Kitchen Nightmares (US) S05 E14: Charlie’s Italian Bistro, La Verne, California – CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares (US) S05 E14: Charlie’s Italian Bistro, La Verne, California – CLOSED

In this edition of The Kitchen’s Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Charlie’s Italian Bistro, owned by the Leiva family, in La Verne, California.

Tatiana Leiva was working as a server in Charlie’s, and back in 2010, she bought this restaurant. With the financial help of her mother Pat and sister Val, both schoolteachers, Tatiana bought this failed restaurant.

Charlie's Italian Bistro Kitchen Nightmares

Conflicts and the reason for decline

Charlie’s Italian Bistro has never been a successful restaurant. Despite the fact, Tatiana risked purchasing this restaurant endangering the houses of her mother and sister on collateral.

Tatiana, as an owner, never took courage to make changes in the restaurant to make it better, therefore, the bad converted into worse. She moved around the place with a glass of wine in hand, whining the staff for nothing, and appreciating the head chef even doing for nothing.

The staff attributed the restaurant’s failure to the unprofessionalism of Tatiana and her lack of respect for employees and customers.

The overdue bills cause worry, and huge investment is at risk. The Leiva family fails to understand the reason for less footfall, and from here the conflict rises between them and they start blaming each other. The family was scared about their future and wanted help.


Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 05 Episode 14 (Including Re-vists)
Restaurant Name: Charlie’s Italian Bistro, La Verne, California
Filming: October 2011
Air Date: 17 February, 2012
Restaurant Close Date: July 2012
Current Status: CLOSED

Is Charlie’s Italian Bistro, La Verne, California closed?

Yes. Despite positive reviews and successful relaunch, Charlie’s Italian Bistro closed in July 2012, few months after the episode airing date.

Chef Gordon Ramsay Arrives at Charlie’s Italian Bistro

Chef Gordon Ramsay arrives at Charlie’s Italian Bistro and meets the Leiva family to have a better understanding of the worst situation.

He is surprised to know that nothing has been changed since the time Tatiana took up the restaurant and the family has lost the harmony in the relationship. Pat and Val criticise Tatiana and hold her accountable for this stupid decision. Gordon was amazed to know that Pat and Val had to mortgage their houses in order to buy the restaurant whereas Tatiana just contributed 1,000 USD from her side, with little invested, she is not able to run the place also.

Chef Gordon Ramsay Criticizes the Food

After an informal meeting with the owners, Chef Ramsay is eager to try the food. He orders a Toasted Ravioli, a Fruitte de mare, a Chicken Pizza, and a Lasagna.

Meanwhile, waiting for his order, Chef Gordon Ramsay checks the homemade bread and remarks of it looking like a dough ball.

First, he tries toasted ravioli which seems raw, and sends it back to Tatiana to try. Fruitte De Mare looks bizarre with stale Mussels and hard shrimp. The microwaved Lasagna is cold from one side and is not up to the mark with a strange taste of the sauce. Last, the Pizza is served that feels doughy, frozen, and bland. He sums it up by saying that the food is a shame!

Charlie's Italian Bistro Gordon Tataiana Val and Pat.jpg

Chef Ramsay Meets the Kitchen Staff and Checks Storage

After lunch, in which every dish has a failing grade, Chef Ramsay heads to the kitchen to meet the kitchen team and shares his feedback.

Upset with food, Chef Ramsay tells the kitchen staff that the food is hideous and inspects the storage. He gets irritated to see the stale Mussels, frozen meatballs, overcooked portions of pasta, and stinking pizza dough.

He criticizes Tatiana harshly just to make her understand that being an owner she is not fulfilling her responsibility. Not bearing the insult, she walks away weeping.

Chef Ramsay Observes the Dinner Service

Before the dinner service begins, Chef Ramsay makes a little change. He comes to the kitchen and asks Casimiro, the head chef, to make meatballs. He also asks Daniella, the Sous Chef, to make meatballs. He checks and passes Daniella’s meatball, which Casimiro doesn’t like. Tatiana tries to soothe her head chef who is irritated.

As the dinner service starts, Chef Gordon Ramsay gets irritated to find that Casimiro is deadly slow to handle all the orders. Every customer complaint about overcooked, and bland food.

Irritated with Casimiro’s stinking attitude, Chef Ramsay gets loud and the head chef halts cooking. Tatiana gets upset because she always stands by the side of head chef.

Gordon and Chef Jonathan at Charlie's relaunch

Chef Ramsay Makes Tatiana Understand the Situation

Frustrated with the lack of management of Tatiana, Chef Gordon Ramsay takes her outside the restaurant and asks her to open her eyes to take some big decisions to save the business. He walks away and Tatiana requests him to be on board again, as she needs help and is ready to take responsibility.

Tatiana is now aware of her faults, throws away the fear, and takes a big decision to fire Casimiro. She discusses the decision with her mother and sister who are a bit reluctant about this decision.

Tatiana tells Casimiro to go but feels sorry for him. She makes her first big change since becoming an owner.

Chef Ramsay Introduces a new head Chef Johnathan

To fill the gap in the kitchen, Chef Ramsay introduces Johnathan, a well-trained chef, to help and train the kitchen team along with Tatiana.

The kitchen team learns dishes and communication and Tatiana is very much excited. Now, she is more responsible as an owner.

Chef Ramsay Relaunches Charlie’s Italian Bistro

Now, Chef Ramsay is ready to entirely revamp the menu. He cuts short the menu and dishes with a unique style that attracts and appeals not only to Tatiana and her family but the staff also likes and gets excited. They all check the food and presentation and agree upon its quality.

As Charlie’s opens its door for dinner, the customers throb in to give it another try. The whole team works coherently except for the pizza station and mess is created for a while because of the communication gap.

Chef Ramsay jumps in and pushes Tatiana to focus on the weak areas. She promptly responded, and the rest of the operations go smoothly.

Customers are happy. They are enjoying the food and making good comments. The Leiva family rejoices in the success and is thankful to Chef Gordon Ramsay. With a short meeting at the end of the shift, Gordon Ramsay appreciates everyone and leaves the place, giving a piece of good advice to Tatiana.

What happened to Charlie’s Italian Bistro, La Verne, California after relaunch?

Episode ended with very focussed relaunch and very successful dinner service. Jonathan, the head chef introduced by Gordon, stayed for another month, maintaining the food quality, training the staff and helping them to find a new head chef.

Yelp reviews after the relaunch were extremely positive, mainly because of great food and friendly staff. There were very few bad reviews due to long wait times and small portion sizes, however revamped menu and food was a hit among patron.

Despite positive reviews and successful relaunch, Charlie’s Italian Bistro closed in July 2012, few months after the episode airing date.

Server Genevieve featuring in the episode sadly passed away from medical complications due to epilepsy. As per her Facebook profile, the restaurant owner Tatiana Estefania Leiva is currently working as project manager at The Wrap Studios California.



1. Social Profile on Yelp

2. Spin a Yarn’s IMDB episode link

3. FourSquare Profile


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Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 05 Episode 14 (Including Revists)
Restaurant Name: Charlie’s Italian Bistro, La Verne, California
Filming: October 2011
Air Date: 17 February, 2012
Restaurant Close Date: July 2012
Current Status: CLOSED

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