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Welcome to the second half of the Hell’s Kitchen season premiere! This is the premiere that’s just too big for just one recap. As you may remember (and if you don’t you can check out the recap), the first hour ended with the elimination of Polly, after which all of the women pretended they were sad about her demise. Like any of them would throw themselves under the bus so she could stay.
Dumpster Diving for Fun and Profit
The relieved chefs all file out and head back to the dorms for five minutes of sleep. The women may have lost a teammate, but they’re more upset over having lost the first night’s competition. Sara boo-hoos over being humiliated as a “woman chef.” Whatever. As a woman recapper, I’m going to complain about her whining. Virginia clearly thinks she’s dodged a bullet, pointing out that she made mistake after mistake. She was sure she’d be going home.
Now that they have one big win under their belt, the guys are sure they’ll be winning the whole thing. Should they really be feeling so confident over having been judged the less sucky team in this scenario? With delusions of grandeur in their heads, everyone hits the sheets in need of a full night’s sleep. Of course that isn’t going to happen. Around 5:45 a.m., right when everyone is probably really good and asleep, Scott and Mary Ann come in clanging pot and pans.
Bewildered and bleary-eyed, both teams of chefs line up to meet with Chef Ramsay. Ramsay informs Virginia that she is very lucky to still be there. He then tells Larry that he sees no passion in him. Larry says that he has passion inside…..way down deep…so far down you need mining equipment to get to it. You know, sometimes still waters don’t run deep: they’re just puddles.
Chef Ramsay asks the chefs if they are aware of just how much food they wasted at last night’s dinner service. This is clearly not a rhetorical question. You see, they’re all standing in the alley behind Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Ramsay instructs everyone to get into the dumpsters and retrieve the bags of wasted food. They must then open the bags and spread out all the food so they can really see what they wasted. This stuff is probably 12 hours old at most and yet some of these people are gagging and making like it’s worse than it really is. I’d be disgusted over having wasted that much food. Giacomo says the whole dumpster diving episode is no big deal. Apparently Giacomo had to go hunting for his retainer in the cafeteria trash more than once back in the day……three years ago. Now that everyone is really good and smelly, Chef Ramsay sends them off to get cleaned up before they reconvene in the kitchen.
It’s time for the first team challenge! The lesson Chef Ramsay is shoving down their throats this morning? Value. And the understanding that waste can happen even before the cooking starts. Ramsay tells the chefs that he is introducing a steak dish to the menu tonight. After a quick lesson, the teams will be cutting as many perfect 10 ounce steaks as they can from a side of beef. To complete the task, they must first separate the sirloin from the bone and then remove a thin layer of fat without damaging the meat. Then they can proceed with cutting the steaks. Because the teams are uneven, Keith will be sitting out this challenge.
The teams are given ten minutes to cut the steaks and they quickly get to work. The knives are flying and, amazingly, no one is separated from any of their digits. I was sure that this is where we’d be seeing that ambulance from the commercials. *Sigh* I guess we’ll be waiting a bit longer for that drama. The ten minutes pass quickly and everyone lines up with their steaks to see how many of them measure up. The women go first.
Out of who knows how many, the women get 12 steaks approved by Chef Ramsay. Both Sara and Rachel each cut three good steaks, while the other red teamers cut two steaks a piece. The men seem to think they can beat the women easily.
Things start out well for the men as Gabe gets 3 steaks approved by Chef Ramsay. Garrett only gets one steak through and Giacomo gets two approved. Next up is Larry, who says that he wants to prove he belongs in the kitchen. This is his time to shine, he’s just sure of it. Yeah, not so fast Passion Man. All he’s managed to do is cut a big pile of meat and none of it passes muster. It’s all up to Sweaty Tom to pull this one out of the dumpster. Tom really wants to be the hero this time and he almost does it. Almost. Unfortunately for the blue team, Tom only manages to cut five good steaks and the final score stands at 11 for the men. The women win it by one.
That’s “Gordon” To You
Chef Ramsay informs the men that they will be cutting all of the steaks needed for the next dinner service. The women will be spending their time in a much more enjoyable way: dinner with Chef Ramsay and a restaurant specializing in wild game. They will be traveling to the restaurant by helicopter. The men posture and pretend they don’t care about the prize. Like handling raw meat for 5 hours is better than free gourmet dinner and a helicopter ride. Larry tells us that he feels like his team doesn’t trust him to come through. I’d trust that feeling, Larry.
