Thursday, July 26, 2007

All the Rage in Hell's Kitchen

"Doughnuts OUT!"

Wow – this week on Hell’s Kitchen we learn about trendsetters. Chef RamJam introduces us to some Los Angeles trendsetters and then we spend some time with our very own setters of trend. First there is Bonnie, who leads us in the fad of making dumb mistakes and crying. Next is Josh, who shows us that having a functioning brain is highly overrated and it’s hip to be stupid. Jen illustrates that it is very helpful and productive to antagonize and argue with bullies, and Rock demonstrates just how popular it is to be mean, insulting, and self-righteous. Julia continues setting the trend of hanging in there and always acting dignified – imagine that. Finally, Chef Ramsay begins a new rage by calling someone a doughnut. Here we go, so get ready to get cool!

This evening as the chefs shuffle off to their dorms to ponder over Brad’s elimination, Bonnie wonders, along with the rest of us, why she’s still here. “Does he think I’m entertaining? Is that why I’m still here?” Um, I don’t think so Bonnie. Unless Chef Ramsay is entertained by watching somebody cry about everything. Julia is also surprised that Bonnie is still around and Rock is glad that Brad went home because Brad was his biggest competition. There is really no telling why Bonnie is still hanging around, but after what I’ve read about last season, I’m wondering if it’s “Virginia Syndrome.” Apparently Virginia’s large chest carried her through to the finals, and although Bonnie doesn’t necessarily have a large chest, she has paraded in her underwear, flirted with Chef Ramsay, and gotten all dolled up for a photo shoot. Other than that all she does is give dumb suggestions and bawl.

The next morning Chef Ramsay lines the chefs up to announce that there will no longer be a Red Team and a Blue Team. From now on, they are one united Black Team! I was hoping for purple, since red and blue make purple, but Chef Ramsay wasn’t having it, so black it is. Sous Chef Scott comes out to serve everyone champagne and Chef Ramsay congratulates them all on making it this far – a job well done! Then things get really zany when Chef Ramsay shakes up the champagne bottle and sprays everyone down with it. He tells Josh to “open wide” and then zings him again, saying he’s found a new talent – catching champagne spray in his mouth. Call me crazy, but I don’t think RamJam thinks too much of Josh.

Spray the donkey!

The chefs run upstairs to change into their new black and white jackets and they are each in awe with the color change. They are all proud of themselves and each other. Feel the love because it won’t last long.

And now it’s time for the first ever individual challenge! Chef Ramsay tells the chefs that they will each be preparing a dish “for a very special group of trendsetters – clients with their fingers on the pulse in terms of culture, fashion, music…” Oh, this does sound exciting. Who could these trendsetters be? Vogue editors? Rock stars? The guys from “Queer Eye?” Jen guesses either Mariah or The Rock – neither of whom I would have singled out as trendsetters (at least anymore), but okay. Julia guesses doctors and nurses due to Chef Ramsay’s use of the word “pulse.” Josh is sure they are on their way to Hollywood to cook for some celebrities. Either way this is looking like a great chance for them to showcase their talent for some influential people. Also, these special guests will not be coming to Hell’s Kitchen, but instead the taste-off blindfolds come back out and each chef gets to wear one as they are whisked away to the mystery location where glamorous people await.

Then Herr Narrator bursts the bubble.

Where it all happens.

These amazing, brilliant, prominent eaters are 100 Alhambra High School students. Oh, I get it. Because high school kids are into music and fashion, plus they’re huge consumers so they have an influence in the marketplace – good one. The chefs take off their blindfolds and look around a little deflated. Chef Ramsay says this is a great place to learn about trends – especially if you are into iPods and video games – so their challenge is to win over the high school students with their food. They have one hour, the students will vote, and the winner will be coming with Chef Ramsay to Las Vegas.

