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Gordon's latest show

Um, this restaurant was bad from the git-go, and making fresh pizza and chicken is just not a smart solution. This place will fail. I wouldn't eat there on a bet.

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  1. What really really really bothered me in this one, was the editing- or whatever. One minute Sebastian is screaming profanities at Gordon and breaking down his door, the next minute he's got tears streaming down his face and he's repentant and seeing the ways of Ramsay.... say what??/

    I think the wood burning oven pizzas and chicken are a great solution. But the best would be to send Sebastian to kindergarden to learn how to play nice with people and listen to reason, and let Lou take over. She had what it takes.

    I don't get these people who ask to be on the show. I mean, he knew his restaurant was tanking, there were nothing but complaints about the confusin menu and yet.... AND he thinks he's a chef???? He's a microwaver at best. If he's a Chef, I'm the queen of England.

    Charmed I'm sure.

    6 Replies
    1. re: maisonbistro

      I agree about the editing. The plot for every show seems to be. chef or manager become angry at Gordo, screaming, cursing, crying, repentance, acceptance.
      I wish Gordo would have walked out, then let's see what would have happened. Also, are the customers paid to visit the resto?

      1. re: buenosds

        And every episode gets wrapped up within the last 3 minutes after looking like a disaster for 57 minutes. I like the BBCA version much better since it seems like they wait a few weeks, then go back and visit to see if they are still keeping it going.

        1. re: LStaff

          Thirding that. The phrase my wife and I repeat all the time? "Oh, how conveeeeeenient." Clearly the editing on the UK show is much better, but we're both hooked on the US version.

          1. re: peetoteeto

            The UK version is more like a documentary. They're not always happy convenient endings. Perhaps it is because Ramsay has more of a history in the UK. They know all about him. He arrived here already a successful celebrity chef. Kitchen nightmare seeks to continue that image. Therefore each restaurant has to be successful in order to kept his US image in tact.

        2. re: buenosds

          Wonder what his wife thought of the way he's using the money she's making. Usually Ramsay pulls in the spouse who doesn't really know what is going on and enlightens them.

          The formula part seems to be the first service with a revised menu when the problem person has an epiphany. That does seem very staged. Otherwise the problems have varied a little. Sometimes a manager who wasn't working, cleanliness, poor cook and so on.

          They sometimes give a bit of an update as in the show where they said at the end that the owner sold the seafood restaurant he had inherited from his father.

          I'm wondering if they plan an update show and are saving the good stuff for that. Flip This House gets 2 shows out of one by recapping 95% of a show and then in the last few minutes revisiting the owner and finding out what happened since. A cheap trick.

          1. re: sharonanne

            The UK version has a "Ramsay's Kitchen Nighmares Revisted" where they do exactly that, a year or two later.

      2. If Sebastian tries to make the restaurant a monument to himself, there's no way it can succeed. I can't stand that he obviously didn't care about the customers. It was all about self-glorification. Why didn't he just sell nothing but ham and be done with it?

        1. Boy, Sebastian's ego barely fit through the doorways, huh? This guy is clueless! I love when these idiots tell Ramsay he doesn't know what he's talking about. Ummm, yeah, that's right. Someone who's got how many restaurants around the world, many with Michelin stars, doesn't know how to run a successful business? Okey-dokey.

          Looks like Sebastian's is still up and running, and kept the new look Gordon's people installed.


          But the menu is now a bastardization of the simple stuff Chef Ramsay introduced (mostly the entrees) with the addition of Sebastian's insane ideas with "gourmet flavors" and some of the same named pizzas that Sebastian was microwaving. Wonder if those he "created" are still 'waved or if they're now made fresh and cooked in the wood burning oven? Has anyone eaten here?

          Looks like he's originally from Boston - those pizzas wouldn't have survived in the North End. :-/

          10057 Riverside Dr, Toluca Lake, CA

          7 Replies
          1. re: LindaWhit

            Yikes! This was the most frightening ep yet! At least as far as "characters" go. Though the teasers for next week look like they might top this one.

