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“Reunited and it feels so good…..” (<--bad karaoke singing) Don’t you just love a little Peaches and Herb? Ah….how I’ve missed Gordon Ramsay. While Chef Ramsay was verbally abusing his next round of victims potential employees, I was on recapping duty over in Top Model Land. It’s nice to be back in a world where people actually eat. Of course, not that much food is getting eaten in Hell’s Kitchen….maybe that’s why everyone is so pissed off. Before we get started with this week’s carnage, I have a confession to make: I haven’t exactly been religious about watching the show this season. From what I can tell, we have the usual assortment of incompetents, arrogant pseudo-chefs and semi-professional foodies….oh, and a few fellas who seem to be addicted eyebrow waxing. I’m all in favor of a little manscaping but really, we’re moving into the land of support hose, blue eyeliner and Liza Minnelli tributes.

Last week, Matt and his eyebrows joined the Red Team and Corey vowed to stage the hazing from hell. Luckily for Matt, he performed pretty well at the taste test and won his new teammates over. For now. Let’s see how they feel when their tweezers go missing. Also, Bobby was still cooking like he was on a team of one, both Jen and Ben gave Chef Ramsay attitude and Matt actually did something right, garnering a compliment from Ramsay on his risotto. Because no one gets away with talking back to Gordon Ramsay, Ben was booted.

See ya Later, Bitches!
We pick the action up this week in the dining room just after Ben’s exit. With 5 chefs on the Red Team and only 3 on the Blue Team, someone from the Red Team must volunteer to, er, switch teams, as it were. Matt says he’d rather be called a woman all day than go back to the Blue Team. I’m sure that can be arranged. I’ve called him a woman three times in the last 5 minutes. To be more specific, I called him a broke-down wannabe drag queen, so not really a woman, if we’re getting technical. You just know he watches his DVD of Polyester obsessively while in full makeup. He’s probably not as cute as Divine, but he’s a little more svelte. Then again, Divine didn’t have the benefit of that miracle product called Spanx. Can I get an “amen” ladies?

So, yeah. Where was I? Oh, one of the Red Team chefs has to volunteer to go over to the Blue Team. Chef Ramsay gives everyone some time to think over the decision and/or guilt someone else into switching teams. Corey does her best to persuade Jen to move to the Blue Team. She does everything but threaten her physically. Jen would be a better asset on the Blue Team, Corey reasons. Jen knows Corey is a manipulative bitch, but says she’ll sleep on it.

The next morning, Chef Ramsay wants an answer. When Ramsay asks who will be moving to the Blue Team, there’s silence. Matt looks constipated….and surprised. It’s probably the eyebrows. In the end, Jen volunteers to switch teams. She gets in a parting jab, saying the Red Team is a safe team and she isn’t a safe chef. Ooooo, burn. Louross and his eyebrows seem okay with the decision, but that won’t last. Jen takes her Blue Team jacket and goes to stand with her new team.

The Twenty-First Ingredient
Now that the teams are even – in number if not talent – it’s time for this week’s challenge. Chefs are often put on the spot to be creative and improvise. There are 20 ingredients in the kitchen, from which they must create 4 dishes, Ramsay explains. They must use all 20 ingredients and no ingredient can be repeated. They have 45 minutes. There’s the usual array of meats, veggies, seafood, citrus. Sadly, there is no live octopus or eel. Yes, I watch too much Iron Chef. I love me some Morimoto.

Within 2.3 seconds, Jen makes her presence known on the Blue Team. She immediately starts appropriating ingredients from the tray, while the guys stand there looking annoyed. The Red Team tries a more organized approach: they make a list. Ten minutes into the challenge, the Blue Team is still bickering. The Red Team, on the other hand is….oh hell. Matt just cut the tip of his finger off. Since this is Fox and they lurve the blood, we actually get a shot of his bloody finger. Yeesh. Did I really need to see that?

The Red Team keeps working as a medic attends to Matt and his semi-finger. All I can think about is where the rest of his finger went. No one seems to care about that until Chef Ramsay asks where the tip of Matt’s finger is. They check the pancetta that Matt was chopping when he hacked up his finger. Cue the shot of pancetta sizzling in a pan. Nice. You just know the producers wet themselves over that shot. Maybe it’s editing, but the girls don’t seem to make much of an effort to find Matt’s fingertip. Excuse me while I go puke.

Meanwhile, all is silent in the Blue Kitchen. Sous chef Scott reminds them that they need to communicate with each other and then points out that some of them are using the same ingredients.

Matt returns to the kitchen wearing a rubber glove over his severed limb. He doesn’t want the team to lose the challenge because of him. Right before the 45 minutes are up, Bobby decides he doesn’t want to use the veal he took. Jen persuades Louross to take the veal and do a surf and turf dish. He agrees reluctantly. As the clock ticks down, Louross bitches about how he doesn’t want to plate the veal with his red snapper because it would throw off the taste. Oh, for crying out loud. Put the damn veal on the plate, you nit! Chef Ramsay calls time and Jen hisses at Louross: he should say he used the rendered veal fat in his dish so they don’t get in trouble for not using all of the ingredients.

