Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If You Teach a Man to Fish...

Quiet Time with Honey Gangsta

As I embark on my second recap of Hell’s Kitchen, I’d like to take a moment and thank my beloved audience who has so graciously supported me throughout Week One. First of all, I’ve discovered a couple of things on my own. I wasn’t completely right about my original assessment of Chef Ramsay. I admit that I thought he was just here to complain and that nothing would ever be good enough for him. While I still think he relishes a good tantrum, I also see that he genuinely appreciates well-cooked food. If something is good he says it’s good. I like that. Also, I learned that Chef Ramsay is Scottish, not British. My mistake, but I was confused because he doesn’t sound like Braveheart. I do still enjoy his phrasing of United Kingdom origin, and may refer to his word choice as British in the future. You’ve been warned. You guys have been awesome in helping me to get oriented on the show and the food and I love all of your feedback. One thing though. I know there is a great division over the use of the word “confessional” as a verb. I can’t help it. It has to stay because I just love it. We can all thank The Real World for this one. Now on with the show!

This week starts exactly where last week left off with Chef Ramsay watching the two teams leave the kitchen in shame. This is directly following Tiffany’s humiliating elimination, so everyone is retreating to the dorms to try and figure out what went wrong. Bonnie is shocked and confused about Chef Ramsay calling the girls evil and twisted.

"I'm not evil. I'm a nanny."

Joanna says that tomorrow they just have to buck up and get everything out to the diners. She also comes to the conclusion that she almost got eliminated because Melissa thinks she’s one of the best. Um, not at this stage, honey. This is where you’re still trying to beat the boys as a team. And PS: your attitude was not good. Especially when your spaghetti was confiscated. Guess again.

The guys all gather to wonder what on earth is wrong with Aaron. He whines that he wants to be light, not fat and slow, so that he can run around the kitchen and be a good team player. He could start by not crying hysterically through the entire dinner service if he’d like to do something immediately to help his team – but there I go being obvious.

Everyone finally gets to retire at about 3:15 AM and are harshly awakened a mere three hours later by Sous Chefs Mary Ann and Scott banging metal pans together and screaming at them to get up. They line up sleepily in the kitchen to hear about it all over again from Chef Ramsay. He talks about how much food he saw “in the bin” and how many thousands of dollars went to waste, which leads me to wonder again how much starving people would mind that the chicken was a little brown. They might even eat slightly goopy spaghetti. Just thinking out loud. Anyway, Chef Ramsay has decided that in order to get the contestants to avoid throwing so much away, they need to better understand where their food comes from, and to that end they are going to catch their own fish. Expecting the next shot to be of everyone boarding a fishing boat, I am slightly surprised that they don’t go any farther than the front door of Hell’s Kitchen. There is a huge truck there filled with a bunch of freshly caught fish in a mountain of ice. Some fish hands step into the truck to distribute the goods. Ah hah! They’re going to “catch” fish, not catch fish, get it? Like Gordon Ramsay would “catch” a football – if he played American football instead of European football which is soccer (in which there is actually no catching). I bet this activity smelled like a fresh bouquet of roses.

Hot stuff coming through!

Chef Ramsay holds up a tiny little fish and calls out to Eddie that this fish is the same size he is. Cut directly to a confessional of Eddie saying that people in the world think little guys can’t get things done and that’s partially why he’s here. Um, okay. Chef Ramsay sends everyone inside to put their fish in their storerooms and then giggles to Sous Chef Scott that the tuna was bigger than Eddie. Oh Chef Ramsay, you just kill me! Tuna! Well, Sous Chef Scott thinks it’s funny – he’d like to keep his job.

