Kitchen Nightmares – Giuseppi’s
Gordon visited Giuseppi’s in order to get the restaurant turned around, and it looked like it wasn’t going to be easy. The restaurant was opened two years ago. The state of the restaurant was that there weren’t many customers. The parents, Joe and Kathy of the head chef had opened this restaurant in the hope they could pass it down to their son, but it just wasn’t working out. The parents were working 20 hours a week, Joe didn’t have faith in his son Sam, and the food was terrible.
Gordon tried the food – the octopus salad was rubbery and he thought his eggplant had been nuked in the microwave (it had). Gordon questioned the whole idea of having potato skins on the menu too. (And they weren’t good either). After telling everyone what he thought, Gordon left until later that afternoon.
When he came back, Gordon went to the kitchen and immediately insulted one of the waitresses by calling her a Cucktoo. When the customers started to come, the microwave went into overdrive and the food was going out quick. The food started coming back – it was either cold (and re-nuked), or just not seasoned correctly. The kitchen sure seemed to have two head chefs – Joe and Sam… but nothing was working. Joe finally kicked Sam out of the kitchen.
Gordon’s assessment at this point is that Sam and Brian (the sous chef) were doing OK, but were cooking a bit fast. Then Joe would walk in, bark some orders and leave, after treating Sam like dirt, which Gordon called “sad”.
After the dinner service, Gordon critcized the use of the microwave. Sam spoke up and told Gordon that he wanted to cook fresh. Gordon asked “Is Sam a good chef?” Joe’s response? “He likes to cook”. Joe’s weakness? “You’re not comitted”. At this point, things broke down and it came out that Sam has been trying to get Joe’s attention since he was 13.
Gordon sat down with Joe the next day, and they discussed Joe’s diabetes. Gordon told Joe that he had to slow down.
Next, Gordon challenged Joe and Sam to make any dish they wanted, and the winner of the tasting (by the staff) would have that dish go on the menu. Sam made salmon, and Joe made a stuffed center-cut pork chop with seared scallops. The score ended up being Joe, 4 and Sam, 2. Gordon decided that BOTH dishes went on the menu. Afterwards, it seemed that everyone was pretty fired up about the new dishes.
Gordon took Kathy aside and told her that he’d never quite run across a restaurant with such bad communication. He told her to write a letter and tell them exactly what she felt, but not to show it to them.
Next Gordon took Sam aside and told him to write a letter to his father. Gordon said he would take the letter.
At food service that night, Joe was to be expediting, and Sam was to be working the line. The food started going out to the customer’s satisfaction, but soon Joe started taking over the kitchen and cooking. Gordon called him on it and told him to expedite. Gordon finally got Sam to get Joe to get off the line.
The service finishes well. Gordon told Joe to write a letter to Sam, but to make sure to keep it for Gordon.
Gordon got everyone together and told them they’d relaunch the next morning. The Kitchen Nightmares crew went through and changed the place completely. It was a GREAT improvement. It looked great!
Gordon decided to market the relaunch through a “Giuseppe’s Bowl-A-Thon for Diabetes”. They raised money, served samples, and had a great success.
That afternoon, Gordon presented a new menu and it looked like everything was going to go well.
That night, Sam was on the line, and Joe was given the task to expedite. Orders started coming in. Thirty minutes in, and Joe was back on the line. Food started coming back, and Sam kept trying to get Joe off the line. Joe kept trying to get back, and they kept telling him to rest.
The kitchen was deterating, food came back, the sous chef was goofing around. Customers weren’t happy. Gordon tried to correct it, but, Brian told Gordon, “I blame this all on you”. Well, that went over about as well as you think it probably did… it didn’t go over well AT ALL. Gordon called him on it, and Brian walked out. (So did the customers).
It turns out that was just the thing that was needed to bring Joe and Sam together. They finished service and ended with a successful service. Joe told Sam, “You did an excellent job today”. I think that meant a lot to Sam.
It was a successful end of the night. Gordon got Sam, Kathy and Joe together, and told them to each read the letters they had written. They were all heartfelt letters, and they all were pretty broken up. It brought them all closer together.