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***Letter from the Editor: Please give a warm welcome to your newest recapper and one of your faves from Auditiongasm, AuJew!
For the very special, 2-hour premier episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay revisits last season’s biggest train wrecks to see if any of the people he scared shitless have yet to regain control of their bowels.
We’ve got cheers, jeers, a whole lot of tears, and we’ve got G-Ram red-faced and screaming in tight tee shirts and fitted jeans–all the good stuff–after the jump!
Hello Gasmii, and thank you for joining me on my first official recap. I’m AuJew! I’m a bit nervous, especially as I’m recapping an episode that’s essentially a recap in and of itself, but I promise to do my best.
For the season opener, G-Ram revisits his favorite delinquents from last season to see how they’ve fared so far, which immediately makes me wonder if they just figure out which restaurants were the most successful due to G-Ram’s help, and visited those to make him look like Tippity-Top Chef. This promises to be a pretty warm-fuzzy episode, but I’ll do my best to make fun of it anyway. What would be awesome is if at least one of these places didn’t make it, and G-Ram and his camera crew show up to a vacant lot with a bunch of hobos roasting pigeon over a trash can fire. Hey, he did tell them to refocus their menu.
Since I saw about half of last season, I’m pleased that at least 3 or 4 of the revisits today are to restaurants that I’m already curious about. The first stop is a place called Finn McCool’s, an Irish pub run by an Irish family. I happened to see this episode, and I’m eager to see what happened to the sweet, portly dad/owner Buddy, his daughter in law Melissa, a waitress who still wears her ponytails on top of her head like it’s 1995, and Buddy’s son Brian, the chef who looks suspiciously like a leprechaun.
They’re always after me lucky charms!
Prior to G-Ram’s visit, Finn McCool’s was in debt in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Buddy had yet to cash a paycheck. This was also the only place whose food G-Ram’s stomach physically rejected (he barfed up the shepherd’s pie in the bathroom). He whipped them all into shape within weeks, teaching Buddy how to manage, Melissa how to serve, and Brian how to cook. A year later, Buddy is still parked at the bar. But is he paying for his beer with a recent paycheck? Brian is still in the kitchen, but has he delivered the pot o’gold?
Everyone seems happy (surprise!) and they are out of debt and making money (even bigger surprise!). Buddy says he had a “glitch” there for a little bit–as in, a heart attack. Minor glitch.
It’s okay, I can always get a new one.
They banded together though, (aw) and Finn McCool’s pulled through. G-Ram shakes buddy’s hand, and compliments him on his superhuman grip. Aw, G-Ram is so cute when he plays nice! He asks Brian all about the menu, and Brian tells him that G-Ram’s suggestions have turned him into an actual chef as opposed to a guy who stands in front of a deep fryer and tosses random flash-frozen crap into it. G-Ram stays for a bite, and loves it. Hugs, tears, and beers all around. The best part is when heart attack survivor Buddy chugs a dark lager in two minutes flat. Well, I suppose if you haven’t got much time left, best to enjoy it.
If it’s a microbrewery, does that count as “natural causes?”
Next, G-Ram revisits the Olde Stone Mill, a restaurant in a beautiful building that had suffered from problems with less than beautiful food. Dean was a hot-tempered, arrogant restauranteur and his wife had no idea that they collectively owed $500,000 on their failing restaurant. Way to pick a winner.
G-Ram redoes the restaurant and refocuses the menu, explaining that a steakhouse is what would really succeed in that particular neighborhood. He slaps Dean around with a few pieces of raw meat and puts some really nice couches in the middle of his restaurant for after-dinner food-coma naps. G-Ram is back a year later, and before commenting on anything else, asks Dean if he had any botox. LOL! Dean does look a bit younger and smoother, but waves away G-Ram’s questioning. All I can say is that if he can afford to inject botulism into his face, I certainly hope he has resolved that half a million dollar debt thing.
I’m just getting a lot of sleep lately. That and maybe the time I accidentally tripped, fell, and landed on a plastic surgeon’s syringe.
In other news unrelated to Dean’s super hot sweater-vest, the Olde Stone Mill is doing fabulously (of course), and everyone is happy. Blah blah. If this show is going to be entirely made up of success stories, I’m going to have a hard time making fun of it.
