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Kitchen Nightmares - The Greek at the Harbour - recap

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Written by : published Sunday 20th November 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - The Greek at the Harbour - recap main image

Aris the son and Maris the owner have been working at The Greek at the Harbor, a restaurant in Ventura Harbor in Ventura Beach, California. The Greek opened in 1994 and was always busy. The kitchen was always running very smoothly and his American dream was come true. Aris says that as time went on the standards dropped. Mikey evidently just puts food up no matter what. Lynn, his wife says a lot of things slipped through the cracks.

Aris, the son feels capable to change. The business has declined. This beach community has a waterfront location and gets a lot of visitors from tourism. The staff says Aris is a great people person and likes creative entertainment,  but he does not know the food and the kitchen part of the business. Aris says he can’t be 100% ready if his father doesn’t allow him to be.

Maris has a legacy of the business but the money is getting low. The staff are demoralized because they work very hard and see little profit. Lynn, the owner’s wife, says the hope is that Ramsay can boost the restaurant’s success so what has been built up will be lost. Ramsay learns that Maris works 70 hours a week and he says he is not burned out. Aris lead the lively dancing nightly but he has seen the profit diminish consistently.

Ramsay arrives and takes a survey of the management. Ramsay asks is the goal to groom Aris to take over. The father flatly says no. Ramsay is not sure what to do with that. Aris says he wants to learn the kitchen. Ramsay asks Maris why he does not teach his son to work the kitchen.

Ramsay is surprised Mikey does not intend succession to go to Aris. He says he is not committed. Lynn says that he didn’t want to learn and be part of the business before. Aris says he is there every night. Aris says he is ready for big changes. The staff call Maris “Mikey”.

Ramsay learns Maris rates his food at a ten out of ten. He says all his recipes have come from Greek. Maris says his food will be liked by Ramsay. The waiter for Ramsay is from Sparta. He has been there for fifteen years. The waiter says that the calamari can be heaven or Hell. Mikey dictates the cooking of the food step by step. He brooks no opposition.

The food is horrible. Aris says his father is in denial. This may be from overwork. Ramsay says the location is a slice of the Mediterranean and the place is huge. How can it fail?

Ramsay does his usual menu sampling. He wants the calamari. Ramsay wants the hot platter and cold beef and moussakka with beef. The waiter is excited and he thinks Ramsay will fix things. The taste of Catalonia is missing and Ramsay says the food is an insult to Greece but is greasy.

Ramsay says the tablecloths are bad, the tabes are good. “Why would you cover them?”.

The look is wrong. He hasn’t seen decor like that since the banquet for his grandmother’s eightieth birthday. The disco ball takes him back to 1970. The calamari is terrible but Maris say it is very possible Ramsay doesn’t know the food like that.Mikey denies the opinion of world-class chef Ramsay flat out.

The hummus is strange looking. Maris learns from Dmitri that Ramsay says he ate the hummus with a straw. It is watery. Ramsay gets the hot sampler. Ramsay says the phyllo paste has no filling. The meatballs are cold in the middle and the falafel looks like it has been sat on by the Greek Goddess. Ramsay is disappointed.

Ramsay gets the moussakas. “Shocking, it’s so bad, Dreadful”. The eggplant moussaka is spongy and raw. Ramsay wants all of the chefs on the dance floor.One of the chefs acknowledges he is not allowed to make the food the way he knows it ought to be cooked but Mikey overrides the cooking.

Ramsay says the platter was bland. The liquid hummus. Bitter, undercooked moussaka is an insult with Greece. The cook say Mikey’s way is the way they have to cook it. Ramsay says the calamari is greasy and bland. The batter on the fish and chips is still slimy.

Mikey says how can all these people say his food is the best ever. Ramsay says where are all the people who say it is the best ever. Are they booked in for dinner tonight? Mikey feels insulted but cannot argue.

Mikey says Ramsay has no clue about the food there and it is the best. At dinner service, the father ignores the son and lets him entertain while he maintains a false ego trip that he is a good cook. Ramsay finds the carnival atmosphere of music and belly dancing ‘unbelievable”.  Despite the enjoyment of the entertainment, the focus is not on the food, which gets sent back.

Aris is told to get out when he comes into the kitchen. Mikey wants the food cooked is way no matter what gets sent back. But his ego gets in the way. Ramsay asks was he like this ten years ago. Tray after tray of food gets sent back.

Mikey’s standards in the kitchen are questionable. Ramsay says something has happened and what is it. There is a secret standing in the way of the father-son bond and thus the key relationships of the business of the reek restaurant.

Ramsay watches Marika, the daughter, who does the POS systems. She says (in interview) that Ramsay does not know what he is getting into. Mikey is stubborn.

Ramsay investigates the kitchen. A lot of food is prepped in advance and tastes dry and bland because of this. He asks what about the food that is sitting in the kitchen. The customer complain it was the worst they’ve ever had.

The staff know they make too much prep in advance which is not fresh. Ramsay says it is drying out. The food is set out too long in advance. Ramsay says “God Bless California”. Ramsay says this restaurant is his “Big Fat Greek Nightmare”.

So much of the California prepared in advance a lot of food goes out fast. But it comes back in the same bulk amount. Ramsay is disgusted at the waste. Te food smells, it is lukewarm, the food is raw. The batter is slimy. Ramsay tries to get Aris to help.

