Hello dear readers! Tis I, Iguanachocolate here to bring you news of brilliant chefs on the horizon of the culinary world! No? Not buying it? Ok, I know. I’m here to tell you the latest goings on of the poor man’s version of Top Chef: Hell’s Kitchen. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Gordon Ramsey. I just feel he has fallen into a bad crowd of producers and possibly the manager who got him this gig led him astray. Frankly, it’s no wonder he swears so much given what he has to work with. Truly, to get to know the man in a better light, watch Ramsey’s Nightmares on the BBC America. However, I digress.
Last week on Hell’s Kitchen we saw Vanessa get a rather serious burn, Ben was anointed Ramsey’s new whipping boy and then we bade goodbye to Craig, the delusional pocket-chef. For a most excellent time, read the wonderful recap written by Waywyrd HERE.
As the show begins we once again see the chef’s trudging up to their quarters after a grueling service and of course grumbling all the way. Poor Ben doesn’t understand why he was singled out by Chef Ramsey as he did nothing but help. All I saw Benny boy help with was the premature celebrating before the girls finished the service and won the night. There’s one thing Chef Ramsey doesn’t take kindly to and that’s cockiness. There’s only room for one rooster in that kitchen. Vanessa tells everyone how she will have to see a plastic surgeon about her hand and she is very worried about how this will affect her continuation in the competition. Poor Vanessa, she cannot do much with her hand and even one of the other girls has to help her with her hair. Shayna remarks how frustrated Vanessa is and how she doesn’t want to let her team down. She goes on to say the team wants to help her through this.
The chefs - Wait, stop. I’m sorry, I can’t do it. I just can’t call them chefs with any seriousness. If they are chefs then the Swanson frozen dinners I used to eat as a kid were 5 star cuisine. Mmmm, anyone else remember the yummy brownie?
Anyway, the alleged chefs assemble in the kitchen to hear Gordon extol the virtues of pizza as a fine dining menu item. Now I understand that a big trend in haute cuisine is to take the food of the masses and turn it into something a snooty diner would be willing to pay an exorbitant price for, but I don’t like it. If I want pizza I don’t want to have to get dressed up to eat it and I don’t want to pay more than $20 for a pie. Pizza is made to be eaten in your pajamas or served with a frothy cold one down at the local pizza joint. But once again, I digress. Anyway, the gist of what Gordon says is why put the lowly pepperoni on a pizza when you can shave some truffles over it and charge $200? He then challenges the teams to come up with their own gourmet pizzas and they will have 45 minutes to do it. He laid out ingredients for them to use anywhere from prosciutto to squid to sea urchins – though according to Bobby they are sea “merchans”. Jen is all excited that she’ll be able to put her crazy mind to work and I’m thinking she did that when she filled out the application to be on this show. The girls get organized and get to work each making their own individual pizzas. Christina is doing something with oysters, which have absolutely no place ever on a pizza. Everything on the women’s side is all sweet and nice whilst the men seem to be off in their own little worlds each determined to be the winning pizza. Matt’s questions are ignored and he is “nauseating” at the lack of communication on the men’s side. The men all comment that he just needs to shut it and get to work. A flurry of ingredients and knives go on and then Ramsey comes in to tell them that the teams must now pick one pizza to present to him for judging. Vanessa is hoping hers gets picked, but the girls go with Jen’s herb crusted prosciutto with a balsamic glaze drizzle and work on perfecting it. Over in the men’s kitchen they only have two pizzas ready: Matt’s which is some kind of stuffed zucchini flower buffalo mozzarella salsa verdi concoction that just sounds gross and Ben declares it’s nasty. Matt of course loves it, but isn’t this the man who thought it would be a good idea to serve an ‘exotic tartare’ of raw venison and diver scallops with a drizzle of white chocolate? Obviously a compromised palate in that one’s mouth. Louross’ pizza is declared worthy of Pizza Hut (dubbed over to be called Pizza Shack) and Bobby’s is passed over as well. Before Petrozza can even get his pizza out of the oven the men (meaning Bobby and Ben) decide to go with Ben’s pizza made with duck and white truffles. A flurry of last minute plating as Ramsey counts them down and the pizzas are served for judgment.
Jen describes her pizza as a “little bit of Italy and a little bit of France” whilst Ben lists an extensive list of ingredients including a base of chevre cream sauce, duck confit, white truffles, and chantrelle mushrooms. Jen says damn under her breath and all the women look a little worried. Ramsey tastes both pizzas and declares it is a tight race. But since the mushrooms on the men’s pizza were not washed properly, he gave the edge to the girls. Ah, whipping boy Ben, cleanliness is next to Gordoness. Jen’s pizza goes on the night’s menu and the women get to take a helicopter to the home of the $90 burger (see above rant on so called gourmet pizza to know my feelings about this) and some valuable face time with Chef Ramsey. The men get to do all the prep work for the next dinner service, including making the pizza dough. Gordon gives the boys a little pep talk and Louross whimpers, paces and whines throughout it. Matt just wants to taste blood and win the next service. Well, at the rate that undercooked meat goes flying out of the kitchen during service, he won’t be long waiting for it!
The girls prettify themselves and leave with Gordon. As the men begin their prep Matt tries to do his Dr. Phil impersonation and get the boys communicating and the boys weren’t having it. As an aside, what is up with Matt’s eyebrows? Are they contestants as well? They certainly have a life of their own and I bet they are better cooks. The guys get their lunch brought to them: in Bobby’s words “a bunch of thin assed burgers… no mustard, no ketchup.” I’m thinking y’all are in a kitchen. You can’t slice some onions and grab some ketchup?
