Kitchen Nightmares

Season 1 Episode 10

Secret Garden

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Dec 12, 2007 on FOX

Episode Recap

Gordon helps out the Secret Garden, a struggling California restaurant. Upon arrival, he immediately faces difficulties, as he has trouble locating the entrance. He eventually enters through a doorway marked as "restrooms."

Once inside, Gordon is less-than-impressed. The restaurant is a dead zone with no customers and features tacky decor such an inflated French chef figure. He eventually finds the staff and is able to sit down and order. He learns, however, that the crab is frozen. He eventually orders an odd item consisting of spinach and strawberries. On the whole, his meal is greasy, overseasoned, and unappetizing.

Gordon expresses his concerns with the food, but the chef/owner, Michel, doesn't agree with his take. The next day, Gordon returns and examines the kitchen's dirty secrets. He finds that the place is very filthy and shuts things down in order for a complete cleaning to be done. When things are finally clean, Gordon is able to observe a dinner service, or what he can of it. Things don't function well in the restaurant because the staff gets confused by Michel's demanding orders and behavior. The overall dysfunction leads to long waits and poor-quality food.

Gordon begins by introducing several new menu items. The items are received well by most of the staff and prove a hit with the customers. However, Michel once again creates chaos and things start getting backed up.

Gordon becomes increasingly frustrated with Michel. In an attempt to rattle him to his senses, he decides to board up the restaurant and put up "closed" signs. When Michel finally arrives after a long wait, he is not amused. He's worried that Gordon's actions will drive away the few customers the restaurant has. Gordon, however, is happy that Michel is upset because he's hoping it will get him inflamed to take decisive action.

Gordon goes ahead with the overhaul of the restaurant. He introduces a new decor, restoring the main entrance as well. The old, "antique" items that were prized by Michel are shipped away, as Gordon waves "Bye, Grandma!" Gordon introduces an entirely new menu, to the delight of the staff, but once again to Michel's concern. He also books local celebrities to eat that night at the restaurant.

That night, the restaurant faces a big test, with a packed house, and faces such as Miss California and a local food critic. At first, things go well. Despite the business, the new menu items go out and are met well. But as things get backed up, confusion begins to reign again. Then, things come to a crisis when the food critic is served overseasoned food and gives it a poor review. Michel asks for a second chance and gets one, but to Gordon's shock, plans to revert to the old menu. Calling him a "donkey," Gordon walks out for some air, then recovers himself, knowing that many peoples' jobs are at stake. He convinces everyone to give the critic a shot at some properly prepared food from the new menu, and this time, she compliments it as "perfect."

On the whole, the service ends successfully, with around $3,000 in revenue made. Michel admits that his previous actions were wrong. He promises to stay the course and promotes Jane, one of the servers, to the position of manager.
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