But in service Ramsay cannot get an explanation about why the father will not involve the son in making the food.

The dinner service is an event of awfulness. Raw food and undercooked food and poorly seasoned food goes out. Mikey tells Aris to go dance. Ramsay has been spotted and the crowd is full. But the food is wasted in such a mass Ramsay is nauseated.

He corners Mikey outside but Mikey will not engage is  the discussion. Ramsay say he needs  father-son commitment by his side. Aris says “He won’t teach me anything” . Aris say he wants to help. Mikey says “I want you to be ready” . Mikey will not mentor Aris. But Aris says in interview “It’s almost like I’m not good enough for him”.

Aris comes out and Ramsay tries to talk to both of them but he cannot get them to dialogue. ramsay walks out with his usual “F-me”. Aris sits down and says “Dad, I love you”. He leaves. Aris says in interview he feels like an 8 year old getting barked at.”

Ramsay finally goes to Lynn, the owner’s wife. She says years ago, when Aris graduated from college, they threw a party for Aris. All his friends and many family and relatives and people that knew them from the restaurant were there. Aris made a speech that shocked his parents, especially Mikey. Ramsay finds out Mikey (Maris) holds this against Aris. Lynn agrees that the father and son are split by personal differences.

Aris at the party announced to everyone that he would make something of his life and not just work in a restaurant all his life. Gordon Ramsay, a career restaurateur who grew up in a Council flat in Scotland and made his millions by working in a restaurant, is shocked. Ramsey’s family put himself through hospitality sciences school at great expense).

Ramsay says “An insult like that? In front of everybody? Lynn tearfully nods. “After you paid his school fees”? Ramsay realizes this is what has held Mikey back from letting Aris have a part in running the restaurant.

Aris said he wasn’t going to work in the restuarant but would make something of his life. Gordon speaks to Aris about this in front of Lynn. Gordon says he is being p*s*ed off with Aris”,  Ramsay directly addresses the party speech. Ramsay says he, Aris, was “shi**ting on his own doorstep. But Aris is straightforward, saying if it was him he wouldn’t have believed in him either.

Gordon says he does not appreciate his level of support he’s gotten. Gordon says he does not understand the ramifications of the statement. Mikey says that it hurt. But even after clearing the air Gordon says if Aris put the commitment he put into the kitchen and the restaurant he put into the dance floor he would be untouchable.

Ramsay tells Aris to speak to his father about what he said. Aris becomes tearful and said that he did not know at that time what he wanted to do. Aris says as a family he sees that they killed themselves working in the restaurant. He wasn’t ready for that. But he is now.

Gordon asks why Aris is hanging around, and he says he wants to work in the restaurant and make it a success ad he knows he can do it. Gordon then asks Mikey about his own commitment to mentoring Aris.

The dark cloud hanging over the restaurant was never discussed and they never talked about it. (Aris has evidently in the past publicly disrespected his father’s career, dream, and business).

Ramsay orders Aris and Mikey handcuffed with Velcro to cook together. He orders Mikey to teach Aris to cook something, anything. They make a Greek salad which pleases Ramsay and says finally it is the most consistent thing he’s gotten. The men enjoy cooking together and Aris is ecstatic.

Ramsay reveals the redesign of the restaurant. A Greek flag is custom fashioned as one of the window shutters. The disco ball is gone. The room is updated in blue and white. The space is very roomy. The tables have been sanded and left bare in blond wood. The mural of the seacoast has been removed because there is a seacoast right outside.

The menu is redone with basic dips (not served with a straw) and a new round falafel like crab cakes with a hot sauce. There is a lamb dish and the moussaka is like a beveled lasagna looking dish served with a potato layer. The stuffed grape leaves are updated correctly. The staff taste the menu and love the new look.

Gordon and Mikey experience a moment of peer communion and joke about. They both are the head of running a successful restaurant happily. They exchange quips while the staff laugh.

Then Gordon watches Aris do his first dinner service. Aris does manage the tickets and cooking efficiently. But Ramsay is after him for the best potential service. Aris and the staff work well together serving tables and getting food out. He is adept but rushes some of the food, disappointing Ramsay.

Standards! No raw fish!

Gordon barks at him to slow down and not ruin everything. Aris checks the fish and back it goes for improvement. Aris responds by slowing down the service and cautioning the staff not to blow it. Attention to the fish, please.

The til runs full with money while happy customers enjoy their night and The Greek in Ventura serves quality food. After the service, the family hugs in an emotional embrace. (The afternote says the Greek at the Harbour enjoys a boost in popularity consistent with the service and environment improvement).

Watch Episode 8 - Greek at the Harbor online

About the author tvqueen


I like to watch TV shows from classic eras as well as contemporary drama and comedy. Science Fiction is fun, and shows like the Cape and Fringe keep hope alive that the medium that produced Space 1999 is alive. Comedy such as 30 Rock is usually, good, but not always. I like Survivor but it has so little to do with survivor skills I am disappointed. Appointment viewing is Grey's Anatomy, NCIS LA, The CSI series for New York and Las Vegas and Miami, with a special shout out for the new Hawaii Five O. Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are top of the line viewing for the drama comedy Gordon's character and the business lessons they teach.

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