On the way to the storerooms with the fish, guess who starts to have another nervous breakdown. That’s right – Aaron! He doubles over and complains that he’s cramping. I’m pretty sure the storeroom wasn’t all that far away, I mean they were right outside the front door. Well, maybe it’s Aaron’s time of the month. That would actually explain a lot. Eddie takes over Aaron’s fish bucket. And Eddie is smaller than the tuna. Back in the kitchen Chef Ramsay tells everyone the next thing they have to do is clean the fish. Yeah that sounds really gross to me, but I’m not a chef, while Aaron on the other hand, loses it again completely. He starts whimpering about being dizzy and Chef Ramsay finally sends him away for a “time out” for 10 or 15 minutes in the dorm. “Off you go!” The immediate benefit of this is that the teams have the same number of members now, with the girls losing Tiffany, and now the boys losing Aaron while he goes to the naughty stool. Chef Ramsay holds up a Dover sole and says it’s one of the most expensive fish in the sea. The challenge is for each team to correctly skin each sole and remove the roe (disgusting looking fish-egg-mush), and whichever team produces the highest number of acceptably cleaned fish in 30 minutes wins. Another sweet smelling activity, I’m sure.

Peel and squish. Peel and squish.

This looks difficult because sole is a flatfish, so it appears to be very delicate. And I don’t think it would be that easy to squish out all of the roe without tearing some of the skinny little fish, so we shall definitely see what these chefs can do. They start and the narrator chimes in, dramatically repeating everything Chef Ramsay just explained. I admit, he does make it sound more scary. While everyone peels and squishes Melissa tells us she is worried about quantity. Just then Joanna yells out “Remember quality not quantity!” so I guess the girls aren’t all on the same page just yet. How will this fare for the next dinner service? We get some dramatic opera singing in the background as Chef Ramsay counts down the final seconds of the challenge.

When time is called, Chef Ramsay begins his thorough examination of each and every sole. Here is how it comes out. Eddie gets one of the two he completed. Brad has two acceptable fish. Vinnie has none and complains, “Come on!” which sends Chef Ramsay into a profanity-filled reprimand. Rock has one, and then Josh-food-is-sex steps up with his pan of four perfectly prepped fish, doubling the Blue Team’s score, giving them eight points total. Over on the Red Team, Painfully Beautiful Melissa presents four perfect fish (or at least four perfect winks), so already the girls are giving the boys a run for their money. Julia, the Waffle House short order cook, has successfully prepped both of her fish, making me wonder if I can order up some Dover sole at IHOP. Bonnie gets zero then Jen gets zero, putting all of our hopes onto Joanna. The score is 8 to 6, so in order to win all three of Joanna’s fish have to be perfect. After discovering that two of her three are good, we go to commercial. Oh the suspense! We come back to discover that her third fish is, in fact, acceptable and the girls have won the challenge! They scream and jump around while the guys look at their feet. As a reward Chef Ramsay is taking the girls on an actual fishing excursion, complete with lunch. The lunch part sounds good, but I wouldn’t be too excited about the fishing. Ew. The guys have to take the punishment of prepping every Dover sole in the restaurant for the next dinner service.

The girls rush off to get dressed, passing Aaron in the dorm and wishing him well. He’s still on the naughty stool. The girls then bounce through the kitchen taunting the boys about cleaning the fish while they’re off for a relaxing afternoon on the ocean. Ha! Vinnie confessionals about how disgusting all of the roe in the fish is. I agree that’s nauseating. I guess all of the fish are female… and pregnant… like Aaron. Just kidding! Out on the fishing boat the girls have to use live little fish as bait (ew again) and Chef Ramsay is the only one with any success, catching a small fish and announcing it is the same size as Eddie. Wow, he is really on one about Eddie’s size today. He thinks it’s exceedingly funny comparing him to different fish. The girls all laugh of course.

Aaron takes a "15 minute" time out.

After the guys have been preparing the fish for four hours, Aaron decides his 15 minutes are up and comes back to join them. He announces to the guys that he’s quitting. For good. Inexplicably, they try to talk him out of it. I guess they figure that for now they need all the hands they can get, even when those hands are mostly just wiping away Aaron’s tears. They convince him to stay and have a group hug. Feel the love!