During the next days prep for service, Vanessa is having a difficult time. Her hand is really bothering her and she feels she won’t be able to contribute much to the service that night. She goes to visit Ramsey in his office. He inquires about her hand and listens to her frustrations but tells her ultimately the decision is hers. Vanessa decides that if she can’t give her all to the competition, she doesn’t want to be there. He says it is a shame, but respects her decision. He tells her to say goodbye to her teammates, pack her stuff and leave Hell’s Kitchen. Shayna thinks that Vanessa gave up on herself. In Vanessa’s parting words she says that Hell’s Kitchen is an immersion in fire and that it was too much for her. I liked Vanessa and I am saddened that she was injured and ultimately that it played a factor in her leaving.
As it turns out, Hell’s kitchen is branching out from the art of fine dining to the art of fine pizza delivering. The troupes assemble outside and on cue a plane flies overhead advertising Hell’s Kitchen Pizza. Anyone else find it strange that there was no phone number on to call in on and order? How will the potential food poisoning victims know how to reach the pizza hotline? Around and over the corner comes Jean-Phillipe in a little three wheeled deathtrap that passes for a vehicle in a lot of Europe. This will be their pizza deliver wagon. Ooh, they’re styling now! Back in they go and shortly there after the doors to the restaurant are opened for business.
The women start off well with Jen pumping out the appetizers. There is a lot of talking and communicating on the their part and the kitchen seems to be running smoothly for the moment. Now the phone begins to ring and apparently calls are coming in for pizza. Gordon says, “Ladies, someone saw the plane.” Ummm, would that be the plane dragging the banner without the phone number to call for pizza delivery? Ben gets the lucky nod to be the home delivery boy. Meanwhile, Matt can’t cook and egg to save his life. Every year, people, every year. Please, people, learn how to cook a frickin’ egg before you go on the show! It’s not that difficult and you are supposedly professionals. Allegedly.
To all potential reality show contestants: you need to know how to start a fire on Survivor, drive stick on the Amazing Race and cook an egg on Hell’s Kitchen. If you can’t do that, don’t go on the shows! The women are beginning to have their troubles with the bane of teams year after year, the dreaded Wellington.
Meanwhile, Ben gets to done a baseball cap and special apron to make his deliveries. He has trouble following the map but eventually he does make his delivery and the families seem happy to get the pizzas.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the women’s team gets their meats together but Rosann begins to have trouble with her vegetable station. Hey, mashed potatoes are very tricky! Ramsey gets on her by imitating the incessant clanking on the pan with her utensil and finally sends Jen over to help her. Meanwhile the men are now having trouble with their meat and poor little Louross can’t seem to cook steaks. Petrozza helps him a bit by shaving the meat to show the pink and Louross declares it ghetto but is happy about it.
Christina meanwhile seems to be falling apart in the dessert area. Apparently Jen was to help her, but she was too busy helping Rosann with the mashed tators so a reluctant Corey is forced to help her arch nemesis.
At the end of the night Chef Ramsey gathers them together and tells them well done on completing a service. He declares there is no losing team, so tells the teams to return to the dorms and come up with a nominee each and report back to him. Ooooh, goody, let the backstabbing begin anew. As they walk back Matt declares he knows he is safe tonight. Famous last words, chef boy. Many a contestant has fallen victim to Chef Forshadowing’s cruel edit with words such as those. Yes indeedy, the name first bantered about by the three in control is Matt. But Ben would rather see Louross go. Matt joins them and Ben says while Louross isn’t down there, why don’t they just vote on him. Matt says it’s not going to be him and Ben threatens that if Matt doesn’t vote Louross with them it’s going to be Matt going. Louross comes down and says you, “I f***** up! I’ll be a man about it”
Meanwhile over in the hen’s coop the Rosann says she knows she should be going but leaps at the chance when Jen suggests Christina. Of course Rosann is of course all over that one and Jen is happy to have her onboard. Apparently Christina’s big crime is that she dares to talk jibberish over Jen’s “valid stuff”. Well, all righty, then. Jen approaches Corey with this plan who is surprisingly ok with this. Shocker. They tell Christina and she says they are stabbing her in the back and she is alone on her island and not able to trust anyone on her game.
They stand before Chef Ramsey who has them tell him their nomination choices. When he hears Christina’s name, he seems stunned. He asks Jen if she is threatened by Christina’s intelligence. Err, say what? Did he say intelligence? Jen right hands it up to God in saying that she is not threatened by Christina and that Jen alone controls her fate in Hell’s Kitchen. Silly girl. Chef Ramsey sets her right on that little fact. He then picks on Rosann and tells her she screwed her team. He calls Louross and Christina forward to defend themselves. Louross says he did not give up and when asked who the worst cook in the kitchen is says Matt. Christina lists her virtues and calls out Rosann as the worst cook on the women’s side.
Cue Dramatic pause, cue dramatic musical crescendo, and the dramatic announcement is:
No one is leaving because Vanessa has already taken herself out of the game.
Wow, cue dramatic let down.
Next time, it’s a Sweet 16 Party! Stay tuned for dry halibut, e. coli and a surprise chef who joins one of the teams at elimination.
Want to start a petition to ban duck confit from pizza? PM me.