Everything’s bigger in Texas, and I guess that also applies to the crazy, because mother-son team Athina and Jake are bringing it but good this week. In Austin, there’s a nutty-ass Greek family, trying to run a restaurant called El Greco amidst constant screaming and carrying on between themselves. Is it just me, or do these family-run places seem like a bad idea? I adore my own family, but if I had to micromanage their asses several hours a day, things would likely end less than well. Anyway, Athina is the one who financed the whole thing, building her restaurant on old family recipes cooked by her Jake, who claims to have attended culinary school. Enter the culinary school frantically begging Fox to keep its name out of this trainwreck of an episode. Is he just now realizing he should have taken a different career path, or is his mother driving him that bugshit?
Family bonding time!
The one thing upon which these two seem to agree is that the first year or so of business was good. The place was busy, morale was high, and Jake had apparently not yet told his mother to go fuck herself. Oh, how times have changed! Dustin the server acknowledges that Jake is the reason things are taking a clockwise trip down the shitter: Jake’s 41-year-old ass has started slacking hard. He only comes into work about three or four hours a day tops, and spends a lot of that time dozing in the office. He’s really not feeling the whole Mommy’s Little Worker thing, and once we get an earful of Athina’s yapper, I can see at least one reason why, but to be fair, if she has to keep telling her adult son over and over again to do his goddamn job, I can see why she’d be yelling.
In case we the viewers didn’t fully grasp the spirit behind Athina’s fits, we are treated to footage of Jake telling his mother to get the fuck out of his kitchen. Oh, hell no. My son isn’t allowed to give attitude without hearing how that’s not going to fly—if he ever busted out a fuck bomb on the Mama, he’d quickly learn the meaning of the word sorry. Of course, he’s a toddler, so I’d also have to wonder where he heard the dreaded F-word in the first place. Not from me, surely.
Athina says Jake used to spoil her, and now he hates her. Jake’s bullshit attitude is starting to show in the quality of the food, which I can totally see—you can’t spend only four hours a day at the very most cooking for a place that’s open for lunch and dinner service and expect to serve anything but shit. The staff morale is fading fast under his direction, and Athina is at her wits’ end, since she’s sunk all her drachmae or Euros or whatever into the place. Enter our Gordy-poo! Server Dustin greets Gordon, and Jake has enough shame to refuse to make eye contact.
Or maybe he’s just tired
Athina jumps on Gordon and gives him a cuddle. Sorry to press pause on the action, but I just have to ask: what the deuce is up with Gordon and his form-fitting baby tees? He looks like a teenage girl.
During the sit-down, things get sort of weird and nasty when Athina gets up in the middle of the meeting to kill a fly with her bare hands. Then she just steps on the fly corpse and leaves it in the middle of the floor. Metaphor! Or just really unsanitary business practices! The tableful of customers either don’t notice or don’t care (hey, it’s Texas), and Gordon just shakes his head and gets down to business.
The first eight months were great and busy, and they talk about how Athina arrives at 6 each morning to prep the kitchen, but Jake doesn’t bother moseying in until around 11. Gordon immediately gives them a what-the-hell twitch, and wonders how the head chef can justify showing up five hours later than the owner. Athina says Jake is always tired. Jake just can’t imagine how his behavior is affecting things, and doesn’t agree that his work ethic has changed. Hmm, let’s see: minimal effort, always tired, rolling in close to noon, unable to admit he’s the problem—I’m guessing this man is chasing the Ouzo dragon. Athina informs us she’s lost $800,000 to this shit. WHAT? I would be smacking that son upside his lazy, belligerent head, then shoving his ass in the deep freeze for a day or two worth of long overdue time-out sessions. That’ll keep him nice and chipper for dinner service. When Athina mentions how she might be justified being pissed off that her worthless fucking spawn has run her almost a cool million in the hole, he tells her to shut up. Athina says she’d rather be dead than have a son like Jake is now. I love melodramatic moms. Probably because mine is nothing like that.
Gordon calls in kitchen manager Anthony, and he confirms that Jake’s slack ass is the reason the place is going to pot. He says Jake only comes in around three hours a day (so Jake was exaggerating when he said four—must have been counting travel time), and spends his life playing video games. AHA!!! So it’s not the Ouzo stealing his sleep after all, but the sweet siren song of late-night gaming. I should have known. They don’t specify which one, but I’d bet the rest of Athina’s money that it starts with “World” and end in “of Warcraft.” That game is De Debil. Also, note to self: place strict time limit on kid’s access to goddamn Angry Birds.
