Kitchen Nightmares Episode Recaps

Lela's

Lela's

Aired: 11/21/07

In downtown Pomona, CA, there's a "fine dining" restaurant that's nowhere close to its description. Lela's restaurant is only eight months old but is already on the brink of disaster. Ricky the head chef thinks he's a star. Tabitha the waitress has a vulgar mouth. Owner Lela is in debt to her sister because the business is losing money.

Gordon arrives in downtown Pomona and notices that the entire area seems deserted. He points out all the spelling errors on the menu to Tabitha. When Gordon tries to order fish, she lets him know they are out of shrimp and salmon. Tabitha is embarrassed that she has to deny his requests. Yet Ricky is unfazed by the world-class chef about to taste his food.

The "fresh" tomato basil soup is definitely canned. Although Tabitha assures Gordon that the nachos were made that morning, she is mortified when Ricky tells her that they are a day old. Gordon crosses himself before digging into Ricky's rack of lamb with chocolate mint sauce. The lamb chops have no meat and are frozen. "Is there any main course on this fine dining menu that's not frozen?" he asks. Tabitha reluctantly tells him that nothing is fresh.

Gordon cancels all future dishes about to come out and asks for the brownie-ala-mode dessert. Tabitha is annoyed when she learns that the brownies are gone. Gordon overhears her cursing at Ricky. Gordon enters the kitchen and tells Ricky that the food served was a "pile of sh**." Ricky defends his chocolate mint sauce. Gordon asks him if he's lazy, and Ricky walks off.

The next day, Gordon inspects the kitchen. The refrigerator isn't even cold. The meats are going bad and the smells are awful. He doesn't find any fresh food. The lack of cleanliness marks a lack of discipline, so he makes the entire staff clean the dining room and the kitchen. While they get to work, Gordon takes to the streets to check out the neighborhood. He meets a lot of young people who don't have the money to pay for fine dining.

Although pleased with the cleanup, Gordon is not happy with the lackadaisical atmosphere of the workers. When a wave of customers enters, it becomes obvious to Gordon that no real leader exists. There's only Ricky in the kitchen and Tabitha manning the front of the house.


The patrons order dishes that the kitchen has run out of. And what they do have in stock is packaged fish and powdered mashed potatoes. Ricky says "no one's ever complained about them." With the dinner service still in full force, one employee named Buzzard leaves to go home. He takes with him a sack full of meals. Gordon makes him go back and show his doggie bag to Lela. There also full bottles of wine in his bag. Caught red-handed, Buzzard leaves in a fuss.

After the service is over, Gordon chastises the staff. Ricky claims he has a passion for food, but Gordon thinks he has no respect or professionalism. Lela hopes everyone's attitude changes for the better.

Buzzard returns the next morning and Gordon confronts him about stealing from Lela. She fires Buzzard. Gordon turns his attention back to the chefs, and puts them through a blind taste test. Ricky can't even tell the difference between beef, chicken and pork. The assistant chef Lex has a perfect score and declares himself the better chef. Gordon suggests they switch places. This pisses off Ricky.

On Day Four which is the re-launch, Gordon sends Lela off for a pampering day to get a makeover. While she's gone, Gordon changes the menu. He has Ricky and Lex come up with their version of what a Pomona salad should be. The waitresses taste it and love it. Gordon suggests that the area needs a good burger, and he shows them his perfect recipe. They add "Lela's Famous Burger" to the special menu.

Armed with a catering truck, Gordon and the staff take to the streets to show off the new burger. People are thrilled with it. While they are gone, Gordon's design team remakes the dining room. It's less intimidating and warmer with couches. Then Lela arrives to show off her new look. It makes Tabitha cry with joy.

Before the dinner service, Gordon urges Tabitha to manage the restaurant. He wants Lex to be the head chef and asks Ricky to support him. Gordon has invited local artists, students and car club enthusiasts to the opening and the place is packed. Lela isn't sure whether her staff can handle it. Then the mayor arrives.


The waitresses are proud of the new menu and the customers are responsive. Unfortunately, Lex cannot handle the pressure when the tickets come flying. Thirty minutes in, and no food has been served. Gordon tries to calm Lex down. When the food is finally delivered, table mates are not served at the same time. People start complaining. Tabitha is irritated. The wait staff panics, grabbing whatever food comes up regardless of whether it's for their ticket.

Frustrated and overwhelmed, Lex leaves the kitchen to cool off. Lela fields complaints in the dining room. She goes outside to yell at Lex and they argue. Lela is finally asserting herself as a boss. Lex drives off and Ricky has to take over the kitchen. Gordon shouts out orders. One is for the mayor. Many people are still waiting for their food.

With Ricky back in control, meals finally arrive at the tables. Everyone is thrilled with their food. The mayor declares the Pomona salad great. Lex returns, but he is now supporting Ricky instead of being the head chef.

After dinner service, Gordon congratulates Ricky on a job well done even though he didn't think he could do it. "You proved me wrong," Gordon says. In the next days, Ricky continues to improve and Tabitha grows in her role as manager. Even Lela becomes a better boss and starts to turn a profit. Yet in spite of all the improvements, Lela's debts become too much and she is forced to close her restaurant.

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