Back on the boat the girls are having lunch with Chef Ramsay and he gives them a pep talk about pulling together as a team. I think he’s basking in the female attention, proudly pointing out that he’s the only one who caught a fish. They all toast each other and giggle. Later the girls all decide that it would be a great idea to wander around in their underwear for a while. I know that guys think we all secretly do this regularly, but honestly I never go around unclothed – even when I’m completely alone. But what do I know? I’m not competing in Hell’s Kitchen. Bonnie decides that not only will she sport underwear, but she will parade in front of the guys while doing it. This throws Josh for a loop because he thinks that only food is sex and now “Here comes Little Miss Bonnie wearing Little Miss Nothing,” – his words. Not one to let an opportunity pass him by, Josh asks Bonnie to help him find some potatoes, prompting her to bend over and rummage through the cupboards. Oh please. Then Eddie joins in, asking her to reach some cookies from the top shelf for him. She just happily complies, adjusting her panties and passing around the food. The other guys lounge on the furniture watching. Subtle. Thanks for helping out the female cause there Bonnie.

Bonnie advances the Women's Movement.

Aaron is throwing himself another pity party – this time complaining to Julia that everyone knows more than he does. He tells us that he doesn’t know any French terminology; he only knows how to make Chinese food. Oh dear.

Parlez-vous an egg roll?

The next morning all of the chefs line up in the kitchen to start another death round trying to serve dinner in Hell’s Kitchen. We learn that tonight’s special is (what else?) pan fried Dover sole, and as the Blue Team’s continuing punishment, one of them is to serve the sole tableside. Chef Ramsay chooses Aaron, which of course threatens to throw him into another fit of hysteria. Miraculously Aaron holds it together (for now) and the teams divide and prepare to conquer. The girls are determined to display teamwork and hopefully relinquish the title of Hell’s Bitches.

Over on the Blue Team, Rock confessionals that Josh is trying to come off as a lot more than he is. Instead of leading by example he leads by flapping his gums. Chef Ramsay takes Aaron out into the empty dining room to show him what he’ll be doing. He tells Aaron that this will be good because it’s his chance to get out of the heat of the kitchen and raise his confidence. He’s offering Aaron a lot of hand holding, which I don’t really understand. Right about now, Aaron’s eyes glaze over and he freezes up. He sinks down onto a sofa. Can he please go home? He snaps back to life, saying he just “passed out for a while.” What? This is such a bunch of crap, but Chef Ramsay continues to be Aaron’s cheerleader and calls him “Good man.” Jean Philippe is ordered to open Hell’s Kitchen. And away we go!

The Blue Team receives its first food order and Aaron begins to go around the dining room visiting each table and introducing himself. “My name’s Aaron and I’m a chef in Hell’s Kitchen. Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen.” Chef Ramsay notices this and asks Jean Philippe what is going on. He tells Jean Philippe to “get that bleeping donkey out of there!” Apparently it’s not very posh for the tableside chef to be out in the crowd hobnobbing. Meanwhile Eddie is having a hard time getting his spaghetti appetizers out to the diners. Chef Ramsay discovers a pasta boiler full of dry sticky spaghetti and almost loses his rag. Eddie says that too many people were getting in his way and he wasn’t able to produce. Chef Ramsay asks the other guys to stay away and leave Eddie alone because he is getting confused and can’t make spaghetti. 45 minutes into the dinner service the Blue Team hasn’t served anything.

Over on the Red Team Chef Ramsay asks Bonnie to make him one scallop appetizer and one spaghetti appetizer. She promptly begins to make three scallop appetizers. Chef Ramsay is disgusted and wants to know if Bonnie is a dumb blonde. He then calls her a bleeping Barbie. Ooooooh! Them’s fightin’ words! Although last night Bonnie was Underwear Barbie.

Trying to pull herself together, Bonnie repeats the phrase “I’m okay” about 26 times.

Back on the Blue Team Vinnie is attempting to pan fry the precious Dover sole. Chef Ramsay is standing a few feet away asking if the sole is burning to which Vinnie responds that it just has a little golden-brown on it. Knowing Vinnie’s sassy track record, this doesn’t look good for him. Sure enough, once Vinnie plates the sole, Chef Ramsay checks it out and calls Vinnie over to tell him how bad it is. Well, one of them is good, but the other one is awful.

