Thursday, June 07, 2007

Welcome BACK to Hell!

So it’s Season 3 of Hell’s Kitchen and I have to admit that I am a Hell’s Kitchen novice. I am, however, an avid fan of reality cooking shows. I sit around watching them while my mouth waters, trying to fantasize about what sophisticated food might taste like as I listen to the chefs throw around words like tarragon and chard. I even once tried to cook something with chard, but ended up buying mustard leaves instead (they were nearby and of course I didn’t know the difference). Needless to say, it was a disaster. Sorry Rachael Ray, but I did a grand disservice to your Hungarian Hot Sausage and Lentil Soup. And one of my best friends is Hungarian. Anyway, I’m happy to embark on a new reality cooking show, even if it is mostly a contrived setting for Gordon Ramsay to showcase his dramatic tantrum-throwing skills. I heard he used to play football (soccer to us Yanks), but as he was no good, he’s resorted to this tactic of dream shattering since misery loves company. Let’s see what he has in store.

We start with this false little speech where Chef Ramsay promises not to do things like lose his temper, scream or swear. Of course, this is all accompanied by a montage of his raging and he asks who he is kidding. He’s back! And it’s going to be one dramatic season. “Welcome to Hell!”

The new chefs arrive in black Hell’s Kitchen SUV’s and admire the redesigned studio. They are all aghast to be here and then we meet Jean Philippe, the Maitre d’ of Hell’s Kitchen. He gathers the aspiring chefs around to hear his tale of working with Chef Ramsay in the early days, but he’s quickly cut off when the man himself appears on a balcony above everyone and tells Jean Philippe to cut the crap. He’s in charge now and orders each contestant to get in the kitchen and make him their signature dish. Everyone scurries to make something impressive and it is unclear how much time they are given, but in under one minute of TV time Chef Ramsay tells them they’re done.

This is the part where Chef Ramsay meets everyone by tasting their signature dish and subsequently ripping them a new one.

We start with Vinnie, who has prepared chorizo encrusted snapper. Chef Ramsay claims he can’t find the snapper, but even I can see it right under the little discs of chorizo. He says it’s way too hot and no one could eat an entire plate of it. It’s a disaster – back in line! Vinnie is convinced that his confidence intimidates Chef Ramsay. Um, not quite.

Next we have Joanna, who claims she will flirt and manipulate her way to the top. We’ll see if that works for Chef Bitter here. She’s made parmesan encrusted chicken with whole wheat spaghetti. Chef Ramsay is offended by the accompanying raspberry Bellini and makes Joanna drink it herself. The chicken is dry and salty. Take your drink and go back, Joanna!

Now it is Rock’s turn, and he has prepared pan seared scallops with potato gnocchi. Chef Ramsay is impressed until Rock confesses that the gnocchi was frozen and not freshly prepared. How dare you present me with frozen gnocchi! I am from England and I used to play soccer! Back in line! Rock retreats in shame.

Josh is next and he announces to us that food is sex, and since everyone likes sex, everyone likes food. That’s a very interesting way to start off, especially when he’s presenting liver. Okay, so it’s foie gras and I’ve never tasted it, but as far as I know, that’s just French for fatty liver. Chef Ramsay says it’s raw and way too salty. Being a salt addict, I’ve never tasted anything too salty, so I can’t say I’m relating to the Chef’s objections so far, but I do like that the liver didn’t make him think he just had great sex. Thanks for playing Josh.

Bonnie is up next and ready to pee her pants as she approaches the Chef to watch him crap all over her contemporary cheese course. He says it’s “different” and that he can tell she’s really new at this. Back in line! Bonnie confessionals that she’ll always have nightmares of Gordon Ramsay from now on – but he’s still kind of hot. It’s insane how far a British accent goes in the hot department. Insane, but true.

