5 of the Most Stubborn Restaurant Owners from Gordon Ramsay's 'Kitchen Nightmares'
Sebastian De Modica
Sebastian was featured in the sixth episode of the first season. His restaurant, Sebastian's, is located in Toluca Lake, California and is in a prime location near the Universal and Warner Bros studios. The crew is comprised of aspiring actors and Sebastian himself is an aspiring actor.
One of the problems of the restaurant is that Sebastian is simply too abrasive and rubs people the wrong way. He has mood swings where is is friendly one minute and a raving lunatic the next. He looks and acts like Bully Ray/Bubba Ray of the WWE tag team the Dudley Boys. He has gone through more than four dozen staff members as nobody can get along with him.
Among the restaurant's other concerns are its tacky look and its over-reliance on frozen food. Gordon is an advocate of fresh food so he is not pleased to discover that almost everything is frozen and microwaved. Sebastian also wanted to be too creative and make a mix and match menu with all sorts of different combinations of meats, sauces, and sides. This made it too complicated for the waiters to sell dishes and too complicated for diners to order.
Through the episode, he and Gordon had numerous clashes as he is simply too proud and stubborn to listen. He also thinks too highly of himself as a cook and even has a grand delusion of franchising Sebastian's all over the world. He even got so upset one time that he chased Ramsay off his restaurant.
Chef Ramsay did some improvements to the look and the menu but Sebastian was simply too proud to stick to it and went back to his complicated mix and match menu once Ramsay left.
Gordon would later meet one of the chefs named Q in season 4 and found out that he now works as the Head Chef at Casa Roma. Q said that Sebastian just disappeared and abandoned the restaurant. It closed on January 2008.
Sebastian is currently busy with his tree removal and landscaping company. He also has a business consultancy firm with his wife. In 2013, he appeared in the movie Angels Around Me as a detective.
Chef Michel Bardavid is an arrogant French chef that appeared in the 10th episode of the first season with his restaurant The Secret Garden. At the start of the episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay cannot even find the entrance to the place. When he finally got in, he discovered drab French-inspired decor and a dirty wine glass. He proceeds to check the kitchen and the storage and discovers that the place is filthy and that the cold storage has mold and produce with maggots in it. This leads to Gordon calling him a French pig.
Chef Michel has worked for some prestigious restaurants such as Checkers, Fenix at the Argyle Hotel, and The French Laundry. The French Laundry is owned by Thomas Keller, who at that time was only one of two people in the world with three Michelin star restaurants. This has made Michel think he was actually better than he was.
Michel bragged that he was the best chef in Ventura County. This statement does not impress Gordon at all. Gordon, after all, is one of the best chefs in the world and is one of the top five richest. This is similar to an incident with Michael Jordan and Ovinton J'Anthony "OJ" Mayo at Jordan's basketball camp. OJ Mayo trash talked Michael a lot during the game and bragged that he was the greatest high school player in the country. Jordan then lashed back that he was the greatest ever. Jordan then proceeded to conduct a basketball clinic and humble the brash and arrogant Mayo. In the same way, Gordon humbled Michel as he later realized the error of his ways.
Being the stubborn Frenchman, Michel soon returned to his old ways and reverted back to the old menu. He has since closed the restaurant and is now working in Custom Pie in Moorpark.
Chef Anthony Trobiano was featured in the third episode of season two. His restaurant was called Trobiano's. Anthony was young, brash, and arrogant. He was acting as if he was perfect and was God's gift to the culinary world. He could not take any criticism or suggestions and was too full of himself.
He was so confident in his abilities that he convinced his then future father-in-law to fund his dream restaurant. He never even worked in a restaurant himself. The only experience he had was in culinary school.
The restaurant was known for its early bird special and the cheap price and good portions attracted a lot of senior citizens who took advantage of this excellent offer. This left the restaurant empty during lunch and dinner time. The restaurant was failing.