Everyone starts bustling around to come up with their 100 portions of something to tempt high school kids. Rock makes kobe beef meatloaf to be served on a ciabatta roll. Do kids voluntarily eat meat loaf? Josh is making baked salmon with pineapple salsa – probably not the first thing I would have run for in high school. Julia does a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich with onion rings, Bonnie makes breaded and fried goat cheese served over greens, and Jen does baked chicken fettuccine, still hoping Mariah will pop around a corner babbling something crazy. The kids pour in to receive sample portions of each dish served on different colored plates to help them with their voting. Each chef tries to campaign for his or her own dish while handing them out. Bonnie is pink (of course she is) and she tells the kids that pink is nice. Then Rock chimes in saying, “Don’t vote for her. She’s not that nice.” Um, Rock? Why don’t you shut it and let your meatloaf speak for itself? You are getting on my last nerve – and making me come to Bonnie’s defense. No good. Jen tries telling a kid that she loves his sweater. Will that make him vote for fettuccine with no garlic bread?

"Yeah, I started a trend with this sweater."

After the kids have pondered over their samples and their color charts, Chef Ramsay lines up the chefs in front of the kids to announce the winner. He tells them that the winner is a hero with over 51% of the votes. Wow, that means the other 49% got divided four ways – in other words, this was a landslide. Will we find out before commercial? No. But luckily I don’t recap commercials, so the winner is…

Blasted teenagers and their graffiti marketing...

JULIA! With her grilled chicken and cheese with onion rings! The students all cheer while Julia jumps into Chef Ramsay’s arms. She confessionals that she is happy because this shows that not only can she cook, but she can also make her food taste good. And I’d like to add that she knows her audience. She chose something kids would like and identify with. I mean salmon with pineapple salsa? Not so much, Josh. Julia gets to choose one person to come with her to Vegas, just like on America’s Next Top Model, and she chooses Jen. Rock, Josh and Bonnie have to go back to Hell’s Kitchen to do something dull. Both Julia and Jen have speculated over what they will do in Vegas and I have to wonder if they have cooked away too many brain cells. Um – see the restaurant you are competing to win perhaps? Think, ladies. This isn’t a grand mystery. The next surprise is that they get to go to Vegas on a private jet – très chic.

Nothing but fancy.

Herr Narrator tells us that as the winners get a taste of the “high life,” the losers are “grounded” in Hell’s Kitchen. Oh Herr Narrator. You and your puns – they delight me every time. Jean Philippe tells the losers that they will be doing some deep cleaning of the restaurant. They will vacuum, steam clean, and iron. Right away the steam cleaner gets the best of Josh, as he can’t figure out that the cord needs to be plugged into an outlet in order for the device to have power. Jean Philippe can hardly believe it, saying, “Do you know what, Josh? This is not rocket science. It doesn’t work with solar energy, it works with electricity. Just turn it on.” You tell him, Jean Philippe! It’s not even like the cord is inconspicuous – it’s this huge fat gray thing wrapped around the machine a million times. Josh basically says he’s a chef, not a janitor, but the truth is, he’s just an idiot. He then proceeds to try to vacuum up a chicken bone.

I’ll give you one guess as to where the girls are headed in Vegas. That’s right, the Green Valley Ranch! Who would have thought? This is such a surprise! They are led to a fat suite where they are mesmerized by the bidet – never mind the pool table and the champagne, there’s a booty cleanser! Then they are treated to full body massages at the spa, which makes me want to take a nap.

Meanwhile Bonnie and Rock are bickering over the best way to iron the round table cloths. Should they use the ironing board or just iron the cloths right on the table? Rock tells Bonnie that she should know how to do these sorts of things, as she is a nanny, but Bonnie gets all huffy, saying, “I don’t do laundry!” in the snobbiest voice possible. Calm down, Mary Poppins, what do you do? “I cook for the most part. I’m a chef; I cook dinner for them every night, dumbass.” Well! I hate to split hairs, but someone who is employed by a family to do nothing but cook dinner is not a nanny. That’s a personal chef. Has Bonnie been fibbing about her resume like Jen? Will we find out next that the family she works for doesn’t even have children? (And pets don’t count.) Nanny indeed!

Bonnie and Rock are so above this task.

The next morning in Las Vegas Jen and Julia head over to the Green Valley Ranch’s sister resort, Red Rock, to meet someone special.

“Goody gumdrops! Meet my protégé.”