Chef Ramsay picks up the next lid and immediately blurts out an expletive. Eddie steps forward. Eddie is 28 and 5’ 2” because he was born with a kidney disease. I think that makes Chef Ramsay regret his initial reaction, but just for a second. He tells Eddie that he looks angelic, then Eddie confessionals that he’s a bulldog in a Chihuahua’s body. We’ll see about that. The bulldog has prepared parmesan encrusted sea scallops in a cream sauce and Chef Ramsay decides that Brad will be the one to taste it.
You see, Brad has also prepared a scallop dish. His is a scallop terrine with prosciutto and a vanilla lemon cream sauce – and it took me ten minutes on the internet to figure out what that means. So Brad tastes Eddie’s scallops and says they are cooked right. Chef Ramsay is appalled because he claims that Eddie’s scallops are raw. Eddie tastes Brad’s scallops and says they’re nice, but the vanilla ruins it. Chef Ramsay says that’s the most sensible thing he’s heard all day. Both scallops are way under par – back in line! Another lid comes off with another expletive as we go to commercial under the impression that Jen is about to faint dead away. She’s groaning and bending over like she’s on the verge of a hysterical breakdown.

Back from commercial, Jen pops back upright and trots down to watch her food get ripped to shreds. Nice fake out, Fox! Jen has prepared a vanilla crepe with caramelized peaches, which sounds divine, even if not salty. Chef Ramsay immediately complains that the crepe is too thick and then lets another string fly as he demands to know what alcohol Jen has laced her dish with. She admits that it is peach schnapps, but not a lot, and Chef Ramsay claims he’s drunk. Lightweight. Back in line!
It’s Melissa’s turn and she immediately tells us that people always judge her in the kitchen because of her looks. Oh, not one of these girls – please. You know who I mean. The girls who wanted to scar their own faces as children so that people wouldn’t be so mean to them for being so beautiful. Oh spare us all, please do. What have you made, oh painfully beautiful one? She’s made pepper crusted steak and roasted asparagus – and it looks amazing. This is the part where I start wondering what is in my kitchen and if it would be possible to turn it into something edible. Wonder of wonders, Chef Ramsay says it is delicious! It’s the first good thing he’s tasted all day and he’s so glad Melissa is here. I bet it’s just her looks. Ha!

It’s another two-at-a-timer, so Julia and Tiffany will be sampling each other’s dishes. Chef Ramsay holds up Julia’s plate and asks in horror what it is. I have to admit, it looks frightening. I just see a big mound of white with more white. My first impression is raw octopus with gravy. It’s actually chicken fried chicken penne, which sounds really good, and looks more appetizing upon closer inspection. Chef Ramsay, Julia and Tiffany all take a taste.

Tiffany says it’s peppery. Chef Ramsay agrees, saying the chicken is perfect, but spoiled by all the pepper. Tiffany has made a seafood tostada stack that everyone tries. Julia says that it’s good and she would order it in a restaurant. Chef Ramsay agrees! Another miracle! The seafood is cooked perfectly!

The final chef we meet tonight is Aaron, a 48-year-old very round Asian man wearing a cowboy hat. It is slightly bizarre, but then Chef Ramsay says, “You are one chunky monkey, aren’t you?” Okay, that wasn’t very nice and it had nothing to do with Aaron’s food. Aaron explains that his dish is finger food, to which Chef Ramsay responds, “How big are your bleeping fingers?” Sheesh! He tries one of the finger foods, declares it “nice,” but says there is too much on the plate and that Aaron should have only served the first one. Back in line!

"So you're not going to try all 26 finger foods?"

Chef Ramsay tells the group that he is very disappointed with what he has seen today and that everyone really needs to step it up. Then the music swells as he stars listing off the prizes of a lifetime the winner of this competition receives, starting with a quarter million dollar salary and a share in the profits of a multi-million dollar restaurant at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas. The music now switches to a tense staccato as Chef Ramsay announces that the blue team will be all the men and the red team all the women. He then introduces sous chefs Maryann and Scott, ordering all of the contestants to listen to them because Hell’s Kitchen is opening tomorrow and they have a long day ahead of them. I take a quick trip to to learn that a sous chef is the second in command in a kitchen. I told you I’m a novice. The gang retreats to the new living quarters they will all be sharing to toast each other and get all pumped up for tomorrow.

