Ah, memories…. It seems like just yesterday when I naively thought this season might just produce an actual chef. I know, I know – what was I thinking? Really though, it seems like forever since this show started. In fact, while I was watching the credits tonight, I actually said, “Larry, who?” You remember Larry the Fishmonger, don’t you? Yeah, well he wasn’t all that memorable. At this point, it looks like there are really only a few viable candidates of the six remaining chefs. As long as Sara doesn’t go much further, I’ll be satisfied. Honestly, if Ramsay picks her as the winner, I might have to swear off all Gordon Ramsay shows. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m totally Gordon’s bitch: I’ll watch any show he’s in. Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome….
Last week, the red team all but fell apart and Rachel was deemed the suckiest of the sucky. With Maribel homesick and Virginia and Sara bickering non-stop, it really was a toss-up as to who was going home.
After the eliminations, Heather cries over having lost her ally. Maribel sits listening to the others lamenting Rachel’s departure and she’s pissed. Garrett and Keith trash Heather and the red team, saying that the girls are going down. Heather was the heart of the red team and Rachel was their backbone. Now they can pick the girls off one at a time.
Ready! Set! Cook!
At the butt-crack of dawn – i.e. 6:32 a.m. - the next morning, sous chefs Scott and Mary Ann give the chefs a gentle wake-up call with bullhorns. Once everyone is dressed, they take a little field trip over to Grand Central Market in downtown LA. Chef Ramsay tells us that the challenge this week involves inspiration. The teams must roam the market and create a three-course meal in only 30 minutes. Each team must create an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert.
Virginia immediately takes the initiative on the red team and puts the menu together while Sara fumes. At the fifteen minute mark, neither team has gotten a menu together. At the meat counter, Virginia chooses a gigantic chicken breast, hoping that a large breast will sway Chef Ramsay. Time is quickly over and it’s not really clear if the teams got their shopping done or not.
Once back at Hell’s Kitchen, the teams have one hour to prepare their menus for Chef Ramsay. In the red kitchen, Sara is roasting peppers on the burner. Virginia tells her to make sure they get good and charred. In the blue kitchen, Garrett has the least experience, so Keith makes sure he doesn’t get much to do. Both teams finish plating their dishes just as times runs out and they prepare for the verbal evisceration that will be “judging.”
First up are Sara and Garrett with the appetizers. Garrett presents a roasted corn, scallop and shrimp bisque. Before he even tastes it, Ramsay notices that there is a shrimp tail in the soup. He pulls it out, showing both Garrett and Sara how sharp the tail actually is. Garrett, who apparently has never eaten soup before doesn’t see what the problem is. If you eat a shrimp dish, you know they have tails, he explains to us. Sara then presents the red team’s appetizer – a bell pepper soup. Ramsay says that the color is good, but it’s burnt. Sara steams at the remark because it was Virginia who told her to char the peppers. Ramsay gives a slight advantage to the blue team.
Entrées are next and Virginia presents a chicken breast stuffed with salami, garlic and tomatoes. Ramsay immediately comments on the very large chicken breast. Virginia takes it as a personal compliment. Chef Ramsay also remarks that there isn’t a dish as sophisticated in Hell’s Kitchen. He’s pleased that they came up with this dish. Keith presents the blue team’s entrée: a bone-in, pan roasted rib-eye with a tomatillo demiglaze. Ramsay compliments the dish, saying that it’s cooked perfectly. The veggies look a mess, but they taste delicious.
Maribel and Heather bring up the rear with the desserts. The blue team has prepared fresh fruit crepes with a mango peach puree. Ramsay says that it’s nice, but soggy. The red team’s entry is strawberry shortcake with a Latin twist. While Chef Ramsay wishes the red team had displayed more inspiration, he says that the result is quite tasty. In a very close race, the red team wins the challenge. Ramsay says that the chicken was the best dish. Heather is pissed, saying that Ramsay is now playing favorites by praising Virginia’s dish. This week, the winning team gets a night on the town with Gordon. In contrast, the blue team will be on delivery duty. Every time they hear a horn honking out at the delivery bay, they have to run.
Of course, the blue team is pissed: they’re sure they got cheated. There’s a lot of swearing and vows to send the red team home.
Like Pavlov’s Dog
The red team, bikini clad, is sunning their buns in the backyard when the first delivery truck pulls up. The blue team hits it, unloading boxes. The red team goes to get dressed for their date with Gordon. Sara says she wants to see Gordon get his groove on. Meanwhile, the blue team is still carrying boxes. Heather says she’s sweating like Tom today and that’s a lot.
The red team emerges in their “going out” clothes and they pile into the limo with Gordon. They all sit in the limo for a moment and watch the blue team unloading another delivery truck. Garrett, whose brain is clearly on vacation, actually flips them off. Does he not realize Ramsay is in the limo too? No way that’s going to slip by without comment.