The red team is elated as they rave over the view of LA from the helicopter on the way to dinner. Back at Hell’s Kitchen, the men are grinding meat and whining. Cut to the women sitting with Chef Ramsay….excuse me, Gordon, laughing and smiling and generally having a good time. Yeah, no way this is better than raw meat. The girls return from dinner and find the men still at work in the kitchen. There’s a good deal of taunting and trash talk before the women decide to hit the Jacuzzi.
While the ladies adjourn to the Jacuzzi, alcohol in hand, the guys are all business. They want to rest and get prepared for the next dinner service. All except for Larry, that is. Even though Larry has been feeling sick all night, the sight of women in bikinis seems to have perked him right up. He joins the girls while the rest of the guys go to bed.
Drama, Drama, Drama
It’s now 4: 20 am and everyone is asleep…… except for Larry, who is having a late night conversation with a 911 operator. Larry says that he is sweating and tingling (which, under the right circumstances, aren’t necessarily bad things). The next morning, everyone wakes up and Larry is nowhere to be found. Tom starts slamming Larry and right then the phone rings. It’s Larry calling from the hospital. He tells his fellow competitors that he won’t be returning. The stress of Hell’s Kitchen was just too much for Larry and his body shut down. Larry tells us that it’s difficult to see his dreams slip away, but he’s happy that he didn’t quit: his body quit. I fail to see the distinction when the result is the same, but whatever helps you sleep at night.
In no time at all, the next dinner service is just minutes away. Chef Ramsay tells the chefs that this isn’t just about good food: it’s about good service too. To that end, one member of each team – Sara from the red team and Keith from the blue team - will be working the dining room tonight. Just to make this extra fun, there will be special tables upstairs, so Sara and Keith will be running up and down the stairs all night.
Hell’s Kitchen opens for its second dinner service of the season and people actually show up again. I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am. In a voice over we’re told that the diners are hungry…….. and the chefs are hungry for redemption. Who writes this stuff? I’m not sure if Keith is hungry but man, he’s already sweating like a pig from climbing those stairs.
While Keith is off sweating in the dining room, Sara delivers the first ticket to the red kitchen. Chef Ramsay warns Virginia that if she screws up again, she’s going home (only he didn’t say “screw”). The women are off and running, but men are waiting. Sweaty Keith turns in his first tickets to the kitchen without the meat orders specified. Ramsay sends him back out to redo the tickets. While Keith is floundering around, the women have gotten started on appetizers. Unfortunately, the first appetizers from the red team go right into the trash and the ladies lose a bit of their lead.
Finally Keith gets a ticket in but the blue boys can’t seem to get it together. Chef Ramsay reads out the order and Gabe asks if there is any quail on the order. Noooooo. *Shakes head* This guy is just asking for it. Ramsay tells him to pay attention and get to work.
Meanwhile, Heather is helping Maribel get appetizers out of the red kitchen as the customers start getting annoyed at the wait. Pace yourselves, people. You’ve got a lot longer to wait tonight. Everyone in the blue kitchen is helping out on appetizers since Gabe can’t seem to handle it on his own.
An hour into dinner service, the appetizers are finally making their way out of each kitchen. The women even begin plating their first entrees. Just when it starts to look good for the red team, Heather (arguably the strongest member of the team) burns her hand on a pan. Showing that he really does have a soft, mushy center, Chef Ramsay jumps into action, running Heather’s hand under water and then getting her some ice. Heather The Wonder Girl, continues to direct the red team while her hand is on ice. Chef Ramsay sends her out to get attention from the medics, who whisk her off to the hospital.
Ninety minutes into dinner service, most of the tables have been served some sort of food. In a normal restaurant, you’d expect to be served and done by this point, but for some reason this is an improvement. With Heather gone, the red team is struggling. Chef Ramsay tells Maribel to buy a restaurant and put one table in it because that’s all she can handle. Sara asks Ramsay if she can put her whites on again and return to the kitchen. He says that’s a great idea and Sara jumps into action. Sara hopes this will be her chance to shine. Oh sweetie, I wouldn’t get ahead of yourself. Just try not to set the place on fire.
