Years ago, when I lived in a so-called “A-Market” for news, I used to sit and watch the nightly news and wonder aloud “Who the hell are the turning down for this job?” The anchors and reporters were so bad, I couldn’t imagine how bad the people who didn’t get the job were. Then I moved to a small town and saw exactly who got turned down for the job. You know it’s bad when the lead anchor says things like “nuke-u-ler” and “kinnie-garden.” So, what’s the point of this story? Well, I’ve been watching Hell’s Kitchen these past few weeks and wondering just how bad the contestant pool for this show had to be for these people to have been considered the cream of the crop. It had to be like a casting call for spastic toast makers, because these people can’t seem to prepare anything without burning it or putting on the plate while it’s still mooing. I have to wonder if Gordon Ramsay will be willing to hire the winner of this show to be a waiter in one of his restaurants, much less a chef who prepares food….for other people to eat.
Last week, we saw Chef Ramsay send Roseann packing after a disastrous dinner service (as if there’s any other kind on this show). Matt sliced like half of his finger off and Jen managed to piss off her new teammates. With only five hands (or is five and a half?) cooking on the Red Team, the Blue Team won the dinner service.
We pick up tonight’s action back in the dining room after Roseann’s ouster. Ramsay sends the teams back to the dorms with a “Blue Team, well done.”
Back at the dorms, Matt whines and apologizes for letting his team down. Corey tells us Matt might do better in a different career. She suggests he try selling used cars. Matt vows to work hard so he can stay. On the Blue Team, Bobby says he’s just going to let his cooking speak for him. All of the guys are over Jen already and vow to wrench control back from her.
Telephone: Special Cooking Edition
Back in Hell’s Kitchen the next morning, Chef Ramsay greets everyone and explains that because they all are still struggling with timing and communication, this week’s challenge will test those two things. Each team will make three dishes: scallops, John Dory, which Google tells me is a kind of fish, and chicken. What’s the catch? Only one person from each team will be allowed in the kitchen at a time. They will work on the menu in 6 minute increments and will have only a few moments to communicate with each other on the changeover. Because the Blue Team has one more chef than the Red Team, one of them will have to sit this challenge out. Jen takes control of the situation and announces that they’re going to put the 3 strongest people in and leave the weakest one out. For her, Louross is the weakest. He fumes as the rest of the team just accepts Jen’s command. Chef Ramsay is surprised that Louross is sitting out the challenge since he moves so fast in the kitchen.
In the first round, Matt and Petrozza hit the kitchen. Because each dish has a different cooking time, the teams will have to communicate well to ensure that all of the dishes are ready at the same time. A disappointed Christina tells us that the other chefs had to stand so far away from the kitchen that they couldn’t really see what was going on. On the changeover, Christina can’t understand a word Matt says. Bobby, who takes over from Petrozza, is more confident. He says he’s going to plan and execute.
In the Red Kitchen, Christina notices that the chicken Matt started poaching is still raw. Corey looks on and knows that, if Christina prepares it the way she’s planned, it will be overcooked.
The last two to hit the kitchen are Jen and Corey. They each have to sear the scallops, finish the chicken and plate all of the dishes. In spite of her plans going in, Corey says everything fell apart when she got into the kitchen. Louross looks on and practically gets on his knees praying for Jen to blow it. Chef Ramsay counts down to zero as Jen and Corey plate the entrees.
The River in Egypt
Chef Ramsay settles in for the judging: the proof is in the tasting, he says. First up are the scallops. The Red Team left off the salad, but it still rates a “very nice” from Ramsay. The Blue Team overcooked the eggs and left the scallops raw. Jen rants to us: Chef Ramsay doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Those scallops were cooked perfectly, she claims. The Red Team wins this one.
Next is the John Dory. The Red Team’s presentation is bad and their sauce is too thick. Really though, at least they had sauce. Jen explains that she burned the sauce and had to leave it off. In spite of Jen’s error, Ramsay praises the presentation and says the dish is delicious. The Blue Team wins.
The chicken dish is last and Ramsay says the Red Team’s offering is nicely cooked and moist, but Corey left off the baby leek. The Blue Team’s dish is nicely cooked and moist as well but, once again, Jen left off the sauce. That error loses the competition for the Blue Team and Ramsay declares the Red Team the challenge winners. Matt cries like a little girl. Louross gloats over Jen’s ineptitude in the challenge. Jen, on the other hand is confident she did a great job and refuses to apologize to her teammates.
The reward for the winning team is a trip to the beach. Ramsay sends the Red Team off to get into their swimsuits: there’s convertible outside waiting for them. While the Red Team is off getting sand in awkward places, the Blue Team will be acting as the Hell’s Kitchen maintenance crew. They’ll be cleaning carpets and scrubbing everything. Bobby is horrified: he’s an executive chef, not a maintenance man. As the guys all scrub the Hell’s Kitchen sign out in front of the restaurant, Petrozza tells us he’s over all the punishments they’ve been dealt for losing challenges.
Tourist Beach Hours: 2 a.m. – 3 a.m.
