Fernando visits a failing eatery in Shropshire.
Fernando Peire has advised many of London’s most exclusive establishments, but can his high standards and legendary attention to detail work in local restaurants? For Fernando, owning a restaurant is not just about delivering good food; eating should be a spiritual experience as well as a culinary one. He wonders what the customers say about his first assignment - Alexandra's, a 23-year-old Italian family business in Ramsgate - so he checks it out on the internet. The results are not encouraging.
Travelling incognito to Ramsgate, Fernando is pleasantly surprised. A new fast rail link is bringing in London custom and the seaside town is picturesque. Owned by mum Maria and son John, the restaurant in need of rescue has a harbourside location with a terrific view. But inside is a very different scene.
As the family blames the recession for their lack of customers, Fernando takes Maria around Ramsgate, talking to other restaurateurs and customers. He also makes the family imagine they are new customers: what would they change about their restaurant? Then comes his bombshell: a restaurant relaunch in two weeks’ time. The clock is ticking, so Fernando decides the first thing he must tackle is all the memorabilia and clutter, some of which is 25 years old.
As the relaunch night approaches, Fernando talks to influential local hoteliers and restaurant critics, and redoubles his efforts to convince Maria to put the customers first. Will he ever persuade her to get rid of her beloved salad bar? Will the 50 VIP guests like the new-look restaurant? Will Luciano’s new menu be a success? Will he be able to cope with the onrush of customers? And, most important of all, will the customers be impressed?