Why Fox is stacking it’s line-up with Ramsay shows is beyond me, but Hell’s Kitchen is back after only a short break. The ever-serious intro voice over guy promises this season will bring a lot of drama, fighting, and Ramsay explosions. Oh, yeah, the requisite ambulances will return as well.
The chefs arrive, ever-so excited, to Hell’s Kitchen only to find the doors locked. They clamor for Ramsay or JP, but to no avail. A man in a suit arrives, announces he’s James, the new maitre d’, and has them don blindfolds and get back into the SUV. This is starting to sound more like 24 than Hell’s Kitchen already. The blindfolded group arrives to meet Ramsay where he reveals the locale they are in—LA Market, the restaurant where the winner will likely bus tables, but he claims the winning job will be head chef. He then dispatches them back to Hell’s Kitchen and tasks them to make their signature dish.
As the 45-minute clock ticks down, we learn a bit about the current crop of wannabes. There’s Boris, looking older than his stated 38 years; he’s a Russian with only fine dining experience. Then there’s Sabrina in 4-inch heels hobbling through the kitchen and interviewing that she’s too hot and young to get any respect.
With the teams once again being men vs. women, the first challenge is a head to head tasting of the signature dishes. Ramsay taunts them with the salary for the LA Market job--$250,000—and then it’s time to taste the food. First up are Emily, whose boobs hang out so much Ramsay asks her to cover them up, and Russell. Emily made a duck breast that Ramsay deems cooked perfectly. Russell puts up some undercooked calamari, but it’s otherwise nice. Each gets one point for their teams.
Nona made some fried chicken and asparagus; the asparagus are barely cooked and the chicken is too sweet. Vinny made oil poached halibut, with oil everywhere on the plate; it looks disgusting but has a good flavor so one point for the guys. Antonia is about to reveal her dish but Ramsay catches Sabrina yawning and pulls out a chair for her and calls her out on her overt boredom. Antonia reveals a messy looking gumbo that has Ramsay puking. She claims that she didn’t even taste it as she went because she didn’t have time. I question her choice and her claim she makes gumbo all the time, because a good gumbo takes longer than 45 minutes. It’s so bad he makes everyone taste the crap-fest that it is (and looks like). Curtis, who had to just stand there mute throughout the gumbo drama, made some kind of chicken that’s also is crap so no one gets a point.
Next up is the girl with no eyebrows, Jillian; Ramsay asks where they’ve gone and she says that she’s got them tattooed on. In any event, she’s prepared some good herbed chicken. Rob’s made some lamb chops that are raw, so one point for the ladies. Another handful of teams goes up with no point change until Boris gets one for the guys. Then it’s down to Raj and the still-sitting Sabrina, who ought to re-think her choice of footwear. They stand before him, both wearing suspenders. Sabrina’s fish dish is actually sophisticated and tastes great; Ramsay accuses her of copying it from a cookbook, which she finds ridiculous, as she doesn’t read books. Raj made a seafood and vegetable pancake that tastes pretty good but the presentation is off. Raj is stiff, nervous and weird under the pressure of appearing before Ramsay. So it’s tied 3-3, and the ladies end up losing because Antonia’s dish made him puke. The ladies get to clean the kitchen while the guys have champagne and get massages. The ladies go to bed at midnight and a drunken Raj puts on a free-form karate show for the guys. This guy is off his rocker; he should be “fun” in the kitchen.
Maybe she did taste the gumbo.
The next day, the chefs start to prep for service and Antonia disappears; she interviews that she doesn’t feel well and then collapses. The medics arrive and she complains of a really bad headache. She’s shaking and has trouble breathing and is rushed off in an ambulance.
Ramsay tells everyone Antonia is off at the hospital and sends the chefs back to prep. After a few words of warning to James, Ramsay instructs him to open Hell’s Kitchen for service. The first course is mini pizzas with Emily for the red team and Raj for the blue team taking orders on the floor. Raj has issues talking to the guests and talking to himself at the pass. Pizzas go out, and the red team starts their first course well with Jillian’s pasta. On the blue team, Trev screws up the salad, slowing down service. Meanwhile, the red team messes up some of those pizzas by putting up raw dough. Boris mocks Ramsay’s roar of “it’s raw” and gets busted down a few notches.