In the blue kitchen, Tom is on meat and Giacomo is on sides. They should be working together to get everything completed at the same time. They should be working together, but they’re not. There’s some big hoo-ha about cabbage and duck, but I zoned out for a second and missed it. The short version is that the blue team can’t get it together and a lot of food is being tossed. Chef Ramsay gives Giacomo some vocational advice, i.e. he tells Giacomo to become a &%^$ hairdresser.
In the red kitchen, a customer (who clearly has never seen this show before) comes up to the pass and Chef Ramsay tells the guy that he’s in the kitchen with Muppets. It’s the most sedate and non-hostile interaction we’ve seen between Ramsay and a customer so far.
More customers are starting to leave without being served, but the chefs are still working away. Virginia sends a plate of tortellini to the pass. The pasta is torn and sticking together and Ramsay asks Virginia if she would actually serve this dish. After saying “yes” to an incredulous Chef Ramsay, she changes her answer and sulks back to prepare another dish of tortellini. It really doesn’t matter at this point because the customers who ordered the tortellini have just left. In fact, pretty much everyone has left.
Chef Ramsay calls the chefs out to look at the dining room: it’s empty. Although it’s really just a formality, Ramsay closes both kitchens. Heather returns from the hospital in time to hear the announcement of the losing team. Chef Ramsay applauds her for continuing to help her team, even with a serious burn. She was clearly the star tonight.
Inka Dinka Bottle of Ink….
Ramsay tells the teams that he was hoping for better service this time, but it was terrible. Yeah, I’d say that “terrible” is a bit of an understatement when you can’t even get people served in 90 minutes. Chef Ramsay runs down the laundry list of offenses by each of the chefs, saying that he is not happy. As if we had any doubts. The bigger losers tonight are the men, who they didn’t get one entrée out tonight. Garrett is deemed the least loser-ish of the blue team and will have the chore of choosing which of his teammates will be up for elimination.
The usual campaigning ensues as the guys try to get on Garrett’s good side. Garrett tells us that he has a tough choice: Gabe, Tom and Giacomo all sucked equally. Giacomo complains that he’s always the target. Tom tells him that if he wants adult respect, he needs to get an adult haircut…..or at least a hairnet. Please. I don’t want to eat anything he’s cooking and I can’t believe Chef Ramsay hasn’t ordered him to cover that hair up. Giacomo tells us that Tom will do whatever he can to stay, even if that means backstabbing. As if everyone else there is planning on taking the high moral ground. Garret says the decision will be what’s best for him.
The women relax to watch the men sweat it out. Garrett tells Chef Ramsay that his nominations will be Giacomo, because of tonight’s “malfunction” in the kitchen, and Tom. Garrett says this was a tough decision, but the only tough part was probably choosing who was the suckiest. Ramsay has Tom and Giacomo step forward and explain why they should stay. Although Tom didn’t get any entrees out – something he blames on a lack of coordination between Giacomo and himself – he says that it will never happen again. It sounds very Eddie Haskell to me, but Ramsay buys it and sends Tom back into line.
Chef Ramsay then announces that he would like to speak to one more person. As Giacomo stands there looking confused, Ramsay calls Gabe forward. When asked why he should stay, Gabe says that he came to learn from and be the best. He’s chasing perfection. He’s so far behind perfection that he’s in a different time zone. In his plea for mercy, Giacomo talks about grabbing a greasy potato (seriously) and says that, once he grabs it, he’ll hold on. O-kaaaaaaay.
Chef Ramsay announces that the person leaving Hell’s Kitchen tonight is Gabe. Ramsay says that Gabe is a sweet guy, but sweet guys don’t make great cooks. Gabe tells us that you don’t have to be loud and obnoxious to run a kitchen. Maybe so, but you’re still going home. Ramsay tells Giacomo to get a grip and sends them all off to get their usual three hours of sleep.
Ramsay explains that it is crucial to have finesse and passion in this business and Gabe had no passion. And then there were nine.
Next week: Another chef – this time it’s Sara – goes missing, the battle of the sexes reaches an all time high and the chefs begin to turn on each other. Also, determined to have a successful dinner service, Chef Ramsay decides to do something he’s never done before.
I’ll be practicing juggling greasy potatoes, but you can email me at Critical@fansofrealitytv.com