It’s Heather, last season’s Hell’s Kitchen winner! She beat Virginia’s boobs to be awarded this glorious restaurant to run. We even get a quick black and white flashback of Heather being announced last season’s winner before proceeding to a tour of Terra Rossa, the restaurant that was her grand prize. Heather even has some dishes for Jen and Julia to sample. Jen wants to know what “edge” Heather had over Virginia’s boobs and Heather said that although Virginia was a strong competitor, she (Heather) wanted it so badly. It’s just a wild guess, but I bet Virginia wanted it pretty badly too. She made it all the way to the end, after all, I doubt she was just there to pass the time. Heather also tells the girls to keep their friends close and their enemies closer, to which Jen does this:

"Mm hm. I don't know what that means."

Back at Hell’s Kitchen our trio of losers preps for tonight’s dinner service on their own. Bonnie pulls out a tray of monk fish and decides it smells bad so she throws it away. Just then who should come looking for monk fish but Sous Chef Mary Ann? It turns out that Bonnie has disposed of perfectly good monk fish and unless Mary Ann is prepared to enter Jen’s Culinary School of Dumpster Diving, there will be no monk fish on tonight’s menu. Luckily Bonnie handles this with grace and maturity, holding it together for the sake of the team. Oops, I mean the opposite of that. She loses it and starts bawling. She frets that it may be her time to go home – again.

When prep is finished the losers go upstairs to complain about Julia’s win. Bonnie points out that if Julia had done her grilled chicken and cheese for Hell’s Kitchen it would have been lame. This is where my previous point about Julia knowing her audience comes in. The challenge was specifically to cook for teenagers, and teenagers like much different food than fine dining adults. The challenge wasn’t even to make a gourmet version of a school lunch, which may have ended differently, but just to win over the kids. And Julia did it! I don’t make the rules, I just watch the show. Bonnie, Rock – zip it. I’m tired of both of your attitudes and tantrums.

Just then Jen and Julia return from their trip to regale their fellow chefs with tales of… what else? The bidet. Julia gives a riveting account of her first bidet experience and Rock and Bonnie pretend to care.

We enter into tonight’s dinner service with Herr Narrator reminding us that for the first time the chefs will be working as one team. Yes, yes, the black and white uniforms. Josh is on appetizers and right away he messes up by having several pans of risotto on burners that don’t need to be there. Chef Ramsay starts freaking out because a bunch of this risotto will have to be tossed and this means that they are losing money before even serving any food. He calls Josh a doughnut, which is a new one that I quite like.

"Doughnut!? I'm at least a nice scone."

Apparently Josh thinks he is working at McDonald’s and can just make tons of everything so it will be ready when someone orders it. But that’s not the way Chef Ramsay does things. It’s always fresh in Hell’s Kitchen. Next Chef Ramsay notices Josh overcooking some spaghetti – again before it’s been ordered. I think this time he’s a jelly doughnut. He may even be on his way to becoming a fritter if this keeps up. Chef Ramsay tells Josh that even his mother cooks spaghetti only seven minutes before she eats it. I bet his mother also plugs in the vacuum cleaner before wondering why it won’t work – but that’s just a shot in the dark.

Bonnie is on meat and seems to be getting her Wellingtons together properly, but Julia is lagging a little on the garnishes. Chef Ramsay pleads with her to wake up and wonders if she’s taking the piss out of everyone, but Julia insists that she’s trying. Maybe she’s still marveling over the wonders of the bidet. Back to the kitchen, Julia! Don’t let us down now!

Chef Ramsay wanders back over to the appetizer station and what do you think Josh has gone and done? That’s right, he’s cooked up some more unordered spaghetti. Mind you, this is like 30 seconds after being scolded for making spaghetti before it’s been ordered. Chef Ramsay can’t believe his eyes because according to him “even the f-ing dirtiest scummiest Italian restaurant in Venice Beach cooks spaghetti to order, you donkey!” Mm, I know that place – they make great spaghetti… so fresh. Josh immediately loads up another pasta boiler with spaghetti and drops it into the water. Just kidding, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. Now a diner sends back some risotto for being undercooked. Uh oh, Josh is going to take this one right up the wazoo. Sure enough, Chef Ramsay gets right in his face and demands to know what he’s doing.

"I'm downgrading you to doughnut hole."

