Well, there’s a reason the Kitchen Nightmares crew saved the Bella Luna episode for last. It was the hottest of hot messes.
For those who don’t know, Gordon Ramsey is a famed chef and a famed asshole. He routinely tells people just how shitty they are, and he’s usually pretty on-par with his assessments. He recently visited Bella Luna, a dumpy shithole located in Forks Township. We had some insiders at the taping, so if you’d like some background info on the show’s production, check that out.
So the show opens with an introduction of the restaurant, which opened in 2010. They serve what they claim is fresh Italian food, and the place is owned by Rosaria Scollo and her two sons, Maurizio and Gianfranco, help run it. Gianfranco is the chef. In the beginning of the show he claims, “The community has not responded to us the way we thought. I don’t think they really appreciate fine Italian cooking.” He then goes on to say, “The people of Easton like mediocre Italian food, frozen food, and that’s not what I do….I studied in Italy and worked with chefs and I know what Italian food is.” His mother later goes on to claim, “I think it’s more authentic than other places around here. We make everything fresh, we don’t use anything frozen….The food is not the problem here, it’s probably more of the community really don’t know about fresh, authentic Italian food.” Let me just say that, even without the context of them owning a massive train wreck of a restaurant, this is the statement of a fucking lunatic. Sette Luna in Easton alone shits all over this statement, not to mention Giacomo’s and many, many other restaurants beyond Easton’s borders.
So after their proclamations on how wonderful their failing cesspit is, Ramsey pulls up and is greeted by nutball waitress/manager Traci, who promptly tells him about her 50 Shades of Grey bingo parties. He then speaks with Rosaria, who tells him the history of the restaurants and their perceived struggles. Ramsay goes on to order deal saltimbocca, penne alls vodka, and mussels marinara. Ramsay’s veal looks like discolored mystery meat and he derides the dish for its bland flavor, tough texture, and mass of flour coating the outside. He claims their penne alpa vodka tastes like baby vomit and says the noodles are too mushy. Meanwhile, the cameras cut to the kitchen where Gianfranco’s sous chef tells him that he should’ve served him the pasta he cooked this morning rather than the pasta cooked yesterday, to which Gianfranco, ever the Italian-trained haute cuisine extraordinaire, says, “It still tastes good,” Ramsay naturally disagreed. “You’ve got more chance winning the lottery than you do becoming a success here,” he tells the staff.
He then starts ripping apart the kitchen, only to find pretty much nothing is fresh. They defrosted their frozen chicken in sinks meant for washing your hands and defrosted shrimp in the microwave before serving to customers. After bringing these discrepancies with Rosaria’s ‘fresh food’ ethos, she kept insisting that they serve fresh food and told Ramsay, “You’re yelling at me, this is an issue you should take up with the chef,” her son. Um, maybe because it’s YOUR RESTAURANT THAT YOU OWN AND OPERATE? She was exceedingly quick to push of blame on everyone but herself and refused to take responsibilities for the shortcomings of the restaurant.
And that was all before he got to the upstairs storage. There he found copious amounts of rotten avocados, turnips, veal, tomatoes, and broccoli rabe. Rosaria, still in denial, said, “I don’t serve those, they’re mine.” After these discoveries, he sent out Traci to shut the restaurant down and kick out the diners. Out back, Ramsay seemed to try to goad Gianfranco into quitting the restaurant, but he refused. Maurizio seemed to be the only voice of reason and sanity in the family, calming them down and offering positive advice for the family to continue on.
Ramsay then brings the staff in for their staff meeting, which we described in our episode preview, where patrons who have dined at the restaurant lined up to tell their Bella Luna horror stories. One patron had a fly in his soup. Another was served a sour cannoli, and when she complained, was brought a fresh one. Why wasn’t she given a fresh one to start with, she wondered, while Rosaria skirted giving a direct answer.
After all was said and done, Ramsay and his crew went to work redoing the interior of the restaurant, installing a POS system, and making a new menu for the staff, although very little time was devoted to this portion. The new interior featured light grey walls, wood accents, and rustic communal tables. On the night of the reopening, Gianfranco fell apart under the pressure, which isn’t much of a surprise for a chef who prior to Bella Luna had only done internships at restaurants.
Leaving the restaurant, almost as if he knew it would fail, Ramsay commented, “Wow, Bella Luna. Fingers crossed, what a place.”
Bella Luna shunt down a few months later after getting hit with liquor license violations and landlord disputes. They’re allegedly looking for a new spot. Crazy “50 Shades of Grey Bingo” manager Traci Bevacqua-Wehbe is currently fronting “REDZ VISION BAND” and Gianfranco is working with the creepily Ramsay-obsessed Joe Grisafi at Corked. Bella Luna, good riddance. The last thing the valley needs is another shitty Italian restaurant, let alone one who serves horrendous food, is owned by a delusional crazy woman who shits on the local food community, and a chef who can’t keep rotten food out of the kitchen or chicken out of the sink.
Ha, great write-up! Should be mandatory reading for people eating out in Easton.