            Thanks for the website, Linda! I checked out the menu and it does not sound very appealing. I don't get the whole "gourmet flavors" thing one bit--are they sandwiches? entrees? And then there's the "gourmet fries" of which there are about seven options (likely from a bag in the freezer too).

            Anyway, this guy is so hung up on his "gourmet" concept that it reeks of arrogance, as though he blames the public for not getting his concept which is why his business is on the rocks instead of accepting that it's just not that great a concept and moving on. Sheesh!

            The thing that really bugged me was how he was so bent on franchising his concept because he thought it was original and could make money, even though he seemed content to strive for mediocrity using frozen pre-packaged processed ingredients. Good lord--even the pizza dough was frozen! It doesn't seem like making pizza dough from scratch would be an enormous expense when you consider how much he probably spends on pre-made frozen processed stuff. Where is the love? What happened to the concept of having a restaurant because one loves and is passionate about good food?! Might as well be running a TGIF.

            Has anyone eaten here pre or post GR?

            1. re: tachis

              " What happened to the concept of having a restaurant because one loves and is passionate about good food?!"

              It really seemed that he just wanted his own little club house to rub shoulders with the studio people. And his fixation on the "concept" of the menu. He never seemed to get past the concept to think about quality, flavor or the customers desires. I was glad to see this post. I wish the US version had a little more follow-up. We immediately wondered if he had reverted back to "the concept"!
              He did seem to have decent BOH staff - they were very excited about the changes & a chance to use fresh ingredients.

              1. re: tachis

                I believe that was the point-Sebastian wanted to come up with a "formula" menu he could franchise. He was clueless since the menu was a mess. I laughed when he made a futile attempt to bring back the old menu on their opening night. The guy couldn't let go of his franchise dream. I don't think he understood that a restaurant should be more than a microwave station. Or maybe that was his concept- a sit down Costco with linens. I was super impressed with the appreciation Ramsey showed Lou-Bertha. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she could run that kitchen if Sebastian would leave her alone.

                1. re: foodseek

                  watching this now on TIVO.....Wow..he actually dreams of a franchise? A cheap industrial, draconian (or as Bourdain would say "TGI McFunsters") style of restaurant where prepackaged "flavor profiles" are mixed with cheap frozen proteins. The bleak future of strip-mall fare, next to the Best Buy and Barnes and Noble.

                  Its almost an afrontment to food. This is not a restaurant. I worked in a Sbarro's in a mall food court back in high school. We made our pizza dough from scratch, we mixed our own dressings, we did not have a microwave...granted we had corporate standards developed but its disgusting seeing a restaurant rely so much on pre-packaged crap.

                  1. re: foodseek

                    It was pretty hilarious that he wanted to franchise the thing. I remember when I was a kid one of my roommates wanted to make a stereo wall made out of plexiglass that would lock in stereo equipment so it couldn't be stolen. Back then, stereo stuff cost a lot of money and got stolen very frequently.

                    I asked him how you would repair the stuff if, how you would keep it from overheating and so on. He had some mildly convincing answers, although a lock on the cabinet for a place that had already been broken into was less than convincing. I did the math, though, and said, um, how do you MOVE this thing? He kept trying to sell the idea for a few more months, but finally gave up.

                    This guy seems to think people really want to sit and match starches and proteins and sauces for an hour or so. WOW, give the customer unlimited selection of bad food and they'll flock to you!

                    Trying to be everything to everyone is a recipe for total disaster, and this clown thought it was his road to millions. The restaurant was irrelevant to him, and it showed. All he wanted was that one investor to put his crappy pizzas in grocery stores and his stupid menu in malls nationwide.

                    The solution was not very impressive, IMO, but it sure beat the original concept. But guaranteed, that guy will be back with another stupid, unworkable way to get rich fast on someone else's money.

                    He wanted the microwave to take any microbe of a chef out of the concept. It had to be executed by 18 year olds with zero training. And he was using this restaurant as his test. Um, Sebastion, you need good food FIRST.

