Okay, here's what I know about food. I like to eat it. I can cook certain types of it without killing anyone. That's about it. So I'm perfect to recap Kitchen Nightmares, right? *crickets* On the plus side, I love Gordon Ramsay, and watch the BBCAmerica version all the time. At any rate, I have a stomach virus, and what better way to feel better from that is to watch a show that will potentially have really gross things that should have been edible. Gee. this ought to be fun, let's go!
Tonight we are at Dillon's in NYC, which is a mere two blocks from Ramsay's own restaurant, "London". Martin, the general manager, describes Dillon's as "an American-Irish restaurant with an Indian-ness connected to it." Goodness it sounds like it's having an identity crisis. It's also suffering from a whole lot of managers. Along with Martin, you have Andrew, the operations manager, Khan, the floor manager, and Mohammed, the owner. Dillon's problem seems to be that it's not clean, flies are everywhere, no one knows what's going on, and everyone has their head up their rear. Mohammed says the restaurant is losing $20,000 to $30,000 a month. MAN, what exactly does Mohammed do to be able to lose that kind of moolah? We shall never know.
Gordon arrives at Dillon's and meets the many managers, along with his waitress, Jenna. He's then seated at a rickety table with a napkin shoved under the table leg for balance. Way to impress! The walls are shrouded in white fabric, which kind of freaks me out as it looks like a clown might pop out from under it at any minute. Don't ask me why I think that, it's my own hang-up. There are no customers, and Gordon says he's lonely. If only he had of phoned me up, I would have been happy to remedy his loneliness. I may not have actually shared food, considering where he was, but I could have been of great assistance to him in removing his shirt and dressing him in his chef's jacket.
The flies try to assist Gordon in ordering, since I'm not there, and he selects assorted vegetarian appetizers, lamb biryani, beef bhuna, and salmon nicoise. He's presented with the vegetarian appetizers, and says a prayer "May the Lord above not poison me, Amen." Gordon appraises his appetizers visually, saying it looks like a dehydrated turd. Nice! When he cuts open said feces, it has meat in it, although it should have been vegetarian. He says it tastes like lamb, and Jenna takes it back to the kitchen. I must say that Jenna's attitude to the kitchen is non-professional, as she says "You guys are killing me right now, an assorted vegetarian plate has to be vegetarian." Do waitresses usually talk to the chefs like that? I wouldn't think so.
Next Jenna brings out the beef bhuna, lamb biryani, and a dirty plate. The lamb biryani has a tomato rose on top made out of a rotten tomato. Flies are buzzing all around, and Gordon does his best karate kid impersonation and catches one. Well, he's got to get his protein from somewhere, right? He tries the beef bhuna, which turns out to be lamb. His last dish comes out, salmon nicoise, and Gordon asks Andrew who made it, to find out that Andrew himself made it as the chefs can't cook any western food. Gordon asks Andrew to eat it, and he says "not with pleasure" which certainly isn't a ringing endorsement for his own cooking.
In the kitchen, Gordon asks Mohammed to translate to the chef that the food was crap. The chef says that he probably got the "old" lamb. Ewww. Poor Mohammed looks very embarrasssed like he might cry. He ought to cry, with his restaurant being broadcast into millions of homes as a fly-pit.
Gordon wants to see the staff in action for the dinner service, so he goes back to find Martin laying in a booth having his hair rubbed by one of the waitresses, Nasreen. In addition, Nasreen and Jenna are sharing earphones listening to an Ipod. This certainly looks like an easy place to work. Customers start coming in, and make a big deal of deciding to order from the American or Indian menu. The first orders are placed, and Gordon goes into the kitchen to find the chef's stirring some gunk on the floor. I have no idea what it is, it looks like barf. Gordon's trying to overcome the language barrier to tell the chef to get it off the ground, and no one comes to his aid. Finally he gets Mohammed to tell the chef, and Mohammed says it's ridiculous. For someone losing $30,000 a month in this restaurant, he sure doesn't know what's going on.
Forty minutes into the service, and no food has come out of the kitchen. Gordon yells at the kitchen for lack of delegating, as there are many people in the kitchen but nothing it getting out. Andrew and Mohammed are both trying to help in the kitchen, while Martin stands around messing with his cell phone. Gordon finds one chef that is just standing there doing nothing, as he's been given no orders. Ramsay asks for Martin to come back there about that situation. Then he rips Martin for the girls rubbing his hair, tells him he's a fake, and that he's taking advantage of a rich, weak man. An hour and a half into dinner service, and very few dishes have made it out of the kitchen. One that did make it out is raw. Customers are mad, and several are leaving, much like Hell's Kitchen.
Day two and Gordon shows up for the kitchen inspection. Immediately he pulls down a fly-strip, and declares the flies as "fresh". Not so fresh, the moldy hamburgers. Then, horror of horrors, he sees a door to a basement and asks what is down there. He descends, and finds a true kitchen nightmare, a breeding ground for roaches, and RATS. (what's that, you didn't order ratatouille? Yes, I had to make the lame joke, I couldn't help myself.) There are rat traps, rat droppings, and enough bugs to freak out Indiana Jones. Roaches are running over food, they're in a refrigerator, they are just nasty as heck. Gordon asks for the general manager, Martin, who is again on his phone.
