The Seascape Inn was one of Long Island's most historical and successful restaurants. It opened more than 40 years ago. Yet it has become a local disaster.
The owners are Irene and her son, Peter, who are now at each other's throats. Peter's father started the restaurant and it was always packed. He died two years ago, and it all went downhill. Now the décor is falling apart. There are complaints of "sewage smell." Peter thinks Chef Doug is the problem because he doesn't listen. Although Doug is experienced, the staff thinks he's "loud and obnoxious." On top of it all, Peter is behind on his bills.
Gordon arrives and is unhappy with the signs posted on street barriers. Irene is immediately smitten. Doug feels like his presence is a slap in the face. Irene notes that the Board of Health gave them a 95 rating, so the place is clean. Gordon wants to try the food first.
He notices the smell, and the waitress lets him know that it's sewage. Gordon orders crab cakes, and there's parsley all over the plate. He can tell the crab cake isn't fresh and it falls apart. Gordon asks the waitress to check with Doug whether it's frozen. Doug becomes angry. Next Gordon tastes lobster ravioli and it's not fresh either. The Cajun salmon has a pesto on the side that's separated like it was tainted. The fish itself is dry. "You can't expect customers to come and pay for that sh**," he says.
Irene is proud to present Gordon her homemade Greek cookie, but he chokes on the powdered sugar coating. "I'm surprised you guys are still alive," he coughs to the other diners.
That night, Gordon witnesses a dinner service. The customers complain of overcooked pot roast, fishy smells and cold entrees. Then he witnesses Peter arguing with someone on the phone in the middle of the dining room. Gordon goes into the kitchen and argues with Doug about the parsley overload and serving cold food. He is appalled that no one is cleaning as they go. Gordon confronts Peter about why he isn't disciplining Doug. Peter gets a mop and cleans the mess himself. Gordon yells at him. Peter should be controlling his staff instead of cleaning.
This exposes a bigger problem. The kitchen of Seascape appears as if it hasn't been cleaned in years. The next morning, Gordon investigates the place before the staff arrives for lunch service. He is appalled by day-old cooked potatoes, grease caked on the walls, frozen lobster ravioli in buckets, old pesto stored in the refrigerator and mold everywhere. He gags as he touches each hazard.
The following day, Gordon takes Peter, Irene and the chefs on a tour of the filth in the kitchen. Doug is pissed off. Gordon unearths molded pork and half-cooked chicken. Doug claims he's not a "throw-away person." Gordon drags out the pesto sauce served on his salmon. It's tainted. Gordon scrapes the grease off the wall. Even though twenty tables are booked, he wants to close the whole restaurant down. Waitress Marilyn, who started working at the Seascape in 1967, has to turn customers away.
Doug becomes enraged. Charlie the sous chef doesn't know how to clean the kitchen. Irene explains to Gordon that she yells at her son to control his cooks. The staff then spends 24 hours cleaning.
Gordon shows Doug and Charlie how to create fresh seafood dishes. Doug is still furious, and doesn't care. Irene and Peter taste Gordon's striped bass dish and they are pleased. Doug refuses to try the meal. "At this point, I don't even want to be here," Doug mutters under his breath. Charlie tries recreating the striped bass, and Gordon chides him for burning it. Charlie curses under his breath.
Gordon lets Irene and Peter know that their head chef is lazy, dirty and doesn't deserve to be near a kitchen. He challenges Peter to be the boss and get rid of Doug and Charlie. Irene begs her son to do it. Peter weakly fires them.
Five days later, and the restaurant is still closed. Gordon needs to light a fire under Peter, so he takes him to a boxing gym. Urging Peter to punch with his heart, Gordon calls him a "sack of sh**." Peter admits that he lied. He always knew the kitchen was dirty. He confesses that his father didn't care about him and never complimented him. Gordon screams at Peter to prove his father wrong. Peter's punches grow stronger.
While the boys were at the gym, Gordon's design team made over the restaurant. Irene and Peter are stunned at how beautiful it looks with red walls and tablecloths bringing in the warmth. "You brought the old Seascape back," Marilyn says. "Even the barstools!" She feels great when she sees her photo on the wall as part of the Seascape's history.
With the staff reinvigorated, Gordon has found a new head chef named Scott and shows him some new recipes. The staff loves the new menu as they taste each dish. Next, Gordon needs to show Peter how to be a proper host. He brings in Jean Baptiste, the maitre d' at his New York City restaurant who has grown up in the French restaurant industry. Jean Baptiste recommends Peter wear a jacket and walk around the dining room more elegantly.
Gordon thinks the reopening all rests on Peter's shoulders. Everyone is excited and the tables fill. There's a 20 minute wait. Jean Baptiste gives Peter some tips about handling the wait, but he's doesn't think it's going well. Gordon encourages Peter to step up. The food orders pile up, and the waitresses are flustered. It's now up to Peter to manage the dining room. Even Marilyn is disappointed that the food is not coming out. Scott is annoyed because the wait staff isn't operating properly.
Irene is losing her patience with her son's management and they fight. Peter blames her for not believing in him. A table that hasn't been served walks out. Gordon pulls Peter aside to calm him down and plead with him to be a good boss. Peter asks Gordon for a hug, and Gordon quickly gives it to him. Peter seems inspired by the pep talk, and he starts communicating to Scott in the kitchen. Both Jean Baptiste and Gordon take note, and the food rolls out.
After close, Gordon commends Peter. He knows customers will now come back, and insists that Peter keep it up. Gordon stays on with them during the rest of the week. He works with Scott and Peter to improve the menu's vibrancy and work with local fishermen. He then established an annual chowder cook-off at Seascape to endear the restaurant back with the community. The judge is the town mayor and the winning dish is added to the Seascape's menu.
Over the days, Scott whips the kitchen into shape. And Marilyn brought back tableside flambé, one of the restaurant's traditions. Peter is happy that, not only are they making money, but that people are smiling and happy. More importantly, Irene gains respect for her son. Peter knows that Gordon taught him to stand up and be the owner. Irene is grateful to Chef Ramsay for saving them.
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