Kitchen Nightmares

ALL NEW / 2-HR EPISODE
FRI 8/7c APR 18

Kitchen Nightmares Episode Recaps

Sebastian's

Sebastian's

Aired: 11/7/07

Located near the Universal and Warner Bros. studio lots in Burbank, CA, Sebastian's is owned by a part-time actor. Sebastian is a Massachusetts native who believes he can cook anything. Yet his temperament is conflicting with his employees, and he has fired 49 people over the last year. Most of the workers are actors. The huge menu is confusing to both customers and wait staff. On top of that, the business is losing money.

Gordon arrives and remarks that the front is tacky. He sits down for lunch and is shocked that Sebastian has time to greet every customer that walks through the door. Looking at the menu, Gordon explains his one simple rule of dining: "Whenever you come across a menu with photographs, get the f**k out of there." Then Sebastian forces Gordon to hear what the "concept" of the menu is, and Gordon can only put his face in his hands. It is utterly complex, but not in a good way.

Gordon orders calamari, and Sebastian assures him that it's fresh. He also requests a New York strip and a pizza. Gordon chats up Sonia, the actress-waitress, who lets him know that the calamari are, in fact, frozen. One taste confirms this, and Gordon asks Sonia for a sick bag. Sebastian is not pleased by this comment.

Next he is served a "Popeye" pizza. Even though there is a wood-burning oven in the kitchen, the pizza is watery and doesn't seem fresh. The steak doesn't cut it either, and Gordon says that his plate looks like "a can of dog food" and is an "embarrassment to New York strip steak."

"I hope you can act, because you clearly can't cook," Gordon laments to Sebastian about his lackluster meal. Sebastian explains that he doesn't have the money to buy fresh calamari for a seafood medley. The pizza dough is delivered frozen, even though Gordon thought it was the house specialty. Yet Sebastian corrects him -- it's the "concept menu" that is the specialty.

Sebastian hopes to one day sell his pizzas in supermarkets all over the world. Gordon realizes that he is delusional. Inside the kitchen, Sebastian congratulates himself for winning the argument. Gordon comes back in to yell. Sebastian can't even cook one good pizza so how can he think about franchising?

Gordon returns to witness a dinner service. He can't believe the sight of the waitresses having to go through a lengthy menu explanation to every customer. As he watches the kitchen and Chef Lou in control of the busy service, Gordon recognizes that every single thing prepared is originally frozen. One look in the freezer shows that all food is processed or pre-packaged.

In an attempt to impress Chef Ramsay, Sebastian pushes Lou over to another station and takes over the kitchen. Gordon witnesses that the wood-burning oven is not being used as much as the microwave. Sebastian's carelessness allows a salad to go out with a hair in it. They end up having to comp over $300 in food to make up for his errors. Sebastian ends his night by hanging out and drinking on the patio, which angers Gordon.

Gordon pulls Sebastian away from the drink and has him taste his own mashed potatoes. Gordon thinks they are disgusting, and notes that 95% of the food is not even homemade. Sebastian isn't bothered by the bad food, as long as he has time to go out and make the customers happy. Gordon is flabbergasted. "You're beyond reach," he says.

After service, Gordon sits down with the entire staff. Sebastian is more concerned with giving away free items than making money. The first big change is to institute a new menu. Sebastian is shocked.

The next day, Gordon tries to convince Sebastian that the restaurant should become famous for its wood-burning oven pizza. He has professionals teach the kitchen staff how to toss pizza dough. Lou and the boys have fun as they learn.

That night, Gordon's design team transforms the restaurant. It now looks like a legitimate restaurant with real chairs. Even Sebastian is impressed. Gordon unveils a fresh dough mixer. Lou is overwhelmed and tears up. Gordon shows off the new, smaller, less-confusing menu. Everything is based around the wood-burning oven that was never used. The food photos are gone. Sebastian is unhappy that his mix and match style has been deleted. "I don't see any uniqueness," he says. Sebastian loves his old menu. Gordon points out that it didn't work, so why not try something new?

