Sunday, 29 May 2011

US Season 2 - Cafe 36 - CLOSED

Open or closed? CLOSED
Location: La Grange, IL

Episode Summary: Loveable couple Terry and Carol Gilmer who have ploughed their life savings into their dream of opening a restaurant but they are losing money every day. Gordon orders Duck Salad, Risotto and Crepes, the mismatched plates look like they've "picked up at the local flea market or Dollar shop". Gordons food takes a long time to arrive and is rolled out to his table on a trolley. The Risotto was a mush, salty and just deteriorates, the Duck Salad tuns out to be a bizarre combination with orange, strawberries and candied walnuts and the crepes were store bought, mushy and hideous deemed by Gordon as Crap of the Day. Gordon meets the chef and upon asking to see the risotto rice discovers it is a week old based on the date written on it! Gordon sits down with the couple to discuss the restaurant and dinner service. Gordon investigates in the freezer and finds lots of items half frozen floating in water Pinto explains that it's "fresh frozen" and that everything is frozen and they are taking it out a portion at a time.

Gordon watches a dinner service in which customers wait a long time for their food. Chef Pinto Das and Sous Chef Barney Smith don't work together in the kitchen at all. The customers send the food back. Gordon finds out of season expensive vegetables such as asparagus and Pinto almost boasts that is out of season and Gordon shouts that they are out of season so more expensive when he can get cheaper produce which is in season. Gordon teaches them a fresh mushroom risotto and special salads which are a big hit. The service is still slow despite losing the serving trolleys, the food cold and wrong sized portions. Gordon notices that they are still not working together.  Gordon revamps the restaurant replacing all of the mismatched china. On relauch night,  Pinto is still slow and quiet and gets behind on the orders for some tables the food takes over 3 and a half hours! Barney is doing all the work in the kitchen and Gordon takes Terry aside for a chat and with Terry running the line  the kitchen gets back on track. Gordon sits down with Terry and Carol for a heart to heart and they give him an old expensive bottle of wine that he decides to keep there to be opened when he revisits.

What Happened Next: At the end of the show, we are told Pinto was fired and Barney was offered the Head Chefs job but left to finish his culinary degree. He was replaced by Jorge Flores. Pinto was said to be working as a chef for a family in the area. Cafe 36 closed in 2009.

Extra Reading

 
 
Cafe 36 Info


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18 comments:

  1. Sad they didn't make. They seemed like a very genuine couple. This is my favorite Kitchen Nightmares episode.

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    1. They may be a nice couple, but the owner was not a nice person. That one scene where he talks down to the earnest waiter is highly indicative of an insecure, small person. He is far more concerned about appearances, statuses, and titles. That he kept Pintos around and even defended him, despite so much criticism from the rest of the staff, just shows how much he doesn't respect his waiters, and I'm assuming it's because Pintos has a better paper pedigree. "You're a waiter; remember that." Seriously power-tripping.

      Further, he only lets go Pintos and makes changes because a bigger named chef, Ramsay, has come. I was glad to read that they're gone. Such small-mind should not succeed.

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    2. How wonderful it must be to be able to draw such sweeping conclusions about the owner after having seen one episode of a TV show, filmed over a couple of days! Clearly, yours is not a small mind at all!

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    3. "They may be a nice couple, but the owner was not a nice person. That one scene where he talks down to the earnest waiter is highly indicative of an insecure, small person. He is far more concerned about appearances, statuses, and titles. That he kept Pintos around and even defended him, despite so much criticism from the rest of the staff, just shows how much he doesn't respect his waiters, and I'm assuming it's because Pintos has a better paper pedigree. "You're a waiter; remember that." Seriously power-tripping.

      Further, he only lets go Pintos and makes changes because a bigger named chef, Ramsay, has come. I was glad to read that they're gone. Such small-mind should not succeed."

      Wow... you are an idiot. That waiter was running his mouth the whole time. He had absolutely no right to say what he did in the way that he did. He is a waiter.... easily replaceable. You can have your opinions, but you keep that stuff to yourself when you are in that position. I didn't disagree with what he said, but you keep your f'ing mouth shut unless you are asked. Know your role.

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    4. I don't think Anonymous 4 August 2013 09:29 was entirely off-point.

      The waiter made his comment privately, away from customers and most other staff. He prefaced it being hard to say and making him uncomfortable, during a TV-show about the restaurant needing changes, and only after he had to deal with customers waiting 3+ hours for food--which, as far as we can tell, the owner hid from and apologized to nobody for the absolutely pathetic experience his business provided.

      Obviously, we're only offered limited and edited portions of the exchange, but I don't think what we were shown is necessarily inappropriate. For all we know, the owner hid in the back for the entire disaster--the waiter makes this accusation--and offered no support to his servers who had to deal with his mess. This seems likely, given the rosy picture painted of the owners and the lack of any such footage shown to us.

      "I'm sorry, boss, but I need to say this because I can't work like this" is not necessarily an inappropriate thing to say under such conditions. The server just had to deal with astonished customers leaving after waiting hours for nothing, and the server was the only face of the business to whom they could express their disappointment.

