Sebastian’s Burbank On Kitchen Nightmares

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.

There’s some further antics by Sebastian on the web here and here.

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  1. As a loather of reality TV since Survivor was just a soiled gleam in some whore’s eye, I’ve never caught this show before. Goddamn that was good. I live 20 minutes from the Massachusett’s border and there are mooks like this one everywhere running around like they’re Tyson circa ’91 and my hands are Miss Black Rhode Island. He looks like one of those real husky guys who instead of being sorta surprisingly strong is actually quite feeble, soft, and ticklish. In a just world he would have married Phil Hartman’s wife and been fat on a slab years ago. This guy is fun to hate.

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  2. Pingback: Kitchen Nightmares Sebastian’s Restaurant Burbank | Funny Craigslist Ads

  3. Speaking of reality TV – “Dance your Ass Off” was cancelled here in Australia after one episode. I’m so pleased, and so proud of my fellow countrymen.

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  4. That’s pretty much the same impression I got from watching the show. Usually Ramsay takes on a massive ego that’s the main obstacle to an otherwise promising business, breaks it down (mostly by waving the signed contract in their face behind the scenes, I’m sure) and then proceeding to use his influence and skill to fill the restaurant and serve them excellent food for a change. He usually leaves the restaurant with a fairly good chance to succeed, but unfortunately 2/3 of them end up closing their doors within 2 years.

    This case was a little different. I doubt Ramsay expected Sebastian to be so deeply delusional and insecure with reality. As Ramsay turned things around; the restaurant filled up with happy customers, the till filled up with money, Sebastian apparently had some sort of mental breakdown, more protective of his delusion than the reality of his family business. He lashed out like a mad dictator, trashing Ramsay and all the positive help and support he lent to the business. He seemed bent on crashing his ship on the rocks just to prove he was the captain of his ship, sailing to some Lala Land of self-delusional fame and prosperity.

    His wife obviously agreed with the global consensus about Sebastian; it looks like she’s remarried and moving on with her life, judging by her myspace and facebook pages.

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  5. I have been amazed by the show and was hoping this guy wasn’t the perfect stereotype of americans across the world

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  6. To the author. I would like to shake your hand, sir. Your depiction of this moron, an overly-proud, massively dim-witted restaurant owner (who sports a chin-strap, like wiggers in northeast philly) is spot on.

    Its really unfortunate that so many of these kinds of jokers exist. Was this the episode where he said he plunked $300K of his WIFEs money into?…(looks to be some kind of lawyer/banker of hebrew descent).

    In any case, very well written.

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  7. Does anyone know what happened to that cute waitress Sonya?? She is the one that served Gordon in the beginning??

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  8. We watched this last evening on demand and I agree with everything the blog says but feel somewhat sorry that the author considers slamming New Englanders justifiable. Sebastian didn’t want to grow up, didn’t want to see himself in any way that would require sincere self-examination. The lie in the very beginning was the tip. Why would you lie on TV? I feel sorry for Sebastian that he has a hard time softening and grasping hold of the gift….agree that it could have had great potential. But apparently even Gordon has failed. Hopefully Sebastian was learning through this painful process, even if he didn’t get it this time around. Hopefully he will stop lying to himself. New England as a geographic locale has nothing to do with humility. The same could be said of the arrogance of the New York Yankees, known for uppity thinking! The contrast I noticed in the two American episodes we have seen is that Americans in general can be challenging. Gordon even went at it with the patrons in the New Jersey episode. Wow!

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  9. Yea this one was one of the few that really really stuck in my mind. Not just a misguided person, this guy was mentally ill. a real gob smacking episode.

    I’m just surprised he got someone to marry him, never mind fund him to that level.

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  10. I know this is a few years late but I just started enjoying this show. Great review. That said I would like to point something out in the hopes of improving Mass / ‘rest of the country’ relations. I grew up 30 minutes outside of Boston and the truth is that what everyone thinks of as Massholish actually describes the greater Boston area and not the entirety of Mass residents by a long shot. Not all of us have the accent either ( which I personally find embarrasing , if there is an R at the end of a word you make an R sound , pretty simple stuff guys ) . Anyway , this Sebastian guy was obviously imbalanced and not too bright and that had nothing to do with where he was from. Anyone have recent updates on him?

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  11. “Sebastian’s Around The World”

    I had a boyfriend who asked me to go “around the world.” Basically, code for lick his ass. I imagine that’s what Sebastian’s pizza tastes like. Passably tasty when shitfaced drunk.

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  12. Sebastian needs to be severely beaten and needs to know what gratitude is.Poor Ramsay could have come and started a restaurant with me.

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  13. Further to the around the world comments …

    Now it seems Sebastian and his wife are trying to rob people via an internet scam around the world

    See the facebook group


    Sebastian Di Modica IV
    Hello all Di Modica’s how are all of you? My name is Sebastian Di Modica IV and i am from Boston Mass. My wife Nichole and I own a financial consulting firm that teaches people how to make an ongoing residuale six figure income by recieving a % of every transaction that happens on the internet world wide. If you want more info contact me at God Bles”

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    • LOL! He has moved on from chef/entrepreneur to a cousin of the infamous “African Prince”.

      Too funny!

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    • While slightly late in reply, perhaps Sebastian should have considered SPELL CHECK when asking people to invest their income; there are a few spelling i.e, “residuale” where it should be residual, “Bles” I assume means “Bless,” and grammatical errors such as “i” (not capitalizing it), using a % sign instead of spelling it out; these just show instance on laze and ignorance so why would anyone halfway competent financially invest with him?

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  14. Let me deconstruct Sebastian’s email to Ramsey about closing down his restaurant and moving back to Boston.

    “I am a loser, and after my epic fail was made public, my wife left me. I am moving back to Boston to live with my parents, and then referring to this as “family issues”. I hope vague references to a “contract” will convince people there is some more complicated reason. Your friend, Sebastian”.

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  15. Don’t really appreciate the shit talking about Boston. You do realize we’re something of an intellectual Mecca in the US as the home of both Harvard and MIT, right? I think it’s more that egomaniacs like Sebastian are just drawn to Cali. It also seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black for you to accuse this guy of having an inflated sense of self importance.

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  17. I lived in L.A. for twenty-five years. When you say that Burbank is like our NJ, you’re absolutely right. Toluca Lake is home to most of the dumbest, most conceited, star-struck peons I ever met during my life there. EVERYone there thought they were gonna make it big, regardless of the fact that they had no drive, no talent, and no work ethic. Because being famous has nothing to do with any of those things, right? (Hence the NJ comment. I don’t even need to name names).

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