                  2. re: tachis

                    My friends and I had the misfortune of eating at Sebastian's PRE-Gordon Ramsay. Oh man. It was bad. And I say that not in hindsight, swayed by the show. We thought it was terrible after our first and only visit and vowed never to return.

                    First of all, the flavor combinations. It is no less confusing when you're sitting in there looking at the menu and having it explained by the waitress than when you all witnessed it on the show. It makes no sense!!! I think we went when they first opened and at that time, they had even MORE of the combinations. I think they even made reference on the show to culling the list at some point. Anyway, it was really just plain weird. You pick from these "flavor combinations" and really none of them sounded very good. Hard to believe when there were so many, but it's true. Then you can have them prepared with chicken, beef, shrimp or mushrooms. The only thing that was somewhat good was the fries with cheese and gravy--disco fries, as they call them in the northeast. Not easy to mess up and most of my fondness was nostalgia-based, so I'm not giving them many points. At least now (according to the current menu online), you have the option of ordering some other things but the worst part of eating there was that you had no choice but to order one of these odd flavor combination entrees. It seems to me that at the time, you could get these entrees as sandwiches, entrees or with pasta...but I can't really remember.

                    Second of all, the place was EMPTY and seemed very casual, so we felt the prices were a little high for what the place was.

                    Thirdly, the service was odd. I think our server was one of the people featured on the show, but I'm not going to say who because I can't remember for sure. Anyway, this person was strange, seemed confused and did strange things like trying to scare us when she came up from behind and touching our shoulders and stuff. One of those people that you wonder how they're making it and end up giving sort of a pity tip.

                    So, though it is right down the street from our house, we've never been back. We were so excited to see that it was going to be featured on Kitchen Nightmares as if there was ever a prime candidate for that show, Sebastian's was it! Alas, it doesn't appear to have changed much. We've been curious about going back but after seeing the show, I doubt we will. I'm pretty sure Sebastian is the sort of guy that will bask in his newfound fame and conveniently forget the fact that he made a complete ass out of himself.

                  3. re: LindaWhit

                    I do not recollect, anyone on the L.A. board ever discussing Sebastian's in the last two years. You can find a pizza thread on the L.A. board with great regularity, but you will never see Sebastian's mentioned.

                    If you go to the Fox web site and play the show on demand, pause the player just when the end credits begin to roll, you will see two disclaimers: 1) the restaurant patrons are compensated for their meals; 2) the editing is out of time sequence.

                    I am just wondering, how much of Sebastians "histrionics" were just the guy auditioning for an acting role.

                    The restaurant's motto should be "Sebastian's, where failed actors go to die, and where the food accelerates your final trip."

                    Oh, and Sebastian's wife would be well served by a good divorce attorney if she has financed this two and a half year ego trip. It was never meant to be Sebastian's "retaurant" in his mind, but Sebastian's "playroom".

                    Oh how I love the drama you get with good fiction.

                  4. Just finished this show. I think Sebastian saw this show as a vehicle to launch his restaurant concept nationwide. "This is my *@*@#" night"....he was..he was just using this show for free publicity and it backfired in his face. He wasn't serious about
                    improving his restaurant business (which is financed entirely by his wife who disappeared after a brief cameo) but rather try to fulfill some fake and twisted grandiose dream of becoming the next Cheesecake Factory or something.

                    I must say, this was a really good staff...the waitstaff was nice and friendly, the cooks seemed to have their heads put on straight....they really wanted the restaurant to succeed even though Sebastian didn't....Sebastian says he's a damn good cook? Yeah right....did he even cook at all?

                    This is by far the sorriest restaurant I've seen because the restauranteur doesn't even want to succeed. He just wants to have his face on the front of his menu.

                    Next week: Drunk Irish people in a family feud? stereotype much? hah.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Xericx

                      Xericx, Sebastian was a different twist on the 'owner who is clueless about food' theme; the earlier examples didn't pretend to cook. With a wealthy and successful (other than spousal choice) partner he can sustain his delusion that his brilliant concept will make his fortune through franchising.