Lisa, the old lady of the red team, moves slowly and hasn’t learned how to cook scallops, which anyone on this show should have practiced 1000 times before even turning up for the first day of shooting. Trev still messes up salads, which seems impossible, and it’s been an hour and a half into service and the first apps go out. The red team is ready with the first courses; Sabrina takes up her meats even though her team told her not to go yet and wait for the fish on the ticket. Ramsay’s not impressed by her throwing her team under the bus.
Raj comes back in the kitchen and is paired with Boris to work on the pizza. They are clueless and slow the blue team down even more. Lisa still has problems with seafood, now undercooking halibut. It’s now two hours and no entrees have gone out, so customers start to leave (or, in my opinion, were orchestrated to leave). Ramsay shuts down the kitchen and calls the service the worst opening in the history of the show. No team wins, and he sends them back to nominate two people on each team.
The blue team nominates Raj, for being useless, and Trev for messing up five salads. The red team nominates Lisa for the fish courses; Sabrina asks Nona who she’d nominate and she says Sabrina. Then Sabrina then attacks Nona for her fried chicken as her signature dish.
The teams gather before Ramsay and he tells them that Antonia is not coming back but someone will still go home. Upon prompting, Louis says the first nominee is Raj for being delusional and Trev for holding up the apps. Gail says Lisa is nominated for her fish course and the second nominee is…cut to commercial in true HK style. After the break, the second red team nominee is Sabrina based on her lack of teamwork during service.
Trev says he’s got the drive to stay, Raj says he’s finally got a feel for the kitchen he can do better. Ramsay laughs at this sorry excuse since Raj has been cooking longer than he has. Lisa blames bad timing and knows she can do better. Ramsay calls Sabrina selfish, but she begs for a chance to stay and says if it comes down to between her and Lisa, Lisa should go because she’s so old and used up. Ramsay asks Sabrina who should go and she says Nona because of the fried chicken and apparently snoring in the dorms. After a bit of dramatics, he boots Lisa and keeps Raj, because he’s good TV and Ramsay likes to make it harder for the women teams. Or so I think.
Picking up where we left off at the end of last episode, the teams head to their dorms. Sabrina goes to her room to pout, while Nona “whatevers” Sabrina’s fit in front of Ramsay. Then it’s off to sleep where everyone snores. Then at 4:30 an Asian drumming team comes in to wake them up; they assemble in the kitchen where Raj is swaying and breathing like a perv making a harassing phone call. Ramsay says he’s gotten a call from his friend who just got a Michelin star, and that friend is none other than Iron Chef’s Masaharu Morimoto. Morimoto arrives through the doors of Hell’s Kitchen in a cloud of smoke while the drumming band plays on. He’s carrying a large tray of phenomenal looking sushi, probably the best food we’ve ever seen to date on this show.
Morimoto is there to instruct the teams on how to make tuna nigiri and his salmon, cucumber, avocado roll, which causes Jillian stress because she’s never cooked “Chinese” food before. Curtis drawls something about no sushi in the south, but I beg to differ. Morimoto has brought his fine line of sushi knives and the winning team will get to keep the knives. Each pair has to make nine pieces—four nigiri and five pieces of salmon. Melissa is paired with Gail, who is Asian, so Melissa thinks she’s got it in the bag. Curtis can’t roll the guys eliminate his pair to even up the sides. Gail and Melissa do a terrible job and get no points; Gail says she’s not Japanese, so she doesn’t know how to make sushi. Nona and Jillian score 8 points; Emily and Sabrina score another 7 points and bring the women’s team up to 15.
Louis and Rob are up first for the guys getting them 4 points on the roll and none for the nigiri because they forgot the wasabi. Russell and Raj put their plate up and only get another 4 points. It’s down to Vinny and Boris to save the day, and they bring it up to a tie while Ramsay checks for wasabi on the last piece of nigiri. The wasabi is there, and the men have won again. They’ll be off to Cellar 360 in San Francisco for a day of wine testing. The idea of San Francisco startles Curtis, as he’s only been to NASCAR towns.
The ladies stay behind to prep for the sushi they will serve at dinner, upping the ante that this show will kill its diners. In San Francisco, the guys sample Rosemount wines; part of the winnings is being an ambassador for the label. Raj guzzles down wine and professes to heavily drinking (at least) once a week. He’s already been drunk in the prior episode, so if this nutbag stays around, we’ll get a lot more drunk Raj than we’ll need.
Back at the kitchen, the ladies prep and fuss about Sabrina as she fusses at them. The rice delivery arrives and, of course, it’s Sabrina and Nona who are picked to bring it in off the truck. This brings more whining by Sabrina about Nona’s uselessness. Meanwhile the guys bond over an early dinner and pledge camaraderie, which will probably last 60 seconds into dinner service. After prep, the ladies are served delicacies from around the world, which looks like a bunch of octopus dishes. Gail is familiar with and likes some of the foods because she’s Filipino; Sabrina refuses to try the food, calling it disgusting and generally calling Gail weird for liking it. Gail is insulted and they finally make Sabrina take a tiny bite of the food, which immediately causes her to dramatically wretch through the dinner. The ladies head to bed and the guys come back all wound up, and we’re treated to more of Raj’s karate stylings.
Will this service actually be served?
During prep for the dinner service, the ladies are psyched up to win and Raj annoys all of the guys by his inability to even prepare freshly chopped parsley correctly. Ramsay addresses the sad lot by saying James was put in a world of hurt at the last service so he appoints Jillian and Vinny to be assistants to James.
Hell’s Kitchen opens with the usual menu and a special salmon roll appetizer. Jillian is shaking, she’s so nervous, but she got tickets in while it took Vinny 30 minutes to get one ticket to the kitchen. When Ramsay finally calls out the first ticket to the guys, Raj is spaced out seven ways from Sunday. Ramsay asks him to repeat the order and he can’t, and just kind of staggers about with weird facial twitches. I concur with Louis, who comments that it’s amazing Raj is still alive and not in a jail or asylum.
Gail’s risotto and Sabrina’s sushi pass the first test and apps are getting out. Curtis, however, can’t properly cut the sushi evenly. The red team moves on to entrees, with Emily certain her raw meat is medium, which screws Nona with her perfectly cooked fish. The blue team isn’t getting food out, so Vinny decides to tell the customers not to order sides so that their food comes out faster. He has no faith Raj will get the sides out. Of course this whole mess comes back to Ramsay and he kicks Vinny out of the kitchen for taking it upon himself what Ramsay will send out.
Emily’s inability to cook meat throws Nona off again, and another properly cooked halibut is wasted. Boris tries to take over the kitchen and muscles Trev off of his scallops; this bites him in the butt, as the scallops are unevenly cooked. Melissa screws up the mashed potatoes—they poured out of the pan like paint—so Ramsay sends her out to replace Jillian on the floor. Jillian picks up garnish and gets the red team on track.
Curtis is still working sushi two hours in; Ramsay loses his temper with him and kicks him out. Raj has a ton of garnishes fixed and lined up which also irritates Ramsay, so Raj is sent to the dorm where he literally sticks his head in the freezer. And at Louis’ bad salad, Ramsay kicks all the guys out. Back in the dorm, the arguments fly—Louis starts talking about not coming there to look like an idiot two nights in a row, Raj starts yammering telling the “kids” to settle down. It escalates into a shouting match and Boris has to butt in the argument and starts throwing things at Raj. Little Vinny tries to back Boris off of throwing a punch. Raj is a mongoose with snakes in a pit; he thinks he can tell them what to do to save their asses.
Meanwhile, the ladies pull it together and finish dinner service, which makes them the winning team. When assembled back in the kitchen, Ramsay shouts at Vinny for his brilliant scheme of taking sides off the menu and Curtis for his slow sushi prep and slowing the kitchen down. Ramsay dismisses the guys to pick two people to nominate; Raj is the obvious choice then they decide on Curtis for the sushi, though there is some mumbling about Boris.
Standing before Ramsay, Boris is called on for the first nominee for elimination. Raj is nominated for holding back the team, to which Raj immediately objects to as a lie. Trev then puts Boris up as the second nominee for shoving him off the scallops and acting like a superman in the kitchen. Ramsay then calls Vinny to step forward as well for recommending the guests to not order sides. Ramsay says that the entrees are designed to go with sides. He apologizes and won’t do it again. Raj says he should stay because he’s going to get better as he learns the kitchen; he’s just a slow learner. Boris says he should stay because he’s a team player. But then, in the usual twist, Ramsay kicks Curtis out for screwing up the whole blue team service. He leaves, crying for disappointing his family. Boris is pissed about being thrown under every moving vehicle possible by his team and Raj plans to stay to continue his ridiculous kung fu moves.
Next week, more fights, ambulances, and fires. Hmm…maybe I can just cut & paste the next recap!