Hannah & Mason’s Before Kitchen Nightmares
Based in Cranberry, New Jersey, Hannah and Mason’s is now owned by a pair of friends and coworkers who were given the chance to buy out the owners. Soon after purchase, the team realized that they don’t work quite as well as a team, as everyone agrees that Brian is a bit lazy, and the budget cuts needed to keep Hannah & Mason’s open have required everyone (including the owners who are now in the kitchen) to pitch in more to allow it to survive. Chris has taken the opposite approach, doing most of the management work alongside cooking, but has allowed Brian to influence some practices, like only staying open 3 nights a week as he “doesn’t like to work nights”. The staff is quite aware that they are losing business, which is something he doesn’t seem to recognize. Given the bounced employment checks, it’s clear they need all the help they can get. Can Chef Gordon Ramsay turn this place around in time? Let’s find out.
Hannah & Mason’s on Kitchen Nightmares
The episode starts with Chef Ramsay noticing the outside sign missing the N in Hannah & Mason’s. Walking in, he finds a 23-year-old manager and is surprised by his youth, and then sits down for a quick sample of the food, including the suggested Baked Onion Soup, and Lamb Lollipops. Sadly, the soup is way too greasy and is so full of cheese the broth seemed more like sludge and tasted around the same. The lamb is also a loss, as it’s undercooked and the sauce (a roasted onion jam) appears far too sweet. Lastly, the quiche is up, and the kitchen is more than a little shaken by the previous results. Again, another failed dish as the quiche is sloppily made, and the salad accompanying it doesn’t appear to be clean. The kitchen is clearly a little shocked, as the owners and staff keep claiming that customers love the food.
Meeting the owners back in the kitchen, Chef Ramsay starts by going to the basics and asking how many nights a week they are open, and is surprised by the reply of only three. He states that being closed more than your open shows your customers that you’re likely ready to be closed down. Then comes the matter of passion, where Brian responds to the question of why isn’t he passionate like Chris with “We’re different people”. After this quick discussion, he agrees to meet them for dinner service.
Meeting for Valentine’s Day Dinner Service, he’s hoping to be at least not terribly disappointed, but that ends quickly. He quickly notices in the back there’s a tray of desserts that look like they came from the stone age, and is worried they are going to customers, only to be told they are for display purposes. Given the look of them, it’d be easy to guess not much of the dessert is ordered at Hannah & Mason’s. He then observes food orders sitting for 20 plus minutes for customer pickup. After that, he sees that there is no washing of the vegetables, as Hannah & Mason’s get it pre-washed. As an added bonus, the dessert tray just mentioned being “display only”? Well, it just so happens a piece of week-old cheesecake made it onto a diner’s plate. Ramsay is then taken to the fridge, which is sure to be disgusting. Bacon is openly exposed, food is scattered everywhere, and raw chicken intermixed with cooked, which can cause a major health hazard. Ramsay has had enough and switches off Hannah & Mason’s service for the night.
In a meeting after the customers have left, Ramsay praises Chris for stepping up and talking to the customers and telling them what happened but bashes Brian yet again for showing cowardice. A full shop cleanup is then in order, which shows quite a bit of waste and gunk. The next morning, Chef Ramsay explores the area around the restaurant to finds absolutely lovely farmland and plenty of fresh ingredients.
When returning, he gets into yet another conflict with the passionless Brian about having even the tiniest spark of inspiration from ingredients, and then moves on to teach Chris a new dish using local ingredients: Pork medallions with caramelized Braeburn apples. For day three’s run, Brian threatens to leave if he’s criticized again, and Ramsay gets frustrated with how slow the service is, with tickets backing up. Brian, predictably, threatens to leave Hannah & Mason’s in only an hour. Pace then speeds up a bit, and customers start leaving quite satisfied.
During the meeting after dinner, Brian starts contributing and they agree that local ingredients are the way to go, though now Chris is worried about all the changes that will take place. The next morning, some improvements are shown, including adding that missing N. The interior now appears much cleaner, with a greater visibility of the local foods, and a much brighter outlook. Brian for one actually shows enthusiasm, while Chris backs up even more due to fear of the unknown. The new menu brings even more change with “high level” fine dining which was poorly executed long gone, to new simpler dishes. Outside a farmers market is held to promote the reopening. During the farmers market, some wheeling and dealing occur between Hannah & Mason’s and the various farmers, which could be very mutually beneficial.
On the relaunch, it’s clear flipping tables will need to happen, which means faster service, and faster food. It starts out looking good, with customers satisfied and dishes flying out of the door and Brian stepping up to the plate in a big way. Chris, on the other hand, seems to be slowing down the pace. Chris makes a critical error in trying to substitute mashed potatoes for something else as they are running low, instead of putting some on. Ramsay calls him out on this idea, which could be a sign of things to come. Chris finally gets a grip on the kitchen and rotations really start going with great results.
At the end of the night, it’s clear that the owners still need to consistently come up and handle the stress of the job, but otherwise, the outlook is pretty bright. Near the end of the episode, Chef Ramsay expresses some hope, but also doubt if the place will continue to survive. But does this mean that Hannah & Mason’s could close before you could go visit it? Let’s see the fate of Hannah & Mason’s in 2017.
Hannah & Mason’s After Kitchen Nightmares – 2018 Update
It would appear that of the pair, Brian got his wish and now no longer owns a restaurant. As of February 2010, Hannah & Mason’s has closed its doors for good, citing several reasons including alienation of past customers via menu change, a downturn in the economy, and a total lack of interest in continuing. Likewise, the owning pair has split, with Chris going on into teaching and later working as a research chef, and Brian moving to Jersey City, New Jersey to cook for another establishment.