Kitchen Nightmares: Grasshopper, an Irish Pub & Restaurant

Chef Ramsay helps out the owners of an Irish Pub & Restaurant in New Jersey.

Carlstadt , New Jersery is a small and industrial town. Grasshopper is a family-owned, Irish pub and restaurant.

Seventeen years ago, a happy Mitch and Maureen get married, and they decide to open a restaurant with Maureen’s father, Chief. The restaurant did well at first, but it eventually deteriorated. Mitch is responsible for the kitchen, but he tends to avoid the kitchen and he is not very productive. He prefers to work on other duties. He also doesn’t communicate with the staff. The food looks awful, and Chief blames Mitch for everything. Maureen is losing hope, as well, and she doesn’t know what to do to help her husband.

Chef Ramsay enters the restaurant, and he immediately notices the old-fashioned decor. He meets the owners and talks separately with each one. Maureen tells him that she is in charge of the bills and the accounting. She adds that Mitch has changed drastically since they first met. But she still supports her husband. Mitch and Chief don’t get along because they are always arguing.

Chef Ramsay is seated, and he looks around and comments at the old-style furniture and decor. It looks dark and drab. Annette, the Floor Manager, comes to his table, gives him a menu, and takes his order. He asks her questions about the restaurant. She tells him that it is sometimes frustrating to work here because there is  lack of management. The food is not very good and the cooks tend to be careless. Ramsay orders three Irish dishes.

He says that the French Onion Soup tastes like someone dropped some onions in dishwater. It is dreadful. The Shepherd’s Pie is bizarre-looking. He is shocked to see it mashed, they used beef instead of sheep, and they used beef stock gravy. And, this gravy looks like glue. He asks Maureen to taste it. She agrees before she adds that it is also not hot. He also states that it seems watery. The Fisherman’s Platter is gross because it is soft, bland and rubbery.

Ramsay goes into the kitchen to talk to the chef. He tells Chef Mario that the food is embarrassing because it has no flavor. He notices that the kitchen staff don’t speak English and he has a hard time understanding their Spanish accent. He then checks the refrigerator and notices frozen food. Everything is frozen and nothing is fresh. Two-day-old meat is usually re fried twice. He notices blood from the meat on the mozzarella steaks. The salami has blood in it. He tells them that they can’t store raw and cooked meat in the same refrigerator. The chicken tender is slimy. They are all shocked that the food is cross-contaminated.

Chief is supposed to be the mentor, Maureen supports her husband, and Mitch is supposed to be the leader to manage the whole restaurant, but none of them know what they are doing. Ramsay refuses to open the restaurant for dinner service, tonight. Mitch tells the kitchen staff that the dinner is cancelled. Chief goes outside to tell customers that have just arrived that the restaurant is closed. Maureen supervises the staff in the kitchen to throw out everything and clean the whole kitchen.

Day 2: 9:15am. Ramsay goes to Mitch and Maureen’s house to talk to Maureen. He notices a photograph of Mitch and Maureen, and Mitch looks like a different person, a much happier person. He tells Maureen that they need to help Mitch regain his hope and confidence that he once had.

Back at the restaurant, Ramsay tells Mitch in the office that he needs to step up and run the kitchen, tonight. Mitch agrees. Meanwhile, Ramsay adds two specials, an authentic Irish Shepherd’s Pie and Fish & Chips. He teaches the kitchen staff how to cook these two specials. Mitch worries that he can’t be a leader.

6:30pm. Customers order the specials. Ramsay notices that the tickets don’t have copies, and Mitch has to manually write the orders, which is slowing down the kitchen. Also, there is little attention placed on quality control. The meat is not cooked right, and the customers end up with rare or raw meat. The fish is soaked. Some of the dishes are cold. Dishes are returned to the kitchen. There are 115 customers within two and a half hours. Three hours later, customers are still getting raw meat. Frustrated, Ramsay goes outside to call for help on his cell phone. Mitch is shocked, drained and tired. He knows that tonight was a big disaster. At the end of the night, when all of the customers have left, Ramsay talks with the owners. He tells them that a professional and local chef will come tomorrow to work with them. Chef James is also Irish, and he knows how to cook Irish dishes. Overnight, Ramsay’s crew give the restaurant a makeover to give it a modern style.

Day 3: In the morning, the owners and staff enter the restaurant, checking out the new restaurant. They all love the changes because it is modern, stylish, and has light colors to brighten up the dining area. But “green” is still the main color because it is an Irish restaurant. Mitch and Maureen are teary-eyed with happy tears. They also get a new POS computer system for their orders. Ramsay changes the menu, taking out all of the greasy dishes. The owners and staff check out the new Irish dishes with smaller proportions. They all love the new dishes.

6:30pm. Customers check out the new menu and order their food. Mitch is getting confused in the kitchen, and restless customers wait for their dishes. Maureen and her father argue in the kitchen. Ramsay tells Mitch to take the dishes to the tables, but Mitch ends up taking the dishes to the wrong tables. Ramsay tells Chef James to be the expediter in order to help move things along and get the dishes out to the customers. Customers finally receive their dishes and they love their food. At the end of the night, when the customers have all left, Ramsay tells the owners that they need to make changes. Chef James will stay with them longer to help them make these changes. He tells Mitch that the restaurant desperately needs a leader to take control of the kitchen.

After Ramsay leaves, the owners make some changes. They end up firing Chef Mario, and Chef James trains the kitchen staff. Mitch finally becomes the leader and the restaurant starts improving. Mitch and Maureen now have hope that their Irish pub and restaurant will succeed.

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