Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Danger: Exploding Rock Ahead

From: Tilling, 1985, Volcanoes: USGS General Interest Publication
Molten rock below the surface of the Earth that rises in volcanic vents is known as magma, but after it erupts from a volcano it is called lava.

This week on Hell’s Kitchen we witness our very own molten Rock in states of bubbling magma and erupting lava. This is the biggest tizzy fit I’ve seen since we bid a fond farewell to our blubbering hypochondriac, Aaron. And this is a fit of anger. Find yourself some good cover as we dive into this week’s episode, because Mt. Vesuvius is about to explode and Hell’s Kitchen is about to become Pompeii. Look out!

Tonight’s Hell’s Kitchen starts off a little more joyfully than most. No one got sent home last week if you’ll recall, so no one is mourning anyone’s loss. The Red Team is, however, extremely grateful that Chef Ramsay has removed Melissa from their team and stuck her with the boys. The boys aren’t so happy about that, but for now they are willing to be good sports and play nice. Melissa is happy not to have to carry the girls anymore and she announces to the guys that she will never “savatoge” anyone. Rock tells her that things are a little different on their team, but they’ll talk about that later. Then he tells us that Melissa is still going down. All the switch means is that she gets an extra day.

"Welcome to the Blue Team, short-timer!"

Right about now the Red Team parades through the smoking area with Bonnie calling for a team meeting, adding to Melissa, “Not you, bitch!” That gets a chuckle from Rock. The girls, minus Melissa, pow-wow to determine that they are really going to step it up now. They hug it out to seal the deal.

The next morning the chefs sit around awaiting their fate. Something extraordinarily scandalous occurs that kind of slips by me. After several replays and some internet research I think I have it figured out. Josh mentions this restaurant in Philadelphia called Le Bec-Fin. This is one of a group of restaurants belonging to a Chef Georges Perrier. The Le Bec-Fin website plays snooty music and a summer dinner costs a cool $90 a plate. Basically this is only a restaurant I will ever visit if a rich person takes me. And the website makes sure I know that. Anyway, when Josh mentions the restaurant, Jen immediately goes, “Yeah, Georges Perrier! I worked there!” This is where the scandal comes in. Everybody turns to look at her and a couple of the guys say, “Did you?” The Hell’s Kitchen orchestra even clashes a cymbal. This is big. You see, Jen is a pastry chef, or so she has told everyone. She squirms around and quickly says, “Well, not at Georges Perrier, but I worked in Philadelphia.” Hmmm, sketchy. Rock is particularly discombobulated, whining that Jen said she’s never cooked and is only a pastry chef. I’m a little confused because Le Bec-Fin has its very own patisserie, which is snooty talk for bakery (at least in America), so it’s not beyond comprehension that Jen may have iced a cake or two there. She frantically back pedals, saying that the bulk of her work over the past five years has been in pastry. The chefs are stunned and look around at each other in a very confused manner. Jen privately tells us that she doesn’t want to broadcast her entire resume because this way people will see her skills and be very impressed, thinking she just came from a small town bakery. Well… okay, I guess. I’m still not quite sure what the big deal is, but even Herr Narrator says, “The aspiring chefs are discovering that in Hell’s Kitchen people are not always as they seem.” So okay, Jen has pulled one over on all of us, and then tipped her hand a little? Rock admits that Jen’s “holding back” on her private info is a sign of good gamesmanship. I guess the biggest surprise is that Jen has a sneaky side. Have we spent enough time on this yet?

"My evil plan is well underway."

