Hey guys and gals, EMC is back on track reviewing the best and worst food in Cali and the best and worst of the food shows on TV. B and I took a much needed break and are back in action, doing our part to inform, and make you giggle like a little school girl.
We are jumping into Kitchen Nightmares with our pal Gordon Ramsey and are starting off with Gordon trying to help a Cuban restaurant in Brooklyn owned by a couple who are no longer able to tolerate each other’s existence. They split up years ago but kept ownership of their restaurant as partners. Sort of…
I have to give this couple credit because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t work with any of my 10 ex wives. Though these guys are at each other’s throats and Katalina, the ex wife, seems really close to pulling out a blade and making arroz con ex-husband.
I found it hard at first to watch or even listen to this episode, because when this girl starts screaming in that thick Cuban accent, the sound made me want to stick an ice pick in my ear drums. I like women with a little spice but this girl is intense. Marcello, her ex husband, seems completely beaten down by life and at times looks more interested in putting his own head in the oven. As they spoke, I think I saw Gordon grow three more wrinkles on his forehead.
Gordon starts off eating at Mojito’s and begins his Cuban journey with the chicken soup. Though the tempers seem to be hot in the kitchen, the soup comes out cold. Then Gordon tries the black beans and rice and is disgusted by the amount of salt in the dish. Katalina erupts in the kitchen in a Cuban tirade that makes Scarface’s final scene look like a happy ending. Gordon then moves onto the main course, only to find his fish is trying to swim back to Cuba. For what it’s worth, Marcello looks like he wants to get on the boat to help the fish get back.
Gordon then begins his breakdown of the kitchen, where he finds the true problem is two people who can’t stand each other. Imagine being stuck with an ex you don’t like and trying to succeed. I’d rather try to direct porn stars in a production of Macbeth.
Gordon discovers the blue bottles decorating the windows are filled with tidy bowl (the stuff that makes toilet water blue). I don’t know about you but I love to be surrounded by toilet water. In addition, we have cigar boxes on the walls. I smoke cigars, but I never thought of hanging the boxes on my walls. Where would I hang my poster of B throwing Gatorade at Lance Armstrong?
Gordon watches the first service as Marcello tries to expedite dishes and Kat runs front of house. Marcello seems to not know his own appetizers and Kat prefers to just yell like Rosie Perez at the closest ear lobe.
During service Gordon begins his journey into the food storage. He finds enough food in the fridge to feed Cuba. Loads of chicken and beans and more produce then I’ve seen at a farmers market. The bills for food alone are killing the profit. Mix that with Kata’s Cuban vocal machine gun and the place is falling apart. Three hundred grand in debt, we are beginning to wonder if this place can be saved.
Gordon starts his remake with his best Dr Phil impersonation, trying to find out what makes this couple want to stab each other. He does make enough of a breakthrough to get these two on the same page. Gordon has the couple try to cook a meal together. What we end up with are two separate dishes. Kata brings out her Shrimp and mango sauce while Marcello busts out chicken and potatoes. Gordon tries both and prefers Kata’s shrimp dish and makes it the night’s special.
While Gordon works with the chef in the kitchen, Marcello and Kata actually create a plan together to have Kata in the kitchen and Marcello in front of house. The night starts off well, but as it gets busier Kata starts yelling again. Meanwhile, Marcello seems to enjoy wandering aimlessly around the restaurant searching for some ear plugs. Tickets seem to get lost, Kata is breaking down and Gordon just got two more forehead wrinkles. I think Marcello says it best, “Che crazy”.
Kata gets her groove back and they finish the night strong. Gordon sees a few big changes still need to be made. Kata and Marcello come to an agreement to work towards a successful business and we seem to be moving in the right direction. Hugs for everyone.
The next morning Mojito’s has been given a face lift. Gordon’s team gets rid of the toilet water bottles, brightens the joint up and gives it a much more modern and clean look. The menu, as is tradition with Gordon, is simplified and made for speed and flavor. We have crying, we have hugging, and we are ready for the re-opening.
Kata and Marcello plan on working the front of house and Edwardo their second chef becomes head chef. The only problem is Ed is not a talker. In fact, he doesn’t talk at all. If we’ve seen enough of these programs on head chefs, we know as the main guy or gal you have to talk. Ed breaks down and starts messing up orders and something needs to happen quickly.
Gordon takes Ed aside and gives him a Ramsey pep talk. Marcello heads to the kitchen and expedites orders. Kata joins in and we actually have some teamwork happening. We have some high fives, some good Cuban cuisine, and Kata finally cho Marcello some respect.
With the Cuban fire put back under the chicken, instead of at each others ear drums, the restaurant shows promise. All we were missing was a big Oprah sized hug. Kata promises to be 100, 120, 200% involved with working with Marcello, so at 420% that’s gotta be a good sign. I never knew anyone could be 420% committed to something, but maybe that’s why I write about restaurants instead of owning one.
From now on B I’m going to be 100,120,200% committed to EMC!