February 15, 2013 10:45 PM by Stephanie Gustafson
Gordon Ramsay continues his Kitchen Nightmares tour of America’s worst restaurants, stopping this time at Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room in order to ease issues related to the staff and management. Will Chef Ramsay succeed or is it already over for this restaurant?
After hanging out on the East Coast for what seems like forever, Gordon Ramsay is heading to a different region of the country: Monrovia, California. But the culinary nightmares in Cali are every bit as bad as those all the way across the nation. Chef Ramsay stops by Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room, a small eatery owned and operated by Sam and his large family. Sam loves the restaurant business, but some of his kids are pretty resentful that they’ve had to put their own adult lives on hold in order to help their father achieve his dream. And because they don’t really want to be there, the kids are really slacking — and it shows. The decor hasn’t been updated in ages and worse, the food tastes terrible. Their lack of effort has driven customers away, leaving lots of spare time for the kids to bicker and thus drive even more customers away.
We soon learn, however, that not all the blame can be placed on the kids. Chef Ramsay sits them down for a talk and is informed that all of Sam’s kids are working 12-hour days, 7 days a week. And all because Same refuses to hire outside help. It’s a family restaurant, so he wants everything done within the family. And then when Chef Ramsay confronts Sam to talk about some of these issues, he learns something else: none of the kids are being paid for their efforts! Apparently, Sam can’t afford to pay them. No wonder they’re doing such a poor job!
More nasty surprises await as Chef Ramsay sits down to order a meal. Before he’s even been served, he observes that the decor is “dreadful” and that there’s a plethora of spelling errors in the menu. And every customer can hear the super loud family fight coming from the kitchen. The food isn’t any more impressive than the atmosphere — the eggplant is canned, the falafel is bland and the gyros are frozen, not fresh. The main complaint spanning several tested mals is that the food is tasteless and bland.
Next is the inevitable kitchen inspection. Chef Ramsay compares the pantry to a dumping ground. The veggies are not fresh and everything in general is a huge mess. And the kids aren’t cooking their meat through enoug — Chef Ramsay rats them out for trying to serve raw chicken. Meanwhile, the kids are back to fighting and the customers are headed out the door. After a huge brawl outside the restaurant, Chef Ramsay says it doesn’t feel like a family. He encourages the kids to be honest with their dad and tell him that they want to pursue their own lives instead of being at the restaurant all the time. They aren’t too enthusiastic about the idea, as they are afraid of hurting his feelings. Thy try to tell him that they’re looking to branch out but his reaction? You can’t do anything because you’re still children. The problem is, they’re not kids anymore. Finally realizing that nobody wants to be at his restaurant anymore, Sam breaks down in tears. The cring session ends with the family in a huge group hug.
Finally on the same page, the family sets to turning things around at the restaurant. The kids have committed in the short term with the promise that they’ll have more free time to build up their adult lives. Chef Ramsay gives them plenty of tips on cooking and has his team start overhauling the restaurant. Everyone is brought in after the interior transformation, and while the decor looks awesome, I still don’t get the fascination with the picnic tables. When I go to a restaurant, I sure as hell don’t want to sit in an uncomfortable picnic table like I’m at summer camp.
Customers arrive to check out the transformation and are very impressed by the new decor, new food and the lack of bickering among the family. Everything seems calm, for a change. After a successful relaunch, Chef Ramsay has a huge smile on his face, as do all the members of the family he’s just played therapist for. We leave the episode seeing Sam put up a help wanted sign, as he’s finally allowing his kids to start to explore their own paths.
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Photo Credit: FOX