Kitchen Nightmares

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Dillons

Dillons

Aired: 9/26/07

Dillons in New York City is in need of help. There are three managers that don't have specific jobs. The menu has everything from Italian food to hamburgers to Shepard's Pie to traditional Indian food. "An American-Irish restaurant with an Indian-ness added to it," is how one manager describes the ambiance. There's also a prevalence of flies in the kitchen and dining room. Yet on top of all that, the establishment is losing money.

Gordon Ramsay walks the two blocks from his own restaurant in Manhattan to Dillons. He's appalled by the flashing LED sign on the restaurant that proclaims "real Indian cuisine." In the empty lunchtime dining room, Gordon sits down at a table that is wobbly and swats at the flies. He reviews the giant menu, and is right to assume that there are two kitchens at work. Gordon orders an assortment of dishes.

Since the Indian chefs do not cook American food, Andrew the operations manager has to take over on the non-Indian dishes. Of course, he is out of the items that Gordon has ordered. He is forced to serve frozen salmon. Before digging into the first course, Gordon prays that he will not get food poisoning. Even worse, he finds meat in the "assorted vegetarian appetizer plate."

Next comes the Indian fare, but Gordon notices that his plate is not clean. There's also a rotten tomato as the garnish. He cuts into what he has been told is beef, but it's clearly lamb. Andrew sheepishly emerges from the kitchen to face the wrath of Gordon and confesses that he has prepared the salmon salad. Gordon makes him eat it, which Andrew does begrudgingly. Gordon goes into the kitchen and has owner Mohammed translate to his Indian chef that the food is bland. The chef says that he made a mistake because he was nervous.

How to begin fixing Dillons? Gordon doesn't understand why there are three managers, but nothing is actually being managed. He watches as the dinner service begins and notices that the multiple styles of menu are confusing the customers. Back in the kitchen, Gordon yells at the cooks for putting a vat of chicken on the floor. Yet he can't find a manager to translate this to them.

Forty minutes into service, and no food has been served. This is because of kitchen chaos. Andrew is delegating. Khan the floor manager is ineffectual. Martin the general manager isn't helping at all. He's too busy on his cell phone. Gordon summons Martin when he finds that one cook has no job even though they are busy. Gordon calls Martin a fake and says that he gets off on hanging out with the waitresses. He accuses Martin of taking advantage of the owner Mohammed by not doing his job. "General manager? General toss pot," Gordon says to him.

The customers aren't happy with the food or the flies. Some who have not been served are threatening to leave. Many walk out in anger.

The next day, Gordon pulls a fly trap from the kitchen ceiling. He uncovers moldy beef, green chicken and stale potatoes. All of this is topped by the basement that is filled with cockroaches. There are rat traps and rat droppings everywhere. Bugs are squirming their way through the refrigerator lining. The source is obviously all the rotten produce just lying around. Martin the general manager is upstairs on his cell phone. Gordon points out the molded and rotten food to the three managers. He is sickened by a newly-cut tomato that is rotted. The other half was served to a customer. "What do we need? A death in the restaurant before someone f***ing gets a grip?" Gordon screams. He has them close the kitchen and send home the three tables already in the dining room.

That night, Gordon dons an exterminator suit and tank. He leads a team of professional steam cleaners into the restaurant. Gordon wants all the managers to help. They are to discard all moldy, rotten and contaminated food then sterilize and steam clean every inch of the kitchen. Gordon takes Mohammed, Martin and Andrew on a field trip to his restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at the London. Gordon's kitchen is clean, spotless and organized. His staff is constantly wiping down their work surfaces and the refrigerators are cleaned twice a day.

Gordon comes up with a strategy for the menu. It will be filled with modern, contemporary Indian cuisine. He walks the chef through salmon and pan-seared scallop dishes, using chutney and a coconut-curry broth. The chef hugs Ramsay effusively. Gordon then enlists the help of renowned and award-winning Indian chef Vikas Khanna to work with the staff. Gordon sets his design team to makeover the interior and exterior of the restaurant late that night.

The next morning, the tacky electric sign is removed. The restaurant has also been renamed. "Purnima" is an authentic Indian name which means full moon. It's now on the awning above the name Dillons. Mohammed and the staff are impressed with the new décor and exterior.

Chef Vikas Khanna presents the new menu he has designed with Gordon. It is traditional Indian food that is applicable to an American palate. After a tasting, the staff applauds. Gordon addresses the group before the grand re-opening. He gives Martin tips about how to deal with customers and his staff, and asks him to turn his cell phone off during service. Although Martin isn't pleased, the staff giggles to themselves during this dress-down.

Gordon organizes a Purnima parade to launch the new restaurant. A double-decker bus with Indian music and dancing girls announces the re-opening through Manhattan streets. The reservations start booking up.

While Vikas leads the kitchen, Gordon oversees the floor. He makes sure Martin's phone is off. The customers seem pleased to begin with, but Martin's lack of management skill becomes evident. Confusion sets in among the waitresses and causes commotion in the kitchen. The dishes start to back up. Customers start to complain about their food not being warm. Gordon tries to rev up the waiters, but he blames Martin for his mismanagement. Even Andrew realizes that Martin doesn't know what a general manager's job is. Martin is under the impression that Gordon is only trying to anger him.

Gordon takes the floor manager, Khan, aside. Khan assures Gordon that he can run the restaurant instead. He proves to be a better manager, and the food is finally served hot. Khan feels more confident.

The next day, Gordon advises Mohammed to fire one of his managers. Martin overhears this and interrupts. He chides Gordon, and says he has nothing to feel guilty about. Gordon doesn't yell back, but quietly answers all of Martin's claims. Then Martin quits. Mohammed is shocked.

In the days afterwards, the restaurant's revenue increases and the customers are pleased. Chef Vikas Khanna accepts an offer from Mohammed to be Purnima's ongoing consultant. Gordon congratulates the entire staff. The Indian chef gives Gordon one last, long hug. As a neighbor of Purnima, Gordon says, "Next time, I'm coming to eat. I'm not coming to work!"

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