The next day the aspiring chefs all run downstairs to Hell’s Kitchen – their dorm is right above it – to see what awaits them. The very dramatic narrator tells us the following: “With the first dinner service just hours away both teams must prepare a menu of 15 items requiring over 300 ingredients, and of course everything must meet Chef Ramsay’s exacting standards.” It seems that on the men’s team Brad takes charge, and on the women’s team everyone promptly begins ignoring Julia because she is just a short order cook, apparently very low in the kitchen hierarchy. Julia continually asks what is going on and how she can help, and continually gets no answers. Sous chef Maryann even steps in and tells the women they need to talk to each other. Over on the men’s side, Aaron has already begun freaking out while making ice cream. It doesn’t look like he’s gotten very far because he’s just stirring some milk in a pan on the stove, but he’s very red and very panicked. Back on the red team, Joanna decides to take charge because someone has to and she immediately begins barking out orders, much to the resentment of the other women. Bonnie is very offended when Joanna tries to school her in risotto making. Why is risotto such a big deal on all of these cooking shows? Have I just not had proper risotto? They’re always making it and I can think of so many other things I’d rather eat.

Customers begin lining up outside for a taste of what’s cooking in Hell’s Kitchen and Chef Ramsay gathers the troops for a pep talk. He tells them it’s a big, big, big night and asks the women how they’re doing. Julia says there is no communication on their team, which Tiffany immediately contradicts. Joanna confessionals that she agrees with Julia, but keeping to her strategy she will smile and flirt and pretend all is well. Chef Ramsay turns to the men and asks Cowboy Aaron how he’s doing. Aaron, dripping sweat, goes into falsetto tones and literally starts sobbing, saying that he’s cracking up.

"The ice cream wasn't cold enough!"

Way to stay cool under pressure there, Aaron. It’s just ice cream! He’s seriously losing it. Chef Ramsay, in classic British, yells, “Keep it together, for God’s sake, man!” Aaron continues his sobbing and Jean Philippe has to go out and tell the line of diners that it doesn’t look good.

We come back from commercial to Chef Ramsay screaming at Aaron to stop bleeping crying and “inviting” him to go and lie down in the dorm. Aaron mops his face, stops the bawling, and says he can do it. Chef Ramsay tells the teams that he wants to see strength and togetherness. They say they are ready! Jean Philippe is ordered to open the doors to Hell’s Kitchen. The narrator tells us that a ticket to tonight’s reopening of Hell’s Kitchen is the hottest ticket in Los Angeles. That’s kind of funny because I read on Wikipedia that the diners are recruited by producers and paid for their participation. I guess getting paid to eat would be a hot ticket. I’d go. In fact, I marvel that I wasn’t invited. Back to our narrator: Can this new team of chefs live up to Chef Ramsay’s expectations? Ah the eternal question.

The first order is up and it is for the red team. Here is what has been requested: One langoustine (I looked it up; it’s a prawn), one spaghetti, two scallops – these are apparently the first course. Entrée: two turbot (another look-up; it’s a fish), two venison (I know this! It’s deer meat). The ladies hustle to work. Joanna corners Bonnie again about her freaking risotto. This time she’s mad because the garlic has gone in too soon and it’s going to ruin everything. Bonnie is really irritated and starts saying, “I hear you! I hear you Joanna!” Chef Ramsay demands to know why they’re arguing. Is he kidding? I’ll be surprised when they’re not arguing. Chef Ramsay spots some fried quail eggs and wants to know who made them because they feel like silicone implants. Tiffany is the culprit and is told to “bin them,” which is British for throw them away. Julia wants to step in and help fry the eggs, but Tiffany makes her continue chopping apples. No short order cook is going to upstage her on egg frying!