The first stop on the party train for Gordon and the girls is seafood restaurant, Providence. They all agree that the food is exquisite. Alarmingly enough, Sara begins to flirt with Gordon. It’s ugly. While the blue team unloads bags of ice back at Hell’s Kitchen, the red team heads off to Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse. Virginia the Eloquent has a question for the owner of the steakhouse. I’m not sure if it’s Nick or Stef - I wasn’t paying attention. Virginia starts her question and twenty minutes later, she’s still asking it. Glaciers form canyons, species evolve and Virginia is still yammering on. Basically, she wants to know what the owner knows now that he wishes he knew when he opened his restaurant. It’s a pearl of wisdom, people: consistency. Wow. Thanks, Confucius.
Back at Hell’s Kitchen, the blue team finally gets to bed at 1:42. Not so fast: there’s another horn honking at the delivery bay and they all have to get up again. While the blue team unloads another truck, the red team moves on to a bar for drinks. Unfortunately for Virginia (and now maybe Sara as well), there isn’t enough alcohol is the Los Angeles metro area for Gordon to succumb to their (dubious) charms.
Keeping the Bird in Its Cage
Even though it was a late night for him, Chef Ramsay is up early and he has something on his mind. If Garrett was hoping that Ramsay had forgotten all about “The Bird Incident” yesterday….well, no such luck. Ramsay calls Garrett out, telling him that he has nothing to be brash or cocky about. He then asks Garrett if he wants to go home and Garrett tells him he wants to stay. Ramsay warns Garrett about ever pulling that finger out again. Next time, Ramsay might just grab a cleaver or something.
Because Chef Ramsay was so impressed with both teams in the challenge yesterday, he’s foolishly decided to let the teams take control of their own menus. He then sends them back to the dorms to start putting together the menus. They have only 10 hours until dinner service.
On the red team, Sara and Virginia are actually getting along, but they’re completely ignoring Maribel and any attempt she makes at having an opinion. Likewise, the Keith and Heather are running right over Garrett. With the menus designed, the prep begins. Dinner service is now 3 hours away.
As prep begins, Maribel disappears again. Her slowness is driving Sara and Virginia crazy. There’s bickering on the blue team as well and Keith and Garrett are at each other. Garrett wanted more input with the menu and he didn’t get it.
Raw, Burnt, Wiggly, Yuck
Dinner service is about to begin and Chef Ramsay calls the chefs forward for a “pep” talk. This is their night to shine, but the standards will still be his. Inexplicably, diners show up again and, in no time, Hell’s Kitchen is full. Tonight the diners will have to choose between the blue and red menus. The blue team is keeping it simple with a dry-aged New York steak and a pear tart. The red team, seemingly still on a creative high from yesterday’s challenge is presenting a much more ambitious menu of a seared tuna and sashimi appetizer and a Colorado rack of lamb, which Sara has claimed to be an expert at preparing.
Tickets start hitting the kitchen and things get moving quickly. The blue team, with Keith on appetizers, handles the onslaught well. Chef Ramsay calls Keith’s first two risotto starters “lovely.” They’re off and running.
In the red kitchen, things aren’t going so well. Virginia is
preparingattempting to prepare the appetizers and striking out big time. First, she sends raw scallops to the pass (Ew. Just ew) and then she can’t seem to even slice raw fish for the sashimi. There’s no cooking involved with that – just cutting – and she can’t seem to get it together. Virginia claims that the fish is “too wiggly.” The red team is now running behind and when questioned by Chef Ramsay, Virginia claims that she needs to collect her thoughts. This isn’t a meditation retreat, sweetie. Think later.
In contrast, the blue team is on fire and starters are flying out of their kitchen. Because there are diners at the same table who ordered off of different menus, some people are not eating while their tablemates are chowing down. Finally, Ramsay sends Maribel over to help Virginia sort out the sashimi situation. Not exactly sending the A-Team, are you, Gordo? An hour into dinner service, the red team is finally getting appetizers out.
The blue team has moved onto the entrées and things suddenly go into the toilet. Garrett sends raw duck to the pass. What is it with these people sending raw meat out? Just when it seems like things couldn’t get worse, a horn sounds out in the delivery bay and the blue team has to drop everything to unload another truck. While the blue team is toting boxes, the red team has an opportunity to catch up a bit.
Sara’s Bloody Rack
All of the tickets have come in and the tally is 48 orders for the red kitchen and 52 orders for the blue kitchen. The red team is working to catch up, but it’s just not happening. They’ve moved to entrées and Sara’s rack of lamb….the dish she claimed got her fired from a job because her lamb was better than the owner’s. She’s like a lamb expert. All evidence to the contrary as Sara sends lamb that is both raw and burnt. It’s sort of impressive in a completely inept and inedible way. When Ramsay asks Sara what she thinks she’s doing, she replies that she’s learning. So much for being an expert.