When Martin joins everyone, Ramsay points out the moldy burgers, putrid chicken wings, and finds a rotten tomato that has been sliced and aparently the non-rotten side has been served to some poor Lance Bass-looking schmuck who's blissfully unaware that HE MIGHT DIE! From a tomato! (yet another remake of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!" As if three remakes weren't enough.) Okay, I have had food poisoning and this is no laughing matter. But WHY doesn't someone go rip that dish out from under that patron before he infests himself with pure hell? Because this is reality television, that's why. Gordon tells Mohammed to tell the three tables of customers that the kitchen is closed! *drama* In another "reality" moment, two girls who can clearly hear Ramsay ranting about green burgers have NOT gotten up and run out, showing that either they were just there to drool over Gordon, or they're stupid. Andrew tells them they won't be served any food. (or any hot shirtless Gordon, either, get away!)
Later that night, Gordon returns wearing a white hooded jumpsuit, bringing along a professional steam cleaning team. Everyone jumps in, dumping out the gross food, and then letting the steam cleaners sterilize the place. Then it's time for a field trip, where Gordon shows off the shiny clean kitchen in his restaurant, declaring it "heaven" while Dillon's is "hell". He has a point.
Day three brings us to cooking demonstration day. Gordon asks Mohammed if the chef (Gomez?) knows that they're on Broadway. Gomez replies that they're in New Jersey, and Mohammed as to tell him that no, he's in NYC. The chef can't even tell what city he's in, and they expect him to know the difference between beef and lamb? Gordon starts to demonstrate cooking contemporary Indian cuisine. He begins with salmon, coconut, tomatoes and onions. Somewhere along the line there's some scallops, curry powder and some chutney, and BOOM, there you go, two dishes of something edible. Gomez the chef is so overcome that he hugs Ramsay for dear life and won't let go. Since two dishes aren't much of a menu selection, Gordon brings in a consulting Indian chef, Vikas Khanna. Mohammed looks at Vikas like he's just seen Santa Claus walk in.
During the night, Gordon has a design team come in and re-do the exterior and interior. One of the changes is the name, it's now "Purnima" which means "full moon". Ramsay leads the blind-folded staff in to see transformation, and I have to say it looks a lot better than having sheets on the walls. Vikas has been working through the night to make up a new menu, and presents the staff with samples. Kerela Fisherman's Curry, Kadhai Shrimp, Chicken Korma and all sorts of yummy things. In a side-interview, Andrew is very impressed, and also has his arm in a sling, making one wonder exactly what Gordon did to him.
Gordon gathers the staff for a pep talk before service, and zones in on Martin, asking him what his role will be. Martin says he'll be front of house, meeting and greeting. Gordon tells him to not be so false and tacky, and to keep his phone off. He also tells him to not treat it as his hang-out area and to treat it as a business. Jenna pipes in that Martin is not full of crap, and that what Gordon is saying is making her angry. So that's who Martin's sleeping with! Aha! Poor, tasteless Jenna. Ramsay tells her to keep her nose out of his business. Martin tries to defend his young lover, saying that she's a loyal worker. Right, that's what you call it.
Day five there's a re-launch of the restaurant, and to spread the word they have a bus with belly dancers and drummers on it, giving out flyers for Purnima. Everyone has a fun time on it going around Manhattan. Apparently it did the trick, as later that evening the restaurant starts filling up. Gordon asks for Martin's phone to make sure it's turned off. Then time for my favorite two seconds of the show, Gordon changing into his chef's shirt. I love me some gratuitous Ramsay nudity.
Orders are coming in, and some are going out, but then they start to pile up, thanks to Martin's lack of management. He seems to be best at standing around, saying "welcome" and that's about it. Food sits around until it's cold. Vikas refuses to say anything negative about the restaurant, but does say that he doesn't understand it. Gordon finds Khan and asks him if he could manage the place, and Khan says of course he can. So he steps up to kick some butt, and show up the buffoon Martin. Suddenly orders are getting out hot, things are going smoothly, and Jenna the waitress made $100. You'd better hang on to that, Jenna, as your sugar daddy Martin is about to be out of a job.
A new day dawns, and Gordon sits down to chat with Mohammed. Gordon tells him that he should sacrifice one of his managers and employ Vikas as the chef. Gordon tells him that Martin has been manipulating him, and that he's not worth keeping. Martin's been eavesdropping, and runs up to Mohammed saying "I've never used you, I respect you, I am proud of what we've done, I've never cheated you..." I do think he is protesting a bit too loudly, don't you? Gordon wants to know what's going on, and Martin tells him that he's had enough. Gordon tell him over and over that he must be feeling guilty. Martin denies this, and says he won't take this put-down anymore, that it's his last night, he quits. No worker's compensation for him!
Purnima goes on to success, but not without controversy. Martin sued Ramsay, saying that rotten food was planted, actors were hired, and tried to keep this episode from airing. Obviously that didn't work. Join us next week when Waywyrd will show you what a real recap should be like. Until then, bon appetit!