Hi, I'm phat32, and I'll be your chef for the rest of the season. I like to tell our guests that your other chef, Lucy, has come down with gout from eating her own cuisine, but goodness, that's not true. (Oh, why thank you, madam! I think it's funny, too!) She's moved on to greener pastures, and if you're a fan--who isn't?--you can catch her work at her marvelous new bistro, Average Joe. Be sure to see her and tell her that phat32 sent you.
May I tell you about our specials? Our special tonight is Snark, served open-faced, rare, on a bed of lettuce. It's accompanied by a side of crappy puns, shucked to perfection. (I can tell you that I was back in the kitchen earlier, and I made a meal of the puns myself. Perfect on the tip of the tongue.)
May I recommend the Miller High Life as the perfect accompaniment to your recap? (Excellent choice, sir!) I shall bring you the screw cap for your inspection...Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm needed back in the kitchen. I can hear the sound of another fight breaking out...
Once again, meet Chef Gordon Ramsay, raised on the mean streets of Glasgow, now pursuing his lifelong dream of screaming British obscenities at frightened and perplexed American chefs.
Well, no, Ramsay's dream, actually, is cooking, which is a sideline to his first love of screaming British obscenities at frightened and perplexed American chefs.
At 1993, at the age of 27, Ramsay opened his first restaurant, which is very impressive. At the age of 27, I was painting outdoor garages.
Two years later, Ramsay was named "England's Best Chef," which, c'mon, is a lot like being named "Italian Humanitarian of the Year" in the "Least Likely to Sexually Harass Female Tourists from America" category.
Ramsay has held the (back-handed) honor for nearly a decade, probably because the other leading chef, disgusted with losing to Ramsay, quit his fry cook position at the Piccadilly Circus McDonald's and returned to shearing sheep.
Ramsay boasts that he pushed employees to the limit, which is how he gets the best out of them.
After an interminable summary of last week's episode, the chefs are shown all snug in their beds, only to be woken by the sound of blaring air horns.
"Very loud horns, to be exact," one of the chefs complains, in the unfortunate event that the viewers mistake the air horns for the quiet, subtle variety.
The chefs quickly throw on their uniforms and head for the kitchen, where Ramsay lines up the Red and Blue Teams and introduces them to his maitre d', Jean Phillipe.
Game, Set, Match
The chefs are sent to the dining room, where Jean Phillipe ("JP" for short) instructs them on a proper table setting.
JP runs through the chairs, silver, napkins and glassware.
Jimmy looks about ready to sleep. And, frankly, I know the feeling, since I call meetings at work (finger quotes) "My Happy Nap Time."
Ramsay reappears and pulls the tablecloth out from under the table settings. Master Chef he may be, but Ramsay ain't no Copperfield--only half the table settings are undisturbed.
Ramsay tells both teams he hopes they've been paying attention. Now, they have five minutes to create the perfect table. And, oh, by the way, this is an honest-to-goodness challenge.
I had a test like this in college geology once. "Igneous, schmigneous," I thought. "I wish he'd shut up so I can go drink." The pop quiz wiped the smirk off my face.
I find the challenge utterly confusing. There's more metal on the table than at a Renaissance Faire. I recognize and can identify a soup spoon, beverage spoon, sorbet spoon...uh, corkscrew. Um. I think that's an escargot...thing. Eyelash curler, maybe. Scalpel. Tire iron. Putter. Uh. Letter opener. Tuning fork. Guitar pick. Er, butter...that is, bread...knife. Uh...
Chris complains that Fat Jimmy is a "lummox." And lummoxes aren't known to have the touch of an angel when it comes to handling fine crystal, china and flatware. (Or so I've been told, when I'm warned to stay away from the Thanksgiving table as it's being set.)
Iron Fist and Velvet Glove
Ramsay calls time and tells the chefs to step away from the tables. He examines both tables and calls the Red Table "scruffy" and observes that some chairs are pushed in, some are not. Finger prints are obvious all over the setting. The plates are so close to the edge of the table--not to mention misaligned--that if the patron were to sit down, he or she could easily tip the plate over by moving his or her chest too close to the table. (We're looking at you, Carmen Electra!)
Ramsay tallies four mistakes with the Red Table.
With the Blue Table, Ramsay finds one mistake: the water glasses.
The Blue Team are declared the winners of the table setting challenge. The Blues are told to return to the dormitories, where their reward is waiting for them.
Reward is an afternoon of being pampered, spa-style. (I'd rather have the Toyota Tundra, Contender-style.)
Meanwhile, the Red Team are forced to polish the glassware, flatware and all other accoutrements for the seating that night.
To add insult to injury, Red Team members are told to serve champagne to the Blue Team while they relax in the spa atmosphere.
After a hard day of polishing silverware and relaxing in the spa, as the case may be, the chefs return to the dorm and sit outside, having a chat.
Elsie spots the billboard over their building. It's Ramsay's photo with the inscription "Hell's Kitchen."
"He's calling us a wanker from above!" one of the chefs, I think it's Andrew, laughs.
No surprise there, Andrew, since I also call you a wanker...from the ground.
"I"ve Got a Problem Cutting an Animal into Pieces!"
When the chefs arrive at Hell's Kitchen for the dinner service, Ramsay introduces them to two new menu items: frog legs and pigeons. Listen, I'm not exactly crazy about the idea of eating something I may accidentally hit with my car. The exception to that rule is venison. All right, all right. Calm down. I loved Bambi, too, okay? And, yes, I cried when Bambi's mother died, dammit!