The Red Team is all decked out in beach gear and ready to hit the waves, including Matt, whose idea of beach wear extends to a railroad engineer cap. Like he’s Thomas the Train or something. On the beach in Malibu, Chef Ramsay welcomes the chefs and reveals that they will be taking surfing lessons. First, they have to change into wetsuits. As Matt crams himself into neoprene, he squeals “I feel skinny.” This is because there isn’t a full-length mirror around.
The Red Team is putting on their wetsuits while the Blue Team is donning white cleaning coveralls. They continue their cleaning duty and the guys get more and more annoyed with Jen’s bossiness. She and Bobby clash over some stupid thing. Honestly, I’m so over the both of them that I sort of tuned them out.
After a brief surfing lesson with a pro, the Red Team and Ramsay hit the surf. You know, nothing improves the appearance of ineptitude than skin-tight neoprene and a lack of coordination. What ensues is a montage of everyone wiping out, violently. Matt manages to knock his noggin on sand. Hard. I don’t think that’s going to help his situation. Everyone, including Ramsay, who does manage to stay on the board longer than the others, wipes out big time and generally look like idiots. Jean-Philippe appears to play Towel Boy and passes out dry towels to everyone. Ramsay comes out of the water and hoists JP over his shoulder, carries him into the surf and tosses him into the water. JP is probably mortified. It’s so undignified.
Back at Hell’s Kitchen, the Blue Team is cleaning the red carpet that leads in to the restaurant. Cue the Red Team, who returns from the beach and walks all over the newly-cleaned carpet.
Things You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough to Eat
The morning of this week’s dinner service comes and Chef Ramsay calls the chefs into the dining room for a little pow-wow. For the next dinner service, he announces, the menu is gone. Tonight, the teams will be creating their own menus. Each menu will have 3 appetizers, 3 entrees and 3 desserts. They will have 3 hours to plan their menus.
The teams run off to start planning their menus. The Red Team immediately tries to come up with a game plan and they actually manage to work as a team. The Blue Team is more of a dictatorship with Jen taking control. She vetoes everyone else’s ideas and only likes her own. The Red Team is stoked about their ability to work well together, but the Blue Team is not happy. Louross says Jen’s menu is hideous, but he hesitates to argue with her because she’s so overbearing.
The menus are finished and the teams meet with Chef Ramsay. He thinks the Red Team’s menu is very clever and says they’ll be a strong contender if they can pull it off. Ramsay then listens as Louross reads off the Blue Team menu. He either looks horrified or just plain puzzled. He asks why anyone would want to wrap halibut with zucchini. When Ramsay asks who had the most input on the menu, Jen claims that, although it was a team effort, the majority of the dishes are her idea. Louross admits he isn’t happy with the menu and Jen gripes: why didn’t Louross speak up when they were planning the menu? Ramsay sums things up – the Blue Team menu sounds hideous. The guys all make faces gleefully behind Jen’s back.
Chef Ramsay tells the Blue Team they need to upgrade their menu and infuse it with some excitement. They all stand and work on the menu and Ramsay seems satisfied with their new menu. He sends both teams into the kitchen to get working on dinner prep.
Matt is in simply in lurve with being on Red Team. While he looks for a field of flowers to skip through, Jen bitches at Louross for dissing her menu. Petrozza sums up the situation: Jen is a bitch, but Louross didn’t speak up when he had the chance.
The Worst Dinner You’ll Never Eat
Hell’s Kitchen opens for another disaster-filled dinner service (<--- logical guess). Tonight’s diners will order from the menu of their choice and those decisions will help Chef Ramsay determine tonight’s winner. When the first orders come in, the tickets are evenly divided between both kitchens. Dinner service has barely begun, but Christina is already worried about Matt’s ability to perform on the appetizer station. She should be. Chef Ramsay says Matt’s first pasta appetizer is too salty and orders him to start over. Corey tells us Matt seems too careless tonight.
Appetizers are flying out of the Blue Kitchen. Things aren’t going too well for Petrozza, who puts lettuce into a pot without washing it. Ramsay catches him and orders him to do it again. He can taste a dish and then put the spoon back in the pan but unwashed lettuce is gross?
Appetizers are leaving the Red Kitchen…. and then coming right back. One diner sends the pasta back because it’s undercooked. Another sends it back because it’s too salty. Ramsay watches Matt dripping sweat all over and realizes that the sweat is getting into the food and making it too salty. Whether this is true or not, it has put me off pasta for about 6 months.
An hour and 15 minutes in dinner service, most of the appetizers have gone out of both kitchens. Unfortunately, Matt’s sweaty pasta is being sent back to the Red Kitchen. Matt claims he’s never sweated like this before. Honestly, I have no trouble believing that. To sweat, you must actually exert yourself and Matt seems to actively (or is it inactively?) avoid any sort of physical exertion. Ramsay yells at Matt, telling him to stop acting like a baby. More pasta comes back to the kitchen. This time it’s too bland. Matt mumbles “pappardelle sucks.” It may suck, honey, but so do you. Christina takes over the appetizer station. Matt whines. He wants to keep trying and trying and trying until he got it right…..and the restaurant emptied.