Just a little golden-brown

Vinnie worries that if his team loses Chef Ramsay will want to send him back to New Jersey. Chef Ramsay says he’s never seen such illiterate cooking in his life. That’s pretty funny.

Now something highly unusual happens, which is that Chef Ramsay congratulates Jen on cooking very nice spaghetti on behalf of the Red Team. Apparently the girls are holding it together and doing a good job getting their dishes out to the diners.

Vinnie has finally managed to evenly cook enough sole to feed a table, so now Aaron gets to serve it tableside. Here is where I learn that serving sole tableside means that someone debones your fish for you right before you eat it. That seems like an awful lot of trouble that could have been handled earlier in the day – you know when all the skinning and removing of roe was taking place. Perhaps that just illustrates what an unseasoned fine diner I am, but I just don’t really get why it’s necessary. Of course Aaron has tons of trouble doing this. Not only does he drip sweat all over the place, but it takes him about 15 minutes to debone one fish and so it’s cold by the time it’s finally ready to be eaten.

Back in the kitchen, Eddie is whipping up what I have learned is the highly technical dish of “bloody risotto” and Chef Ramsay is having a fit spitting it out all over the place for being too peppery. Apparently it isn’t fit even to be served to a bleeping pig.

“Just stop! Stooooooop!”

He throws Eddie off the section. “But Chef, I’m smaller than the tuna.” Just kidding. But I wonder if that would have worked. Brad is reassigned to appetizers.

Over on the Red Team, Joanna begins berating herself because she has forgotten to cook lettuce for her dish. I can’t think of anything I’ve eaten that requires cooked lettuce. Wouldn’t that just wilt it? Search me. Anyway, Chef Ramsay finds out about the lettuce fiasco and demands to know what Joanna has been doing for the last hour. With tears streaming, Joanna tries desperately to get her act together and complete a dish.

"This flirtation plan isn't going so well..."

Bonnie comes over to rub Joanna’s back and say, “You’re okay. You’re okay.” Bonnie must have studied with some kind of genius guru to learn her affirmation phrases.

By now the Red Team has served entrées to 23 of their customers while the Blue Team has only gotten to nine. A table full of guys is waiting for their Wellington. I’ve heard of beef Wellington, but not being sure about what it is exactly, I’ve gone ahead and looked it up. It’s a fillet of beef covered with pâté de foie gras, wrapped in pastry, and baked. That sounds complicated so naturally there is trouble. This has been Josh’s sexy project and Chef Ramsay pronounces it undercooked and wants a new one. Josh whips up a new serving in three minutes, but this time it comes out with raw pastry. Chef Ramsay yells that the Blue Team is sinking like the Titanic.

Out in the dining room several diners have found bones in their deboned Dover sole. I wonder if they’ve also found sweat. Jean Philippe rats Aaron out and tells Chef Ramsay that every table has complained about bones in the fish. When confronted, Aaron says that it’s dark in the dining room and he feels rushed. Chef Ramsay scoffs, saying that darkness is irrelevant because the bone is supposed to come out as one intact skeleton. Concentrate Aaron!

Returning to the Red Team, Chef Ramsay discovers that Melissa is doing double duty, making both spaghetti and a garnish. This isn’t right because Melissa is too beautiful to have her attention divided. She tries to explain that she is doing it to help Joanna, who had a little breakdown a few minutes ago. Privately she tells us that this is just how she works. If she sees that someone is in trouble, she tries to multitask and save the day.

The Painfully Beautiful Martyr

Chef Ramsay’s head clears from the daze of Melissa’s beauty and he yells to her, “Melissa! Will you let. Her. Do. The. Garnish!!” Snap! He continues to yell, saying that the atmosphere in the red kitchen stinks and can they please finish their last three tables and get the bleeping main courses out? “Yes Chef!” The girls make a valiant effort and successfully finish the main courses. They congratulate each other and Chef Ramsay is proud of them for sounding like a team.

