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There are some moments in reality TV that you wait for all season. Usually, the actual moment turns out to be totally anti-climactic and kind of lame, but there are rare occasions when it lives up to every fantasy you’ve ever entertained. Tonight’s show falls somewhere in the middle.
Last week, it was a very uncooked elimination when Garrett was sent back to Microbiology 101 after having sent raw chicken to the pass. After having thrown Garrett under the bus, I’m sure Keith breathed a sigh of relief, knowing he wouldn’t have to be sleeping with a butcher knife under his pillow. Either way, the reunion show will be excellent. You know Garrett will be fuming about Keith’s “betrayal” when he’s in a rocker on the front porch of the old age home….or in the yard at the state penitentiary, wherever he ends up.
After Garrett’s elimination, Keith apologizes to Virginia for nominating her. He says he knew Chef Ramsay wouldn’t pick her to go home. Virginia tells Keith that she understands but then she whines and cries in her room, saying she’s sick of messing up. She’s just not good at dinner service and she’s getting frustrated. Sara Two-Face actually consoles Virginia even though she tells us that Virginia has no skills. Right now, Sara’s only worried about Keith and Heather. I’d be worried about Chef Ramsay, but that’s just me.
Now that K-Grease is the only guy left, he’s confident about making it to the finals. He feels that Heather is his strongest competition, but says that he is stronger….smelling. Has adding “grease” to your name suddenly become a cool thing? I’m going to start calling myself C-Oil. Hmmmmmm……”Coil” sounds kind of cool actually….
Everyone is assembled back in Hell’s Kitchen for the next challenge. Chef Ramsay tells the final four that they should be proud they made it this far. He then asks which of them feels they are the strongest chef there. Keith and Heather raise their hands fairly quickly, followed by Sara. Virginia is silent. When Ramsay questions her, she says that she’s good with food, but weak in a hot kitchen. Really she should learn to keep her mouth shut more. Ramsay tells them that he feels they are all strong chefs, which is just what he has to say to save face. It’s not like he can acknowledge the fact that he’s got four big knuckleheads left in this competition and choosing a winner will be like deciding between Spam and fried pork rinds.
Chef Ramsay promises the final four that today’s challenge will help them find out who is strongest. Each of them will be getting their own restaurant to run for one lunch service. Even better is the reward that goes to the winner: a guaranteed spot in final three. Of course, they all want to win this challenge and they all look smug and confident…..except Virginia, who looks like she’s going to vomit. To heighten the level of anxiety, Ramsay has each of the chefs blindfolded to be taken to the location of the restaurant.
On the way to the location, the excitement is palpable. Heather is excited about running a restaurant, while Sara tells us that she loves leading a team and this will be her chance to show her stuff. Virginia vows to herself that she won’t be intimidated if it’s a higher end restaurant. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, hon.
Of course, the “restaurants” in question are anything but high end. Today, they’ll be running catering trucks – that’s roach coaches to you and me. Sara is practically bursting with excitement: she’s always dreamed of having one of these! Is this back when she was refining her palate by eating dirt? Chef Ramsay directs everyone’s attention to the passels of construction workers at the site nearby: these construction workers will be judging the challenge today.
With one hour to prepare a lunch menu for 100, the chefs get to work. Virginia decides on a turkey, prosciutto and feta panini. K-Grease is going uptown with lobster on a bed of greens. Heather goes with a grilled chicken sandwich and fries, while Sara prepares seared quail with a micro-green salad. In no time at all, Chef Ramsay is counting the time down and – much like a herd of stampeding cattle – the construction workers are unleashed on the catering trucks.
Each chef has a different approach in dealing with their customers. Sara starts speaking Spanish as if her personality will be more appealing in another language. Virginia flirts her ass off with all of the construction workers. This is probably the audience she’s used to and why her ovations don’t work on Chef Ramsay. Chef Ramsay may be immune, but the construction workers aren’t. Heather, who seems to be all about perpetuating bizarre stereotypes, tells us her strategy: she cooked the onions on her sandwich with alcohol…..because construction workers love alcohol. The construction workers chow down and Chef Ramsay circulates among them gathering opinions. Once he has collected all the votes, Ramsay tells the chefs he will meet them back at Hell’s Kitchen with the results of the challenge.
PETA Will Definitely be Calling Fox Over This
The results are in and the chefs face Chef Ramsay in the Hell’s Kitchen dining room. Before he announces the winner, Ramsay reminds them that the winner of this challenge will get an automatic spot in the final three. Keith tells us he isn’t worried about winning because he knows he’ll make it into the final three anyway. Not only is there a favorite dish in this challenge, there’s a least favorite. Much to Heather’s horror, her dish was judged the worst. The best dish – according to the construction workers – was Virginia’s turkey panini. Ramsay congratulates Virginia and she actually asks him if he’s kidding. You can tell he really wants to tell her he is kidding so he can choose someone else. Instead, he remains diplomatic (ha) and says that this wasn’t his decision. In addition to her spot in the final three, Virginia will also be going shopping with Gordon. You just know she’s already got visions of a Victoria’s Secret spending spree in her head.
