rubbery. It’s previously frozen. “It tastes like a breaded condom,” he says. The honey pecan salad is sweet and syrupy, and as usual the food at a Kitchen Nightmares place stinks.
AJ claims that Aaron is in charge of the food, but Aaron protests it’s not true. He doesn’t make the menu, come up with the recipes, or order the food. General Manager AJ won’t take responsibility for anything. Tammer arrives for the dinner service, and Ramsay talks to him about AJ’s performance. Tammer’s in a tight spot, working with his friends and family.
The kitchen is understaffed and won’t listen to the head chef. The food’s been mixed up and is cooked too much or too little. Food starts coming back to be fixed. The dining room is melting down, but AJ’s kicking back having a cigarette break. The post-dinner meeting is brutal. Bill says AJ has made too many mistakes and has let them all down. Nobody knows who is in charge, and now AJ’s pouting.
Ramsay sneaks into the kitchen before the staff shows up to take a peek. He finds tuna full of dye to make it look better, salmon marinating in Italian dressing, and some nasty mushroom risotto that should have been dumped, not saved. Ramsay blames AJ. “40 years in the business, you better open your eyes!” he yells at him. The general manager claims he doesn’t know anything about the state of the cooler. “I’m not going to take responsibility,” AJ says. “It’s the owner’s fault.”
Bill tells everyone to start cleaning, while Ramsay goes out to meet some fishermen. He tries his hand at ice fishing, and takes a bucket of fresh perch to make a nice, warming chowder with fresh ingredients. Aaron’s excited to get a chance to cook great food and learning from Chef Ramsay. Ramsay has also decided that Scott will be running a section, because he wants to part of the restaurant. “Prove that you’re not some scary monster,” Ramsay says. “Don’t scare them.”
The kitchen is falling apart, because the line cooks won’t pay attention and don’t care about the new menu. “He can’t work with that dead wood,” Ramsay says, as he watches the other cooks fool around. No one has eaten, but no one will help Aaron, either. Food finally gets served, and the new specials are going over well. The shrimp are overcooked and food starts coming back.
Ramsay’s ready to make some changes. Aaron needs to get tough in the kitchen, but AJ gets it the worst. Ramsay thinks he’s overpaid and his salary should be cut in half. He also wants him to start backing Aaron up and doing his job, both in the front and the back of the house.
The decorators arrive overnight and install a fish tank and other fresh decor. A huge storm rolls in, just in time for relaunch, and the place is packed. The fry cook is taking it slow, but nothing can go out with out the fries. Aaron’s frustrated, but it only gets worse when AJ shows up and starts reading off old orders that have already gone out. Owner Scott gets tough with the cooks and tells them they better listen to Aaron. He screams like a drill sergeant, and the cooks start doing their job. An order comes back and Aaron holds the fry cook accountable.
Scott’s happy to be a part of the restaurant again, and all of the owners are working hard and working together. “Chef Ramsay saved my friendships,” he says. Scott broaches the subject of AJ, though. Tammer tells his father he should work fewer hours, and Ramsay tells him he needs to cut back on the hours and cut back on the pay. “Not a problem,” AJ agrees. It seems all of the loose ends are tied up and Jack’s Waterfront has a new lease on life. The owners let Aaron have full reign in the kitchen and give him the power to staff the kitchen. AJ also is let go, and a new manager is hired.
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Photos courtesy Fox.