Over on the blue team it looks like Vinnie has been entrusted with getting the men off to a good start. He has whipped up some spaghetti that Chef Ramsay tells him is like glue it’s so overcooked. He screams that it’s rubbish and needs to go in the bin. Vinnie confessionals that Chef Ramsay looks like a shar pei screaming at him and he giggles at the word “rubbish.” Chef Ramsay tells Vinnie to get a grip and give him something or he’s going to lose his rag in a minute. I checked for that one and it just means lose his temper. For a second I thought it might be a menstrual reference.

Tiffany is still trying and failing at frying her quail eggs, which is really getting Chef Ramsay close to losing his rag and Julia says she’s been over there three times offering to help. She can’t understand how no one needs her, but still nothing is getting done. Bonnie is assigned quail egg duty, much to Tiffany’s frustration, but Bonnie can’t do it either and she ends up breaking the yolks and just wasting more time. Julia is still just chopping apples, knowing quietly that she would have had those eggs fried and then some. Bonnie starts to cry.

"Why won't anyone take me seriously?"

The narrator says that after one hour still nothing has been served and the customers are starting to get restless. Vinnie is in the men’s kitchen trying desperately to get his first appetizer out to the dining room. He’s making… you guessed it, risotto, and needs some vegetable stock. Rock tells him they’re out of it, which is really funny considering nothing has been made. Vinnie resorts to ladling some water onto the risotto which sends Chef Ramsay into a panic, saying the water tastes like gnat’s piss. Apparently Chef Ramsay has experience with insect urine. He finally loses his rag and throws Vinnie off the section, reassigning Brad to the appetizers. He yells at Vinnie to wash up, which would have prompted me to wash my hands, but it’s the British again and it means wash dishes.

Back on the red team there are still no successful quail eggs and Chef Ramsay tells Tiffany she is on the verge of sinking the ship. Julia once again offers to fry the eggs, but Tiffany puts her hand over the eggs protectively and says, “No!” What is her problem? She obviously can’t do it. Why not let Julia take a crack at it? Tiffany starts freaking out and adamantly refuses to let Julia fry an egg, which finally makes Julia cry. Chef Ramsay wants to know why Julia is crying, but she just waves him away, leaving him to stand there swearing.

It’s now been two hours and nothing has come out of the red kitchen because still no one can fry the tiny quail egg. Chef Ramsay is screaming that he’s never seen such a huge delay over a bleeping fried egg! He takes Julia aside and wants to know what the problem is. She finally admits that she keeps trying to help but no one will let her fry the eggs. Tiffany considers this a massive betrayal, but Chef Ramsay finally pulls her incompetent butt off of the quail eggs and turns them over to Julia. He also puts Melissa in charge of the appetizers and begs the women to work as a team.

"Bloody hell, I could be playing football
right now if I were any good at it!"

The blue team has miraculously made some progress and served 29 of 50 appetizers, including the green risotto, which the diners seem to love. Chef Ramsay taunts Vinnie, saying he’s hit his peak in life as a dishwasher. Ha! Next he asks Aaron if the chicken is ready, so Aaron brings it over. It does look kind of funny, like three little black mounds. Chef Ramsay wants to know why it’s all black and then orders him to do another one. As Aaron retreats to prepare another serving of chicken, Chef Ramsay asks if he would mind wiping the snot off of his face before they serve chicken and snot. I take back what I said earlier about eating at Hell’s Kitchen. Wait. I’ll go after Aaron is eliminated.

Meanwhile the red team has managed to send out 17 appetizers now that Tiffany has forfeited her fried egg disaster. Melissa is in charge and won’t let Joanna send out the spaghetti she has concocted, claiming that it’s overcooked. Joanna is highly offended and spends the next few minutes pacing around the kitchen complaining that Melissa won’t let her send out her spaghetti.

"How can I flirt without spaghetti?"

Oh that will get you on Chef Ramsay’s good side – stop working and wander around whining – good plan. Of course Chef Ramsay steps in once again and orders them to stop arguing.

Back in the blue kitchen Aaron is over the sink dousing himself with water and trying not to have another come-apart. He claims to be dizzy and steps away for a five minute break. Brad is disgusted. Chef Ramsay follows Aaron outside to find out what the problem is and Aaron goes back into his falsetto voice and just flat out boobs to Chef Ramsay that he doesn’t want to quit. This guy is insane.