The losing three await the announcement of their loser-y task this week and MAN, does it suck. Chef Ramsay breaks the news: crab will be on tomorrow night’s menu and they will be doing all the prep. Cut to crates of live Dungeness crabs just waiting to be turned into dinner. Dude, that’s harsh. While Keith says that the challenges don’t really matter, Heather is crushed over having her dish judged worst. She thought sure the alcoholic onions would get her the vote. She says this is clear proof that being the hardest worker doesn’t get you very far. Keith and Heather decide that the construction workers chose Virginia’s dish because she flirted. Maybe, but I still think her sandwich sounded pretty good. Keith and Heather also decide that they won’t be helping Virginia during dinner service. So there.
Virginia is definitely excited about winning the reward. While she’s getting ready Keith – who is clearly not envious or jealous – taunts and teases her. Whatever dude, she’s the one who’s going shopping today. Gordon takes Virginia to Sur La Table, a huge kitchen supply store. They wander the store and Virginia selects a pink spatula and one of those knife thingies….yeah, a cleaver, that’s right. She says that Gordon is quite charming and that shopping is way more fun than shucking crab. Virginia blatantly panders by getting one of Chef Ramsay’s cookbooks, which by odd coincidence are prominently displayed in the store. At the register, Virginia’s total is a mere $966. Why “mere?” I could probably spend ten times that much in a store like that. Okay, then we learn that her limit was only $1,000. Now that’s just cruel.
…and Sour Grapes for Dessert
Back at Hell’s Kitchen, the other three are bitching just as much about Virginia as they are about the crabs. Here comes Virginia back from shopping and she’s bearing gifts! For Sara, she’s brought back one of those creamers shaped like a cow, in honor of the time Chef Ramsay called her a stupid cow. *Snort.* Heather is equally excited about her Ov Glove. It withstands temperatures up to 480 degrees, you know. Keith warns Virginia that she’d better have gotten him a nicer gift than he gave the other two. Well, at least she gave him something more useful – it’s a crab cracker! Keith bitches, saying she could have at least spent $80 and bought him a knife after he took her to Vegas.
Everyone gets to work prepping for dinner service. Sara, Heather and Keith all know that the pressure is on them since Virginia is safe this time. Keith vows to keep his station clean, pull his pants up (hallelujah!) and make “money food.” There are only five minutes until the doors open and Chef Ramsay calls the group forward. He calls them “the best of the best.” Really, they’re more like the best of the half-wit, semi-talented hacks they cast on this show for him to scream at, but let’s not split hairs here. Ramsay reveals that he’s invited three top chefs to dine in Hell’s Kitchen tonight. They will all be eating at one table and the chefs had better not screw up. Oh, no way that would happen.
As the doors to Hell’s Kitchen open, the kitchen braces itself. Keith is on appetizers, Sara on fish, Heather on meat and Virginia on veggies. Not only is Virginia on the vegetable station, she’s responsible for prepping the crab amuse-bouche that will be served to every diner. Ramsay warns them not to make him look stupid, which is kind of his version of a pep talk.
Things are off to a great start tonight: it’s only thirty minutes into dinner service and entrées are already being prepared. Ramsay comments on this positive start to the dinner service and tries to keep them motivated. As if on cue, Virginia starts in being Virginia. While Heather is working her butt off, Virginia’s getting behind on the vegetable station and as Chef Ramsay starts grilling her, she just keeps repeating “Yes, chef” over and over again. It’s like her needle is stuck. Now Virginia can’t find the green beans and she’s holding up an entire table’s order. Ramsay tells Virginia that she needs to watch Heather to learn how to move fast. He then compliments Heather on her perfectly cooked Wellingtons.
Set a Course Heading South
In the dining room, the three chefs have arrived for dinner. As is custom in Ramsay’s restaurant, the kitchen will choose the menu for this table of V.I.P.s. They decide on a menu of spaghetti and lobster, Salade St. Jacques and Beef Wellington. This is a big deal, so they can’t screw up. At that very moment, Keith sets a pan on fire. He continues to act nonchalant about the whole thing, tossing a few strands of spaghetti into his wide open yapper.
Because spaghetti can be cooked by anyone, even drunk frat boys, you’d think Keith could do this no problem, right? I would have laughed more at this part if I wasn’t so mortified. Keith actually undercooks the spaghetti, plates it, covers it with sauce and then decides it’s undercooked. THEN (get this) instead of starting again, he takes the spaghetti off the plate and puts it back into the water. Will his gamble work? Soon enough, Jean Philippe returns to the pass with the reviews: the spaghetti was unevenly cooked and they are not impressed.
