Gordon Ramsay makes it look easy. He takes a restaurant that is a complete and utter disaster, works there for a week, changes absolutely everything about them, and they end up perfect and a big success. To be fair, it is an unbelievably large task, and tonight’s episode was quite possibly larger than most. Yet, Ramsay hardly breaks a sweat, the most worked up he gets is when he is yelling at people.
Tonight, Ramsay took on Dillons, a restaurant that serves, American-Irish food alongside Indian dishes, or so says general manger Martin. When he arrives for a delicious lunch, Ramsay finds some Italian thrown in as well and maybe even one or two other nationalities. Ordering an Indian vegetarian sampler for an appetizer an American salmon for an entrée, as well as some beef bhuna and lamb biryani, he will be trying out two vastly different cuisines that are both cooked in the same kitchen by the same two Indian chefs… sort of. As it turns out, neither of the Indian chefs cooks any of the American dishes, so it is left to the operations manager, Andrew, to cook all the non-Indian cuisine.
When Ramsay’s appetizers arrive, he quickly finds out that the vegetarian appetizer is not so much vegetarian as it is non-vegetarian. He is, as is often the case, less than amused. But, lest we think that Ramsay is infallible, he does make a gross error when eating the beef bhuna. Ramsay is convinced that one of the cubes of meat in the bhuna is not beef, but rather pork. His anger grows as he forces the waitress, who already had to take the non-vegetarian appetizer back into the kitchen, to take back the supposed pork as well. It turns out, much to his chagrin I am sure, that he is wrong. It is not pork at all in the beef bhuna, it is lamb. Okay, I will give you that lamb should probably not be in the beef bhuna, but it was not pork. Ramsay, who yells at everyone for not knowing different foods on his other show thought that the lamb was pork and he was wrong.
Also, the tomato rose served on top of the beef was slightly rotten, but that is nothing in comparison to what Ramsay finds in the kitchen the next day. The flies (which make it to the front of the house) are numerous, as are the roaches, other bugs, and rat droppings. There is a green moldy hamburger patty, week old cooked potatoes, green chicken, a moldy rotten pepper, and oh, what is this, an incredibly rotten tomato, which has been sliced in half. Ramsay only has one half in his hand, which must mean that the other half is… in the dining room on someone’s plate! Always a high-minded show, Kitchen Nightmares intersperses Ramsay scooping out rotten bits from the tomato with his finger with shots of the poor soul eating his lunch who presumably has the other half tomato on his plate. Ramsay promptly closes the kitchen and shuts down the restaurant.
In a bit of over the top theatrics, Ramsay returns later on in full bug squishing regalia. I would call it a hazmat suit, but he doesn’t have a full face mask, only a gas mask. He brings with him steam cleaners and throws his staff and the restaurant’s staff to work scrubbing the whole place top to bottom.
Once the place is clean, Ramsay brings in a consulting chef, redoes the front of the house, gives the place a new name, Purnima, and awning, and throws everyone on a bus with dancing Indian women to go throughout New York heralding the new restaurant. Renaming the place and a huge advertising blitz is probably the only way to get people to go anywhere near the restaurant now.
Ramsay is not through yet though, because the show needs to have a villain. There has to be one single individual who can be made responsible for all of the restaurant’s shortcomings. From the very beginning of the episode it is made clear that tonight the villain is Martin, the general manager. Martin claims, on camera, that the restaurant used to be dirty but is now better. Martin uses his cell phone during dinner service. Martin lies half-asleep in a booth while a waitress strokes his hair. Martin, Martin, Martin.
During the relaunch, things do not go entirely smoothly, food gets cold and people get upset. Whose fault is this? That is right, it is Martin’s fault. Ramsay takes aside the do-nothing floor manager, whose job no one has defined to this point, Khan, and puts him in charge for the rest of the dinner service. Miraculously, everything is just wonderful. The food leaves the kitchen hot and everyone is happy. Everyone save Martin and Ramsay.
Ramsay actually suggests to the owner of Purnima that he ought to hire the consulting chef Ramsay brought in to be a full-time staffer, but to do that he has to let a manager go. Ramsay even begins to say that it should be Martin, but Martin, who to this point has kept his cool, jumps in and gets into a fight with Ramsay. The fight ends with Martin looking foolish and quitting. St. Gordon has slain the dragon.
In the "following days" the show tells us the restaurant is a huge success and that the owner has hired the consulting chef to consult on a regular basis. As for Martin? Well who knows.
Oh, and another thing (or two):
- If you pay close attention you will notice that the restaurant’s awning initially says "Dillons Restaurant." After it is renamed it says "Purnima" and under that "Dillions Restaurant." Was all that work done to change the restaurant done so quickly that the little things fell by the wayside? Is the whole place going to fall apart next week?
- Is the operations manager in no way responsible for the way things operate? Is his job so totally focused the bottom line that he does not notice the bugs crawling all over the books?
- Ramsay suggests to Martin before the relaunch that he should be "less in your face" to the customers and that people find him "intimidating." Pot? Kettle? Have you two met previously because you are both dressed in black and that can be kind of embarrassing.
Okay, fine, you got me, I can be intimidating too, just read the other things I have to say over at The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews.