It’s been nearly a month since we last saw this group of half-chefs attempt to cook scallops, risotto, and Wellingtons, and I can’t say that I missed them all that much. But now that they’re back, it’s time to see this gaggle of wannabes to the end and find out who claims the title of Head Dishwasher at LA Market. Eh, maybe the winner will get luck and be Head (Prep) Chef just so as not to make Ramsay out to be too much of a liar.

Episode 9: Palate? Chefs are supposed to, like, be able to taste things?

At the end of the last episode, Ramsay dispatched with Boris but called Trev forward and left the viewers hanging for four weeks (or not really hanging, if the viewers had seen past seasons). He demands Trev’s jacket and then, as tradition would have it, sends him back to the Blue Team. Trev thinks the women hung him out to dry, while the ladies are glad he’s gone.

The next day, Ramsay points out the LA Market is in the new JW Marriott and is also responsible for room service. Having recently stayed at a JW Marriott where I did order room service, the bar to deliver “quality” food is pretty low there, in my opinion. Seriously, you have to go out of your way to make a club sandwich unbearably dry and tasteless. Ramsay has the contestants taste different dishes from the room service menu and render their opinions on the dishes. Of course there’s a twist: one of the dishes is from the menu—the chicken wings—while the others are not. Sabrina preferred the egg rolls from a Chinese take-out and Nona likes the chicken salad sandwich that was picked up from a gas station. Only Rob likes the wings the best; I would have failed the challenge too, as I detest chicken wings due to the amount of work one has to put into eating such a tiny amount of food. Ramsay wants to work on their palates, so it’s time for the blind taste test, which is always fun.

Russell and Gail go up against each other; they both get the grapefruit right, both get the sea bass and iceberg lettuce wrong, and Russell gets the black truffle where Gail doesn’t, so advantage to the men. Sabrina and Rob then are up; they both bomb on white asparagus, filet, cheddar, and smoked mussels. Jillian and Vinny are up next; they miss hot dogs but both get potatoes and mozzarella. It gets down to Nona and Trev where they miss pear, but Nona gets scallops where Trev doesn’t. And, as always, the teams are tied and it’s down to the final test of endive. Trev guesses arugula, and Nona gets endive, so the ladies win the challenge.

The ladies get $2000 to go shopping to look their best for their tasting meal with Ramsay at Restaurant XIV. As for the men, they have to sort the trash for recyclables and do all the prep for both kitchens. The guys are petulant about the loss, and Russell has words with Rob for not getting a single correct answer, which continues after trash duty into kitchen prep. Meanwhile, the ladies go tacky clothing shopping and have a nosh with Ramsay; they return ready to kick the guys’ asses in dinner service.

When dinner service begins, Trev gets the Blue Team off to a good start with apps; Sabrina and Jillian also start out well with risotto and scallops. The Red Team starts getting out entrees while Rob screws up scallops, as per usual. He re-fires and produces yet another plate of raw scallops, inspiring Ramsay to show him how to cook them. Nona has some chicken issues, but miracle of miracles, Sabrina steps up as a leader and gets the Red Team back on track. Rob screws the pooch on yet more fish—halibut this time—and Ramsay gives him five minutes to get his head out of his ass. He doesn’t give Nona that chance when she drops the ball on the beef station; when she’s behind on steaks, he shouts at her and kicks her out of the kitchen when she argues that she was going to catch up. Ramsay’s on a tear, kicking Vinny out for poorly cooked gnocchi and Russell for undercooked halibut.

The three kicked out cooks commiserate on the patio of the dorm while the Red Team continues to push out tickets. Then Rob puts up more raw halibut and joins the group on the patio, leaving Trev as the last man standing in the Blue kitchen to finish service. The Red Team also finishes dinner service as well. Ramsay dresses the group down, but does praise Jillian and Sabrina for their work. Trev was the best of the worst, so he has to pick two Blue men to be nominated. Ramsay sends the lot of them back to the dorms but pulls Nona back, tells her she’s got a great palate and needs to show respect in the kitchen and not argue back. The guys argue their cases to Trev; Russell says he has Trev’s back, but Rob and Vinny aren’t having it.

After throwing a temper tantrum in the dorms, Trev decides to nominate Rob and Russell for his raw chicken. Ramsay is concerned Russell is coming undone, and Rob doesn’t think he was the worst in the kitchen because he was in the kitchen until the end (well, before he was booted out) and is a better chef than Russell. After a fake-out, Ramsay boots “big boy” Rob and tells the guys to get it together and worries that the final four could be all women. Ramsay—gotta hate him: body snarker and misogynist.

Episode 10: Making the Final Six

Moving right along, we get down to the final six contestants, which will end up with the black jackets coming out. Russell is pissed that Trev put him up and works out on a weight machine in a menacing way. After a night’s sleep, the women are cocky and the men are grumpy.

The morning’s challenge involves communication; they will cook three dishes in five-minutes stretches (for a total of 30 minutes) and then have 15 seconds to say what they’ve done. They have to make the pasta, chicken, and salmon dishes. The first round goes okay, even if Russell produces some sloppy pasta. Trev didn’t cook the lobster, but failed to tell Vinny. Russell doesn’t do it either, so on the final round Vinny just does the tail. Similarly Gail doesn’t put the salmon on, and Sabrina has to put it in. Unfortunately, on the final round Jillian pulls the salmon out of the oven and drops it on the floor. Ramsay then judges the dishes head to head, salmon first, with point to the Blue Team because the Red Team didn’t have salmon. The women win on the pasta for actually using seasoning, and it comes down to the chicken dish. Both teams produce raw beans on the chicken dishes, owing to both teams forgetting to blanch the beans.

Ultimately, Ramsay gives the win to the men and they get a shopping spree at Sur la Table and meal with Ramsay at Melisse. The women have to stay home and deal with cleaning the kitchen and delivery day. Jillian puts a lot of the blame on Gail for not having the salmon on earlier, and Sabrina and Nona kind of agree. Vinny makes an ass out of himself at lunch with Ramsay while the ladies unload the delivery truck.

The guys return and Sous Chef Scott calls them all together to inform the cooks that the menu is now to be of their own design and sends them upstairs to plan their menus of 4 apps, 4 entrees, and 4 desserts. Vinny and Trev shoot down Russell’s ideas, while the ladies shoot down Sabrina’s. Everyone turns in early except Vinny and Trev who drink wine in the hot tub and gossip about Russell late into the night. He goes down and calls them out on their drunken yammering about him and drinking. Trev is seriously drunk and Vinny isn’t that far behind. The next morning, those two are hung over and I am now in need of eye bleach from seeing a mostly naked Trev stretch out in bed.

They head down to the kitchen to prep for the new menu. The ladies are excited, but Russell’s unhappy with the other guys seeming off their game. James opens Hell’s Kitchen for the Red vs. Blue challenge. The Red Team’s menu features wild mushroom risotto, vanilla poached lobster, and New York strip with sautťed cauliflower. The Blue Team’s menu features ricotta ravioli, roasted sea bass with fingerling potatoes, and grilled lamb chops with white bean puree.

In the dining room, the diners are universally choosing the Red Team’s menu, except the owner of Melisse, who picks the Blue Team. Nona starts out poorly with undercooked risotto, but she gets her game back and food starts going out. The Blue Team finally gets orders, but Vinny totally forgets the lamb entrťe for the Melisse table. He brings it up too soon much to the entertainment of the Melisse owner to see Vinny being shouted at by Ramsay. Russell takes over and the meat is served.

The Red Team is on to entrees where Gail screws up the lobster six times, putting the Red diners behind the Blue diners in receiving food. However the lamb that went to the Melisse table was over-cooked, embarrassing Ramsay. Sabrina isn’t fairing well by not communicating with Ramsay, but she does put up properly cooked meat. Vinny tries to redeem himself on the fish station but fails miserably by putting up raw bass. Gail continues to have a bad night with undercooked pasta and yet another raw lobster; Ramsay ends up booting her out of the kitchen. He puts Jillian on the fish and garnish station to make up service. The women pull it together and finish dinner service, as do the men.

At the end of dinner service, Ramsay picks no winning team. He instructs them to go back to the dorms and each think of one person to nominate. Russell wants to put up Vinny, Vinny would put up Sabrina, Jillian would put up Trev, as would Sabrina. Trev thinks he’s got potential; after all, he sees it in himself. When back before Ramsay, Russell votes for Vinny, Vinny puts up Sabrina as does Trev. All the women put up Trev for elimination. Ramsay calls Trev forward, demands his jacket, and gives him a black jacket, pushing him to the final six. Then Ramsay hands out black jackets like it’s a strange Rose Ceremony. Jillian, Nona, and Russel get black jackets. As there is no Chris Harrison to pop in, Ramsay himself has to point out there are two jackets left and three “chefs” standing. He calls down Sabrina, who tearfully accepts it. It comes down to Gail and Vinny who both must step forward and argue their cases. Vinny says all he’s ever wants to be is a chef, but Ramsay worries he’s on a decline. Gail says she’s an asset to her team and can keep fighting. Gail gets the final black jacket and Vinny gets the door.

Ugh, how much longer will this go on before they’re all eliminated? That’s what the preview would have us believe, but if you ever believe previews for Hell’s Kitchen, I’ve got some bridges to sell you.