When Chef Ramsay asks the teams if the used all 20 ingredients, both say that they did. With that, let’s begin the finger tasting.

Christina presents a fried snapper with crab and a hollandaise sauce. She used 5 ingredients. Petrozza made a warm crab salad with an onion soufflé that used 5 ingredients. Chef Ramsay loves them both and can’t pick a winner: they both win.

Jen and Matt are up next. Jen prepared a pancetta wrapped and roasted quail using 4 items. Matt also fixed quail, but pan roasted it and served it on arugula. His dish used 6 ingredients. Ramsay tells Matt he shouldn’t have left the liver in the quail: it overwhelmed the flavors in the dish. Jen wins this round.

Corey prepared a Columbian somethingorother chicken with braised artichokes. Ramsay calls it “tasty,” but is disappointed because she only used 3 ingredients: he expected more from her. Bobby presents a walnut encrusted buffalo chicken thingie using 6 ingredients. Ramsay says the glaze is horrendous. Corey wins.

Rosann and Louross are last. Rosann prepared pan seared veal with cream sauce using 6 items. Ramsay thinks it looks clumsy. Louross presents his red snapper with oyster mushroom sauce. There’s no mention of the veal and Jen curses under her breath that Louross didn’t lie about using the rendered veal fat. Chef Ramsay quickly does the math and asks where the veal is. Jen totally throws Louross under the bus, saying the surf and turf was his idea. The challenge is over and the Blue Team failed miserably, says Ramsay.

As penance, the Blue Team will be doing laundry - tablecloths, aprons, napkins, jackets, etc. – all by hand. The Red Team, on the other hand, will be joining Gordon for an exclusive photo shoot and interview with In Touch Magazine. Matt squeals: he really wanted this prize. Yes, I’m sure he waits at the mailbox for his issue of that culinary giant of a magazine.

”I feel pretty, oh so pretty”
Louross apologizes to his team and then goes to cry in the corner amid Jen’s muttered cursing. She tells the others that Louross was selfish for not just putting the veal on his plate. Okay, now why is no one ticked off at Captain Bobby? Isn’t he the one who took the veal to begin with?

Meanwhile, the Red Team is off to meet Gordon for their photo shoot. When they arrive, Gordon is already suited up. Va-va-voom! He’s wearing the hell out of a dark suit and blue tie. The girls all get into hair and makeup. Matt immediately goes to get his eyebrows taken care of. He looks like he’s in heaven. You just know he slept in his makeup that night. The wardrobe people stuff Matt into a suit, while the ladies all wear red dresses. They pose around a car and Gordon checks to make sure Matt’s belly is hidden behind the car door. *snicker* Gordon says that, seeing them all gussied up, it’s hard to believe they cook for a living. Seeing the way they cook, I’d say it’s hard to believe they cook for a living.

Back at Hell’s Kitchen, Jean-Philippe wanders in to taunt Jen with a live crab: the crab is as pissed off as she is, he says. JP is right: Jen is not amused. Petrozza tells us Jen is like a volcano that could blow and destroy their little kitchen village. I imagine her as a 40-foot woman stomping all over their tiny kitchen as the guys scream like girls and run about, arms flailing. Jean-Philippe asks Jen if she’s going to be bitchy all day. Why yes, yes she is. Jen calls Louross names under her breath like she’s got Tourette’s . Louross says he’s done with her. So am I, my little plucked friend.

The Red Team returns wearing makeup and looking refreshed. Jen ignores them, although she tells us she ignored them, which means she was totally watching them and eating her heart out.

Another Opportunity to Suck Even More
When the chefs meet with Chef Ramsay the next morning, he reminds them of how very crappy the last dinner service was. As dinner prep begins, Jen is already picking at Louross. The Blue Team may be struggling, but the Red Team is just fine without Jen, thankyouverymuch. They feel like they’ve been freed from a bully.

Chef Ramsay calls the teams forward for a little pre-dinner talk. He asks the Red Team how they feel about not having Jen and they, predictably feel great about it. He then asks the Blue Team if they are working together or against each other. The guys look shocked as Jen pipes up and says they have all bonded and are working as a team now.

To add a little spice to the dinner service, two of America’s finest food critics are coming to give Chef Ramsay their opinions. He doesn’t know which section they’ll be sitting at, but that doesn’t matter: in his world, every customer is a critic.

The diners arrive and so do the critics. They are Sophie Gayot from Gayot Guides, which I have never heard of, and Merril Schindler from Los Angeles Zagat, which I actually have heard of. They each order the scallops and risotto from both kitchens. The Red Team is up first and Corey vows to step up and lead her team. Chef Ramsay says her risotto is “very nice” and the critics think it’s pretty okay too. The critics compliment Louross’ scallops on the Blue Team, calling them “darn good.” It’s pretty much neck and neck.

Forty-five minutes into dinner service, the Red Team is done with half of their appetizers and the pressure is on Matt to impress Chef Ramsay with his filet. Has he risen to the task? Not so much. Ramsay calls him over to look at the meat on the grill. There are three cuts, all of different sizes. Tenderloin shrinks when it cooks and one of those pieces of meat will be about the size of a pencil eraser once it’s done. While Matt attempts to control his meat shrinkage, the Blue Team is keeping up the good work. Sort of.

