Friday, 13 May 2011

UK Season 3 - La Gondola - CLOSED

Open or closed? CLOSED
Location: Derby, UK

Episode Summary: Daniella bought La Gondola after spending her 21st birthday and wedding at the restaurant, an Italian restaurant attached to a hotel and she lost £75k in the first year. The place is empty with 4 booked for dinner. The restaurant looks like something straight out of the 70s, massive menu with few Italian dishes, Gordon eats a starter of Spaghetti bolognese which takes a long time to arrive, the explanation being given that the pasta is cooked fresh to order. The portion is huge and Gordon still has a salmon main course to go. The portion is huge of that too and the price is low on the dishes. Gordon thinks the food is very outdated. The Head Chef Steve Strorn has been there since 1975 and has not changed the menu. Gordon watches a service, they serve customers a tin of tuna in place of a tuna steak. The mains are meant to have no sauce but are all served with sauce, Steve has a tantrum and has a go at Stella and Daniella. The vegetables are served silver service style which takes ages.

Gordon discovers bought in minestrone soup and apple pie. Daniella is horrified when she hears what is going on in the kitchen. Gordon speaks to the customers who say they don't want it to change. Second Chef Gareth tells Gordon they spend most the time watching the clock and he meets apprentice Danny. Gordon calls a kitchen meeting to talk costs and discover that on some dishes they are losing money each time they serve it, the lamb dish losing them £5 a time. They visit Rolls Royce for a lesson in change. Gordon teaches them to cook fresh pasta for a 2 course pasta special. The young chefs make salads and Gordon likes them. Gordon calls in his PR manager to help with the relaunch. They take the tacky silk flowers off the tables. The pasta dishes are popular but the service is slow due to both the kitchen and dining room being disorganised. The orders get confused and tables get the wrong dishes and the same dishes twice. Gordon asks Steve to prepare a dish only using fresh ingredients, he cooks a trout dish in which he forgets to take the scales off. Gordon thinks the dish is dismal. The other chefs cook dishes, one has a nasty sauce on it and another has raw chicken. They replace all the cutlery and plates and the plastic flowers are thrown away. Martin demos the flamb├ęs and they decide to bring them back on the menu. Danny is put in charge of the staff dinner. On the night of relaunch Steve appears stressed and bottles it at the last minute. The relaunch was rocky but a success.

Look out for Danny Holden in the episode, a young chef Gordon takes under his wing and brings him out from the pots and pans to cooking the vegetables.

What Happened Next: Gordon revisits and Steve and Gareth had left to work in a pub serving microwave food. The owner had trialled a few head chefs before settling on Wayne, not wanting to make the same mistakes. Danny is still there as assistant chef. Gordon likes Waynes food and is glad Danny is more involved. The restaurant closed and went into voluntary liquidation but the Hotel reopened in 2009 available for Wedding Receptions and had a refurbishment. Unable to find anywhere to book a room so unsure if the Hotel is still open.

Extra Reading

Chef threat to TV Ramsay 

Love Hotel Hell? Visit my Hotel Hell blog here.


  1. I wonder what happened to Danny.


  3. I gotta say that I wonder why Ramsey bothers. All these restaurants are weeks/months from closing when he shows up. If the restaurant closes immediately or even years after the show, some jackhole blames him instead of the already failing business.

    1. Here's the thing... Ramsey's not entirely blameless in the matter.
      Yes, he refits the joint, yes, he suggests a new menu- that's all great. But the show glorifies itself in showing how nasty/unsanitary the conditions are in the restaurant. And that kind of bad image that's now plastered all over the TV screen isn't something you can get rid of with new furniture. Sure, it's been refitted. Sure, it's got a new menu. But the same people run it. Personally, if I knew that before Ramsey came that the shop had been using food past expiration date for however many years that they've been there, I still wouldn't feel entirely great eating there even IF the place reopened.

    2. Unsanitary conditions can be reversed. Hell, one of the more popular (and highly rated) Mexican restaurants here used to be a strip club.

    3. Gordon Ramsay is a chef and a restauranteur . He is not a therapist or a relationship counselor. He is being forced into these situations by network and producers. Yes, he gives it his try and his best, but in the end, he's not qualified to change people. He can change the food and how the restaurant is ran, but in the end it's up to the people who work there.

      A common theme that I see in Kitchen Nightmares (especially in the US ones) are these egotistical owners/chefs/managers who think they're big shots and they're doing everything right and blame their own customers for their restaurant failing. They almost never work out. The ones who are sincere about changing are the ones that can turn it around for years to come.

      Unfortunately (at least in the US), the network only cares about ratings and not the restaurants. They cast these completely dysfunctional staff for their show. Hell, just look at Amy's Baking Company. The owners are filthy rich. They can run that thing until they die with no customers. They don't need help. They only wanted Ramsay there to tell Yelp that their food is good because of one negative feedback, not to change or critique them.

  4. It is sad to see the chef ramsey gets the blame for tanking restaraunts. I'm sure he gets plenty frustrated trying to pull their buns out of the fire only to see them go belly up. Most of these places go back to their old ways, and as far as I can tell none of you who blame ramsey never went to one of his restaraunt makeovers. Keep up the good work chef, there are many people who appreciate what you do.

  5. I also want to know what happened to Danny!