The Secret Garden in Moorpark, California is a French restaurant in a great location near the wine country in Southern California. However, French chef and owner Michel is three hundred thousand dollars in debt. The restaurant caters to an older crowd and the frumpy furnishings reflect this.
When Gordon arrives, he has to search for the restaurant entrance on the side. The staff is in the back. Sitting down to lunch, Gordon notices the décor and the paper doily on the base of his dirty glass. He comments on the one little roll sitting alone in the giant bread basket that waitress Jane offers. Gordon becomes concerned when he orders a salad that contains both strawberries and garlic shrimp. He prays that he will not be killed by food poisoning and sends the salad back to the kitchen.
For his entrée, Gordon finds his steak tough and the accompanying carrots raw. He summarizes the cooking as lazy and dirty. When he goes to report to Michel that the food is "crap," Gordon sees firsthand how arrogant the French chef is. He asks why Michel buys canned crab meat. Michel replies that it is because the restaurant is empty. According to Gordon, "He is so far up his own a**, he can't even breathe anymore."
Day two is the kitchen inspection. Gordon sees mold and filth everywhere. Even the refrigerator is moldy. When he finds maggots, Gordon runs to vomit in the bathroom.
Gordon asks Michel when the refrigerator was last cleaned. "Yesterday," Michel says, lying. Gordon insists that Michel be serious and honest with him. When Michel claims that no kitchen is perfect, Gordon responds, "You hate the truth." For the rest of the day, the staff cleans the kitchen.
Chef Ramsay observes dinner service that night. Michel puts out a pathetic slice of a strawberry to diners, which he calls a canapé. Michel's dishes take too long to prepare and customers are kept waiting. Gordon points out that most meats and fish are served crusted. He notes that Michel is in complete denial and is too stubborn. When Michel goes to the front of the house, sous chef Devon takes over and dishes are finally served.
The next day, Gordon has foreclosure signs put on the bordered up restaurant to induce shock in the haughty chef. When Michel shows up, he is furious. Gordon teaches the staff simple recipes so that the service will be faster, cleaner and better for Saturday night. His roast chicken, onion soup, tuna nicoise, and asparagus tart get excellent reviews from the younger crowd of customers.
Yet the kitchen becomes backed up and there is confusion over orders. A lack of communication and new ingredients have customers waiting for food. Michel snaps at the staff and makes the waitresses cry. Later, Gordon tells the staff that he wants to now move forward, but Michel insists that he is the better chef.
Gordon's design team revamps the outdated décor that Michel calls "charming." Gordon responds with, "Bye Grandma." The dining room is now elegant and clutter-free. Michel tells Gordon that he is worried the changes will hurt his business.
Gordon introduces a new, simpler menu to serve to local VIPs and a food critic that night. The dinner service is going well until a bus of 24 tourists arrives unexpectedly. The staff watches the food critic. She finds her fish too salty and over-seasoned. This makes Michel revert back to his old menu, which infuriates Gordon. He has it out with Michel, telling him, "You work like a lazy pig."
Gordon leaves to cool off and decides to return to help the staff. The food critic enjoys the entrée from the new menu but Michel is still unconvinced. He asks the customers outright and they give him kudos on the food. Michel later learns that the restaurant turned a profit for the night and he realizes how wrong he had been.
The rest of the week the staff improves on the changes and hygiene. Jane the waitress is promoted to manager. Gordon says goodbye to the staff and Michel, who still hates him. Gordon believes Michel has finally learned the cardinal rule of running a restaurant: serve your customers -- not yourself.
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