Then he loses his rag completely and just rips Josh’s jacket open and yells, “Get the f*@& out of here! Get out! GET OUT!” As Josh makes a hasty exit Chef Ramsey even throws some sort of utensil at him that clangs against the wall dramatically as we head out to commercial. At this point I’m wondering if Josh is out for good or if he is just out for tonight’s dinner service – which would probably mean he’d get eliminated anyway, but it’s still unclear.

Ooohh, back from commercial we see that Chef Ramsay actually follows Josh out into the hall screaming, “Give me the jacket! Useless sack of sh**!” Then he follows Josh down the hall yelling, “Get out! Get out!” and I start wondering if he’s going to have a stroke, but then we cut away to Josh in the confessional.

A battered Josh flees the scene with RamJam at his heels.

So this is how Josh goes down. Not in the sad but dignified elimination ceremony and not even in a hospital bed like Aaron. Oh no, Mr. Food-Is-Sex is chased right out of the kitchen during the middle of dinner service. I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. In fact I think Josh wore out his welcome a while back, but still – the shame of it all. Leaving out the back door with his duffle back into the darkness all alone. Happy trails, Josh. Remember – there are no sous chefs at McDonald’s. People come to fancy restaurants for freshly cooked food. Oh also, electric appliances need electricity to run. Good luck to you.

Chef Ramsay puts Jen on appetizers and tells her that Josh is gone now and he’s out on Sunset Boulevard looking for a bus. That’s probably because his car wouldn’t start since he forgot that it needs gasoline to run and thinks it is done for. Jen manages some perfect bloody risotto and it looks like everything is running well until… Julia can’t find her garnish. This is odd. It’s not keys or sunglasses or a credit card, it’s an entire pan of food that she just cooked. Well it’s lost and Julia has no choice but to start all over making new garnish and she’s so flustered that Chef Ramsay accuses her of giving up. Poor Julia starts to cry but hangs in there and keeps cooking.

Now Rock can’t find the turbot he’s been working on and I’m beginning to wonder if Sous Chefs Scott and Mary Ann are stealing things and hiding them because it doesn’t make sense to lose entire servings of food when you are standing next to a stove. When Chef Ramsay wants a status report Bonnie says she’s waiting on the turbot and Rock decides that Bonnie is stabbing him in the back. He confessionals, “Bonnie, are we on the same team here, or are you trying to single yourself out? What’s really going on?” Oh dear Rock. You must have misread all the waivers that Fox had you sign when you came onto the show. You see, this is a cooking competition and all of the chefs are here because they would like to win the grand prize in the end. Singling yourself out is exactly what you should be doing. Especially now that the teams have been done away with! Don’t get mad at Bonnie because you screwed up and she didn’t. Chef Ramsay says, "Rock's hit rock bottom." That's one you know he's been waiting to say - and I've been waiting to hear.

"You talking to Rock?"

The next situation is irony incarnate. Jen and Rock are supposed to bring appetizers up to Chef Ramsay at the same time and Jen asks Rock to wait with his scallops until her spaghetti is ready so that they can go up together. So Rock trots right up to the counter without her. I would totally let this go if Rock hadn’t just had a diva fit about Bonnie doing that exact same thing to him. Uh huh, now we see how it is. It’s all fair game as long as you’re the perpetrator, right Rock? Back in his confessional Rock acts completely bewildered and innocent over the Jen situation saying, “My chef told me to come up there.” Oh you mean like Bonnie’s chef told her to do five seconds earlier? Interesting. My dislike for Rock is intensifying by the moment. Jen calls Rock on this (just like he called Bonnie on it) and he tells her not to talk to him anymore. Now the attitudes start flying. Rock completely stops communicating with the girls except to call them names and slam things around. At one point he even says to Jen, “I don’t jump when you say jump, princess. Who do you think you’re talking to?” Ew, he’s a creep. Jen says some bleeped out stuff back and Bonnie just begs them to stop. Chef Ramsay has had it. He can’t run his kitchen like this and starts banging on the aluminum overhang to get them to shut the f up. Rock ridiculously confessionals that he doesn’t need to put anybody down to bring himself up. Can we all please just scroll back up to the part at the high school where Rock told the kids not to vote for Bonnie because she isn’t nice? Yeah, that’s what I thought, Mr. Holier Than Thou. You are mean and nasty. And you fight dirty and throw tantrums, and then act like you are so above all this. No restaurant for you!