In blue kitchen, Garrett is hoping to impress Chef Ramsay with his duck entrée. Unfortunately for Garrett, the duck is white, rather than pink, the way it should be. Chef Ramsay actually steps back into the kitchen and shows Garrett how the duck should be cooked. Garrett admits that it’s probably not a good thing when Ramsay is spending lots of time at his station. Yes, but it’s better than being screamed at and called a greasy donkey.
A third of the entrées have been served by the blue kitchen while not one entrée has left the red kitchen. Sara, the big team player, is mad because her team isn’t helping her. I don’t blame them: I wouldn’t want any part of that train wreck. Sara sends another tragic lamb entrée to the pass. This time it’s so raw it’s bloody: the customer ordered it medium. Out in the dining room, one of the customers is giving Jean-Philippe crap. He’s starving and just wants his food. He must not have gotten the memo about bringing a snack along. Frustrated over Sara ineptitude, Chef Ramsay takes the lamb off the menu. Now Jean-Philippe has to go break the news to the diners and he’s had enough. I think he went off to get a beer, but I couldn’t understand him.
Boy, That Sure Sucked
Since Garrett is driving the meat station into a ditch in the blue kitchen, Heather has taken over. Immediately, her steak garners compliments from Chef Ramsay. Heather says that Garrett just clammed up and we see Garrett toss meat right into the trash. In the red kitchen, the focus has switched to Maribel on the fish station. Rather than rise to the occasion, Maribel is continuing the trend of crappy food prepared slowly.
Miraculously, the blue team is now delivering desserts to the dining room and, in no time, they actually finish a whole dinner service. Shockingly, the red team hasn’t even served an entrée. Have you got a handle on which team is winning this week? Maribel is still struggling with the salmon entrée that Sara designed. Chef Ramsay wants to cut the salmon into slices rather than stuff it. Sara, who is just asking for it, gets snotty with Ramsay, who calls her out. I cheer at home, trying to egg him on.
Fed up with the red team’s performance, Chef Ramsay calls the blue team over to help the red team out. He’s determined that Hell’s Kitchen complete a dinner service. With help from the blue team, all of the remaining red menu diners are served and dinner service is completed for the very first time.
Now, I’m sure it’s pretty clear that the blue team won this one. Chef Ramsay thanks them for their help in getting the red team’s food out. He says that this was Keith’s best performance so far. Garrett, Ramsay says, is lucky to be in the kitchen with Heather and Keith. He agrees.
The red team picked a menu that was way over their head and there was no best of the worst: they all sucked. Ramsay tells them to each decide on a nominee for elimination. Virginia says that they failed and calls this one of the most horrible nights she’s had in Hell’s Kitchen. Sara takes this moment to mention that she hasn’t actually cooked meat in years. Virginia incredulously asks Sara why the Hell she bragged about her prowess with meat if this was the case.
Heather couldn’t be more stoked: she’s sure that Sara is going home. Sara attacks Maribel for being absent during prep and then lashes out at Virginia too. Every week, my desire to smack Sara grows exponentially.
Both teams are back in the kitchen for the beheading. The red team stands in front of Chef Ramsay, sweating it out, while the blue team chills and prepares to watch the carnage. Ramsay has made a decision: he’s not going to listen to any nominations. He asks all three red team members to step forward to give their "please keep me" speeches.
Sara tells Chef Ramsay that she should stay because she believes she’s responsible for the team dynamic….which is really so productive and healthy, right? I don’t think I’d be bragging about that. Sara says her big mistake was the lamb but really, who on her team can cook lamb anyway. Is this like reverse psychology or something? Ramsay should just fire her now for this lame speech. Virginia tells Ramsay that Sara makes her sick. Maribel believes she should stay because she has lots of drive. There are lots of things against her, including her relegation to third wheel on her own team. Virginia says that she kept asking for Maribel’s input. Cut to footage of Maribel trying to voice an opinion about the menu that night and Virginia telling her, “No.”
Ramsay says that Sara had her head up her ass tonight (yay!). Virginia, he says, is only as good as what she puts on a plate and tonight, the sashimi was shocking. Ramsay says that Maribel was like a rabbit hopping around the kitchen and accomplishing nothing. The person leaving Hell’s Kitchen is Bunny Maribel. She relinquishes her jacket and leaves Hell’s Kitchen.
Ramsay warns the remaining five chefs that this isn’t going to get any easier: they’ve just gone up another level. In a voice over, Chef Ramsay tells us that he’s trying to find someone who deserves to win and that person has to be a leader. Maribel couldn’t even lead a section, much less a kitchen. Yeah, plus she was crying all the time. No one wants a soggy head chef.
Next week: We’re down to the final five and it gets ugly as women come between Garrett and Keith. The chefs travel to Vegas to see the site of the restaurant. At dinner service, will the chefs be able to come together or will old rivalries win out? Also, someone makes biggest mistake you can make in a kitchen, which is probably not as big a deal was Fox would like us to believe.
Completing the prototype for my Sara Voodoo Doll. Accepting pre-orders at Critical@fansofrealitytv.com