In honor of the authentic Mexican cuisine with which they insist upon hitting us over the head in this week’s episode, I say to you hola! Welcome back to the suburbs of Atlanta, which, according to this show, seems to boast its fair share of hellhole eating establishments. Gordon is all up in the business of Park’s Edge, where owners Richard and Jorge exhibit a blend of stubbornness and apathy that’s sending the place into a downward spiral. There’s violence in the kitchen, a pimply, aggravated staff, and lots of BS flying around.
No sir, you cannot touch my boobies.
These two owners are best friends who decided to go into business together, which just seems like a bad idea. Family is one thing, but these two literally had less than a clue between them concerning restaurant management, a theory confirmed by Server Drew and Bartender Kevin.
Jorge went to culinary school, but doesn’t know how to run a kitchen and is flying by the seat of his pants with the menu. He thinks he’s being edgy and creative, but the patrons don’t seem to share his enthusiasm. As for Richard, he’s Mr. Front of the House, and since he’s so busy chatting everyone up and accessorizing with shiny jewelry, he doesn’t really notice that the place is sliding downhill. Or maybe he does and just doesn’t care.
All the concern he can muster.
It seems these guys needed to hire a business lawyer or something to sort out their plans before they opened, because they’re violating permit laws and serving liquor without a license they apparently didn’t know they needed. Come on. I’ve never even worked in a restaurant, yet I know you can’t pour without permission. Am I supposed to believe that neither of them had even one shred of knowledge concerning this stuff? What are they even doing owning a restaurant?
Anyway, the city has been getting complaints from neighborhood residents, and instead of getting his shit together, Richard decided that the complainers are targeting him because he’s a black restaurant owner in a white neighborhood, and proceeded to accuse them of such. That ought to make things nice and cozy.
Gordon has done a bit of detective work and found out that in three years the pair has managed to alienate the whole neighborhood (with their blackness?). Lily white Gordon to the rescue! Decidely not black Jorge is sure that there’s no issue with what’s being served on the plates, because his food rules. Ah, I love it when these guys make statements like that, especially when we see plate after plate of nastiness being dumped back in the kitchen, and the dude in question just shrugs it off. It’s always someone else who’s the problem.
Richard seats Gordon, who seems baffled by the schizophrenic menu. He begins to order, but is interrupted by a gladhanding Kevin, who asks him to make some sense of this shit before Richard yanks him away. It’s a weird scene, and you get the feeling Kevin is the kind of guy who thinks he has a solution for everyone’s problems and could do great things if only people took him seriously.
Jorge makes the egocentric mistake of treating Gordon’s grilled lettuce like anyone else’s grilled lettuce. Gordon then forces other diners to make a public joke of the grilled lettuce before he digs in. Sweet Server Ami just has to stand there as Gordon pries open the lettuce, which hasn’t been properly cleaned and furthermore tastes like hell. He sends it away almost untouched, wondering why the chicken is dry, the lettuce stem thing is still attached, and the whole thing is spicy. Because Caesar salad is from Mehico, Jorge replies, like we’re the problem. At least it’s not Richard’s blackness.
Talk back again, and the next grilled salad you serve may be your last.
Gordon’s withered up flash fried oysters are so bad that he calls Richard over and makes him eat one. Richard hasn’t bothered tasting most of the stuff on the menu, and he practically gags at the overspiced, overdone bullshit. Ami brings out a tired looking piece of salmon, which Gordon dubs the United Nations of main courses, because it’s a mess of ingredients that don’t match and don’t complement each other. Jorge must just blindfold himself and reach for seasonings by feel.
Gordon marches back into the kitchen to give Jorge what for, and finds out that he’s never trained in a restaurant before, just went straight from culinary school to running his own place. Gordon tells him the problem is Jorge isn’t qualified to work on a line, much less head a kitchen, and of course Jorge starts with the word trading. Who is Gordon Ramsay to judge his background? One man’s opinion isn’t an issue! Well, what is an issue is that culinary school teaches one to cook, not manage a busy kitchen.
It’s supposed to teach one to cook, anyway. Not sure where he learned about grilled romaine.
Gordon tries to harry a diplomatic Richard into taking his side, and Richard concedes that Jorge’s food might need tweaking. Jorge wants to know why Gordon thinks he can just walk into his restaurant and judge it. Because you invited him? Jorge storms out to the parking lot for a sulk.
Gordon sits down to get the story of the beef with the neighbors, and it’s a big mess of violations and accusations of racism. Now Richard is at a loss as to how to fix the damage done to the business.
Before Gordon can even sit back to witness the hot mess that is dinner service, he has to chastise Richard for waving his cigarette around. Jorge is going to show Gordon what Park’s Edge is all about. I look forward to that.
Gordon standard: So does he.
We see Jorge is as clueless in the kitchen as we expect, and most of the line cooks know more than he does about how things are supposed to run. And yeah, whatever his excuse is for his lack of organization does not cover the underdone, nasty swill he’s sending to the diners, only to have it sent right on back.
Instead of fixing things, he shrugs it off, and Ami is pissed because it makes her look bad as a server. Also, we all know she’s the one who has to eat shit and lose tips when the customers yell about their food. The one good thing I can say about Jorge’s kitchen is there’s no sign of a microwave. At least the slop he’s serving up is freshly made slop.