Because this is what excessive gaming breeds.
Gordon can’t believe this shit, and things only get worse when Dustin brings him an assortment of shitty food, which they have to practically cattle-prod Jake into handing over to Chef Mike: a fucking microwave, which does so much of the work that they’ve made it an honorary employee. I guess it’s one of those “I laugh so I don’t cry” situations. Anthony is ashamed of the food, and can’t believe that Jake is ballsy enough to half-ass it with Gordon Ramsay’s order. Athina is pissed, and Jake clearly doesn’t seem to give a shit. Dustin throws Jake right under the bus by flat out telling Gordon his food was nuked, but that doesn’t stop Jake from sending out a plate of the nastiest looking moussaka I’ve ever seen. Jesus Christ. Gordon calls everyone out, and Anthony is embarrassed to go. Jake says he puts out a high end, quality product, and anyone who doesn’t like it can fuck off. That’ll bring in a slew of customers, I’m sure. Jake lies and says the day old moussaka was made that morning. Athina corrects him, and Jake says it was less than 24 hours old, which I guess to him qualifies it as same-day preparation.
Nothing whets the appetite like distended pig colon. Wait, that’s lamb?
Gordon correctly calls it that Jake doesn’t want to be there, and Athina can’t help but agree. Gordon sits down with her and informs her there’s no hope in reforming her worthless son. His passion is gone, and that’s that. He just comes in and fucks around until it’s time to go home, and she doesn’t know what to do. Hey, I have an idea: fire Jake, hire a decent chef who gives a shit, and get the place back on its feet. If she wants to fix things with her son, it can’t happen in the workplace. Too much resentment has been bred within those walls.
Gordon returns to witness the travesty that is dinner service. The place is packed, because word somehow leaked that Gordon was in town. He must carry some serious star power in Austin, because that means people lined up to deliberately eat at a restaurant so shitty that Gordon has been called in to save it. He’s in the kitchen watching the other cooks do their thing, which means riding Chef Mike like a wild bronco. They’re not using the 12-burner stovetop, or the grill or anything, and the rest of the cooks are embarrassed and disgruntled with the way things are run. They can’t really do anything, though, because the head chef has decided that cooking is too much trouble. I don’t get it. I had the same issue with last week’s microwave happy crew: You have to cook the stuff at some point. It was freshly made then. Why is it being stored and reheated?
Give us a kiss!
Jake says his food is healthy, fresh, and damn good, and informs us there’s big difference between cooking something in a microwave and reheating it in a microwave. As long as we’re getting technical, I’d like to point out there’s a big difference between fresh, damn good food and whatever swill you can be bothered to crap out in the ninety minutes you condescend to hang out in the kitchen every day. Gordon can’t believe it when Jake says the microwave doesn’t compromise the standard of food. Then Jake tells Gordon to fuck off, Gordon tells Jake to pull his head out of his ass and show some respect for his work, and Jake throws Gordon out of the kitchen. At least he’s consistent in his asshattery.
After service, where I’m hoping the Ramsay name at least brought in some money, Jake is still clinging to the idea that cooking and reheating are different enough beasts to justify working Chef Mike to the bone. Gordon calls him on it, and when Athina speaks up, Jake tells her to cut the bullshit and get the fuck out of his restaurant. Oh no, son. I know that’s some shit that doesn’t fly in most households, and Anthony knows it, too. Anthony’s mama would serve him his own tongue on a garnished plate if he spoke that way to her, and Jake is just doing it in front of the entire world. Take note, ladies! This one is single!
But surely not for long!
Gordon can’t believe what he’s seeing, and can’t even continue with his speech. He leaves, and Athina says she’d give her life to see Jake turn his life around. He informs her he’ll be there at 10 the next morning, and good luck with that. Looks like Athina will enjoy plenty of golden years. Sure enough, 10 o’clock rolls around the next day, and he’s decidedly not there. Must have gone on a raid sometime around 1 a.m. Around 12:15, he finally rolls in, and gets a lot of shit in Greek from his aunt Kiki, who says that she wouldn’t even be there if the debt was Jake’s. She’s there to help Athina, whose lazy, worthless pig of a son has left her bankrupt with his fuckery. He uses their giving him shit as an excuse for never coming in, but it’s really a cycle. If he’d show up before noon on a regular basis and do his job, they wouldn’t have to hollow out a nest in his colon. Athina doesn’t even think he’s human anymore. Maybe he’s become and Orc! Or Troll. Either would work, really.