Downstairs the chefs line up once again before His Majesty, Chef Ramsay, who is standing in front of what Bonnie says looks like a covered piano. She wonders if they’ll have to sing about food today. Close Bonnie, but no cigar. Today the chefs will showcase their creativity by working with… lobster! Chef Ramsay uncovers an enormous tank filled with live lobsters. Julia doesn’t think she’s ever even eaten lobster. Brad is stoked. Bonnie is worried because she hates killing lobsters. She says she always cries, to which Rock adds, “So do the lobsters.” ZING! Chef Ramsay recalls the taste-off from a couple of weeks ago and reminds everyone that when Josh was fed lobster he thought it was a scallop so today he can’t participate in the challenge, he can only coach. This will even out the number of players on each team. The challenge rings of Iron Chef, with each team having one hour to create three lobster dishes (the secret ingredient you know), and Chef Ramsay will judge which team creates the best dishes. They have to reach into the tanks to choose their lobsters and the lobsters’ claws aren’t rubber banded, so there are a couple of pinches. Bonnie tries to get out of grabbing a lobster by going to fetch a pan, but it doesn’t work. She has to dive in anyway. She whines – not quietly – the entire time, but manages to catch a huge lobster. She winces and whines while she throws it into the pot. Oh brother.

"What? I have to touch the food? Ew!"

On the Blue Team, Rock is going to fry up some lobster tail while Brad whips up a bisque. Josh coaches Melissa in making “chilled lobster” so we’ll see what that ends up meaning. Melissa confessionals that the guys on the Blue Team are “confident and they have great ideers.” We’ll soon find out! On the Red Team Julia is making lobster risotto and Jen is of course worried because of Julia’s limited knowledge so she is giving her many tips. As the seconds count down everyone plates their surprises and lines up in front of the judge.

First Bonnie and Melissa go head to head presenting Chef Ramsay with salads. Bonnie has made grilled lobster salad with baked apples. Apparently grilling lobster is a huge risk but it paid off because Chef Ramsay finds it “very nice.” Melissa has a citrus herb salad with poached lobster, so that is Josh’s “chilled lobster” dish. Unfortunately Chef Ramsay says that the lobster isn’t really cooked properly. Bonnie wins the point. Now Julia presents her lobster risotto, which also gets a “very nice” from Chef Ramsay, but he says the risotto isn’t as exciting as he would have liked. Rock uncovers his buttermilk fried lobster tail which Chef Ramsay finds very ambitious and cooked perfectly. Rock wins the point. Imagine that – the challenge is neck and neck! That never happens! Let’s see how it ends. Jen presents a lobster and crab bisque that is “nice” and Brad has a more modern version of lobster bisque, whatever that means. It is also “nice.” Chef Ramsay is in a conundrum because both final dishes are so great! We go to commercial watching a lobster sink to the bottom of the tank blowing bubbles in the shape of a pitchfork.

Oh those graphic editors!

We come back and Chef Ramsay picks… the Red Team! Bonnie says it’s because Chef Ramsay doesn’t like foofy food, but I don’t think that’s it. The girls’ prize is a photo shoot and interview with In Touch magazine, which is pretty cool. I bet Chef Ramsay was much more excited to watch the girls get their hair and makeup done than he would be to watch the guys. Although, it could have been perfect for Josh if it were a GQ shoot instead of In Touch. The girls run off squealing while Chef Ramsay tells the guys that their punishment is to rifle through all of the trash in Hell’s Kitchen and separate out anything that can be recycled. Someone is a bitter party of one and that someone is Rock. He is not pleased. He reminds us again that he grew up in the ghetto – yes Rock, we remember – but he’s never gone through trash. Well maybe not, but your team keeps losing!

Brad says they should take their punishment like gentlemen and Chef Ramsay thanks him for being a man. Rock snaps, “I guess I’m not a man!” and storms off to throw stuff around in an angry tantrum in the kitchen. Remember what I said about magma and lava? He is yelling the entire time about how ordinary lobster bisque is (Brad also made lobster bisque) and how easy it is to make a grilled lobster salad with apples (Melissa did poached with citrus – and it wasn’t cooked properly) and he is so mad that they lost! He bangs his finger against his head screaming “Originality!” apparently forgetting that his was the only original dish. It’s still a team challenge, Rock! No good. He’s determined to be a huge baby about this.

"I'm the genius! There's no trash up in here!"

The Blue Team goes outside to a giant pile of recyclable stuff and they are told to separate everything and rinse it all out. Yeah, that totally sucks, but they lost. They had Spa Day last week and you can’t win them all.

