Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares/La Lanterna
La Lanterna is the first episode of the second season of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, and the fifth episode overall.
With: Gordon Ramsay (Himself)
Located in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, La Lanterna is an Italian restaurant going down the tubes. Head chef and owner Alex Scott has sunk a great deal of money into the endeavor and fancies himself an Italian chef, but his food doesn't reflect his boasts at all. Instead, Scott has resorted to pre-prepared food heated up in his filthy kitchen. Ramsay is appalled by the state of the kitchen and of the restaurant. Along with his best mate and maitre d' Gavin and girlfriend Emily, they're riding a sinking ship as the restaurant is operating presently.
In order to focus Scott, Ramsay intervenes and forces him to take a look at the state of his kitchen. When Ramsay discovers Scott's flashy car, he makes him sell it online in order to afford to pay bills and replace a stove. He also convinces him to change the menu into something more simplistic and use fresh ingredients instead of allowing him to serves "plastic Italian" food to customers. However, despite the changes, initially Ramsay's faith in Scott fades. He doesn't keep up in the kitchen and easily slips into his old habits when the pressure is on. At one point, Ramsay considers asking him to put the whole place up for sale because he's not able to run it properly. Meanwhile, Gavin is a weak and incompetent maitre d' who sabotages the kitchen by poorly scheduling bookings.
Over time, the two slowly come around to become more like the people Ramsay expects them to be. Gavin gets some backbone and becomes more assertive while Scott gets more comfortable in the kitchen. They relaunch after several moderately successful attempts to rejuvenate the restaurant—giving away pizza to passersby, redecorating the dining room, creating new specials—on the first birthday of La Lanterna. The night is a success, despite some initial back-up in the kitchen, and Ramsay regains his faith in Scott.
After three months, the restaurant has been totally revolutionized. La Lanterna retained the smaller menu and the fresh ingredients without falling back on old habits. Not only that, but Ramsay is left speechless when he sees that Scott is making his own food, including freshly made ravioli instead of heating up premade pasta.
Though the car never did get sold, either online or to friends of Ramsay, the restaurant is pulling in enough business to allow Scott to pay himself and remain open. Ramsay does, however, may one last ditch attempt to sell the A1 CHEF car to a friend, Gary Rhodes, but doesn't get a conclusive answer from him about buying it.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- Gordon convinces chef Alex Scott to sell his flashy BMW car, which has a number plate reading "A1 6HEF" or A1 CHEF, in order to fund necessary repairs that must be done in the kitchen. Scott lists the car on eBay for sale and Ramsay offers it to friends of his, but there are no takers. Most of the friends threaten to kick Ramsay's ass for proposing that they buy a car with "A1 CHEF" on the license plate.
- During a taste test to determine what pasta should be paired with swordfish, Gordon presented Alex and his maitre d' Gavin three pasta dishes. The two were blindfolded and given two dishes with different sauces (of which they could only identify the herb sauce). The third pasta dish given to them was a curry flavored pot noodle bowl. They chose the pot noodle dish before realizing what it was.