The narrator chimes in to tell us that three hours into the dinner service the girls have rallied and served nearly all of their customers, but the guys are having severe difficulties. It’s the bloody risotto again and this time Brad is the culprit, overcooking and over-peppering. He rushes around trying to redeem himself while Chef Ramsay grows ever more agitated. Next he spots Josh getting ready to plate some chicken and calls over to him, saying it looks dry. Josh assures him that it isn’t, but Chef Ramsay is all wound up and very suspicious. He touches the chicken and is horrified to discover that the skin is dry, and the skin is the moistest part of all. He completely loses it and gives the dry chicken a mighty wallop with his open palm. It flies around the kitchen in tiny pathetic dry bits.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called losing your rag.

Chef Ramsay has reached the end of his rope. “You, you, you, you, come here! Where’s that bleeping cowboy? Aaron!” He individually berates them on their respective failures and then throws them all out of the kitchen, saying the bleeping girls will finish the meal service.

"Get out!"

The boys gather in the dorm and comfort themselves by saying that they are all chefs while the girls aren’t even cooks. I’m not exactly sure what that means but it sounds like another hierarchy issue, which is very ironic considering what just happened.

Downstairs the girls continue salvaging the situation and move onto dessert. So it looks like tonight Hell’s Kitchen’s diners will actually make it through an entire meal! Melissa gets props for cooking a monk fish that is almost as beautiful as she is. Chef Ramsay finally calls out the last order and tells the girls they’ve done a good job taking over for the Blue Team. Relief!

Now it’s time for the post dinner service line-up and the guys are ready to take it right up the wazoo. Aaron is in trouble for wandering around the dining room like the President of the United States introducing himself to people. Vinnie is labeled as untrustworthy because he tries to cover up his mistakes. Remember the “golden-brown” sole? This time Vinnie wisely keeps his mouth shut. Eddie was just terrible. The least bad is Rock, so he gets to nominate two people to go home. Out of my sight!

Upstairs Rock worries that he wants to make a smart objective decision. It’s time for the guys to plead their cases. Eddie admits he messed up, but points out that he’s a strong prep person and he wants to stay. Aaron comes in smoking (I’m shocked at how all of these food specialists are puffing away on their breaks – gross) and blubbers about wanting to stay, but he understands if Rock wants to send him home. This from the man who tried to completely quit earlier. All Josh says is that he doesn’t want to go home and he doesn’t think he deserves to.

Back in the kitchen Chef Ramsay asks Rock for his nominees. First is Eddie because he is small and Rock doesn’t think he’s come out of his shell. Small? He cooked circles around Aaron, the largest guy of the bunch! His second nominee is Josh for thinking food is sex. Just kidding, it’s because Josh rubbed Rock the wrong way earlier and Rock thinks he’s all over the place. Of course the obvious question here is why isn’t Aaron nominated? We’ll get to that outrage in a minute. Eddie and Josh step forward. Eddie says that he learned an important lesson – that he needs to speak up. Chef Ramsay tells Josh he’s just a big fake full of piss and wind. Not one of his main courses made it out into the dining room. Josh says that today was the most embarrassing day of his professional career and he would really like a chance to redeem himself.

Boyz on the chopping block

Chef Ramsay does his black-and-white reflection on the evening and then chooses… Eddie. Take your jacket off and get out of Hell’s Kitchen. The guys leave in shame and the girls leave all proud of themselves for showing up the guys. Eddie’s picture bursts into flame. He burned in Hell’s Kitchen.

Okay, how on earth did Aaron escape elimination? He tried to quit earlier in the episode! It makes absolutely no sense and I’m beginning to wonder if he is a plant. It’s either that or the producers instructed Rock not to nominate him because he is good dramatic content. He is nothing but dead weight and tonight he wasn’t even allowed in the kitchen! Something fishy is going on and I don’t just mean the Dover sole – which by the way, he couldn’t handle either.

Next week the chefs cook breakfast for some military personnel, and an ambulance shows up at the dinner service. This should be good.

Okay guys, what do you think? Is Aaron really a Fox employee? Will the “chefs” be able to recover from this humiliating loss to the “cooks?”

Shout out to Kreleia for helping me sort out my screencaps – I’m all on track now.

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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