                      The best course for Ramsay to take to save the place for the staff and real cook, despite the owner, would have been to donate all the frozen and canned stuff made redundant by the fresh/pizza menu to food banks and soup kitchens, and destroy the old menus of course. There was a precedent for this when he trashed the huge pile of banners and signs at the 'mixing bowl'. The psychotic episode likely to result would be perfect material for the producers.cheers

                    2. It wasn't food to this guy, it was a launching pad. Like he threw the dart at DVDs, DRY CLEANERS, DOG GROOMERS and it landed on RESTAURANT.

                      I love how he kept saying, "I won that one!" You're not winning jack with an empty restaurant. What's sad is that I imagine that is the kitchen in every restaurant in town sometimes. Fresh calamari in Burbank? FRESH, never frozen? Does anone know where to get that?

                      Yet in some perverse way i want to go eat there now just so I can write a funny story about it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EliseT

                        Sebastian is of the school that frozen food which has not gone bad is "fresh". I so agree that he "threw a dart" with his goal being some establishment with the ultimate goal of putting his name on it. He had no pride in the food, taste, only the concept-didn't he even say if the potatos were dry that was ok since customers would rather have the choices of a large menu? He was really annoying and stupid.He thought Ramsey's comment on never having seen a menu quite like Sebastian's as a compliment. What a jerk. I wish the show would go back to fix restaurants with real cooks who need help with organization and vision. By the end of the show, I knew this guy wasn't going to see the light.

                      2. At least the place was clean, and had a good staff.

                        I see what Ramsay was doing with the fresh pizza and chicken. It was sort of a rustic theme.

                        Had a look at the website. Still even after reading about the 'flavor' combos have no idea what the heck that's all about.

                        I couldn't get over the fact that the place had not one but two wood burning ovens that he used only for show. The chef was an imature fool with too much access to someone else's money.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Withnail42

                          He didn't care about food. He only wanted fame. He shouldn't be in the restaurant business.

                          1. re: weezycom

                            Sebastian was a mama's boy who thought he was great because his parents told him he was great...Thought he could cook because he saw his mother make pasta once...Being Italian and from Boston Ive seen more than a few guys like this..I wonder how much more money they have sunk into that palce...seems like it could be great its a fabulous space...you dont like to cheer against people but he got under my skin, hopefully it will fold soon and he will have to grow up

                            1. re: jvish

                              Interesting that Gordon walked away from the restaurant without the usual handshake/hug/reconciliation he exchanges with other "cast members." It's clear Sebby got under his skin as well...

                              1. re: peetoteeto

                                Yes, I thought the episode ended rather abruptly and wondered if that was kind of Gordon's way of washing his hands of the whole thing once Sebastian inevitably fails when he goes back to his old ways and bizarre ideas.

                        2. The "gourmet combinations" concept seems to me not an original idea anyway. It's the same menu concept you can get at any chinese restaurant. Basically it's a bunch of ingredients that you can have with either chicken, beef, or veg, (in this case a frozen mushroom). The ingredient combos on the menu look pretty gloppy and disgusting though. Who would ever put buffalo wing sauce on a NY strip?

                          1. Re: editing

                            two words : Knee-jerk...as usual

                            1. I happened to walk by Sebastian's last Saturday night. The outside patio was full, it looked like there was some kind of party going on . The really weird thing I noticed was people on the patio eating out of takeout chinese food containers - I wonder if the party had a theme or some people brought their own food from down the street.

                              I think Sebastian was trying to further his acting career with this episode.

                              1. Did anyone note the "casting" reference, with toll free number at the end of the episode? I know they have to find restaurants, but the use of the word "casting" implies that this is show business. I guess we know that it is, but we'd rather have real struggling restaurants, with down-to-earth people, seeking help in improving their service and food. We are getting the extremes - and in Sebastian's case, we got a whole bunch of actors (Sebastian, wait staff, cooks)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wintersummer

                                  I think the restaurants are the real deal, and that the casting has to do with the people they bring in to the restaurant on their "launch" nights, that are apparently comped a free meal for their troubles.

