Sunday, 24 March 2013
Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mill Street Bistro in Norwalk, Ohio ran by Joe Nagy, a very pretentious chef who is in denial about his restaurant. Joe opened the business with no restaurant experience after losing his job in food sales. His staff aren't happy about the way he treats them or the food they are serving. Joe claims it is fresh, farm to table but it is actually frozen, freezer to table. Joe talks down to his staff and blames them for problems that arise in the restaurant. The comment cards focus on Joes poor customer service skills and the way he talks to the customers. He believes he is a kitchen nightmare as he has no bums in seats.
Gordon invites Joe to his farm to show off his ranch where the produce from the restaurant allegedly comes from. Joe tells Gordon that people think he is pretentious but he isn't he is just passionate. Skinny the goat tries to butt Gordon, haha. Gordon is excited after visiting the farm and is excited to taste his food. Gordon isn't impressed with the name badges that the staff are wearing as it is not a chain restaurant and asks his server to take hers off. The server says the problem is the way Joe interacts with the staff. He asks for the "specials" and is told that they are referred to as "features". Gordon order the elk feature, the fish trio, scallops en croute, vegetarian ravioli primavera, onion soup, oyster rockefeller and the elk quesadilla. Gordon asks the staff to introduce themselves to him and ditch the name badges. The french onion soup is greasy, watery and short on cheese and onions, the oyster rockefeller has bitter oysters and the oil garnish is all over the oysters, the scallop en croute has micro carrots as a garnish, the scallops are like bullets and the pastry is raw the quesadilla is chewy and tough, the vegetable ravioli is covered in the same oil garnish and is ice cold, the fish trio is dry, rubbery and greasy and tastes if out the freezer and finally the elk feature is tough as old boots and impossible to chew. Gordon describes the food as farm to garbage can and is shocked to hear the elk feature costs $35. Joe shows his true colours and believes that some things in the restaurant are below him and should be handled by staff and not the owner of the restaurant. Gordon leaves the restaurant to grab a bite elsewhere and Joe is not impressed.
Gordon returns for dinner service and to give his opinion of the food, he wasn't impressed with anything and did not take more than 2 bites of anything. Joe reveals that the fresh catch of the day is actually frozen. Joe is defensive of his food and Gordon tells him he is in denial. Gordon tells Joe to prove him wrong at dinner service. Gordon notices the huge Quiet sign in the kitchen and Joe tells Gordon there is to be no talking in the kitchen. The food leaves the kitchen at a reasonable pace and the food leaves without Joe telling them where it is going. The food does not go down well with the customers and many dishes are returned to the kitchen. A diner finds a stone in her ravioli and Joe tells Gordon he is over critical. Gordon had reached out to an ex employee and she calls to say she is outside. She quit a month ago after being constantly criticised. She has a catalogue of photos on her phone of old, terrible food and the packages of bought in meat. Gordon decides to investigate the food storage and finds frozen out of date food, half frozen food and the frozen oysters served to him at lunch. Gordon and Joe descend into a massive yelling match and Joe throws Gordon out the kitchen.
The second part of Mill Street Bistro returns to Gordon and Joes argument over the onion soup continuing. After the argument, they agree to draw a line in the sand and make things better in the restaurant. The next morning, Gordon calls the staff into a meeting, they let out their frustrations about Joe, who is secretly watching the meeting in another room. The staff are fed up and all admit to being on the edge of quitting the restaurant. After they have got all their frustrations off their chests Gordon reveals that Joe has been listening to them and brings Joe out to face his staff. He realises he needs to soften up with the staff and tells them he is 100% committed to change but they don't believe he can. Gordon tells Joe that he thinks the prices at the restaurant are too high. To demonstrate he brings out bags of fresh groceries with enough fresh food to cook five meals a week and compares the value to a meal at the Bistro. Joe agrees that the restaurant is too expensive. Gordon meets with Joe and Tom to show them some new affordable dishes including a burger and a walleye dish.
Gordon arrives for a dinner service, testing the new dishes to see how the locals react to them. The kitchen however cannot cope and it falls apart as the communication breaks down and orders get muddled. Gordon encourages Joe to bounce back from it but instead they break out into another heated argument. Gordon shouts at Joe to get out of the kitchen so that he can help Tom to recover and finish the service while an agitated Joe shares his complaints with the customers. After the service Gordon tells Joe that he can no longer be in the kitchen. The next day, the revamped menu is revealed to the staff and he brings in consultant chef Brian Goodman to help. The new menu features confit duck, seasonal fish, elk sausage burger and an elk chilli.
On relaunch night, the kitchen runs smoothly with Chef Brian expediting and the customers love the new menu and the quality of the new food. Joe serves a fish dish to the wrong table causing confusion but the food is returned to the kitchen, new dishes cooked and a complimentary dish served to compensate for the error but other than this the relaunch is a great success and food is returned to the kitchen.
What Happened Next? In the months that followed, the menu has been slightly changed, keeping most of Gordons menu and there has been some staffing changes, servers Jen, Kayleigh and Rebecca are gone as is Chef Tommy. Joe is back as Head Chef. In December 2013, Joe renamed the restaurant and relaunched as Maple City Tavern, a family friendly restaurant. There are rumours that Joe has sold the restaurant, I will await further information.
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