Sara’s Salade St. Jacques is up next and it gets mixed reviews. The rest of her work on the fish station isn’t going so well either. She’s running out of salmon and, at hearing this news, Chef Ramsay just about blows a gasket. Sara asks Ramsay if she can substitute turbot (saying, tur-bo, which you know drives me insane) for the salmon. He informs her that she will have to ask Jean Philippe, who will then check with the diners. On most nights, Sara really sucks quite a bit, but tonight Ramsay gets in her face and growls, “You’re finished.” Hooray! (<-----Spongebob-style)
Because Sara sucks (I think I enjoy saying that a little too much), Chef Ramsay tells Heather to get on the fish station. Sara then argues with him, saying that she will stay on fish. Amazingly, he relents and Sara stays where she is. Heather is working on getting the Wellingtons out to the V.I.P.s and she’s having trouble with Virginia. When Virginia sets a pan on fire, Chef Ramsay tells Heather to go around to the veggie station and get what she needs. He then asks Virginia if she’s screwing up because she’s safe this week.
In spite of Virginia, Heather has gotten entrees out to nearly two-thirds of the diners. The table of chefs send their compliments back to Heather: the Wellingtons are cooked perfectly. However, the peas had a charred flavor. Virginia, they’re talking to you. Chef Ramsay tells Heather that, from here on out, she should just take matters into her own hands with the vegetables. Virginia tells us that she’s trying her hardest and whines: why do they have to be so mean to her?
While everyone else is falling apart, Heather is now determined to finish a dinner service with or without anyone else’s help. Sara, who has clearly hit her head, actually tells Heather to slow down. This earns her another “stupid cow” comment from Chef Ramsay. She’s got nerve telling Heather to slow down when they still have tables to serve. He then makes Sara apologize to Heather. He actually makes her do it twice because she didn’t sound sincere the first time. It was beautiful. Virginia is still blowing it as well. This time she burns the cabbage, which means that Heather has to reheat the duck she sent to the hot plate. Ramsay is infuriated and tells Virginia that she is no longer safe from elimination. Oh snap! That got her attention pretty quickly.
Virginia whines some more. This was her worst service ever. She wishes she was a server. I’m sure that there are diners out there who are glad she’s in the kitchen: she’d probably set a tablecloth on fire and burn the place down. Heather is running on pure adrenaline right now and has taken control of the vegetable station as well. Tonight, Hell’s Kitchen completes its second consecutive dinner service and it’s pretty much all Heather’s doing.
Now it’s time for Chef Ramsay’s verdict on the dinner service. While everything started out on a positive note, the middle portion wasn’t so great and Sara really blew it on the fish. The visiting chefs loved the Wellington, but the reviews of the appetizers and the fish weren’t so great. Heather was easily the best chef of the night and she will be nominating two of her competitors for elimination.
As is custom, as soon as everyone is back at the dorms, they begin lobbying Heather to stay. Well, all except for Virginia, who’s ready to have worms for dinner. Virginia tells Heather that she doesn’t deserve to be there: she can’t even run a station, so she definitely can’t run a restaurant. She urges Heather to nominate her. Heather runs off and has a pow-wow with Keith and Sara. She proposes nominating Sara alongside Virginia because Virginia is going to “take herself out.” Sara whines: she doesn’t know why she should be nominated. Really? Heather assures Sara that she is safe.
Back in Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Ramsay asks Heather for her nominations. First, she names Virginia, based on her performance tonight and at every other dinner service. She then nominates Sara for her performance tonight. Ramsay asks both women to step forward and tell him why they should stay. Sara says that she’s not going to nitpick about situations tonight. There might (might!?) have been a mistake here and there, but she knows she can hold her own.
Virginia then begins her weekly dissertation. In summary: she doesn’t think she deserves to win Hell’s Kitchen. Ramsay informs her that she won this week’s challenge and, because he’s a man of his word, she does have a spot in the final three. If she wants to stay, he will send Sara home. WooHOO! Ramsay tells Virginia that she needs to make a choice. Sara interrupts, asking if she can say something. Ramsay snaps at her to shut up. *hee!* Chef Ramsay says he will allow Virginia some time to think about things but, all of a sudden, she doesn’t need any time. She wants to stay. At this point, I am cheering and doing a little chair dance.
Heather and Keith exchange “holy crap” looks. Chef Ramsay tells Sara that she worked hard: she should know deep down that she can do it. She looks at him sweetly and then tells him to kiss her grits. Charming to the end. In an odd moment of sanity, Sara tells us that she can’t blame Virginia for wanting to stay. She says that she came here because she felt she had the potential to win the competition. Now she’s not so sure. Another spirit crushed, courtesy of Gordon Ramsay. It couldn't happen to a more deserving person.
As the final three stand in front of Chef Ramsay, he tells them that this has been a phenomenal journey, but their biggest challenge is still ahead of them. Virginia tells us that she really wants to be there. Heather expresses her shock over Virginia’s decision to stay, while K-Grease claims that his biggest problem is himself. Well, that and his pants.
Ramsay tells us that Sara was not good enough as a cook. She made simple mistakes and didn’t deserve her own restaurant. As he impales Sara’s jacket on a hook, he tells her to kiss his grits. Huzzah!
Next week: We’re down to the mouth-breather, the groupie and the roadrunner and they will face their most difficult challenge and they all start to turn on each other. Each chef takes control of the kitchen….and their competitors. Plus, it will be the most shocking elimination yet when one of the chefs dares to take on Chef Ramsay. Bring it on!
My money’s on the roadrunner……. Critical@fansofrealitytv.com