Chef Cliff Crooks works with three chefs with very different issues. Aiden has been the head chef of Blue Mermaid Island Grill in Kittery, Maine, for years, but he's timid, and the restaurant's owner questions whether he can lead a kitchen. Pat was recently promoted to head chef of Beefeater's Tavern in Horseheads, N.Y., but his sloppy appearance and subpar culinary skills threaten his success. Finally, Shy has spent 16 years running the kitchen at McGeary's Pub in Albany, N.Y., but she has an attitude problem that could mean the end of her run.
Chef Cliff Crooks makes three stops, starting with Three Dollar Dewey's in Portland, Maine, where first-time head chef Richard doesn't understand the bottom line, and the owner needs him to learn that great food doesn't require expensive ingredients. In Scranton, Penn., Sammy is the head chef at Samario's, his parents' Italian restaurant, but his lack of culinary training and creativity is costing them customers. Finally, Violette makes food that people love at Byblos Mediterranean Cafe in Syracuse, N.Y., but it takes so long that her son, who is also the owner, says it's cutting into their profits.
Chef Cliff Crooks mentors a trio of struggling chefs, starting at Tata's in Wallingford, Conn., where 23-year-old Jaida has been made head chef at her family's restaurant, but her attitude and inability to accept feedback is putting her role in jeopardy. In Brooklyn, Md., Robert and his wife named their restaurant Dakari's after a baby they lost to SIDS, but she's worried they could lose the business, too, if Robert doesn't become more assertive and take charge in the kitchen. Finally, Chef Cliff works with Shawn, who was forced to sell the Kempton, Penn., landmark Kempton Hotel he loves but stayed on to run the kitchen. Now fear of failing again has him struggling, and boot camp is his last hope to keep the job that means so much to him.
Chef Cliff Crooks works with three chefs in need of professional help, starting at Tara Inn in Port Jefferson, N.Y. Head chef Andrew's poor performance could mean the end of a local favorite restaurant since 1977. In New Haven, Conn., the chef refuses to change the menu at his best friend's restaurant, putting his relationship and his job at risk. Finally, Chef Cliff meets Shakilah, who took over for her mom as head chef at Carolyn's Southern Comfort Cuisine in East Meadow, N.Y., but overspicing the food and her lack of drive could mean the end of her mother's dream.
Chef Cliff Crooks connects with three chefs in need of help, starting with Carlos in New London, Conn. He came to the U.S. from Ecuador and achieved the American dream while working in kitchens, but as the head chef at Hot Rods Cafe, he must learn some tricks beyond cooking wings and burgers to help his best friend and the restaurant's owner bring in new customers to pay for a costly renovation. In Essex Junction, Vt., cooking saved the life of former addict Cody, but he needs help getting past his self-doubt to successfully run the kitchen at El Gato Cantina. Finally, Chef Cliff meets Kelly, a self-taught chef who transformed her health-food meal prep business into Fit Foodie Express in Long Beach, N.Y. She and her husband put their savings into the business, but her lack of cooking and restaurant experience could mean the end of not only their business but also their marriage.
Chef Cliff Crooks draws on his expertise to help three chefs in need, beginning with Chris at The Striker in Portsmouth, N.H. Chris was hired for his creativity, but he's lost his passion and his food is uninspired. In Albany, N.Y., Kizzy is chef and co-owner of Allie B's Cozy Kitchen, which features her mom's soul food recipes, but she needs to branch out to reinvigorate business. Finally, Chef Cliff meets Nicky, who has been the chef at Bella Napoli in Bloomfield, N.J., for more than 40 years -- and it shows in his terrible plating and the owners' desire for new dishes to bring in more customers.