The problem with Anthony was that he was too arrogant and had not yet proven anything. At the time the episode was filmed, he was a mere 25 years old. He felt he knew everything. He felt insulted every time someone would critique his food. He also would not even taste his own food as he was so confident it was perfect already. He would not even clean his own kitchen as he felt he was too important.
It took many attempts on Chef Ramsay's part to finally get through this stubborn young man. Chef Ramsay was so happy with this breakthrough; he even gave Anthony a wedding ring and arranged for his wedding to Tiffany. They got engaged and married on the show.
The restaurant was closed on October 2008 for not paying taxes. Anthony then worked at Speranza Food Studio which closed down in 2011. He currently works at Cirella's Restaurant & Bar in New York as an Executive Chef. He is still married to Tiffany and they have a daughter.
Joe Nagy appears in episodes 10 and 11 of the sixth season. His restaurant was called Mill Street Bistro. Joe sells a lot of crock that his food is "from farm to fork." In reality, the food was either frozen or store bought and does not come from his livestock ranch. He believes himself to be a great cook as he studied under culinary masters. One of his servers call him an arrogant and selfish jerk.
He is condescending, rude, and talks down to people all the time. His staff does not like him and neither does his customers. Initially, Joe and Gordon had a good start when Gordon visited Joe's ranch. Things went downhill when Gordon critiqued Joe for the poor quality of his food. The two then got into a heated argument, much to the delight of the restaurant staff. Gordon reprimanded Joe for being delusional as he is not a real cook. His food is of poor quality and taste. Furthermore, the food is overpriced. Gordon tells him he is defensive, ignorant, and in complete denial.
Gordon reached out to Theresa and she told Gordon that he always verbally abused her and she would go home crying. She had enough and quit. She then shows Gordon some photographic evidence that the quality of the food served at the restaurant is poor and Gordon goes investigating.
Gordon visits the kitchen and discovers food with no dates or labels as well as expired food. He even discovers frozen bleu cheese. He then concludes that the farm to fork statements is more of a marketing ploy and nothing else.
Gordon confronts Joe about this. He also chides him for placing raw onions in the onion soup. They have another heated argument and then things calm down. Chef Ramsey leaves for the night to plan the next steps.
Gordon then has a staff meeting and Joe seems to have a change of heart. His staff is not convinced. Gordon also tells him that for $100 he could get at least five good dinners with steak, vegetables, and wine.
During dinnertime, things seem to go well until they spiral out of control again as Gordon and Joe argue again. Joe is messing up everything and Gordon throws him out of his own kitchen. Joe then badmouths Gordon to the guests as he is pissed off.
Gordon helps Joe during a relaunch night. Things look good with Joe out of the kitchen. But will he stay out for long?
A year later, Gordon came back and discovered that most of the staff was gone and Joe was back cooking again. He soon re-branded the restaurant as Maple City Tavern and closed soon after.
Joe accused the staff of the show of property damage and of stealing his kitchen equipment and food. This was settled by the shows producers in January 2014.
David Leonard appeared in the fourth episode of season two. His restaurant was called Black Pearl. It was located in New York City. He owned it alongside with Greg and Brian. Gordon labeled them as Sleepy, Grumpy, and Dopey.
David acted like a corrupt politician and was very evasive and didn't tell the truth. He was also egotistical, condescending, and arrogant. Throughout the episode, he keeps on contesting Ramsay. He even says, "The great Gordon Ramsay is wrong."
Instead of being grateful for the free makeover of the place, he complained about it. He was such a jerk that the show's narrator called him "the prince of darkness." He always blamed everyone else and never was accountable for his own actions.
A year later, Gordon revisited the place and it became The Hog Pit. He had lunch with one of the Black Pearl's former staff and praised the new place for good food. He also learned that things went back to the way they were soon after Gordon left.
David then wrote a scathing letter to Gordon online and blamed him for destroying the restaurant. He wished death upon Gordon and was still the same arrogant jerk portrayed on the show.
David is now an Associate Real Estate Broker for Houlihan Lawrence.
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© 2016 Jan Michael Ong