The Blue Team is managing to send out entrees….and the diners are sending them back. Louross is blowing it big time by sending out raw filet mignon. Plate after plate comes back and Jen tells us Louross is dropping the ball. If one more plate is returned to the kitchen, Chef Ramsay threatens, he’ll close the kitchen.
Matt screwed up the pasta and now he’s a disaster on the vegetable station. His Brussels sprouts are no good and Chef Ramsay tells him so. He then informs Corey and Christina that Matt has given up. Corey threatens to get rid of him. Matt says Corey is a bitch. She might be a bitch, but Matt still gets booted from the vegetable station.
Meanwhile, Louross manages to finally get a meat order right. Not that it matters; the customer has already left. Chef Ramsay rips up the ticket for that table and throws it at Louross. Louross claims that’s the first time he’s ever had a diner walk out without being served. Somehow, I find that hard to believe.
Two hours into dinner service, the Blue Team has served 34 entrees. That’s not bad, but the Red Team – which is just Casey and Christina at this point – has served 47 of 58 entrees. They’re really communicating well. Ramsay notices the fact that Matt seems to be imitating a giant paperweight and asks what he’s doing. Matt announces that he’s cleaning up. If “cleaning up” is code for “nothing,” I believe it.
The war between Jen and the rest of the Blue Team continues. They’re finally finishing up serving the entrees and are ready to move to desserts, but the dessert station is a disaster. The guys wonder what Jen has been doing. So does Chef Ramsay when Jen brings up raw soufflé to the pass. Ramsay dumps the runny soufflé out onto the plate and tells Jen to turn her stove off.
What Rises When There is No Cream?
We’re now two and a half hours into dinner service and all the entrees have been served. The Blue Team is still sucking on desserts and delusional Jen complains, saying it’s not fair for Chef Ramsay to blame her for the bad desserts. Seriously. On the Red Team, Matt whines about how everyone is on his back. What is this, the third station he’s screwed up during tonight’s dinner service? I’d be on his back too. Mercifully, the dinner service ends.
Everyone gathers in the dining room to hear Chef Ramsay’s decision. Each diner got to chose a menu tonight and the responses were about even. Unfortunately, this was about quality, not quantity. Both teams started of right, but then food started coming back. The Red Team was hurt by Matt’s sweaty pasta and the Blue Team by Louross’ raw meat. Ramsay orders Matt to take his bandana. Matt didn’t get control at any time during the dinner service, says Ramsay. Matt agrees. The losing team tonight is the Blue Team.
Ramsay proclaims Petrozza the best of the worst. He was a dirty pig in service, but managed to get his team off to a good start. Dayum. That’s like the worst backhanded compliment I’ve ever heard. So begins the lobbying and sniping to avoid getting nominated for elimination. Jen of the Nile thinks she deserves to stay and thinks Louross should be going home. Louross tells us he’ll be pissed if Jen stays and he gets eliminated. Bobby is confident: there’s no way in hell he’s going home tonight. He’s way more experienced than Jen and Louross. Yeah Bobby, we heard. Petrozza thinks Louross was the weakest member of the team tonight, but still wants to get Jen out because she’s bossy. Petrozza thinks Bobby is still good competition.
Back in the dining room, Petrozza gives Chef Ramsay his nominations. First is Louross, whom Petrozza says lacks the skills to compete at this level. The second nominee is Jen, whom Petrozza says feels she has more to teach than she has to learn: Petrozza thinks the truth is the exact opposite. Ramsay asks Louross and Jen step forward and then announces that he’s about to do something he’s never done before. He asks Petrozza who should go home. After a few moments, Petrozza says Louross should go home. Ramsay agrees and gives Louross his walking papers.
Chef Ramsay isn’t done yet. He’s about two days past happy about the fact that he gave the teams complete control and free reign at dinner service and they all blew it. He then calls Matt and Jen forward. Jen might be able to manipulate her team, but she can’t manipulate Ramsay. Matt is lucky to be here, but he’s out of his depth. Matt meekly disagrees. Ramsay orders both to take off their jackets as the other chefs gasp. It’s about to be the Super Duper Triple Elimination! Psych! Christina and Corey look stricken when Chef Ramsay orders Matt and Jen back to their original teams. Clearly, the teams weren’t working out, so Ramsay felt the need to shake things up again. Tomorrow, they start again.
Matt claims that his heart nearly stopped: he was sure he was going home. Corey vows to keep control of the Red Team in spite of Jen’s return to the team. Chef Ramsay tells us that Louross was not short on energy, but he was short on cooking ability.
Next week: The final six chefs are in for another wild ride and the stakes are higher than ever. Chef Ramsay flashes briefcases loaded with cash and the winner of the challenge will get to have dinner with last season’s winner, Rock, who will extol the virtues of a Ramsay-controlled life. Plus, Casey and Christina plot Jen’s demise and Matt goes around the bend and starts speaking in tongues and slapping himself.