                                2. Here is a link to an L.A. thread with some discussion from actual diners at Sebastians: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/458573

                                  1. Hey, the place was clean, and the staff cared. What could be so bad about getting a pizza there?

                                    Best part for me (out of many): Sebby proudly proclaiming, after Gordo asked about the disgusting pictures on the original menu, "I took them myself!"

                                    You'd think a "chef" like Sebby would know that for food pictures to look good, either (1) they have to be taken of good food, not thrown together slop, or (2) they have to be heavily doctored.

                                    1. He said he bought frozen stuff because it's cheaper. Since when is it cheaper to buy pre-made frozen dough and mashed potatoes than it is to make it yourself?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: cackalackie

                                        He said it was cheaper but you could tell the frozen stuff was so it would be easy to franchise. Open a new franchise, install a few microwaves, make a few phone calls to get all the frozen product in, and bam, 95% of the menu can be just like Sebastian's. Sebastian was hung up on selling the concept, not the food. He filtered out everything Gordon was saying, filtering out the criticism, and only listening to what might back up his grand scheme. "Chef Ramsay has been all over the world and even he said he's never seen anything like the concept menu I came up with." Chef Ramsay probably has never seen pizza dough mixed by stomping on the dough with bare feet like grape mashing or serving chop suey on pizza either, that doesn't make it a good idea. Gordon's menu change was basically telling Sebastian that his concept was garbage, and with no concept, his dreams of franchising and having frozen pizza in supermarkets everywhere were going up in flames. Sebastian is a loser, he shouldn't be in the restaurant business.

                                        1. re: Bunson

                                          To paraphrase Clark Griswold, "You may hate the concept now, but wait till you eat it."

                                      2. That is the ONLY solution. Who doesn't like fresh oven baked Pizza and Chicken? When I saw that it made me want to go. The joke menu and frozen garb he had previously is what was killing him.

                                        1. When I glanced at the title of this post, I thought I read "Gordon's last show." Unfortunately, it wasn't his last. I can't bear to watch.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: ClaireWalter

                                            Well, I just watched the Sebastian episode. I know they have a disclaimer and all that but it has to be the most ridiculously edited one yet.

                                            About 2/3rds through, Gordon takes Sebastian aisde and comments on his inability to change. It seemed on first inspection to be a mid-service pep-talk with Seb then going off on one. Oddly though, the restaurant appeared to be closed in the scene, but the next shots of GR outside suggested not. Then the next minute we see Sebastian all histrionics and chasing after GR to confront him, seemingly then coming back to the kitchen at the final hour to complete the service, all admonished. Noticebaly though, no final parting handshakes. Eh, what's going on here?

                                            So watching again closely, I worked it out - they completed the service on the final (Oscar) night with Sebastian sadly going back to his old menu ways, and then a fed-up GR, after praising the others in the team as he usually does, took Sebastian aside to tell him he can't/won't change, good luck with the old menu and bascially get f**ked (As above, this scene was originally edited to make it appear as if it occured in mid-service).You can see this if you watch the background closely of the clip of GR walking away at the very end - it is in fact the very same scene and you can clearly see GR mouth something about it all as he walks away. It is after this that I believe Sebastian then chases after GR to the KN production HQ for the final showdown. So, cut about to make things seem all turned around at the finish as per usual and explains why no expected goodbye platitudes between them. Sneaky.

                                            I don't aim to be Sherlock Holmes on this, but I guess it highlights the way US TV needs to provide a contrived happy ending regardless of the reality. The UK shows really do represent the KN shows better and far more genuinely capture the events and drama involved, without the need to manufacture a nice ending.