"I lost my chef jacket..."

Inside Josh takes over the meat station, meaning that the diners will get to experience a poultry orgy. But first he has to throw out all of Aaron’s overcooked chicken. I’m starting to wonder how large a country could be fed with all the food they are throwing out of Hell’s Kitchen.

On the red team Joanna is still very angry about her spaghetti and I have no idea what she’s saying because most of it is getting bleeped out. She takes dry pasta right out of Melissa’s hands and reclaims her original job.

Sous Chef Scott loses his rag and starts screaming about how can they possibly be out of everything when they haven’t even served anything? In the dining room a bunch of the diners start getting up to leave. I’m surprised they lasted this long. The girls are still fighting and Chef Ramsay is still screaming as we head out to another commercial.

Chef Ramsay decides to lose his rag and throw in the towel as he yells at everyone to stop because they are shutting down service. Poor Jean Philippe has to go out and send the diners home. They shuffle off looking very unsurprised.

The teams line up to take their beatings from Chef Ramsay. He starts off telling the girls he’s never seen so much bitching. They are evil and twisted and he renames their team Hell’s Bitches. I personally think Aaron should be an honorary member. Next Chef Ramsay calls Vinnie out on not having produced any appetizers in an hour. Vinnie gets cheeky – to use a British phrase – and says the following: “I didn’t know what you wanted. You didn’t want to show me, so what did you want me to do?” Well! You do not go there with Chef Ramsay! He responds by calling Vinnie a two-faced lazy little bleeper. Remember, Vinnie started off saying that Chef Ramsay is intimidated by his brilliance. I sense the beginnings of a delicious feud! Chef Ramsay says that there are no winners tonight, but the losers are the red team. He proclaims that Oh-So-Beautiful Melissa is the best of the worst, so she gets to nominate two of her teammates for elimination.

Melissa takes turns talking to each of the girls to get their input on the way things went. Julia reiterates that no one let her do anything and that there was no communication. Joanna says that only a couple of her dishes were sent back, but that Julia is a weak player due to lack of experience. Tiffany just says she doesn’t want to go home, to which Melissa responds there is no way she’ll go home. Tiffany then recommends sending Julia home. I wonder how they all feel about Julia…?

Back in Hell’s Kitchen, Melissa gives her nominees. First is Joanna due to her lousy communication (or as I call it, attitude), and second is Tiffany! Oh no she didn’t! Right after she told Tiffany there’s no way she’d be going home? Scandal! Melissa says that Tiffany is nominated because of how long the appetizers took. Now each nominee has to step forward and plead her case. Tiffany says she knows she can do better, but she respects Melissa’s decision. Joanna says she displayed excellent teamwork and furthermore, when Tiffany was on appetizers nothing was coming out of the kitchen. Chef Ramsay reflects on the evening’s events in black and white and then announces that Tiffany has to go. He orders her to take her jacket off and have a good night. Ouch. Tiffany confessionals that she doesn’t want to go home, but that she thinks Chef Ramsay made the right decision based on tonight. I have to agree. In two hours she couldn’t fry up one quail egg and they are roughly the size of a quarter. No word on the Melissa betrayal.

The little eggs that started this big war...

Chef Ramsay tells them all once again that one of them will be running a restaurant, but none of them seem to be willing to work hard enough for it. Joanna confessionals that she doesn’t care who she has to step on to win. Aaron confessionals that he dodged a bullet tonight, knowing he’d be in big trouble if his team had lost. Bonnie confessionals that she hopes Chef Ramsay doesn’t think she’s an idiot. Chef Ramsay tells them they ain’t seen nothing yet!

Next week Aaron cries some more and Joanna starts a fire. Also some bones get served to the diners resulting in huge drama. According to the announcer it’s the most shocking Hell’s Kitchen ever!

1 comment:

cakemom said...

awesome post. such an amazing study of human behavior.