I have never watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, though I've seen some of his other shows here and there, so I know he's an unrelenting, balls-out, completely committed chef (some might say - well . . . this is still a PG rated blog. OK, he's an asshole too). Tonight is a rerun show of Gordon's visit to a restaurant called Sebastian's in Burbank, CA in 2007.
The show caught my eye, and I watched in astonished horror as this guy who owns the failing restaurant, that has apparently been invested in heavily by his wife, proceeds to destroy all of the work that Chef Ramsey did to try to fix this loser dog of a place up. The idea of the show is that he visits a failing restaurant and helps them turn it around. Apparently this Sebastian's was in a good location, but doing horribly because the owner (a really retarded-looking, stubborn guy that mistreated, for certain, his staff) was fixated on this crazy menu concept of his of 20 combinable flavors. Not to mention that the food was all frozen and pre-prepared, and basically reheated in the microwave. There was a cook staff, but it's hard to say what they were doing except, as portrayed in the popular film Super-Size Me, using box cutters and can openers as their main cooking implements.
After eight years of teaching, I've become pretty proud of my ability to reach and teach nearly all students.
I shouldn't tell tales out of school, but last semester, I had a student who was similar to "Sebastian." Gordon Ramsay is an entertainer and a master chef - and he doesn't usually bother with the finer points or with kind talk to get his point across. I will go out of my way to spend as much time as is needed with students so that they understand. At the end of this "Sebastian" show, Gordon obviously thought that the guy was going to immediately go back to his old, horrible menu and food preparation style, because he really "believed in it." Basically, because the man knew nothing about the restaurant business, was horrible with people, and actually seemed to have some type of belief that frozen or pre-prepared crap in bags, cans and boxes, reheated in a microwave, was "good food" - and he had no interest in freshly-made and well-prepared food and ingredients.
After refusing to do as Chef Ramsay instructed in the first part of the episode, "Sebastian's" kitchen backsliding left him with an enormous, long hair in a customer's salad. He then had to give the whole table - in the mostly empty restaurant - a great deal of extra free food comped on the restaurant. After Chef Ramsay remodeled the crummy-looking old restaurant and established a new, simple and appealing fresh menu that the kitchen staff (and customers) were thrilled with, "Sebastian" threw a giant baby tantrum. He threw a chair and a vacuum cleaner and he busted open a locked door in his effort to out-curse Ramsay, who can turn the air blue and maybe even activate the Emergency Broadcast System by the bleeping emerging from his mouth. While they were selling tons of the fresh food to a packed restaurant, "Sebastian" was trying to sneak his old, horrible menu of reheated dog food (Ramsay's description - spot on) to the customers, which confused them and caused a blockage in the kitchen.
They managed to put the end of this thing together, but the poor folks working in that restaurant. They seemed really nice. I hope they were able to get better jobs.
This idiot Sebastian apparently confessed he didn't have a degree, didn't finish school, etc. and started crying. Let me tell you, I gave a "gentleman's C" to this horrible student of mine. I couldn't teach her a thing and frankly - this person showed me that not everyone is college material. Some people truly do not belong in college, and are not mentally capable of doing the work. When I mentioned the situation to a few people by way of saying, "Well, I've met my match - this person doesn't have the slightest clue how to write a paragraph, much less a paper," everyone I mentioned it to got the mental impression that it was a pretty, but empty-headed girl. Sorry to say - that was not the case. Yes of course it's the fault of prior instructors for passing this student along with totally remedial level skills. For the first time in my life, I did the same. You win some, you lose some. We used to talk about this type of thing at Chapman. They were moving along the lines of actually washing incompetent students out of the program at the mid-point, with a mid-program review. Of course, the person would have had to have been absolutely horrible and not writing at all to be subject to that. But there were people like that.
I think that, although there are programs for developmentally disabled students and I wholeheartedly support them - if the student theoretically has no disability, but is just a stubborn creep like "Sebastian," then yeah - wash them out. There have to be some standards, somewhere. Nobody seems to know if Sebastian's restaurant is still open. Well - maybe it is. If you go to the website listed on Answers.com, it goes to this. KC/LA? Almost as scary as Sebastian's mix-n-match freezer dogfood! Whatever this Tony Robbins Web Design website is - one of the fake ads says prominently "fortify your life with tangable goals." OOoooh that mean old Ramsay. That mean old Professor Casil. Yeah! Sebastians is - surprise! - closed.
Corollary: It's the Dunning-Kruger effect. John Scalzi pointed this up during the extended Andrew Burt debacle. Sebastian was obviously a pinhead who thinks he's brilliant - and horrible to the people who had to work for him to take care of their families and pay their bills. OF COURSE he was seeding his own restaurant review message board with sock puppet posts (like Walter Burty!) - and the Whole Foods guy and that Burger King exec trying to squeeze a penny out of the farmworkers in Florida by harassing them via the internet. Ah, the internet, the last resort of the incompetent, unmanly, wanking losers of the world. This is Sebastian's idea of a great advertisement: "SEBASTIANS: Its SEBATIOUS!!!" No joke. As in "sebaceous" and "cyst."