Every episode of Kitchen Nightmares seems to promise the “worst owner ever.” In the case of tonight’s episode, those over-the-top promos might be right.
‘How Can I Be Passionate When He Sucks The Life Out of You?’
Owner Tom bought the restaurant for his daughter Andrea. But six years later, he refuses to let her run it. He’s a control freak, which wouldn’t be a problem if the food wasn’t mostly frozen and entirely inedible. Clearly Chef Ramsay is facing a challenge he won’t soon forget, even if it wasn’t being recorded for television. In the lengthy introduction, there are many scenes of father and daughter clashing as well as comments from restaurant manager Andrea, who notes “Tom runs this restaurant like it’s a little country he owns.” An example of the level of Tom’s controlling nature is that he picks up Chef Ramsay at the train station and fills him in on the situation, as he sees it, as they head towards the restaurant. And according to Tom, the problem is all due to his lazy daughter and staff. But Ramsay hears a different story once he speaks with Andrea and the staff. Tom comes out to talk to Andrea and Ramsay and he continues to claim Andrea isn’t ready to handle the business. Talk about a dysfunctional family situation.
There Are Good Reasons Why No One Serves Cranberry Haddock
It’s time for Chef Ramsay to order and all you need to know about this place is that its specialty is cranberry haddock. Mmmm…cough. And as soon as he orders “fresh” lobster ravioli, you know that it’s likely fresh from the deep freeze. Despite Tom’s claims that all of his food is excellent, the ravioli look like four pieces of fried lumps swimming in transmission fluid. The cranberry haddock isn’t much better, since Ramsay is able to pour about a cup of a watery mystery sauce off of his plate. As for the meatloaf, it turns out that it was made weeks ago and then frozen to be used at a later date. When Ramsay visits the kitchen, he tries to determine why the food being served would be an embarrassment to fast food and it’s quickly obvious that the problem is owner Tom. He insists the food is wonderful and it’s what the locals eat. The chefs disagree and admit that they don’t think the food is very good.
Frozen is As Frozen Does
After Ramsay leaves, Tom berates the chefs for not supporting the food. He denies that he’s ever told them what to cook and explains that it’s all their fault. This all sounds suspiciously like the previous conversation between Tom and Andrea. That night, Ramsay watches the dinner service and is appalled by the use of blocks of frozen calamari and ice-encrusted hockey puck-sized pieces of meatloaf. He dares Tom to go into the dining room and tell his customers about the frozen food and, of course, Tom refuses. But Chef Ramsay does venture in to talk to the customers and he hears countless complaints about bland food that often looks and tastes as if it had been stored for hours on an open buffet table. Back in the kitchen, Ramsay confronts Tom about the extensive use of frozen food and the owner somehow claims that frozen fish often smells and tastes better than the fresh variety. As you might expect, Chef Ramsay is not convinced.
The Only Thing Left In the Freezer Is the Ice Cream
The next morning, Ramsay appears on a local radio morning show to find out what local residents think of the restaurant’s food. He hears the complaints he expected to from the callers and it fortifies him to head back and confront Tom. For whatever reason, Tom decides to step back that night and let Andrea run things. Maybe it has something to do with that disclaimer at the end of the show warning that some scenes have “been shot in a way that they may be aired out of sequence.” Regardless, Ramsay introduces the new menu to the staff, complete with a fresh bacon-wrapped meatloaf and homemade clam chowder. As the service begins, Ramsay quickly notices that some of the salmon isn’t cooked in the middle and has Andrea replace it. But the staff finishes strong and the customers really love the new menu. Tom claims that he’ll never go back to the frozen ingredients, but I’m not sure I believe him. Regardless, he sits down with Andrea and tells her that he’s leaving the restaurant in her hands. And with any luck, that will mean a happy ending for everyone.