Voiceover Narrator tells us plebes sitting at home eating an Eskimo Pie, waiting for the evening rerun of Maury ("Becuz it's 'nuther paternity test show!") that "To be a master chef, one must understand how to prepare a wide variety of foods."
I couldn't agree more. In my kitchen, the menu often includes macaroni avec la fromage, les sticks de poisson, le ramen chinois and the wine cellar is graced with such fine vintages as Kool-Aid Tropical Blast (2003).
Ramsay, much to the chefs' horror, shows his proteges how to prepare pigeon. Let's just skip this part, shall we, as a detailed, graphic description really isn't appropriate for the FoRT.
As the chefs prepare the night's service, spiky-haired Jessica shouts: "I've got frog juice in my eye!" [Insert Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog joke here.]
Then, Elsie makes one of the most obtuse comments I have perhaps ever heard: "I've got a problem cutting an animal into pieces!", referring to the prep work on the pigeons.
I rewind that to make sure I heard that correctly. Um, isn't she in the wrong line of work? I think Elsie ought to find work more suitable for her personal beliefs. I mean, I don't believe in real work, which is why I do IT.
Ramsay tells the camera that he would simply like to get through just one night, properly, with a fully booked dining room.
To that end, the first team that serves all its tables will win tonight.
In addition, the Red Team has to set the tables in the dining room as the last part of their punishment for losing JP's table setting challenge.
Ralph has concerns about Andrew's big mouth. He also has concerns about Andrew's performance in the kitchen. He writes the garnish combinations on masking tape and tapes the crib notes to the grill where Andrew is stationed.
Elsie is responsible for all meat dishes.
Andrew realizes he has to keep his mouth shut in order to survive being ejected from Ramsay's kitchen.
Now You're Cooking
The Blue Team is off to a good start, jumping ahead with their appetizers.
Ramsay is on a tear with Elsie about the spaghetti.
"Five minutes, Chef!" she responds.
He continues to scream at her, flustering her badly until she promises the spaghetti in two minutes, then 30 seconds.
Ramsay pulls back and says, "Elsie, just tell me two minutes."
(I think there's a lot of wisdom behind what Ramsay has just taught Elsie. And I begin to like him. A lot.)
Blue Team has their first main courses out. Ramsay likes the look of them.
He berates Andrew for the garnish, as numbskull can't seem to get the orders right, even with cheat sheets. Hopeless, that one.
On the Red Team, some meals have started to pour out of the kitchen. Lummox Jimmy is on the garnish.
"Why are you serving me stone cold garnish!" Ramsay screams at Jimmy.
Jimmy tells Ramsay that he's trying his best.
"'I'm trying my best' is crap!" Ramsay screams, coming completely unglued. (You know, I don't disagree with that sentiment, as harsh as it is.)
Back to Andrew again, and Ramsay has to interrogate him about where the endives are in a meal that Andrew has helped prepare.
Ramsay commends Jessica on the lobster spaghetti, but he tells Elsie that she needs to "step it up."
"The Wellington is spot-on!" he compliments Elsie.
Mo' Ramsay, Mo' Problems
The compliments are few and far between, though, as Ramsay disapproves of the taste and look of Mary Ellen and Ralph's risotto.
Ramsay sends back the risotto and bellows that he wants "THREE GREAT RISOTTOS!" I've never heard the phrase "risotto" sound so menacing before. That's quite a feat, really.
Mary Ellen can't catch a break. When the tuna isn't ready, and it's the only dish the order is waiting on, Ramsay clears the entire order, forcing them to start again.
When Ramsay comes up from behind Jimmy the Lummox, he snaps, "Jimmy, start dancing like a ballerina. Move!", perhaps not realizing the last time Jimmy danced like a ballerina was during All-You-Can-Eat Rib Night at the Sizzler.
And, finally, the Red Team completes its orders.
The Blue Team is told to shut their kitchen down.
The blame game begins as Mary Ellen blames Andrew for their loss, and Andrew blames Mary Ellen.
Ramsay remarks that the Red Team had to lay tables and still won the night. There's a note of appreciation in his voice.
Ramsay tells Ralph that he's not the best chef of the night. Jessica is the best chef of the night, and she's to nominate two people for eviction from among Ralph, Andrew and Mary Ellen.
Elimination, Consternation, Realization
Back at the dorms, Ralph is worried about nomination.
Mary Ellen talks to Jessica and feels safe because she and Jessica are "close."
Ramsay asks Jessica for her first nomination and why she nominated her team mate for eviction.
Jessica nominates Andrew and points out the hard time Andrew seemed to have getting his product right and on time.
After the commercial, Jessica nominates Mary Ellen, citing her incident with the risotto, and believes the team had a hard time bouncing back after that little debacle.
Ramsay asks the nominees to explain why they should stay.
Andrew believes that by keeping his mouth shut, he's demonstrated that he's a learning machine. America, start your spit takes. Andrew! C'mon! The Terminator is a "learning machine"! You? You've taken one too many rides on the short bus!
Mary Ellen believes that she put in a good performance until she let her team down.
Ramsay's eviction is...Mary Ellen. Jessica's mouth hangs open.
The final word goes to Andrew, who is, granted, smart enough to observe: "When you're facing the devil in Hell's Kitchen, shut your [censored] mouth!"
phat32 (email@example.com) ought to shut his piehole more often, as people have offered to help him shut it, but he won't close the piehole when there's pie involved because pie is such a good fit for the piehole