Edward "Rocky" Trabue took a beating when celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay came to Prohibition Grille last December to shoot an episode of "Kitchen Nightmares."
There's no sugarcoating it: Trabue and his food looked pretty bad on the show that aired April 26 on Fox TV.
Waitresses complained of having to text him to come inside from frequent smoke breaks to place orders. Ramsay called him lazy and spit out his "overcooked tasteless mush."
"I feel like I've just gone 12 rounds with you," an exasperated Ramsay tells him in the episode.
Well, maybe so. But, like any Rocky worth his name, Trabue is not one to succumb to defeat.
Chef Rocky is back in the ring.
Trabue recently opened his own restaurant, Ole Soul Southern Creole, at 1105 Hewitt Ave.
It's just three blocks down Hewitt from Prohibition, where Trabue cooked for about four years until getting canned five months ago during the show's production. His wife, Sylvia, continued to work there as a server until a month ago.
Rocky doesn't blame Ramsay. He praises the brutal TV chef.
Trabue, 47, said he's always wanted to have his own restaurant. The flames in the logo of Ole Soul are a tribute to Ramsay. "Our thing is to thank Gordon for lighting a fire under me," he said.
The menu has grits, greens and other Southern fare that was the Prohibition's mainstay before Ramsay intervened and changed the menu and the name from Grille to Gastropub, in part because there was no grill.
"I have a grill. A big, brand-new grill," Trabue said. "When we first got this place it had two giant woks and I go, 'I can't make any Southern food off woks.'"
The restaurant, formerly a Thai restaurant, came equipped with bright red walls, a big front window and a small back patio. It's tucked in an industrial block at the west end of Hewitt.
Trabue said he has no ill will toward Prohibition owner Rishi Brown, adding that there's more to the story than shown on the "reality" TV show.
When contacted for this story, Brown said she was told by Fox TV not to comment on the matter.
Trabue is portrayed on the show as inept, uncaring and unlikable.
His explanation: "I'm not a big showboat. They wanted more drama. I wasn't going to feed into it. I believe fame is earned."
Still, you know what they say about any publicity being good publicity.
The bottom of the banner for Ole Soul's upcoming grand opening says "Just text him."
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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