Tonight’s dining duel is between two very different restaurants that have a very similar problem. The eateries sit at opposite ends of the market, yet prove the point that if no-one is coming in your door you are not going to make any money.
Baja Cantina claims to offer an “authentic Californian inspired Mexican experience” (whatever that may be). Head chef and owner Robert Comings immigrated to Australia 4 years ago and his first job in Sydney was at ARIA under our very own Matt Moran. He walked out just two weeks later citing, “he’s unprofessional and cruel…I wasn’t that impressed with his food…I thought it was fast food fine dining”. Robert’s observation of Matt contrasts highly with his own management style, which is best described as laid-back, ineffective and bad for business. Will there be fireworks when the two chefs meet again - this time in Robert’s kitchen?
Modena 88 opened less than a year ago when Nicholas realised his dream of starting a restaurant from scratch. However the dream quickly turned into a nightmare when immediately after opening customers were turned away by menu prices and the business started failing. In an attempt to turn things around Nicholas changed strategies and redesigned the menu, slashing prices by almost 50%. After months of toying with the idea of re-launching as a Greek restaurant to take advantage of his own and his chef’s heritage, Nicholas is keen to make the change for The Chopping Block and is willing to go all the way with a new name and new menu.
Could the problem be the laidback attitude of both bosses as they cruise into bankrupsy on The Chopping Block tonight?