      We do not know that he was "running his mouth the whole time." Any confessional to-the-camera stuff was obviously encouraged and wasn't publicly displayed before the airing of the show.

      That's my impression. The owner's reaction rubbed me the wrong way as well. There were much larger concerns that should have elicited such a strong response, yet the server who said something (relatively minor to negligence and incompetence resulting in fear of bankruptcy) after an extremely stressful night was the only one who got a stern response and clear direction (shut up).

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  2. I it would have been great for a revisit and Girdon helps them set up another place of business and ensure their success....I guess dreams dont come true.... so sad so sad.....

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    1. The "Behind the Scenes" link gives some interesting additional insight from a local perspective. Sounds as if an expensive fine dining establishment doesn't have a solid customer base there.

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    2. Thank you Debra for pointing out the "Behind the Scenes" link. I was happy with what I read about the patron's experience at a taping.

      But I'd point out that any establishment freezing all of their food (or much at all) is certainly not "expensive fine dining." Maybe the "expensive" part, but that's only worse because that makes it a fraud. Cutting corners--especially when claiming to be more than an Applebees or Red Lobster--just alienates customers because it's false advertising, disrespectful, and over-priced.

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  3. That was such a lovely couple who truly did deserve to have their restaurant work. Although I'm glad that pinto left, I am truly saddened to see that the restaurant closed

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  4. Ya should have taken the wine Gordo.

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  5. I'm from there and the economy hit Chicago worst in 2008 and LaGrange isn't the best suburb for fine dining. It truly is a shame that it didn't work out, such a cute couple.

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  6. I just re-watched this episode for the 3rd time since airing. Chef Ramsay sure did love this couple. A damn shame it didn't make it. I think a revisit would still be in order, if for no other reason, that to just share the wine and gather some insight into the end-game. God speed Terry and Carol. May your future endeavors bring you success and prosperity... you deserve it.

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  7. Having never been in food service before it's shocking that these people didn't have a consultant come in ahead of time to tell them the basic truth that they needed an experienced manager to run the restaurant. They spent $1.1 million and had no clue that their restaurant - their business - was a complete failure. It doesn't matter that they happen to be nice people. It doesn't matter that from time to time their good friends got a decent meal or that something came out on time. It's not the economy. There are plenty of restaurants in LaGrange that have faired the storm. The bottom line is these people should never have invested their lives and their money in a restaurant. We were never told what they did for a living before this but if you were a gynecologist why the hell would you start a TV repair shop?! No one wants to hurt anyone's feelings but when you waste over a million dollars, someone needs to say the words "you should have donated your money to feeding the homeless". Just don't have Pinto do the cooking.

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    1. Amen to that! As well, its sad that their "friend" base didnt have any constructive input over the whole period before and during this venture. Dont we all aim to gather people around ourselves in life who support? And yet it seems that none of them advised a little market research before hand, a business specialist during and constructive criticism while having a meal. Then again, I did get the sense they come from a more "status" oriented background and then it all makes a little more sense. Super friendly couple but damn, you are able to scramble up 1.1 million for a restaurant but during life you didnt gain the required skill sets showing that you earned it the hard working way. I am sure im not the only one seeing these kind of examples and shake the head in disbelieve on how it is that people like this are able and that the able ones are not.

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  8. so sad that they didn't make it..

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  9. some of the comments are from people obliviously NEVER been in the restaurant business. It's extremely frustrating being out front when you cant get the food from the kitchen. The customer looks at you as if you have any power the do anything about it...which you don't...and i'm sure before Chef Ramsay came in..Pinto would tell yell at the waiter asking where his food is .."you will get it when you get it"..Think the waiter can tell the costumer that?? ahhh...no

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  10. Watching this episode right now on BBC America. I was hoping that Terry and Carol would have succeeded with this place. Sad for such a nice couple to learn the restaurant business the hard way. I wish them all the best in their next endeavors.
    Okay, yes, Brian the server was talking out of turn, when he complained to Terry about Pinto the executive chef, but since his customers weren't getting their orders, it can be very frustrating for him as a server. Brian wanted Terry to take a more active role in running the business; to take control more more often. As he said, "I wish Terry would tell us what to do, instead of letting the inmates run the asylum." It may not have been his his place to say it, but here's a staff member who's actually showing passion about the business, unlike Pinto...
    As for Pinto, I wonder, did he con his way into the kitchen like that one kid in a Kitchen Nightmares UK episode, by playing up skills that he learned on TV as actual experience? Pinto had no business being in a kitchen, let alone running one! He and Barney didn't work together, did not communicate, and did not show that he cared; as a result, the food would never be out on time! And Pinto said service was "excellent". Unbelievable! Again, I wish Terry and Carol all the best.

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  11. I lost almost all respect for the owner when he told the worker complaining to basically shut the hell up with his complaints and "if you don't like it go work somewhere else. You work for me, I don't work for you". That kind of attitude made me want them to fail, period.

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