Jason Nives is a 20 year old amateur cook who lives with his mother, who is a recovering drug addict. He aspires to be like his father, a master chef who died when he was younger. Having cooked most of the family meals himself growing up, Jason believes he is the best chef in the world, and doesn’t feel he needs to go to culinary school. (Everything I Make Is Great) After cooking for his friends however, he secretly finds out that they think his food is bland and boring. Appalled by these words, he sets off to prove to them that they’re wrong. (I’m Right, Your Wrong)
He begins his journey when his friend Taylor hooks him up at a local burger joint, where he is disappointed by the choices and simplistic style (What’s Wrong Here?) and tried to change up the menu, despite repeated warnings from his boss. At this time he starts to fall for the assistant manager Jennifer Waters, but to his chagrin she is dating the arrogant head chef, Lou Steinberg. (Lou’s a Jew) Jason continues his unsuccessful attempts to win over Jennifer and the restaurant, until he is fired when he secretly adds cumin to a dish, which causes a violent reaction in the consumer. As he is leaving, he overhears Jennifer and Lou having an argument, with Jennifer breaking up with Lou.
Jason goes on his first date with Jennifer, but she insists that they go out to eat instead of him home cooking her dinner. While dining, Jason expresses his resentment at his friends for thinking his food is terrible. (Does the World Have No Taste?) On their way out, Jason spots a flyer for a reality competition for chefs. Against the word of his mother, he fills out the application and eventually is chosen to compete, to which Jennifer helps him train. (When I Win)
The first day of the show, entitled Kitchen Boot Camp, Jason’s food is harshly criticized by famous chef Jordan Brandy, the host of the program, who calls it ‘bland and boring.’ During the challenge, Jason accidentally serves raw chicken to the judges. As a result, Jason is the first chef to be eliminated from the show. (Hate to Go First)
Dejected and humiliated, Jason arrives back home and learns that his mother has passed away from heart failure. When Jennifer arrives to consult him, he snaps at her blaming her for his failure on the show, causing them to break up. After the funeral, with nothing left to hold onto, Jason swears off cooking for good and locks himself in his now empty apartment for two weeks. (When Life Becomes Rotten)
After being alone in his apartment, surviving on Chinese take out and pizza, Taylor arrives take him to Whole Foods, hoping to reignite Jason’s passion for cooking. Meanwhile, Jennifer is in the store too, contemplating her current relationship with Lou, as well as Jason wondering who would be best for her. (Whole Food World) Eventually the two bump into each other, and they talk about their short time together, saying that while he is a sweet guy, she always felt he was too arrogant for her. (I’m Right, Your Wrong Reprise) Jason, grief stricken, runs outside where he collapses in the parking lot and is rushed to the hospital.
While comatose, Jason experiences a terrible nightmare in which the very foods he loved all turn on him to mock him for his failure. (Spoiled) During the dream, the ghost of his father appears and dissipates the nightmare, telling Jason if he wants to become a great chef, he must go through the 5 Trials of Cookery. 5 ghostly chefs appear to help him on his journey. He is first instructed on Italian food, then Mexican, Chinese and American, and then finally French. As the chefs teach him, Jason realizes that they are teaching him the flaws in his character as well as his cooking style. Through the lessons, Jason learns that he lives life too fast, how he over-complicates things; how he has been blinded by his ego and that he never looks for different “flavors” in life. (Pure Flavor)
Jason wakes up hours later in the hospital bed, with only Taylor by his side, Jason rushes off to win Jennifer back. (Sugar Water) He find her back at the burger restaurant after closing, and tries to talk to her when Lou rushes in and threatens him if he tries to take her again. Jason offers to hold a cook off to determine who gets her. Disgusted at their behaviors, Jennifer leaves, but the two decide to hold the show down anyways.
Outside, Jennifer meets Taylor and talks to him about how much she hates how arrogant the two men she dated are. Taylor convinces her that most men are arrogant by nature, but explains how Jason is using his to show his affection for her. Touched, Jennifer heads back inside where Jason and Lou both are getting down and dirty in the kitchen for her. (For Her, For Me, And Just To Kick Your Butt)
Both men make a simple hamburger to present to the only judge, Jennifer. Jason uses the lessons he learned from the chefs to his advantage. After tasting the burgers, she feels Burger B had a special flavor that A lacked. Lou leaves in disgust as Jason reveals it was his burger. As the two reconcile, Jennifer reveals she knew whose burger was whose, since she worked with Lou for ages. She tells Jason she saw the heart that he lacked when they first began dating. Brimmed with confidence, Jason prepares a meal for his friends and his new girlfriend. As his friends are enjoying the flavorful food, Taylor offers to help him to get in culinary school, to which Jason accepts. As he looks forward to his life as a chef, he realizes it’s important to enjoy the flavors of life today, and that life is worth tasting. (Everything I Make Is Great Reprise)