Gordon shows up and gets the lowdown on the fight. Jake says he doesn’t like coming in to complaints first thing in the morning. Good thing it’s not morning anymore, then. Kiki yells in Greek that if he did his shit they wouldn’t complain, and though Gordon doesn’t exactly know what the fuck is being said, he gets the gist. The translation is more of the same, and Kiki calls Jake a donkey and a dirty bastard, saying the only reason she puts up with any of this is to help Athina. Then she just loses her shit, and starts reaming everyone in the kitchen. She yells that Athina spoiled Jake and made him into a 41-year-old ass who depends on his mama, and that Jake is a smelly bastard and a donkey and a lazy pig, and all sorts of fun stuff. I want Kiki to give my eulogy, no joke. She wants to know why Athina is scared to talk back to Jake when he tells her to fuck off, and that the only way the restaurant will be saved is if he leaves. Jake says he’d work better if the two of them stayed home. The he tells them to get out of his restaurant. Gordon just looks lost. At this point, we’re 38 minutes into the hour, and the only solution I can see is that someone has to kill Jake. Otherwise El Greco is screwed. Get in line, folks!
Just another day at El Greco!
Gordon asks if Jake really wants his mother and aunt to leave, and he says he actually doesn’t, but can’t stand it anymore. Gordon says they have to start with a clean slate, stop with the slacking and berating and bullshit, and I love Kiki, because she drags Jake into a big sticky embrace and makes him cry, saying that’s what she wanted to hear. I adore people who are able to swoop through the emotional spectrum like that.
“And if you don’t change, I breaka your neckbones!”
Everyone but Gordon is weeping, and he takes advantage of the moment to lecture them about their need to change. Jake says he loves his aunt like she’s his mother, which I guess means he tells her to fuck off on a regular basis. In English, though, so she won’t kill him.
Because she totally would.
Gordon yanks the kitchen staff outside, and Anthony jokes that the fix for the restaurant is to just kill the entire kitchen staff. Hello, Anthony, you kindred spirit! Gordon also yanks Chef Mike out and send him on a permanent vacation out the second story window. Everyone cheers except Jake, who watches apprehensively as his work ethic shatters on the pavement. Once forced into action, Jake implements Gordon’s master plan (cooking fresh food—what a fuckin’ novelty). Jake’s passion is sparked by a plate of salmon, and he suddenly remembers why he went to culinary school.
To bankrupt his mother?
Upon reopening, Athina and Co. marvel at the redesign, which looks like Toula and Ian’s wedding invitation. They seem to dig it, though, so that’s good. The new menu, unsullied by Chef Mike, meets approval, and Athina is already weepy at the prospect of a new start.
If you all follow the vision and keep your nipples covered just like you’re doing, we can’t fail!
Jake is upbeat, ready to go, and excited to cook again. He seems like he actually got some sleep, too. Maybe part of the plan was to take away his gaming gear. Of course, it’s not that easy. His extreme personality starts getting in the way, because instead of doing fuck all, he’s suddenly decided he’s the only one who should be doing anything. He’s not delegating or giving direction, and his bipolar about-face results in a lot of tension, a stalled kitchen, and cranky, hungry customers. When line cook Diego asks what he can do, he gets a big Greek man in his face. Athina just wants to throw herself on the grill next the lamb shanks. Anothony is also giving him lip, and Gordon has to step in and tell Jake to delegate tasks.
Take one step toward the space where that microwave once sat, and I will kill you and feed you to the customers.
Amazingly, he accepts that and actually does it, and they send out a bunch of food that doesn’t look or taste like shit. The rest of the night goes off without a hitch. Anthony’s man crush on Gordon is still in full swing, and Diego calls it: they can go either way from here, and it’s up to Jake and Athina to determine their path. They break a bunch of plates, because what’s another fifty bucks or so in dishes added to the $800k? Gordon gives Athina and Jake a lecture about respect, and leaves them to their crazy bullshit.
Yep, it’s a metaphor.
In the wrap-up, we learn they were able to turn the place around, at least for a few months, but it was too late—their debt was too great, and thanks to Jake’s two-year stint of fuckery, they ended up having to shut it down for good. Oh well, unemployment means more time for video games, I guess. Athina has probably killed herself by now, so I hope she rests in peace. At least she’ll have Kiki to wail over her grave.
And we got this fantastic photobomb.
Next week, it looks like we’re checking up on old renovations, seeing if they’ve kept up the good work or reverted back their screwy ways. 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!