Hell’s Kitchen, Week 11: A Weighty Episode
Last week we were teased with ads for this week’s episode, promising that Ramsay is “shutting down” Hell’s Kitchen. This has got to be something incredible – right?!?!?! Definitely going to produce some dramatic moments worthy of showing up on The Soup or Best Week Ever? Um, no. In fact, it was one of the most over-hyped non-events in recent reality show history.
Gordon gathers his chefs and delivers the “I’m shutting down Hell’s Kitchen” line. We get to see the horrified looks of the five finalists for about as long in that ad as was shown tonight. And then he explains that they’re going on a trip across the country to check out the Borgata Hotel in New Jersey, to inspect the future location of the new restaurant.
So they’re shutting it down for a couple days of filming. Which is pretty much normal for this “restaurant” as I think this place is really only “open” about a dozen times a year for shooting the various episodes of each season of the show. And by “open” I mean, um, an open casting call for people who aren’t particularly hungry who act as customers and may get to actually eat something, or they may not. And those who do well in the casting call may get a talking role as someone who complains about service or food. Not to be confused with a real restaurant, which is generally open most nights to real customers. Like, for instance, one in Minneapolis which coincidentally is named Hell’s Kitchen but which serves food. Downtown Minneapolis Restauarnts Brunch Breakfast Lunch Dinner I’ve eaten in Minneapolis’ Hell’s Kitchen, and as far as I can tell it has nothing to do with Gordon Ramsay, but it does have a very cool Far Side Pub displaying Far Side cartoons about God and the Devil on every wall.
So we’re off the New Jersey on a private jet. I think they said that the jet was owned by the Borgata hotel, but I’m not sure why a hotel would need a private jet. Wouldn’t most of the hotel business take place at or near the hotel? I never really “got” the whole concept of corporate jets, but that must be one of the reasons why I’m not an auto executive or someone else standing in line for a corporate bail-out.
The gang makes it to the Borgata, which they can apparently see from outer space, or at least they can see the hotel and a billboard welcoming them from the plane. They get out, walk around, see lots of other restaurants – the future competition, and then eventually an empty space in need of construction. They get giddy at the thought of working at the new restaurant, which doesn’t appear to even have a name yet.
Then they have a fancy dinner with some of the restaurant’s management team. They eat a big fancy dinner, and Robert leaves in the middle of it because he isn’t feeling well. The other chefs are concerned about Robert, but not concerned enough to try to find him and see what is going on. Robert is not a person to miss out on a nice meal without good reason, so obviously this is serious.
They have medics look at Robert, His blood pressure is elevated, and given his chest pains they take him by ambulance to the ER, where they admit him to the cardiac unit for monitoring. Robert calls Ben from his hospital bed, saying he needs to stay in the hospital over night. Ben is sad that Robert is ill, and also secretly gloating that Robert called him instead of Danny.
After Ben took Robert along on his reward trip to San Francisco, it was pretty clear that Robert was grateful to Ben, so that wasn’t a surprise. The only surprise was Ben’s inability to hide his glee about being “the first call”. Let’s just say that I don’t need to be Tim Roth’s character from Lie to Me to be able to read Ben’s micro-expressions. There you have it ladies, a guy who really can’t lie to your face, so Ben may be a decent catch after all.
We’ve heard time after time all season that Robert weighs 400 pounds, which is overweight at any height. He was too heavy for the helicopter. Too heavy for the Segway. And every single episode it seems like we get a shot of his naked belly, whether he’s changing clothes, getting a massage, or trying to sleep – and I still haven’t gotten that naked butt waggeling in the walk-in fridge imaged seared out of my brain. All season long, we’ve been reminded that Robert is “Big Boy” and abnormally and unhealthily overweight. I think it was all building for this conclusion – Robert has to leave for medical reasons and won’t be back.
I have been fooled by reality show “health scares” before. Last year I recapped The Mole and pre-season ads prominently featured overweight contestant Craig being taken away by ambulance. I quickly discounted him as the Mole, thinking it would have been a production risk to cast a Mole who may not be able to physically make it through the entire filming. But shortly after the much-anticipated episode, Craig stayed on the show, and was in fact the Mole. He did a great job, by the way. I was hoping that they had this huge lead up all season just for nothing.
The other chefs return to California without Robert. Ramsay calls them into the kitchen – and Robert comes out of the kitchen, in his chef jacket. Everyone is happy to see him. Robert announces that he has been diagnosed with signs of heart disease, enlarged fluid sac around his heart or something like that, and he is unable to continue on the show. Ah, that is too bad. No-one should leave the show for medical reasons. Unlike Ji, Ramsay takes Robert’s jacket, and he’s gone.
The remaining chefs are now the de facto final 4, and have a “signature dish” challenge that is wide open. Use anything in the pantry and make a good dish. Ben makes a dish that is “pretty” which Ramsay points out is unlike Ben himself. Danny’s and Paula’s are also good, but for some reason for the first time ever, Andrea’s dish is picked as the best. Why would this be? Is it because her dish was somehow superior, even to her “creamed crab in the shell” monstrosity from several weeks ago? I doubt that. I think it is because Andrea is clearly the weakest chef left, and they want her to have immunity just to cause some drama. And it does.
The other three chefs carp about Andrea’s immunity. Well played, producers, but I think this leads to the obvious conclusion that no-one is leaving at the end of tonight’s show. We’re already down a chef due to Robert’s mid-episode medical drop. They are contracted for a certain number of shows. And now the worst contestant wins immunity. I think we can all tune out right now. But, as the recapper, alas, I cannot.
We see the inevitable terrible service, with Andrea falling to pieces. Paula and Danny have been pretty rock solid this whole season. Ben has flashes of strength, especially when it comes to teamwork, but also has some epic fails, particularly anytime he is asked to describe a dish. Or isn’t asked, but just starts describing things in many unnecessary details.
The episode drags on and on as the chefs come back and Gordon grills pretty much everyone, including Andrea. He teases her, but then honors her immunity and sends her back in line. They’re all back in line, because no-one is leaving. This group is the final four. Of course they are. We need to have three more episodes.
So long, Robert. We wish you well, strength for your health issues, and the best for the future. See you all next week, when hopefully some less predictable will happen.
Help fight cystic fibrosis or just learn more about it at the cystic fibrosis foundation website, www.cff.org
and help give my little guy a better future.
Shoveling the ocean
Re: Hell’s Kitchen, Week 11: A Weighty Episode
OK, so I read the menu. And, I'm officially inviting myself to your house, so we can eat there!
Downtown Minneapolis Restauarnts Brunch Breakfast Lunch Dinner I’ve eaten in Minneapolis’ Hell’s Kitchen, and as far as I can tell it has nothing to do with Gordon Ramsay, but it does have a very cool Far Side Pub displaying Far Side cartoons about God and the Devil on every wall.
I never really “got” the whole concept of corporate jets, but that must be one of the reasons why I’m not an auto executive or someone else standing in line for a corporate bail-out.
Papi on being tested for steroids: "All they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans." I cater to the Regs!
Re: Hell’s Kitchen, Week 11: A Weighty Episode
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