After slapping the wrong behavior out of California the past couple weeks, Gordon brings his game to Cafe Hon in Baltimore, an eatery owned by a woman who’s managed to make everyone in the entire city hate her. This includes community members, her whole damn staff, and the baby Jesus, who asked me to inform the restaurant proprietors of the world that he’s sick of all the bad attitudes flying around lately.
According to the entire city of Baltimore, the word Hon is a special term of endearment among residents–a word that brings people together. So of course there’s this one bitch who decides to trademark it and hound the shit out of anyone who dares to type it on their website or salable goods. Denise is the owner of Cafe Hon, and has put plenty of effort into this crusade. She slaps a cease and desist order on anyone who uses “her” word, and since the people of Baltimore don’t truck with that sort of foolery, they’re boycotting her to hell and back.
Boycott? But she seems so nice!
As is common knowledge, shit rolls downhill, which means Head Chef Greg and the other employees are the ones feeling the fallout of Denise’s hardships. She’s constantly screaming around the kitchen, berating the staff and messing up their groove, which in turn affects the food. Denise is the kind of bitch who justifies every word out of her own mouth, so of course isn’t interested in changing. She can’t believe the people of Baltimore are being so meeeean to her, when all she’s trying to do is realize her dreeeam!
Well, here comes Gordon, who will hopefully snuff out that little speech. He visits a local radio station to get an outside perspective on what’s happening with the People vs. Cafe Hon. The djs tell him that the food quality is incidental–the problem is Denise and her insistence on capitalizing on the one word that’s a local icon and should belong to everybody. Apparently she’s gone so far as to bring lawyers into it on several occasions, which went over as well as you’d expect.
After getting the lowdown on the community’s perspective, Gordon visits Cafe Hon, where he gawks at the 60-foot-tall Flamingo of DOOOOOOM gracing the doorway.
I’ll bet the first thing he does is tear this big pink bitch to the ground.
And may I just say that Gordy looks especially adorable this episode, what with that black tee and tousled hair? He can leave the purple beaded necklace at home next time, though. Not sure what that was all about.
Gordon is greeted by Manager Debbie, whose handshake is slick with whipped cream residue. Way to be classy, you fucking slob. Gordon and Denise go off to chat, and Debbie tells us she knows Denise will break out the Charm City charm for Gordon, and refrain from her everyday über-twat behavior. She hopes Gordon can see through the facade to the bitch that lurks beneath.
I’m not supposed to say this, but she’s a bitch to end all bitches.
Well, Denise has decided to play the helpless woman card, immediately firing up the waterworks. May I just say once again that this behavior does nothing positive for the image of women everywhere? Half the world already thinks we’re a bunch of irrational bitches; there’s no need to strengthen their case by acting an unstable fool whenever something goes wrong.
She tells him she’s put everything she owned into the place, but business is half of what it was a year ago. The problem, and at least she knows it, is the whole trademark issue, though when she tearfully recounts her side of things, she leaves out the whole part where she sics her lawyer all over the townspeople. Gordon, who knows the deal, gives her plenty of lead-in to admit it, but essentially has to drag it out of her. She continually denies it, until he informs her he knows she’s full of shit. Even then she won’t say the words, and is just sitting there in denial. Gordon tells her he can’t help her if he doesn’t have the whole story. This woman seems a bit delusional. Did she really think Gordon’s research assistants wouldn’t have dragged the details out of someone?
Since they’ve talked that issue to death, Gordon makes the rounds of employee introductions and sits down to try the food. Beautifully coiffed Amanda impresses him with her big haired magnificence, but the crackheaded picture of Denise on the menu gives him pause.
Looking “honderful”, if it please Your Grace. Jesus H.
Apparently, all things at Cafe Hon revolve around Denise and her delusional self-image.
Despite some trouble getting his mouth around the giant sandwich in front of him, Gordon digs the crab cake within. He stops when he gets to the shrimp, though, and Amanda agrees they taste a bit off. Denise tastes the shrimp and OF COURSE pronounces it perfect. According to Debbie, this attitude is par for the course. All the dishes are cooked according to Denise’s own recipes and specifications, and the cooks have exactly zero say in anything.
They console themselves by gazing at this lovely beehive.
They send some greasy fish and chips out to the Brit, which is just a bad idea. Naturally, Denise is full of excuses for that. Gordon is then presented with a slab of meatloaf he opines must be the turd of that giant flamingo. He hates it, and Denise goes so far as to say Gordon doesn’t know from good food, because she’s been open for 20 years so has to be doing something right.
Now he’s offended on a patriotic level.
Clearly the palate of Gordon Ramsay is for shit when compared to hers, because she KNOWS they have a quality product. The employees huddle up and agree that the chance of Denise actually listening to Gordon and taking his criticism to heart is slim at best.
Gordon storms the kitchen to deliver his opinion, and all the chefs are nodding along. When Gordon finds out it’s basically Denise’s show, he pulls a Culkin face.
Interestingly enough, he does it better than Macaulay. Have you seen Macaulay lately? He looks like eighteen kinds of shit. It’s a shame, really.
Greg tells him they’ve all tried to suggest changes, but Denise is nothing if not impervious to change. You could almost admire her confidence if she wasn’t so completely batshit.
Greg says he thinks he can do a better job in the kitchen than Denise, and you can see he’s going to pay for that shit later on. Denise refuses to let anyone, including Gordon, get in her way.
Okay then, I’m off. Hope you enjoy bankruptcy.
