Ching-He Huang's hailing a yellow taxi, headed to New York's Murray Hill -- or Curry Hill as it's affectionately known. She's tasked with helping to save a Pakistani mother and daughter's failing restaurant. It was mom Alia's dream to open up her Indian Thai fusion restaurant one year ago, but the restaurant is not attracting customers and has terrible online reviews. Ching has to convince Alia and daughter Ayesha that the only way to increase business is to completely overhaul their take out business.
Ching-He Huang packs up her cleaver and heads to Livingston, N.J., to help save a failing kosher sushi joint that has lost its way -- and its customers. When owner Kevin admits from the start that the restaurant is for sale, Ching is suspicious that he's already given up. Redemption could be too late for this ailing restaurant and things only get worse when Kevin receives news that his kosher certification is being taken away.
Ching-He Huang's on her way to Southern Philadelphia to help Joe and Renae DeCristo. These Italian American siblings are the owner and manager of JC Chinese restaurant, a business opened by their late father in the 1950s. Like the decor, Joe and Renae's food is stuck in a time warp and their customers have stopped coming. To save their business Ching needs them to modernize their dated decor and their menu but she is met with resistance at every turn from Joe.
Ching-He Huang's next destination is Cherry Hill, N.J. When brother and sister Jim and Anita opened Vietnamese restaurant Pho Barclay, there were lines out the door. One year later the business has slowed and the food has become boring and predictable. Ching is shocked to discover that Anita is bankrolling the struggling business as well as financing her brother's hobby as an amateur inventor. Jim and Anita need to focus their resources on the restaurant and reinvent their food and decor if it's to survive.
Ching-He Huang's next restaurant seems like a lost cause from the get go, with no signage and difficult to find with GPS. Frank and Vivian Dominick gave up their careers to run Fusion Fire. Several years ago Frank's head sushi chef quit, taking three other staff employees with him. Frank immediately jumped into the role of head chef and added to their menu, but more choices has meant more confusion and fewer customers.
Ching-He Huang brings her culinary magic to a restaurant in Queens, N.Y., that's on the verge of extinction. Roger, Sam and Paulina opened Red Panda a year ago and have tried everything to attract customers to their restaurant. After failing to wow with their food they've hosted weekend entertainment including magic shows and karaoke to draw in the crowds, all to no avail.
New York City's Koreatown is the location for Ching-He Huang's next struggling restaurant. Run by fun-loving owner May, Kirakuya Sake used to be the place to drink and party for NYC's Korean and Japanese communities. Business has declined as fewer customers come in to eat, drink or socialize with May. Is it too late for Ching to rein in May's party-girl ways and get her more focused on her food than on having fun?
Ching's dishing out culinary therapy at a Thai restaurant in New Jersey. After their first restaurant in Manhattan failed, ex-husband and wife team Joey and Jumi had hoped for better luck opening a business in Montclair. Sadly after only a year they've found themselves struggling to make more than $100 a day. Now the stresses of operating a failing restaurant are taking their toll. To save money Jumi has a full time day job and rushes to the restaurant at night to make deliveries. Joey runs the business like a dictatorship doing everything from cooking to serving, with a temper so unpredictable that no one wants to work with him. With such stressed out owners at the helm, can Ching turn this restaurant around? Or is a change of ownership what is really needed?
Ching's heading east, to a struggling restaurant in Canton, Massachusetts. Golden China's been in the Chen family since the 1970s, and since then neither menu nor decor have changed. Once Golden China was considered Canton's answer to Boston's "Cheers" bar, a popular Chinese sports-bar themed restaurant. Now it's hit hard times and the bar can no longer turn a profit. Will Ching be able to help the Chen family continue their legacy? Or will their restaurant remain empty despite Ching's best attempts to drag their dated Americanized Chinese menu and décor into the 21st century?
Baron and Christine are the owners of Kathy's Chinese Cuisine - a 20 year-old restaurant that's desperately in need of Ching's help. Baron and his wife have ploughed their entire life savings into this restaurant but after 20 years of business things are at an all-time low. Baron cooks a "healthy" Californian Chinese style of cooking - no canned foods or animal fats. Not profitable enough to hire a chef they are understaffed and frequently work seven-day weeks. Despite this they're still losing money hand over fist. The couple is so stressed that customers frequently witness their constant arguments. Baron is stubborn and has no faith in his wife's opinions. If Baron won't listen to his wife, how can Ching expect to be heard? Can this couple reconcile their differences, turn this restaurant around and run it harmoniously?
Food trucks are the latest foodie fad, a whopping $800 million industry in the US. But one truck in San Francisco is suffering from an identity crisis and has called in Ching to help. Zenia Llamas was inspired to make her own "naked chorizo" - the spicy Spanish sausage served without the usual casing. A food truck showcasing Zenia's chorizo-based Spanish-Filipino dishes was the logical next step. But that's when things started to veer off course. Customers, confused by the name and branding, assume that Naked Chorizo is a Mexican food truck. Their reluctance to try the fusion fare has resulted in the food truck's profits coming to a skidding halt. Zenia, however is a strong-minded firebrand who refuses to change the name of her business. Can Ching put this food truck back on the right track or will she be on a collision course with Zenia from the start?
Ching is heading to Silicon Valley to help a restaurant owner keep her establishment afloat. Hye Kim is the owner of Korea House, a restaurant specializing in a Korean all-you-can-eat buffet. With big IT companies and college campuses nearby it should be filled to the rafters with hungry office workers but it's failing to attract customers. With high food costs the buffets are expensive to maintain and Hye is hemorrhaging money. She's also borrowed thousands from her family and friends who are bankrolling her restaurant. Hye has little previous restaurant experience, finds it hard to be authoritative without shouting and as a result struggles to earn the respect of her staff. With bankruptcy looming, can Ching help this failing restaurant before it's forced to shutter?
Ching's heading to iconic Rockaway Beach in New York to help a waterfront restaurant that's already survived despite the odds. Two years ago, ex-Wall Street worker Robert and his Thai wife Metta's beachfront restaurant Thai Rock was decimated by Hurricane Sandy. The clean up operation left them with debts totaling $1.5 million. Before Sandy hit, Robert had sunk everything he owned into Thai Rock. He's invested his life savings - not once but twice, into fixing up this restaurant. Two years on and the surrounding neighborhood hasn't fully recovered from the devastation. With people still struggling to cover the cost of home restoration, paying to eat out is considered a luxury not many can afford. Helping a struggling restaurant survive within the recovering Rockaway community sounds like mission impossible. Has Ching finally bitten off more than she can chew?
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