That night of the re-launch is the same night as the Academy Awards. Gordon rolls a red carpet out front to take advantage of the coincidence. The kitchen gets to work on last-minute preparations. Sebastian is still brooding over Gordon's menu changes. He vacuums and complains. As the customers pile in, Sebastian hides in the back, refusing to participate. Gordon encourages him to take control of the kitchen.
An hour into service, the simplified menu is allowing the kitchen to run better. The orders are flying out. The entrees are a hit, and the freshness is apparent. The staff is pleased. Yet instead of being happy, Sebastian is still annoyed by the menu change. He wants to go back to his 20 menu combinations and doesn't support the new mandate for freshness. He pulls food from the freezer and starts to microwave it in his old manner.
In an attempt to impress Chef Ramsay, Sebastian pushes Lou over to another station and takes over the kitchen. Gordon witnesses that the wood-burning oven is not being used as much as the microwave. Sebastian's carelessness allows a salad to go out with a hair in it. They end up having to comp over $300 in food to make up for his errors. Sebastian ends his night by hanging out and drinking on the patio, which angers Gordon.

Gordon pulls Sebastian away from the drink and has him taste his own mashed potatoes. Gordon thinks they are disgusting, and notes that 95% of the food is not even homemade. Sebastian isn't bothered by the bad food, as long as he has time to go out and make the customers happy. Gordon is flabbergasted. "You're beyond reach," he says.

After service, Gordon sits down with the entire staff. Sebastian is more concerned with giving away free items than making money. The first big change is to institute a new menu. Sebastian is shocked.

The next day, Gordon tries to convince Sebastian that the restaurant should become famous for its wood-burning oven pizza. He has professionals teach the kitchen staff how to toss pizza dough. Lou and the boys have fun as they learn.

That night, Gordon's design team transforms the restaurant. It now looks like a legitimate restaurant with real chairs. Even Sebastian is impressed. Gordon unveils a fresh dough mixer. Lou is overwhelmed and tears up. Gordon shows off the new, smaller, less-confusing menu. Everything is based around the wood-burning oven that was never used. The food photos are gone. Sebastian is unhappy that his mix and match style has been deleted. "I don't see any uniqueness," he says. Sebastian loves his old menu. Gordon points out that it didn't work, so why not try something new?

That night of the re-launch is the same night as the Academy Awards. Gordon rolls a red carpet out front to take advantage of the coincidence. The kitchen gets to work on last-minute preparations. Sebastian is still brooding over Gordon's menu changes. He vacuums and complains. As the customers pile in, Sebastian hides in the back, refusing to participate. Gordon encourages him to take control of the kitchen.
An hour into service, the simplified menu is allowing the kitchen to run better. The orders are flying out. The entrees are a hit, and the freshness is apparent. The staff is pleased. Yet instead of being happy, Sebastian is still annoyed by the menu change. He wants to go back to his 20 menu combinations and doesn't support the new mandate for freshness. He pulls food from the freezer and starts to microwave it in his old manner.

An hour into service, the simplified menu is allowing the kitchen to run better. The orders are flying out. The entrees are a hit, and the freshness is apparent. The staff is pleased. Yet instead of being happy, Sebastian is still annoyed by the menu change. He wants to go back to his 20 menu combinations and doesn't support the new mandate for freshness. He pulls food from the freezer and starts to microwave it in his old manner.

This causes confusion in the kitchen because what he's doing doesn't match the new menu. As soon as this happens, the entire kitchen falls apart. Sebastian lets Gordon know that he doesn't want to lose the combination aspect of his old menu. Gordon sees that Sebastian's ego is getting in the way of success.

Gordon pulls him aside and tries to speak rationally to him. Everything has changed for the better but Sebastian. "I've never met someone I believe in as little as you," Gordon says. He is sure that Sebastian will go back to his sloppy, shortcut ways. Sebastian is furious and curses loudly for all to hear. He leaves in a furious rage, and goes after Gordon. Sebastian shouts expletives at him.

The kitchen has come to a halt, and Gordon returns to put things in order. Outside, Sebastian cries about being called a failure. "It's a slap of reality, and I know that he's right," he says to the camera. Sebastian refuses to give up and comes back to the kitchen. The staff is afraid that he might blow up again, but he gets to work. Sebastian realizes that there is a great opportunity there for him. Everyone turns the kitchen around and the customers are pleased with the output.

After service, Gordon congratulates the entire staff. He singles out Lou for her enthusiasm. Sebastian admits that Chef Ramsay did help. Gordon has mixed feelings as he leaves. He is not sure whether Sebastian will really stick to the new plan.

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