Tuesday, 24 May 2011

US Season 1 - Lelas - CLOSED

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Lela's in downtown Pomona, CA, a restaurant only 8 months old but struggling to stay open. Owner Lela is in debt to her sister who constantly lends her money, chef Ricky is arrogant and Tabitha is foul mouthed. Gordon arrives at the restaurant to find it deserted and no one is around the restaurant. Gordon sits down to order some food and finds that the menu is littered with spelling mistakes. When Gordon tries to order waitress Tabitha warns him that they don't have any shrimp or salmon available. Tabitha is embarrassed whereas Ricky is confident Gordon will like his food. Gordon orders the tomato and basil soup, nachos and rack of lamb with a mint chocolate sauce. The fresh soup tastes canned to Gordon, the nachos taste old but Tabitha tells Gordon the were made fresh that morning, upon asking Ricky she discovers that they are actually a day old as Gordon thought. Gordon next tastes the lamb and discovers the lamb chops are also frozen and have no meat on them. Gordon asks Tabitha if anything on the menu is fresh and is told that it is all frozen. Gordon orders a brownie desert and a huge argument breaks out between Tabitha and Ricky as there are no brownies left. Gordon enters the kitchen to speak to Ricky about his food, Ricky is in denial about his food and keeps trying to defend the lamb dish.

Gordon arrives the next day to see the kitchen in action and decides to inspect the kitchen first. The walk-in isn't cold and as a result everything is going bad. Gordon is shocked at the lack of fresh food. Gordon is disgusted and makes the staff deep clean both the dining room and the kitchen. Whilst they are cleaning, Gordon goes into town to explore the neighbourhood, Gordon finds a lot of young people who like to eat good food but can't afford fine dining. Gordon returns and is impressed with the cleaning that the staff has done. Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service and it is clear that the restaurant has no clear leader so both Ricky and Tabitha have taken on the leader roles. The dinner service is a disaster, the kitchen runs out of dishes and they serve the customers powdered mash potato on the justification that no one has ever complained about it. Employee Buzzard decides to leave early without Lela's permission and Ricky jokes that he has gone home with his goody bag. Gordon catches up with him in the street and asks him to return. He returns and his bag full of food and wine is revealed to Lela. After service they are given a talking down by Gordon who accuses Ricky of having no passion for food and Lela says that she hopes attitudes will change.

The next morning, Buzzard returns to the restaurant and Gordon confronts him about the goody bag, Lela has no option really other than to fire him. Gordon sets up a taste test to see what the Chefs know about food. Ricky struggles to tell the difference between chicken, pork and beef, whereas assistant Lex gets them all correct and declares himself a better chef. In light of this Gordon suggests they switch places for the service, Ricky is annoyed but agrees. Gordon sends Lela off for a pampering day whilst the team gets to work. The new menu is revealed and the waitresses sample the next dishes, he adds that a good burger is what is needed and reveals Lelas Famous Burger as a special. Gordon sends them out onto the street with a catering truck full of burgers to promote them to the locals. The locals are thrilled with the burgers. Whilst they are out, the makeover team are in and redesign the restaurant. Both Lela and the restaurants new look are revealed and the staff are over the moon, Tabitha bursts into tears.

For relaunch night, Gordon asks Tabitha to manage the restaurant and Lex to be the head chef with Rickys support. Gordon has invited a load of locals and the place is packed, the mayor also arrives. The waitresses do an excellent job at the front of house but Lex struggles in the kitchen and has a meltdown. The food comes out erratically and some tables are missing dishes, people start complaining so the waitresses panic and grab whatever food they see. Lex walks out and Lela follows him to shout at him, Lex drives off and Ricky takes over. With Ricky back in control the food starts to go out and everyone is impressed with the food including the mayor. Lex returns but as Ricky's assistant. Gordon congratulates Ricky and admits that he proved Gordon wrong.

What Happened Next? At the end of the episode we hear that both Ricky and Tabitha excelled in their roles but that Lela's had closed by the time the episode aired as although the business was up in numbers Lela's debts were too high to be able to continue. In it's place now is Aladdin Jr Restaurant & Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant with good reviews. Ricky went on to become Executive Chef at The Corner Butcher Shop in La Verne and later working for Silver Spoon Catering, he is currently working at Hollywood Park Casino.

Extra Reading

Lelas Yelp Reviews

Lelas Myspace

Behind the scenes video with extra info in comments, esp on Buzzards "theft"

Kitchen Nightmares USA leaves a bad taste in the mouth

From Lela’s and the Playboy Mansion to Little Old La Verne: Executive Chef Ricky Brewer Eats it Up

Corner Butcher Shop Reviews

Aladdin Jr II Restaurant Website

Aladdin Jr. II Reviews


  1. Ah's i really liked this episode and all the suspense in it. Also the great resolution

  2. The owner should have listened to Tabitha who nailed it all along. Yeah, she sounded "rough" but was right to do so since we're talking about crooks in the kitchen. I wish Tabitha the best and hope she gets a new job where she can be respected. Just sad.

  3. debts too high and not enough money coming in? sound like the government.

  4. I just watched the rerun. The owner was a hot MILF! yummy!

    1. What? You have low standards

    2. "The owner was a hot MILF! yummy!"

      Holy hell -- did you just get out of prison?

    3. @ Dan Buchan....lol i agree with you

  5. A few observations from this ep:

    - Lela seemed to be the same kind of on-the-ball, take-charge restaurant owner with a great sense for what makes a successful business just like Sue, the owner of Bonaparte's [sarcasm intended].

    - Buzzard was a parasite, but Gordon's chasing him down in the street and dragging him back over food that people didn't eat was a new low point for him and his show, and as you can imagine, that's up against some pretty stiff competition (from all of the other low points this show manages).

    - I would have given that Tabitha about 5 days to STOP her constant shouting, and if she couldn't rein it in, then I'd can her. Yes, other people yelled, but she seemed to be the main instigator/offender.

    1. "Buzzard was a parasite, but Gordon's chasing him down in the street and dragging him back over food that people didn't eat was a new low point for him and his show"

      Don't forget the bottles of wine which he didn't pay for.

    2. you;re a moron. a new low? he cashes down a thief! so what if ppl didnt eat it. how do you know they didnt make it and stash it on the side? i can tell you this i would have had monkey tossed in jail as well. oh wait his name is buzzard right? monkey is just as good.

  6. Watching the rerun of this episode on FYI (formerly Bio) and I noticed that the postscript indicating that Lela's had closed has now been edited out of the episode.

  7. If Buzzard would steal half bottles & returns, he would steal full bottles & whole sides. Once you allow any theft in your business you are doomed & all will think it's o.k.

  8. So far as I could tell from watching the episode, Lela had virtually no involvement in anything having to do with running the restaurant. When Gordon sent her off to the spa' I was like, "Why? What exactly does she need a respite from? Her own complete apathy and neglect?" Gordon had to practically corner her into firing someone who was STEALING from her, for Christ's sake!

    One of the worst owners ever on KN. She more than deserved to fail.

  9. I hope Buzzard is in jail where he belongs.



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