Next, G-Ram heads back to a restaurant called The Mixing Bowl, where a semi-retarded manager took 50% off of guest checks and put huge, obnoxiously-colored signs in the window begging people to “ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY DESSERTS NOW!” in mid-April. Which honestly works for me, since my birthday happens to be in mid-April. Order your holiday desserts now. For me.
G-Ram’s second visit to The Mixing Bowl is unsurprisingly successful. Of course. Yawn. Is it just me, or does anybody else feel like they were hoping for at least one of these places to completely crash and burn? I mean, what is the likelihood that they all not only survived, but flourished? And does the fact that they did have more to do with being featured in a G-Ram TV show than the restaurant actually getting any better?
Sigh. Well, the manager has replaced his ridiculous holiday dessert sign with a picture of the staff with G-Ram (I knew it! I’m calling Shenanigans! SHENANIGANS!) and the owners are happy, in the black, and been done up by professional makeup artists. Because how else can you emanate success other than via airbrushing?
Before, she didn’t even have eyebrows.
Next, we have the most disgusting restaurant in Kitchen Nightmare history. Apparently, this place was home to not only owners, chefs, waiters and patrons, but also roaches, flies, rats and mold. They also had a tendency to serve whatever they felt like as opposed to what was actually on the menu, i.e. a meat fritter in the “vegetarian” appetizer and pork instead of beef (because G-Ram, a michelin-rated chef, probably won’t notice).
I never actually saw this episode, but just a recap of what happened is enough to make my stomach turn. This is the stuff that makes you seriously afraid to eat out in any city, ever. Actually, last week, my dad and I went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant and I saw a beetle crawl across the seat behind my father and I freaked out. We had already ordered and we kind of half-ate anyway, but bottom line, no. Do. Not. Want. EVER. Even the suggestion of an insect in a restaurant makes my skin crawl. No disgusting pun intended.
Luckily, the superhot chef Vikas that G-Ram found for what was formerly Dillion’s but is now called Purnima stayed, and the food is still almost as superhot as Vikas. The place is immaculate, the food is good, and I’m still waiting for something catastrophic to laugh at. Sigh.
There is one awkward moment when G-Ram tells Vikas that he’s “far too good-looking to be a chef,” and although I heartily agree, this makes me nervous. If those two hook up, it ruins my entire plan of going to New York, kidnapping Vikas, making him bring me to G-Ram, and then coercing the two of them to perform sexual favors for me. Shit.
Soooo…what time do you get off?
The next check-up G-Ram needs to make is with Campania, an Italian eatery in New Jersey with Flinstones’ T-bone size portions, rambunctious staff, and an odd mistrust of recipes or measuring cups. The only plus for this place? The owner is very, very cute.
G-Ram waves his magic wand (ooh. Just got that mental image. Mmm.) and everybody’s happy. The portions are smaller, the food is better, the staff is well-behaved, and in celebration, they smash all the old, HUGE plates to swear off the money-wasting ways of the past. HOOOPAH!
This is SO My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
So what is it like when Gordon comes back to check in? Everyone’s happy, healthy, wealthy, and attractively airbrushed. YAWN. G-Ram does have the mayor and deputy mayor of New Jersey stop by and award them with a special day in their honor, but honestly, at this point, I’m so bored with success stories. Does that make me a bad person?
Moving on to Peter’s on Long Island, probably the most dysfunctional of all the Kitchen Nightmares so far, including the roach-infested Dillion’s. They’re basically a bunch of loud, obnoxious, crazy Italians. Coming from a bunch of loud, obnoxious, crazy Jews, I just gotta say–I call ‘em like I see ‘em. Bottom line, the co-owner Peter is a huge bully, and looks kind of like a meatball with chiclet teeth, guest starring on Miami Vice.
This whole restaurant thing is just until Tubbs gets outta rehab.
G-Ram tells Crockett he’s a big tool shed, and Crockett recommits to the cause. Peter’s is still open (of course), successful (of course), and Peter still wears brightly colored blazers with tee-shirts, completely unironically. Don’t you just love a happy ending?
Thank you for reading, and I promise, I will return next week with the huge snarkfest that will be the first official episode of Kitchen Nightmares, i.e. a complete train wreck that mostly stays that way and we aren’t subjected to all of this touchy-feely, fuzzy-wuzzy, all’s-well-that-ends-well bullshit.
See you next time!