Gordon remarks on the Rawr meat and yells at Jorge to wake up. Instead of listening, Jorge cusses and disregards him. Since the servers are taking all the heat while Richard cowers in the office, Gordon yells at him next, and Richard admits he doesn’t get involved because he doesn’t know what to do. All the unserved customers bugger off, leaving Jorge and Richard to gather up their dignity and close down for the night.
Dignity gathered, check—but not for long!
Meanwhile, Gordon is doing his sneaky inspection of the food storage areas. He finds piles of putrid, rotted food, and drags Richard and Jorge out to answer for it. When he tosses a box of spoiled lemons onto the sidewalk, Jorge takes it personally and demands to know why Gordon is throwing “his” produce around. “They’re moldy, you pillock!” Gordon screams, cementing my love for him. He and Jorge get into profane yelling match, and Richard stands by wringing his hands while Jorge throws a fit after being called a liar and a joke.
I can’t get enough of this expression.
Gordon tells him to look in the mirror for the problem and quit acting like there was no problem with his food. Richard is quiet, but admits to the camera that Gordon has a point. Next we get to watch the staff grouch-fest, which is always a good time. Richard and Jorge watch on a monitor as the servers call them out on their shortcomings. Richard won’t interact with the customers once they’re seated, then drinks on the job until he’s too incoherent to be of service. Sassy Server Melanie claims she knows more about running a restaurant than both of them combined, and you can see everyone nodding along. To add to her disgruntlement, she recently heard Jorge having a conversation en Espanol about Melanie’s tendency toward porkiness. Ok, that was funny, but unprofessional. Jorge needs to learn that, unlike grilled lettuce, the Spanish language isn’t some secret he’s brought to his kitchen from Mexico.
Server of Indeterminate Gender says that Jorge doesn’t take any criticism, and lashes out at anyone who dares speak up. Someone suggests an intervention, and Gordon informs the staff, who apparently don’t ever watch this show, that the intervention has just occurred via camera. The whole place shits its collective pants, and Gordon brings them out into the most tense dining room ever. Richard immediately starts sobbing (sexy!) and tells the staff that what they said touched him deeply. This gets Melanie started with the waterworks, and I’m expecting Jorge to take things the other way and start screaming. Unfortunately, he disappoints me and apologizes, promising to change his attitude. Both men resolve to better themselves. Yawn.
Seriously, even after hearing a voice I’m still not sure.
Gordon arranges a news interview so Richard and Jorge can apologize to the entire community. Like anyone watches the local news. It makes Richard happy, though, and while they’re busy mopping up their public relations mess, Gordon has had their place redone. The designers on this show are hit or miss, but they did an okay job on this one, modeling the theme around the flavor of the neighborhood. He’s also scrapped the shit menu and told Jorge to abandon the whole Mexican heritage thing. Now all he needs is another round of cooking lessons and a different head chef for the kitchen, and he’ll be all set.
Turns out I’m half right, because Gordon brought Andi and his other regulars in to train the staff how to cook their recipes. One of the line cooks, however, feels cooking and serving chicken wings is low class, white trash, Hooter’s Girl business, far beneath his status as an unshaven, mohawk-sporting, kitchen bitch with a neck tattoo.
The voice of the upper class.
Gordon calls him right out on his ego and tells him to go start his own restaurant if he knows so much. Whats hilarious is that when Mohawk Matt calls the place a fine dining establishment, Gordon responds with “Are you fucking kidding?” They bully him into wing-frying submission, and things get going.
Jorge manages not to fuck anything up, amazingly enough, but Matt is determined to sulk about the wings. Gordon tells him to forget what he knows, cook the wings, and shut the fuck up. I am so looking forward to the day Matt appears as a Hell’s Kitchen contestant! Please make that happen, TV people.
We’ll settle this on my turf, blowhard.
Matt continues to fuck things up on purpose, overcooking things on purpose and fucking around. Richard threatens to “literally…do something” if Matt sabotages them. I think Richard might be a little gay.
Exhibits A – Z
Jorge confronts him and Matt decides to get attitude, so Jorge throws him out of the kitchen. Things look poised to get physical, but that’s cool, because we have this guy, alert and ready for action!
You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
Luckily for all involved, it doesn’t come to that, because once unleashed, that dude might have been tough to rein back in. We don’t see Matt again so I guess he’s fired, and things go fine from then on out. The service is fast, the food is good, the customers are happy, and Richard is sober and functional. Nicely done, boys. They both vow to keep up the good work.
Just keep Richard away from the wine, and you should be good to go.
Everyone parts on good terms, and Gordon pats himself on the back, yet acknowledges the pair has a long way to go to repair their relationship with the community. Turns out, they actually do keep up the work, and things go smoothly as far as we know.
I’d thought this was the season finale, but it appears they have a couple more episodes in store for us. Next week, we hop on over to the San Francisco bay area for lots of puking and shrill spouse commotion. Also, it appears Fox has renewed the show for another season, because there’ll always be some fucked up restaurant somewhere in need of Gordon’s brand of ass kicking.
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