Once the hottest chef in New York City, Jack Bourdain's bouts with womanizing, brawling, and drug and alcohol abuse have landed him in the kitchen of an embarrassing family eatery. Salvation comes when he's hired as the head chef of Nolita, a trendy new haute cuisine restaurant, and he must quickly assemble his staff of degenerate chefs, deal with a scheming head waitress, and impress New York's top food critic, who happens to be his ex-girlfriend.
With Nolita's becoming a smashing success, Jack must find a way to reconcile his promise to Primo to run a by-the-book kitchen with his need for Steven's less-than-legal tactics that keep the kitchen running smoothly. Meanwhile, newly-promoted floor captain Mimi's decision to stop pooling tips leads to a feud between waiters Cameron and Donna, and Jack gets a second chance with ex-girlfriend Audrey.
Jack's intimidating cooking instructor announces that, because he is suffering from heart disease, he is going to eat at Nolita's every night until he dies, prompting the kitchen staff to go to great lengths to concoct potentially fatal entrées, while Jack is conflicted over his food killing somebody. Meanwhile, a hot dog vendor sets up shop on the sidewalk outside the restaurant to cash in on Nolita's overflow crowds.
After an article on page Six claims that Jack snubbed a famous actress at Nolita, Jack's boss realizes that part of the success of the restaurant includes the chef spending time with Nolita's patrons. Not wanting to leave a hole in his very busy kitchen, Jack hires a female chef he knows and trusts. At first, the boys resent a woman in their midst, but Becky quickly wins the crew over - and the more Becky fits in, the less space there is for Jack.
Shameless flirts Steven and Becky bring passion to the job- by rivaling in sizzling seduction, showing skin on pictures and making virgin Jim blush and bulge. Jack hates vegetarians as befits a chef, but sets that aside for carnal contact with Julia, who ends up getting seduced by more meat then his manly sex-machine. Jim fails to refuse signing for a delivery of rabbits- they're live bunnies, and putting them on the chopping-block is beyond the macho men or more then their relationships may be worth.
Jack beaks his own 'no-sex-with-colleagues' rule with Becky, who convinces him (in bed) to put her in charge of a commercially attractive, gastronomically inferior novelty: brunch. The staff finds the experience backbreaking and murder on their private lives, Seth discovering how Becky manipulated his friend. Meanwhile next-door chocolates specialist Albert got the blame, and so Steven bombards his car with eggs, causing enough harm to accidentally run over pastry chef Seth.
Teddy quits when Jack gets credit for one of his recipes in a national magazine, prompting Jack to replace him with Chet, new "fish guy" who annoys Steven and Seth. While they torture Chet in an attempt to get him to quit, Jack realizes he can't reproduce the now-famous fish dish without Teddy, right when it's the only thing all of Nolita's customers want to order.
After a gang of masked robbers gets restaurant Nolita undeserved bad publicity, suddenly all bookings are canceled. Seth is on a roll gambling on the horses, but can his luck last and his bookie pay off? After Jim happened to save Teddy's life, he promises Jim everything, even what he meant to exclude: teaching him to cook blowfish, illegal in the US. Jack calls a critic guaranteed to give him a good review after a free meal and some horny slapping of his backside. The restaurant tries a 'models night', but even that has a catch. Jack finds himself on the pavement ...
Jack gets frustrated when a foxy food critic has sex with him and then writes a mean review about him. So he takes his frustration out on the whole Nolita staff, especially poor Jim: the more he tries to please everyone the more hassle he gets. At last Jack gathers the courage to go over and demand 'seconds' with the critic, and convinces her, at least between the sheets.
Mimi is the new owner of Nolita, and Jack goes through a power-struggle with her for control of the restaurant. Also, Jim deals with Tanya's kiss, and trying to keep it secret from Seth who has a history of crazy jealousy.
Nolita has been nominated for New York's culinary Epicure prize, for which Steven finds an exclusive pre-season Portuguese eel. Jim is distracted because he's now Tanya's lover. Jack allows himself to get distracted by sex with Becky, before he learns she's now the chef in the Pino's restaurant, an Epicure final competitor. The Latino busboys seeing the Holy Virgin in a lobster proves a mixed blessing.