Back from commercial I’m surprised to find that Chef Ramsay hasn’t thrown everyone out onto Sunset Boulevard – well at least Jen and Rock. They fight each other to the bitter end but somehow manage to get dessert out, which I guess is a sweet end. Ha ha, okay that was dumb. At the lineup Chef Ramsay deems that Bonnie was the best tonight – in fact this was her best service yet, so she gets to nominate two people to go home. I guess miracles do happen if Bonnie was the best chef tonight. If only Julia hadn’t misplaced her garnishes. Great, now the final three are in the hands of an idiot nanny personal chef. Bonnie confessionals that she never thought she’d get this far. None of us did, Bonnie. In fact, I’m still quite bewildered.

Bonnie tries to spell her name.

Rock is quite the gentleman on the way upstairs, telling Jen to f – off and not say sh** to him. How can you not love this cuddly guy? The girls sit around to discuss what went down and Bonnie says, “He has a mean temper, dude.” Well observed, Bonnie. That’s actually the understatement of the year if you think back about what also happened when Rock lost the photo shoot challenge a couple of episodes back. Jen starts to cry saying, “People just hate me. I just want to go home.” Oh, don’t you start Jen. Bonnie has that market cornered and we don’t need another self-pitying bawler.

Speaking of self-pitying bawlers, Rock sits in his confessional with tears streaming down his face saying that he should have waited until after dinner service to address his issues with Jen. He’s disappointed himself and his family and this isn’t the way he’s supposed to go out. He’s better than this. Oh please, Rock. I would believe that you are better than this if you hadn’t already demonstrated repeatedly that you’re not.

Oh, poor Rock. Negative.

Downstairs Bonnie nominates Rock for losing communication and letting his temper flare. Another grand understatement. Then she nominates Jen. Psyche. That would have been great and may have actually gotten rid of Rock, but Bonnie actually nominates Julia for having trouble with the garnishes and struggling with product knowledge. Rock makes his case that he is God’s gift to the kitchen and this restaurant, this show, and the world in general – and we are lucky to have him. Julia says she’s not ready to go home and she’s not giving up. So who goes? The insanely driven a-hole or the talented cook who has made amazing strides? Chef Ramsay confesses that this is a very difficult decision for him personally and I wonder if he’s going to just keep both of them since he already tossed Josh out on his butt. But alas, he regretfully announces that Julia is leaving. Noooooo! Unacceptable! RamJam brings her up and does something completely surprising, which is the following speech: “Listen. You have done phenomenally well and I am going to do something now that I’ve never done before. I am personally going to send you to culinary school because you have an exceptional amount of talent. And when you’ve done that I want you to come back here and win it hands down. Because there’s something quite amazing about you. I am very proud of you.”

The moment we've dreaded...

Aw, RamJam, you are bringing tears to my eyes. That is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen on this show. Chef Ramsay has a heart! And he’s putting it to good use! We’re with you, Julia! We’ll be waiting for you to come back and blow us all away. You go, girl! Now there is a montage of all of Julia’s accomplishments this season and she is always so sweet and positive, even when things are tough. It’s such a shame that she has to go – especially when you compare her behavior to Rock’s which is just gross and embarrassing. I hope she does come back because she has really earned a place as a top chef. I know I’m being sentimental, but I really like Jules and I really hate Rock.

Chef Ramsay congratulates the final three and sends them off to bed. Bonnie reiterates all of our thoughts by once again saying she never thought she’d get this far. Jen says that she has what it takes and now she needs to mold herself into a leader. Rock talks in third person, telling us yet again how perfect, wonderful, and deserving Rock is. Did Honey Gangsta mention that she really dislikes Rock?

These are the options?

So how is Rock going to tick me off next week? Let’s see, it looks like the chefs’ families make an appearance and then they each get to take a turn running the kitchen à la Chef Ramsay. I’m sure that part will bring my loathing for Rock to the surface if nothing else has by then. Herr Narrator promises that it will be an emotional Hell’s Kitchen.

So what do you think? Does Julia have greatness in store? Does Rock have more than just delusions of greatness in store? Who will be the final two???

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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