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Episode Recap Chef Gordon Ramsay visit's Cafe 36, La Grange, IL , where 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 sits down to order some food and orders the Duck Salad, Risotto and Crepes, the mismatched plates on the wall look like they've "picked up at the local flea market or Dollar shop". Gordon's 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 turns 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. Gordon investigates the walk-in and 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 and Gordon finds out of season expensive vegetables such as asparagus. Pinto boasts that they are out of season and Gordon shouts at him as they are more expensive, which makes no sense when he can get cheaper produce which is in season. Gordon teaches the staff to make a fresh mushroom risotto and special salads, which are a big hit. That evening, the service is still slow despite losing the serving trolleys, the food is cold and the wrong sized portions are sent out. Gordon also notices that they are still not working together. Overnight, Gordon's team revamps the restaurant replacing all of the mismatched china. On relaunch night, Pinto is still slow, quiet and gets behind on the orders, for some tables the food takes over 3 and a half hours to get to them! Barney is doing all the work in the kitchen and Gordon takes Terry aside for a chat, afterwards he starts running the line and 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 that Pinto was fired and Barney was offered the Head Chefs job but he left to finish his culinary degree. He was replaced by Jorge Flores and Pinto was said to be working as a chef for a family in the area. Cafe 36 closed on 18 April 2009 blaming the economy and Gordon's changes to the restaurant but reviews after filming still complain of poor quality food. Extra Reading Cafe 36 YelpBehind the Scenes Review from the taping of the showGordon Ramsay gives La Grange's Cafe 36 the 'Nightmares' treatment Cafe 36 Info Read About More Kitchen Nightmares


Critics have commented that Fox's adaptation of Kitchen Nightmares strayed from the strengths of the original Channel 4 series. Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune said, "Leave it to Fox to take something the Brits did pretty well and muck it up". She added, "Never mind the cooking; this edition of the show appears to be more interested in playing up the family dramas at the restaurants Ramsay visits". Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times commented, "Whereas the British Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is fundamentally a food show — it has interesting things to show you about how a restaurant runs and a kitchen works, the wonders of local markets and what you can make from them if you're Gordon Ramsay or willing to follow his instructions — the Fox edition emphasizes mishap, argument and emotional breakdown almost to the exclusion of cuisine".


In the first-season finale, Chef Ramsay visits Cafe 36, a French-American eatery in La Grange, Ill. The couple who own the place have little restaurant experience, so they need help with their shortage of customers and their head chef, who doesn't practice quality control.


First Aired: January 15, 2009 In the first-season finale, Chef Ramsay visits Cafe 36, a French-American eatery in La Grange, Ill. The couple who own the place have little restaurant experience, so they need help with their shortage of customers and their head chef, who doesn't practice quality control.


Anonymous28 May 2015 at 14:14I agree with you completely. People who have never worked in the industry just can't fully understand what the pressures are. The owners may have been nice people, but you simply cannot open a restaurant, especially an expensive one that focuses on "fine dining" wherever you want. The failure rate of new restaurants is about 70% within the first 12-18 months. You need to know the area well and what the locals want, they ultimately decide if you succeed. The price has to be right for the area. And the wait staff always suffers if there is an issue in the kitchen. That guy Pinto had no business being there that long and the owners should have recognized that. But this failure I'm going to blame on Ramsay. With his experience, he knows what works and what doesn't. Regardless of how much he liked the couple, he should have driven home that the fancy theme had to go. Even in a good economy, that kind of restaurant was doomed in that area, and the show was filmed when the economy was at it's worst. I feel bad for Terry and Carol, but a simple coat of paint was not going to save the place.Delete


Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times found Ramsay's teaching methods and high standards "undeniably hypnotic" and commented that "the thrill of watching Mr. Ramsay is in witnessing someone so at peace with his own arrogance." Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times said the show is "a very entertaining public service" that "will make you laugh, make you sick and make you think". Randy Cordova of the Arizona Republic found Ramsay "just as blustery and foul-mouthed here as he is on Hell's Kitchen. But he is also oddly endearing, mainly because he genuinely seems invested in the fate of each restaurant".


I agree with you completely. People who have never worked in the industry just can't fully understand what the pressures are. The owners may have been nice people, but you simply cannot open a restaurant, especially an expensive one that focuses on "fine dining" wherever you want. The failure rate of new restaurants is about 70% within the first 12-18 months. You need to know the area well and what the locals want, they ultimately decide if you succeed. The price has to be right for the area. And the wait staff always suffers if there is an issue in the kitchen. That guy Pinto had no business being there that long and the owners should have recognized that. But this failure I'm going to blame on Ramsay. With his experience, he knows what works and what doesn't. Regardless of how much he liked the couple, he should have driven home that the fancy theme had to go. Even in a good economy, that kind of restaurant was doomed in that area, and the show was filmed when the economy was at it's worst. I feel bad for Terry and Carol, but a simple coat of paint was not going to save the place.