It's been a year since Chef Ramsay traveled the country, trying to save restaurants in trouble. In his travels he tasted plenty of bad food and witnessed everything from incompetence to indifference. Now, he is back to check up on three of those same restaurants and ask the tough questions as he finds out what happened to some of the businesses he tried to save. Who is living the dream and who turned their kitchen back into a nightmare?
Before revisiting Mojito, a Cuban restaurant in Brooklyn that was run by a divorced couple at war with each other, Chef Ramsay takes a look back at his first visit to the eatery last year. When Chef Ramsay first visited, he found the décor to be like a "garage sale gone wrong," the food too salty, and the owners at each other's throats. They had seven years in the business, but all they had to show for it was a failed marriage. The dinner service he observed also revealed customer complaints, more fighting, and a disgusting storage facility with way too much food - a huge waste of money.
After heart-to-heart talks with owners Kata and Marcelo, Chef Ramsay saw that they both wanted to be there and to have Mojito succeed. Chef Ramsay revealed some renovations and a revamped menu, but chef Eduardo was having trouble keeping up. When Marcelo jumped back into the kitchen and took charge, things definitely improved. The final dinner service during Chef Ramsay's visit had a few hiccups, but it went pretty well over all, and the estranged couple proved that not only could they stop bickering, but they could actually work well together.
Now, Chef Ramsay is back at Mojito a year later. After exchanging hugs with Kata, who's thrilled to see him, he asks her about business. Kata explains that she and Marcelo are working together as partners and respecting each other. Business is up by 30 percent, they've paid off half their debt, and they expect to be out of debt completely within six months.
When Chef Ramsay goes into the kitchen to see Marcelo, he confirms that he and Kata are treating each other with respect. But what about that overstocked fridge that was wasting money? He finds a completely organized storage situation with clearly dated ingredients - a big change.
It's time for Chef Ramsay to see how the food has held up. He's happy with everything he tastes. Over lunch, he grills Kata a bit more on how she and Marcelo are getting along, and she introduces him to the "peacemaker" she and Marcelo call when they disagree: her mom. After Marcelo arrives at the table, Chef Ramsay asks a bold question: With the financial pressure of the business gone, which typically causes stress on a relationship, is there any chance the couple might get back together? It turns out they did try to give it another try, but they decided they're best as just business partners. Chef Ramsay tells them how proud he is and that the future of Mojito looks bright.
Next up, Chef Ramsay takes a look back at his first visit to Flamangos, in the peaceful town of Whitehouse Station, N.J. The trouble was, thanks to stubborn owner Adele, who had a penchant for yelling at staffers, Flamangos was anything but peaceful. The business was run by Adele, her husband, Bill, and 42-year-old daughter Sheryl, whom he was shocked to find was still living with her parents, due to the fact that she hadn't gotten a paycheck in two years.
Chef Ramsay wasn't impressed by the tacky tropical décor nor the awful food. While observing a dinner service, he quickly realized why the restaurant was failing: slow service, customers unhappy with their meals, and an owner who treats her staff like dogs.
Chef Ramsay decided to put Bill back in the kitchen to cook his favorite dish, meatloaf. Though Adele was fighting him every step of the way, the customers truly loved the meatloaf special. But, as usual, the dishes on the old menu bombed. In a drastic measure, Chef Ramsay set fire to the old, tropical furniture and worked overnight to create a completely new look for the restaurant, now dubbed The Junction. Guess what? Adele hated it.
Chef Ramsay remembers her as one of the most stubborn owners he ever worked with. She thought the new menu was too "limited," and though all of the staffers loved the new, fresh dishes, Adele had nothing but complaints. During The Junction's inaugural dinner service, Chef Ramsay even caught her arguing with customers who complimented the changes! Chef Ramsay took her aside to explain that her negativity was going to rub off on her husband and daughter, the staff, and the customers. Finally, Bill managed to get Adele to put a smile on, and she realized that customers were indeed happy.
Now, Chef Ramsay is back to visit the woman he once dubbed "Madam Grumpy" and see if she's changed her ways. After being greeted by daughter Cheryl (and learning that she hasn't moved out of her parents' house yet, as she promised she would), Chef Ramsay surprises Adele in the kitchen and asks if she's going easier on her workers. A waitress confirms she is. Adele explains that the previous chef left and that business is different since they went from a higher-end restaurant to a more affordable place. Though Chef Ramsay jokes she hasn't changed, Adele admits that she's very happy when she sees her restaurant full.
Chef Ramsay sits down to lunch with Adele (who orders a Sex on the Beach cocktail!), Bill, and Cheryl, and they talk about what they enjoyed most and least about his last visit. When the food comes, Chef Ramsay is still impressed with Bill's meatloaf. After some laughs at the table, he presents Cheryl with a gift: an alligator doll to replace the one he burned in the fire. Adele admits that Chef Ramsay made the changes that needed to be made, while Cheryl says that the restaurant would have closed without him. Chef Ramsay is thrilled that Adele has embraced change and The Junction is back on track. Now they just have to get Cheryl out of the house!
One of Chef Ramsay's biggest challenges last year took place in the Manhattan suburb of Ridgewood, N.J., at Bazzini, a restaurant owned by an angry chef named Paul. His wife wasn't able to get through to him anymore, and his talented pastry chef, Sharon, couldn't stand him.
When Chef Ramsay first showed up, he couldn't believe the place was closed for lunch and the dining room was falling apart. Paul's food was bland and dry, but Sharon's desserts were wonderful. Paul just didn't seem to care about Chef Ramsay's comments, which proved to Chef Ramsay that he had no passion. That night's dinner service was also a debacle, with Paul and Sharon screaming at each other and customers enraged by long waits for disappointing food. Chef Ramsay told Paul flat out that he's miserable and that was the reason Bazzini was going belly up.
The next day, the restaurant finally opened for lunch service, and after a contemporary makeover, the place looked great. Chef Ramsay cut the menu from 27 dishes to 15 and included such delicious items as chargrilled calamari and tagliatelle with mussels and clams. On the big relaunch night, Chef Ramsay realized that Paul didn't work well under pressure, and after the sous chef disappeared, Chef Ramsay and Sharon pitched in and made the night a success. But what would happen when Chef Ramsay wasn't there to bail Paul out?
Now, a year later, it's time to find out. Chef Ramsay is disappointed as soon as he returns when he finds Bazzini, once again, closed for lunch. He gives his pal Sharon a call and makes a shocking discovery: Bazzini isn't just closed for lunch, it's closed for good. He pays Sharon a visit at her new job, working as a baker, where she gives him the scoop. Turns out Bazzini never actually started lunch service, and after one too many outbursts by Paul, Sharon quit. The restaurant closed a short time later. After the two chat for a bit, Chef Ramsay wishes Sharon well and leaves.
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