This episode of Kitchen Nightmares is one of the best i’ve ever seen. I was literally shaking with misanthropic ecstasy while watching this show. If you haven’t seen it yet please watch it above and then continue reading.
The focus is a Burbank, California restaurant called “Sebastian’s” where Gordon meets a stocky, new englander named Sebastian Di Modica with a Donny Wahlberg whigger beard, a Scarface office and stars in his eyes. This seems to be a common thread among New Englanders (Bostonians in particular) who come to LA. Ever see the movie Overnight?
His delusions of grandeur were nothing short of amazing and so entertaining because you know the imminent trainwreck is just up around the bend.
This was also one of the first episodes where I really did not want Gordon to help the restaurant succeed.
I’ve met people like Sebastian Di Modica and they are marked by the few traits:
- Average to below average intelligence
- Inflated sense of self and self-importance
- Inability to clearly sense or feel other people’s reactions to them or their behavior
- Undying optimism and stubbornness for their endeavors, ideas and beliefs
- Refusal to take suggestions, guidance or criticism
- Compulsive and proud displays of their often dubious racial, ethnic, religious or national heritage
- Obsession with success and money without the necessary commitment to hard work
- The “my idea” obsession. They will not champion any idea that is not their own, even to their own detriment
- Originally From Massachusetts
This guy, who has a failing restaurant, tells Gordon Ramsay that he thinks his restaurant should be franchised because of his “unique” and “original” menu. The original idea is a menu where you pick your sauce, then you pick your meat and then you pick how you’d like it served (sandwich, salad, entree). That’s the franchisable idea. I once met a waitress (who was rather attractive but probably had the above traits) who told me that her dream was to start a restaurant called Ranch 1000, where they would offer 1,000 variations of Ranch dressing to dip your food in. My friend Steve immediately asked her if she had a boyfriend. She thought he was hitting on her and said “i’m not allowed to date people from here”. Steve responded, “No, I asked because with an idea like that you’re gonna need someone to pay the bills”. Similarly, Sebastian has probably bored his wife and any friends he might have with the “genius” of this idea, and he did find someone to pay the bills, his wife.
Now Sebastian believes that his pizzas should be sold in stores– well actually he tells Gordon that they will be sold in stores. This is one of those statements that sounds like there is something behind it, a plan in the works, but it’s phrased so that he can pretend he was just projecting an aspiration.
His pizzas use frozen dough that he orders from a distributor. The food being good, he claims, is not as important as getting his name out there and putting Sebastians on the map–acting as a launching pad— and interacting with the customers. Sebastian seems like he means well but so do a lot of annoying restaurant owners who bother you while you’re eating.
Sebastian is the kind of guy who regales you with a story where he suddenly turns the Boston accent up to 11 and tells you how restaurants back in Basstin are old fashioned and the owner comes by and has a drink with you— and that’s where his values are too. Except hes annoying and pretensious and inauthentic and doesn’t realize that the places where the owner CAN do that was earned over many years and not forced. Also, his food was probably good too. It seems as if Sebastian really thought that he and his stupid innovative menu was the draw.
Just listen to that name— “Sebastian’s Around The World”, he told Ramsay. Later, there were painful-to-watch scenes when Sebastian claims that he “won” arguments with Ramsay and forced his employees to give him high fives. We’ve all been a victim of a high-five terrorist like Sebastian and it feels like rape.
Sebastians is now closed. The reason was a “family situation” however you can kind of surmise that the show probably didn’t help the restaurant or his wife’s career. People probably started going to the restaurant just to gawk at the freakshow. But Ramsay is right, Sebastians could have been something. The problem is that the owners ego was more important than creating a successful business. Some of the key elements were there, and if you know anything about Burbank you know that it wouldn’t have to be a perfect effort for it to succeed. Burbank is like our New Jersey.
Overall Sebastian’s hubris, like so many before him, ruined his restaurant and himself. It’s sad to me that people ruin themselves on television like this for my viewing pleasure but its heartening that there is a medium that attracts this kind of bozo for exposure the way that a flame attracts moths. The only sad part is that the correction is done with a wrecking ball and not a chisel. I mean, you gotta feel bad for this guy. But as I like to say, all pain is self inflicted.