                                            1. re: headchef

                                              I believe as a viewer of this series, it is difficult to believe anyone especially someone as inept as Sebastian would dismiss restaurant advice from Gordon Ramsey. But, after watching the show again, thanks to Tivo, looking for the spots you mentioned, it seems the editing was done to accomplish some positive closure for the audience when in reality there was none. Obviously, Sebastian was too stubborn or sold on his dream of franchising that insane menu to improve his restaurant. Interesting that he had little enthusiasm or pride in his customers praise and delight with the changes at the "Oscar" night reopening. Mr. Ramsey, please stop wasting your time on idiots like Sebastian - allow some Chowhounders to recommend some restaurants they would love to see turned around. I have a nominee worthy of your efforts as I am sure many of fellow Chowhounders do as well.

                                              1. re: headchef

                                                Wait, let me try to understand. You think that when they had the argument and gordon was walking away (after idiot Sebastian went back to his "flavor combinations") that this was actually the end of their dealings, and they just re-cut the rest of the show footage so it looked like it ended normally?

                                                I don't know why they would have done that unless they guaranteed the restaurant it would come out looking that way. They should have just showed him walking off in disgust and have that be the end of it. Then the idiot would go out of business, as he's destined to do, and nobody would have to sort through his ridiculous menu any longer.

                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                  That's right.

                                                  After that conversation scene in the show, and their confrontation, you meant to think that this happened during service whereas I believe that this was actually the last scene AFTER the service and that as GR walks away it's for good - that's when Seb angrily goes looking for him (later footage shows no reconcilation(?) and also shows some continuity errors i.e. the old front counter coming back!).

                                                  I know they say it is edited out of sequence but it felt very contrived and I guess they had to put a positive spin on things regardless. Here in the UK, that sort of dramatic licensing is really not used, thankfully. I think GR called it exactly on Seb's character though.

                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                    Yes, the editing made it seem otherwise but I do agree with headchef that their last encounter was when Ramsey walked away from Sebastian. I also agree if life is fair Sebastian will be out of business soon.

                                              2. Sebastian saying he's a good cook reminds me of my salesman friend who claims to be a great salesman yet he can never close a sale.

                                                1. I had actually been to Sebastians a few times before this show. And I ACTUALLY think the "flavor combo" idea was interesting. I WAS dismayed to find that Sebastian was an egomaniac (or at least provided footage that could portray him as such) and REALLY dismayed to learn about the frozen food. The menu itself was a mess, but I always thought the concept had some promise. I was disappointed that Ramsey didn't try to include it in the "new" menu more.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: dagman

                                                    Drove by a couple of times this week... and the place was always EMPTY.

                                                    Not a good sign.

                                                  2. I just caught this episode on BBC America, and I'm not surprised Sebastian's went out of business, some people truly are in denial that their idea and concepts aren't working, at the same time Sebastian didn't have anything to lose, the investment money in the restaurant came from his wife although they are married he had no skin in the game and no money to lose if it failed, he got a reality check when Chef Ramsay tried to help him.

                                                    What I can't figure out about some of the owners is that when they're already in dire straits and are about to lose their business why they don't take the creative criticism and change the way they run their business.

                                                    It's not just them that will be out of work if they close but their employees will also be out of jobs, Chef Ramsay's series is actually a series I would recommend for anyone going into any type of business. Knowing your market, and basic business skills like cash flow going out of a business is just as important as knowing what the cash flow coming into a business.

                                                    If a business isn't profitable there is something wrong with the business or the business model and whether the business is offering a product in the right market to it's customers.

                                                    Sebastian was one of these owners that had a dream, but didn't try to make the dream a reality, he wanted his vision has his vision only, and lost sight of the fact that it was a business, and businesses that change or adjust to their market survive, those that don't fail.

                                                    If a person wants to be successful in business knowing how a business fails is far more informative than watching or reading about a successful business. You can learn what not to do to succeed.

                                                    I feel sorry for Sebastian's wife, from the way he sounded she had a good paying job, i just wonder if he wasn't the one that decided to move away to avoid his shame and embarrassment, by using the all to familiar excuse about family issues.