Gordon arrives the next day in his chef jacket, still freaked by the flamingo. The Ramsay name has brought in the customers, and of course Denise is all up in Greg’s shit as he’s trying to clear the tickets. She’s harping on their asparagus preparation techniques, and brings everything to a screeching halt as she gives a tutorial in the middle of the lunch rush. Everyone has to gather around and listen to her instead of cooking, and we all know how that’ll end. She should hire Casimiro from last week’s episode–he’d be happy to stand there and not do a damn thing, I’m sure. And since he doesn’t understand English, she could talk herself hoarse and he’d just smile and nod. Win-win!
Get this man a plane ticket!
Gordon is not impressed with the kitchen, and customers are sending back the food. There’s even a nice long hair gracing someone’s plate. Blegh. Denise, for some reason, decided to throw away all the steaks. It seems that if something comes back to the kitchen, she pulls the item from the menu entirely. Huh? So the customers’ options are rapidly dwindling, the servers are having to tell them there’s no food, and Denise is getting more psychotic by the minute. She keeps screaming “86 the _____!”, customers are walking out, and Gordon can’t believe what he’s seeing.
He and Greg retire to the alley for a chat, and Debbie informs Gordon that they lost around $750 in voids and comps because of that 86 bullshit. Greg says this is pretty normal behavior for Denise, and Gordon heads in to yell at her.
Once inside, he’s surprisingly gentle with Denise, who still seems mired in delusion. She suddenly wants to simplify the menu, as if that’ll be the answer to everything. Gordon tells her it has to go deeper than that, and she needs a clear direction. Even he doesn’t know where to start to fix the problem, because the problem is Denise and her abrasive personality.
He gathers the employees for a meeting the next morning, and they regale him with horror stories. Apparently things run pretty well when Denise isn’t not there, but once she shows up, things go all to hell. She’s horrible to the staff, micromanages everything, and blames failure on the details instead of the big picture. She’s also threatened to fire anyone who gives her negative feedback. So when Gordon brings her in, everyone immediately either starts to cry or craps in their pants.
I’m pretty sure this dude did both.
Anyway, Gordon tells Denise that he’s amazed the whole staff hasn’t quit on her yet, and makes Debbie start the ball rolling. Well, I think that was a good choice, because instead of beating around the bush with some half-assed “we’re all a little uncomfortable with the way you treat us” speech, Debbie busts right into things. “You’re a rude bitch,” she tells Denise, earning wary yet grateful side-eyes from everyone in the room. But it works, because the rest of them find their voices and tell her exactly how badly she’s fucking everything up and that no one likes her. Which is a problem both in and out of the restaurant.
Denise starts weeping, and it appears they might have gotten through to her. She actually apologizes to them and promises to back off. Well, of she’s serious that great, but Debbie has known her for 20 years and isn’t convinced. I’m just wondering how many new faces we’ll see on the follow-up.
Gordon then takes Denise and Debbie with him to get reamed by some community leaders. The panel is given free rein to rip into her as they listen to the live feed from the car.
The citizens are ready, armed with complaints and copies the cease and desist orders Denise served them. She’s managed to alienate just about everyone she’s ever met, and they all agree that in order to repair things in the community, she’ll have to abandon all the trademark harping and stop acting like a vindictive psycho. I’m sure the first part of the bargain will be the easier one to fulfill.
I think that went well. They said to tell you they’ll See You Next Tuesday.
Denise says the experience was an eye-opener, because I’m sure she had no idea everyone thought she was a petty bitch before this very moment. She blames her actions on rage and denial, and tells Gordon how hurt she was by the hatred emanating from the group. Gordon says she needs to make a gesture and apologize publicly in order to repair the breach.
I guess Gordon also feels that the place could use revamp as long as he’s there, because he has his staff spread Pepto Bismol on the walla and fix the place up all pink and funky. They all love it, especially the flamingo chandelier, which literally moves Denise to tears. You know what that chandelier must have cost Gordon emotionally, so it really was a sweet gesture.
At night, they come alive…
He presents his scaled-back menu, which meets approval, and you can feel the relief wafting off of Greg at being presented with some decent recipes.
More of this?? Come on, ladies. I haven’t cried that much since the series finale of The Wonder Years.
But the real work is still ahead, because Denise has to convince the city of Baltimore that she’s not as big of an asshole as everyone thinks. To this end, she cries all over the radio show, apologizing for her idiocy. She begs for forgiveness but they that extra step and ask her to physically hand over the trademark…and she balks! Is she dumb enough to think she can go on acting the greedy bitch and everyone will just shrug because she apologized? Is she about to undo any good her apology may have done?
Fortunately, after some back and forth and tricky suspenseful editing, she agrees to shred the trademark and take it off the registry. Gordon must have been giving her a little kick under the table. The djs are shocked but supportive, and Gordon calls a press conference to make sure the entire world is informed of the details.
Okay, so now that you know you’re a lunatic, please announce it to the world.
Once she relinquishes her stranglehold on the word Hon, Denise actually does adjust her attitude in a general sense. The business starts to pick up again, the staff seems happy and not fired, and the new menu is bringing in the customers. Denise seems humbled and grateful for Gordon’s help, but I’ll be interested to see how long that lasts. I think there’s a fifty fifty chance she’ll revert back acting crazy by the six-month mark.
Next week features another family-run place mired in drama and anger issues. Tears, violence, and every thing we live for. Also, did anyone see the ad for Hotel Hell, the new show that features Gordon applying his prissy bitch standards to motel rooms?? I can’t wait to see him get all fussy on the proprietor some jizz-soaked fleabag. Raise your hand if you’d watch the shit out of that.
To get the funniest quotes from TVgasm recaps as they’re posted, follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page! You can post your favorite lines right back at us. Thanks for being here!