Jen tells Petrozza not to cut the tenderloin too soon – it drains the juices out. With three minutes until the other chefs are ready with their dishes, Petrozza cuts the tenderloin. Ramsay yells as Petrozza simpers: he just couldn’t help himself. The rest of the team now has to rush to get their dishes ready so that the tenderloin isn’t ruined. Ramsay shouts at Petrozza: he deserves to lose.

Corey attempts to take the lead on the Red Team. Christina brings up dried, overcooked salmon and, when Ramsay asks how long it will take her to cook another, she tells him seven minutes. Okay, I’m not culinary pro or anything, but even I can cook salmon faster than that. Ramsay looks incredulous and Christina admits her timing was wrong. Finally, the critics are served the Red Team’s salmon, which they agree has a vague and not-so-great flavor. The Blue Team’s salmon, on the other hand is deemed “flavorful and nice.” Remember now, these are supposed to be the same exact dishes.

In the Land of Suck-A-Lot
The Blue Team has served nearly all of their entrees and has impressed the critics. The Red Team has made an impression in the judges too: the critics have noticed that none of the Red Team’s diners have their food. In the Red Kitchen, Rosann burns a garnish and screws up the timing for the rest of the team. She picks this exact moment to inform Chef Ramsay that she’s about to run out of gnocchi. There’s also no carrot puree since she’s running out of that too. She offers him baby carrots or mashed carrots instead. Ramsay bashes his head against a wall. Seriously.

Meanwhile, the Blue Team is still at it and seems to have avoided pissing of Chef Ramsay for the moment. On the Red Team, Matt tries to plate up some raw beef. The critics – and I, for that matter – agree that the Red Team is a disaster. Matt puts the raw meat back into the oven and admits he has no idea what he’s doing. He’s a little slow on the uptake, that one. I figured out he couldn’t find his butt with both hands about 10 seconds into the first episode. Furious with the
pan seared poo Matt has pulled out of the oven, he orders Matt to go out and serve the plate to the customer. Matt waffles and Ramsay asks if he would eat the dish himself. Matt admits he wouldn’t. Chef Ramsay bleeps a lot about the fact that Matt would serve food to customers that he himself wouldn’t eat.

Three hours into dinner service, the Blue Team is finished: they have completed all of their tickets. The Red Team is finished too, but not in a good way. Chef Ramsay throws the entire Red Team out of the kitchen. Matt whines and cries into his blue rubber glove about it, saying he failed his team. Chef Ramsay orders the Blue Team into the Red Team’s kitchen to finish the dinner service. Jen is gleeful. You know, gloating is so attractive. The Blue Team finishes the Red Team’s tickets and they complete dinner service.

It’s totally obvious who won tonight’s dinner service. It’s embarrassing. Even the critics hated the Red Team. They said the food from the Red Team was sloppy and lacking in both flavor and passion. On the other hand, the critics found the Blue Team’s food to be well arranged and just plain good. Corey, as the best of the worst will make the nominations this week. Corey boasts that Ramsay said she was the only one who did a good job. Uh, no honey. You sucked too. You’re teammates just sucked more than you did.

Back at the dorms, Corey accuses her team of not wanting to take responsibility. Christina thinks Rosann and Matt should be nominated, but Corey wonders if Christina shouldn’t be nominated too.

The Suckiest of the Suck
It’s time for Corey’s nominations. Her first nomination is Matt, because of his sub-crappy performance at dinner service. Rosann is Corey’s second nominee. Corey never wants to work with her again. Ever. Chef Ramsay agrees with Corey’s nominations, but wants to add Christina to the mix. She sucked a lot too. The three sucksters step forward to make their please for mercy.

Christina thinks she should stay because, although tonight was bad, she knows she could do better. Honey, freaking Sponge Bob could do better. No offense to Sponge Bob. He could be a culinary genius for all I know. Plus, he’s got easy access to fresh seafood. Christina claims she isn’t out of her depth in this competition and doesn’t think it’s time for her to go back to culinary school.

Rosann believes she needs to stay because she’s still learning more and doesn’t want to give up.

This is the third time Matt has been nominated for elimination. Chef Ramsay wonders if this isn’t a three strikes and you’re out kind of situation. Matt doesn’t think so.

Strangely, Ramsay doesn’t think Matt has struck out yet either. He gives Rosann the boot. He tells her to take off her jacket and go back to her daughter. He tells us that Rosann’s mouth didn’t match her talent, or lack thereof.

Christina has been warned cautions Ramsay. She vows to make a comeback. Whiny Matt tears up and gets all quivery. He knows he’s on borrowed time, but vows not to give up. Jen, ever the graceful winner, is practically wetting herself over the Blue Team victory. I can only hope she gets served a little plate of karma soon.

Next week: Jean wears out her welcome on the Blue Team. Plus, dinner service comes down to a battle of the menus. The Red Team’s menu includes recipes with a special ingredient: Matt’s nasty sweat. If that isn’t enough to compel you to watch, Chef Ramsay will do something he has never done before. Ever.