Kitchen Nightmares Episode Recaps

Finn McCool's

Finn McCool's

Aired: 11/7/07

During the winter, the prestigious town of West Hampton on New York's Long Island becomes a quiet neighborhood community. Finn McCool's is a family restaurant that is slowly dying. Owner Buddy is a retired policeman. Both of his sons work there. Jason is a manager and Brian is head chef. Buddy is fully aware that Brian cuts corners at the expense of the food's quality. Jason butts heads with his brother as well. Buddy is hoping that Chef Ramsay will show the cocky Brian that he isn't always right. On top of this, the business is in hundreds of thousands in debt.

Gordon arrives and thinks the outside of Finn McCool's looks like a funeral parlor. The inside has no semblance of a family pub atmosphere. Waitress Carol is quick to point out that one of the problems is Brian's arrogance. As the family argues, Gordon asks to try some food. Jason's wife Melissa is a waitress. She tells Gordon that their clams are frozen. He instead orders the spring rolls, salmon and a shepherd's pie.

Gordon deems the spring rolls as strange-looking. Brian is utterly shocked that this award-winning chef didn't like them. Then the salmon is served with too much balsamic reduction sauce. Gordon notes that is a sure sign of an insecure chef. Yet the taste is worse. Gordon makes sure to inquire whether the shepherd's pie has the same sauce. "It's just a big ball of grease," Gordon says when it is placed in front of him. He grimaces when he takes a bite and ends up regurgitating it in the men's room. Buddy can only shake his head. Heading back into the kitchen, Gordon berates Brian for the food. Brian acts like he couldn't care less.

Chef Ramsay takes to the West Hampton streets to consult with the local firemen about the reputation of Finn McCool's. He hears that it is known for only serving fried food. When he invites the firemen to a dinner at his behest, they are not eager to come.

Returning to the restaurant's kitchen, Gordon is appalled at the molding produce and the poor food storage. He confronts the family about their commitment to the business and challenges Buddy and the sons to help him clean the kitchen. Gordon puts on gloves and works alongside them.

That night, with a spotless kitchen, there are no customers for dinner. Thankfully, the firemen have decided to take up Gordon on his offer and they show up to eat. Gordon watches Brian work and questions when he last cooked with a fresh vegetable. "Last summer," is Brian's reply. When the clam casserole is baked with frozen clams, Brian confesses to Gordon that, even though he can purchase fresh clams, he chooses not to.

Forty-five minutes into the dinner service and none of the firemen have been served. Brian is on his cell phone as he cooks. Yet when the food does come out, the firemen moan that the meals are cold, the fish is not fresh and the dishes are dry. Gordon pulls Brian to the dining room to face the customers. He hears the complaints firsthand, but brushes them off.

Back in the kitchen, Gordon watches in horror as sous chef Francis drops a piece of chicken on the floor and then throws it back into the fryer. Francis explains that the fryer "sterilizes" the food. Buddy is sickened.

On Day Three, Buddy divulges to Gordon that he can't last much longer because the business isn't profiting. He hasn't claimed a paycheck in months. Buddy acknowledges that he would fire Brian if he wasn't his son. Yet closing the restaurant would put the entire family out of work.

Gordon retreats to the kitchen to show Brian how to concoct a real shepherd's pie. He makes everyone taste both his new pie and Brian's version. The entire staff chooses Gordon's and this angers Brian. Feeling humiliated, Brian downs a beer at the bar. Buddy tries speaking to his son in private about his work habits, but Brian curses him out and leaves in a huff.

Left without a chef, Buddy takes over the kitchen for that night's dinner. Gordon works the pass with assistance from Jason. Yet Buddy is hopeless in the kitchen and the service is a disaster.

Brian returns on the fourth day. After running the dinner the night before alone, both Jason and Buddy gain respect for what's been on his shoulders. Gordon confesses to Brian that he now understands why he is so unhappy. He encourages Brian to handle his kitchen a different way. Gordon thinks that a newfound confidence in his cooking will turn everything around.

The design team worked overnight to transform Finn McCool's into a more inviting and warmer atmosphere. Melissa tears up because Buddy is so happy. Then Gordon unveils a new sign outside that will be visible to anyone passing by. The entire family is choked up.
Chef Ramsay presents them with the new menu. He has lightened up the food, removed the fried items and added more contemporary pub food. There is a new hamburger and the Ramsay family recipe for shepherd's pie. He added a fireman's chicken plate. Gordon also wants to introduce tableside preparation.

That night, Buddy gives the team a pep talk. Brian encourages everyone to have fun and kick ass. With town gossip about Gordon's visit, the re-launch is fully booked. Gordon persuaded the fireman to give Finn McCool's another chance and they are back in full force.

The tickets roll in and Brian becomes overwhelmed. Gordon persuades Brian to focus on quality. Adding to the pressure is the presence of a local food critic. She is annoyed when she's kept waiting an hour for her table.

The customers are restless when they don't get their food. The fire chief has yet to be served. He wonders aloud if the restaurant is too overcrowded for the fire code. Gordon tries to work the pass, but Brian is not working up to his standards.

The food that does go out is well-received. Jason tries to put out fires in the dining room, assuring the packed house that they will be seated soon. People start leaving. Gordon presses Brian to move faster. It soon becomes a disaster as the dining room turns into disarray. Gordon pulls Brian aside and asks him to prove that he can step it up.

The food critic orders the mulligatawny stew, and Melissa serves it up table side. Gordon watches nervously as the critic's table mates enjoy their shepherd's pie. Things start to look up. Customers leave satisfied and the family proves they can make it work.

After the dinner service, the entire staff is pleased that they made it through. Brian senses that he spent his chef career just going through the motions. He credits Gordon with helping him realize how much he enjoys cooking. Brian is touched when Gordon calls him "Chef." Buddy hugs Gordon warmly, thanking him for all his help. He is proud that his family has bonded.

Afterward, Gordon admits that fixing this restaurant was a joy because it brought that family together.

Two months later, Finn McCool's is on its way to establishing its reputation. The shepherd's pie is the talk of the town. Jason and Brian have grown closer. Buddy finally cashes his first paycheck.

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