TV Recap: Kitchen Nightmares - Giuseppe's

“Hope you brought your magic wand!”

Unlike last week, the owner of Giuseppi’s knows that her restaurant is in big trouble. She even says that fixing it isn’t going to be as easy as a menu change or firing somebody. This is true. The faux finish and tacky murals covering the walls are enough to sink any business. Compounding the questionable artwork is the fact that they serve a rubbery octopus salad, food that tastes like it’s microwaved and a father who won’t let his son cook the food without hovering over his shoulder the entire time. It’s not a good scene.

“Too fast for their own good.”

If you eat at Giuseppi’s, you will get your food faster than if you went to Burger king. Of course, it seems as though Burger King does more real cooking. The sous chef’s job here is mainly to microwave every single dish they put out. This leads to over a dozen dishes being sent back to the kitchen over the course of the first dinner service that Gordon observes, which makes sense, because microwaved food tastes like donkey butt.

“Dad, I want to cook fresh!”

Gordon sits down with the family to hash out what their problems are. It’s a very “ABC miniseries from 1984” kind of moment, when Gordon urges Sam to tell his dad what’s on his mind. Voice choking with emotion, Sam cries out, “Dad, I want to cook fresh,” with all of the fear and emotion of a son telling his father that he’s gay. Sam just wants his dad to accept him and the fact that he can’t love microwaves and just be proud of his life choices, but alas, all his father can manage is a resigned, “he…likes to cook.”

“Blow me away!”

Ramsay is pretty tired of the pissing contest between father and son here, so he decides to settle the matter once and for all: with a dance-off. Oh, wait. No, that’s not right. A cook-off. That’s what they do. Ramsay gives them both a bunch of fresh ingredients and tells them to have at it.

Ramsay has the staff judge which dish is the best and Joe’s pork chops beat Sam’s salmon. So it looks as if Sam’s dreams of triumphantly proving to his father that he’s a good chef have been shattered. Ramsay, however, says that both dishes are good enough to go on tonight’s menu.

“I’m sorry dad, but your sugar’s up; you gotta go.”

At dinner service, Sam is supposed to be cooking while Joe expedites the orders. Joe, however, can’t stop micromanaging every little thing, so he ends up cooking all of Sam’s dishes, causing everything to leave the kitchen slowly. Eventually, it gets so bad that they have to kick Joe off of the line. Sam and Brian manage to finish the dinner service without incident and Joe’s legs don’t fall off from the diabetes.

“A modern, contemporary Italian restaurant.”

Ramsay’s team pulled a Trading Spaces overnight and got rid of the garish paint and decorations. It’s truly amazing what a coat of paint and some new chairs will do to a place. Ramsay also added some family photos, which is such a simple and inexpensive thing to do, but it really adds to the warmth of the place.

“It’s raw.”

Tonight’s the relaunch and things aren’t going terribly well. Joe kept on butting into the line, and when they finally got rid of him, Brian started goofing off. The end result is food is coming out of the kitchen sporadically and some of it isn’t cooked well, which is leading to some pissed off customers.

While people in the dining room are vowing never to come back again, Brian gets into it with Gordon and blames him for the problems in the kitchen. Things get heated and Brian ends up taking off his apron and leaving. Brian’s departure ends up working out for the best, as it gives Sam and Joe an opportunity to work with each other, instead of as adversaries.

Despite the fact that dishes came back and customers were angry, the VO guy calls the relaunch “incredibly successful.” Before he leaves, Gordon has each family member read a letter that they wrote to each other about their feelings. Everybody tears up and Gordon leaves them with the hope that improving their communication will help save their business.

I like that this episode focused on problems other than dirty kitchens and incompetent staff. The British version of this series shows restaurants with all different kinds of problems, but the American version too often focuses on the gross factor. While this wasn’t the most exciting episode in the world, it was nice to see something different.