Air Date: 4/29/11
Chef Ramsay is on the famed Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California, visiting La Frite, a French restaurant that's become the victim of its owners' sibling rivalry. French-born Andre opened the restaurant in 1972, and the place became a huge success. He eventually brought his son, Alex, into the business, who was excited to be part of it. But two years ago, Alex's sister, Celine, also joined La Frite, much to Alex's dismay. The once-close siblings now have a troubled relationship, thanks to constantly butting heads over how to run things. Celine wants to make changes; Alex doesn't.
The food is mediocre, though the La Frite's chef, Martin, who's been there for years, thinks everything is fine. No one seems to be listening to Celine's comments and ideas. She's hoping Chef Ramsay can help, and so does Andre, who's getting older and wants to eventually hand the business completely over to his kids.
Andre first visits Chef Ramsay at his restaurant at the London West Hollywood and gives him a bit of background, explaining that La Frite's biggest problem is the lack of communication between Alex and Celine.
When Chef Ramsay arrives, he meets manager Gail, who's been there 20 years, then he heads over to inspect the giant - and ugly - dessert case that's sitting in the middle of the dining room. He sits down to lunch and meets Celine, who recommends the quiche Lorraine. Chef Ramsay also orders the La Frite salad and a seafood crepe.
The salad is huge but bland, and the dressing is too acidic, something Celine says she's told the kitchen. Unfortunately, Martin won't take advice from a woman. Chef Ramsay finds his attitude "disgusting." The crepe is delivered, and Chef Ramsay can't believe they call it a crepe since it's more like a soggy pie. The "crepe" is cold in many parts and hot in others. Finally, he gets the quiche Lorraine and wonders if it's been microwaved. Martin denies it, but the truth is he has used the microwave.
Chef Ramsay finally heads back to the kitchen to meet the infamous Martin, who first lies but then admits that the quiche did go in the microwave for a bit. Chef Ramsay asks if he hates Celine, and he accuses her of attacking him. Chef Ramsay says that he agrees with Celine: If Martin isn't willing to change, maybe it is time for him to go.
Martin tells Chef Ramsay privately that working with Celine is too much pressure and even her own brother doesn't want to deal with her. Later that night, Alex arrives for dinner service, (Celine's there too, but typically the two don't work the same shifts). Alex tells Chef Ramsay that their conflict is rooted in who's going to control the business and the fact that Alex doesn't think anything's really wrong with La Frite.
The restaurant is packed because word of Chef Ramsay's visit has spread in the community. Chef Ramsay starts out in the kitchen and discovers that Martin is not seasoning the food and is sending out overcooked quiche. Celine says that she knows the issues, but Martin won't listen to her. Alex, on the other hand, doesn't even bother to try to fix things.
Chef Ramsay declares it the most disorganized restaurant that he's ever seen. Martin is burnt-out, Alex is nearly comatose, Andre is off at a hockey game, and the only who cares - Celine - gets ignored. Oh, and the "food sucks."
Sure enough, dishes start getting sent back, and Alex doesn't want to hear from Chef Ramsay. Celine steps outside, upset about her brother's anger and resentment. Chef Ramsay asks Celine to call her dad and get him here. He arrives after service is over, and Chef Ramsay explains that things are worse than he imagined, especially Alex's attitude. The siblings can't work together, and the restaurant's suffering. He needs Andre's help.
The next morning, Chef Ramsay sets up a live video feed of the dining room and asks Andre to listen in while he talks to Celine. She says that Alex resents her because he thought the restaurant would be all his. Alex walks in, and Celine relays her thoughts to him. Alex admits that he thought he was losing the restaurant to Celine and still has an uneasy feeling about whether he belongs here. Celine says that she can't do it alone and isn't going to hurt Alex. He says he finally realizes they need to work together. A teary Andre comes out the kitchen and says that all three of them are in charge and need to sit down together every time they need to make a decision.
After the big breakthrough, Chef Ramsay and his team take out the awful dessert case and put in a crepe station in order to replace the soggy, casserole-like crepes with fresh, light, traditional ones. During that night's dinner service, Alex will be on the floor and working the crepe station, while Celine will be in the kitchen expediting and working alongside Martin.
Right off the bat, the kitchen starts making mistakes, sending out overcooked dishes drowning in oil and flavorless food that continues to get sent back. Customers who ordered the crepes, however, are happy. Afterward, Chef Ramsay says that every "crap dish" the kitchen sends out puts La Frite one step closer to closing its doors. He tells Andre, Celine, and Alex to prepare for some big changes tomorrow.
Overnight, La Frite gets a much-needed facelift, and everyone loves the new modern French bistro look. Chef Ramsay introduces a chef named Chuy he's brought in to teach the kitchen staff and the updated menu he's created. There's mint filet mignon finished with quail egg, a braised lamb shank with Brussels sprouts, and coq au vin. The dishes are amazing.
Later, at relaunch night, appetizers get out of the kitchen quickly and are served to happy customers. Soon, however, trouble brews as a frustrated Celine tries to get answers from Martin, who's simply ignoring her. Food is suddenly taking so long to get out that tables start threatening to leave . . . and one finally does. Celine breaks down and says it hurts her to see customers walk out without getting their food. Chef Ramsay implores Celine to delegate, and she asks Chuy to take over the reins of the kitchen. She's thrilled that he's acknowledging her, unlike Martin. With Chuy in charge, and working hand-in-hand with Celine, entrees start flying out of the kitchen to the remaining customers, who enjoy their meals. Dinner service ends on a positive note.
Afterward, Chef Ramsay says that the kitchen wouldn't have been able to handle the service without Chuy's help. Now that the family's united, they need to fix the kitchen. He's also proud of how well Alex and Celine worked together.
In the days that followed, Chef Chuy was brought in as the full-time executive chef and has been working to build a strong team in the kitchen. Alex and Celine have also been working hard to continue the family legacy . . . together.
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