Have you ever noticed that every week the announcer tells us that "this week on Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon faces his biggest challenge yet?" Well, the announcer does (or at least something to that effect). I wouldn’t really have called this week a "challenge," just a bunch of semi-incompetents working at a restaurant together.
Sante La Brea, when we first saw it, had to be one of the single ugliest restaurants ever created. It was kind of a mish-mash of style and color and had edible grass up on a shelf on the wall. That was, at least in part, Mark the manager’s doing. Mark said he wanted the place to be "like no other place you’ve ever seen." I don’t think Mark understood that different didn’t necessarily mean good.
Mark wasn’t entirely stupid however. He was definitely smart enough to recognize when Gordon started to feed a turkey patty melt to a dog at a nearby table, that if the dog didn’t eat the food the place was definitely in deep trouble. It was good for Mark and Sante that the dog ate it. Maybe if the dog had seen the old rotten food in the kitchen it wouldn’t have, but then again maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference. Are dogs discriminating? They’re not, are they?
Now, it is true that the chef wasn’t present for Gordon’s meal (he had to take "Brenda" somewhere), but the chef didn’t really seem like he was too invested in the place when he did arrive. Dean, the owner, stood by the chef’s side, but one of Dean’s two kids, Sammy, seemed pretty certain that the chef should be fired. Sammy was right. The chef was a slacker who even looked at the camera and said that he’d never quit because he could do whatever he wanted there.
Dean, blamed himself. He figured, or at least said, that it was his management style, that he couldn’t get anyone to listen to him when he spoke. That was probably an outgrowth of his being way too laid back. Ramsay did one of his ridiculous things to try to get Dean to be loud and in control of the place — they stood on a hillside looking down into L.A. and yelled, but it didn’t really take. Dean did squeak out some four letter words, and Gordon complemented him, but all of Dean’s shouts were somewhat laughable.
As soon as Dean got back to the place, he did try and put the lesson to good use, ripping into Sammy. Dean seemed angry, but I don’t think Sammy bought it. Sammy was actually pleased that his dad was finally showing backbone, but that was about it.
Apparently the show didn’t feel as though one bit of Gordon nonsense was enough tonight, because before Sante opened for dinner that night, some fake cops came in to arrest Dean for… oh goodness know what. Actually, it was for nothing. Dean got handcuffed because Gordon wanted him to order people around rather than to do things himself.
Here’s my question — if Dean’s problem was that he was too laid back and people tended not to take him too seriously when he said anything, how did handcuffing him help him? All Gordon did was turn the owner, who people needed to fear more, into an even bigger joke. Genius, pure genius. What Gordon should have done initially was to buy Mark some antiperspirant (or at least some deodorant). Mark was sweating like a pig, had massive pit stains, and didn’t like to wear deodorant. That’s just the kind of manager I like to have seat me at a restaurant. The aroma of body stink really gets my appetite going. Mark had to get sent home to change his shirt and only then did Gordon run to a convenience store and pick up some Secret for him.
After the redesign, the place looked far, far better than it had before. Of course, a lot of that may have been that all of Mark’s horrific paintings and other various tchotchkes were gone.
Things went downhill quickly during the relaunch dinner. Mark got yelled at again for taking orders, and then when Dean had some words for the chef, the man took off. The chef got in his car and actually left the restaurant during service. Gordon was unamused. All of the sudden, Gordon was angry at Dean for butting heads with people even though that’s what he’d wanted Dean to do all along.
Then, the ridiculous happened, the chef came back to apologize to Gordon for having bailed. After a quick little fight with Dean, the chef admitted that if he was paid what Dean owed him ($145), the man would go back to work. Wow. Talk about holding someone hostage. Gordon gave the guy 100 bucks out of his own pocket (I’m sure he put in an expense report to get reimbursed) and the man went back to work.
All the food went out, the customers seemed not unhappy, and you and I were left with absolutely no idea of whether or not the revamped Sante La Brea was going to be successful. Strictly on a whim, I’m going to say not with Mark and that chef. If Dean replaces either one or both of those guys the place might actually work.
Here’s my question for you — if you were Dean, would you have let the chef back into the kitchen after he bailed in the middle of service? I don’t think I would have. It may have made my life harder in the short term not to, but I wouldn’t want that kind of person working for me.
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