Kitchen Nightmares

Episode 5.09 : Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room

  • Kitchen Nightmares
    • Episode Premiere : February 15, 2013
    • Distributor : FOX
    • Genre : Reality
    • Seasons : 5
    • Show Period : 2007 - now
    • Production Company: Granada Entertainment, A. Smith & Co. Prod.
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

The Story

Gordon Ramsay travels to a Mediterranean restaurant in Monrovia, California, and within minutes is caught in the middle of the constant fighting among its staff, who have no problem arguing in front of the paying customers. The establishment has been owned and operated by Sam Najjar and his family since 1997.

Business was good initially, but after a major slowdown in the last few years, the only remaining employees are Sam's wife and his seven children. The kids are resentful that dad is holding them back from living their own lives.

Before Chef Ramsay leaves his hotel to make his first visit to the restaurant, he is besieged by Sam's kids. They all blame their dad for the arguments. Gordon is dismayed to find out the entire family works seven days a week, and none of them want to work at their father's eatery anymore.

When Chef Ramsay arrives at the restaurant, he is greeted by Sam. The owner explains that he doesn't pay his kids any salary for working in the restaurant. They all live at home, and he covers the bills. He also informs Gordon that he is $70,000 in debt.

Sam rates his food a nine out of ten, so Gordon gives it a try. While waiting, he takes in the dreadful, dated décor and experiences the family fighting firsthand. When his order arrives, he discovers canned eggplant, frozen gyros, bland lamb and rubbery shrimp.

The kids admit to their dad that they have given up and no longer care. Sam is at a loss for what to do. The bickering continues as the family prepares for dinner service.

When the doors open that evening, Chef Ramsay observes the chaos. The food is sent back to the kitchen almost as quickly as it goes out. Gordon inspects the walk-in and finds a dumping ground for rotten products. When they try to serve raw chicken to the customers, Chef Ramsay does some yelling of his own.

At the end of the night, the family gathers outside and another argument erupts. Gordon tells them their disorganized, fragmented behavior does not feel like a family.

The next day, Chef Ramsay urges the kids to be honest with their father and explain their feelings of being trapped. They each worry about hurting their dad, but they do stand up to him. Sam digs in his heels, saying there's a family rule that he makes the decisions for all of them and doesn't want to hear what they have to say.

Gordon begs Sam to stop making his children feel guilty. Sam breaks down in tears, but Chef Ramsay assures him that if he gives his kids independence, things will improve. Sam finally admits, "I can't stop them." The family vows to make an effort to make things work.

With Sam and his kids coming to an understanding, Gordon gives them cooking lessons using fresh food and proper techniques. That evening his team conducts a massive overhaul of the restaurant. Chef Ramsay reveals the new, modern décor to the family along with a revamped contemporary Mediterranean menu.

At service that night, the customers rave about the transformation. To top it off, the family works together as a united team in support of Sam. There's a sense of calm in the kitchen. After several successful months, Sam is giving his kids some time off, and for the first time in years Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room is hiring.

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