Dive in, guys!

The Red Team hops into the limo and starts pouring the champagne. They arrive at In Touch where a team of specialists is waiting to give them the royal treatment. Oh, this is a great prize. I’ve always wanted to have my makeup done by a professional. Makeup is magic. It can seriously transform. In fact… okay I’m snapping out of my makeup trance. Let’s see what they can do. Wow, Bonnie looks really cute. She’s cutsie anyway, but they did a great job on her. She also gets a really cool dress to wear. Julia looks adorable all done up in her little green dress and Jen even looks quite nice with makeup and curly hair in a little black cocktail dress. They make a toast to each other, “to the hotties of Hell’s Kitchen.” Aw, how cute. Any doubts on why that final point went to the girls?

The reason the bisque beat the bisque.

Back at the trash pile, Sous Chef Scott tells Rock that he’s needed at the photo shoot, so Rock walks over and climbs into one of the SUV’s. I’m wondering if, since he made a good dish in the challenge, he’ll also get to be in the shoot – you know, the biggest contenders or something, who knows? He walks in to find the girls and Chef Ramsay standing around nibbling and looking fabulous. Chef Ramsay turns to him and feigns surprise at seeing him. Then he tells him to take the trash can from the photo studio back with him and separate everything out. Oh no he didn’t! He even asks Rock if he’d like a sandwich for the journey, to which Rock answers that he’s full of shiz-nit already. He storms away. I love it! This is how Chef Ramsay reacts to a tantrum and I love it! He’s not going to stand for someone acting like he owns the place and is better than everyone else! Go Chef Ramsay! Eat it, Rock! And grow up.

For the photo the girls are arranged around Chef Ramsay in a Charlie’s Angels style pose, holding kitchen utensils instead of guns. I hate to say this, but this is how my girlfriends and I posed for dance pictures in high school. I also did it during my college study abroad with girlfriends in Europe. So not original. Not to crap on In Touch or anything, but come on, aren’t you people professionals? After Rock’s “Originality!” rant he would not have been pleased to see such a recycled and overused pose. Despite the stupid pose, the girls had a great time feeling like rock stars and looking gorgeous. I would have too. But I may have suggested a different pose.

Been done to death.

When Rock returns to his team he is angrier than ever. Brad confessionals that his little trip to the photo shoot was like rubbing salt in the wound. That’s exactly right, Brad. And notice that since you acted like an adult you didn’t have to face any further humiliation. Rock screams some more in a confessional of his own, getting really worked up and saying that he doesn’t make his cooks go through the trash, and “if you don’t like what I put in the trash, fire me then!” Well at least he has a sense of humor about all this. Wait.

Later when the girls return to Hell’s Kitchen, there is no time to rest because we are heading right into our next dinner service. Rock has worn himself out with all of his throwing and screaming (lava) so he has retreated to a quiet corner outside where he sits and concentrates really hard on being a silent baby (magma). He confessionals that he’s ready now to go back to being his team’s leader (when did that happen?), and return to his sanctuary and do what he does best – cook. Rock, I’ve never tasted your food, but it looks to me like what you do best is flip out.

Rock focuses the rage.

During prep time, Melissa is totally subservient to her new team members. Gone are the days of Boss Melissa demanding that all questions come to her and that she will be the one to save the day. Now she meekly follows orders and tries not to get the guys mad at her. She knows she’s on her very last leg. The guys do positive affirmations, saying it’s their night.

The Red Team, still in glorious makeup, is also feeling very confident, mainly due to the fact that Melissa is no longer screaming in their faces. Bonnie is worried because there is still the same amount of work to be done, but only three people to do it all. I think Jen washed her makeup off. Aren’t you glad I’m here to point out the important details?

Chef Ramsay arrives and gathers the chefs around to give them some last minute instructions. Tonight Bonnie’s stellar grilled lobster salad is going on the menu as a main course. Oh, what do you have to say about that, Rock?

"You can get that at the Corner Bakery!"

I guess since it is so easy and boring you won’t mind whipping up plate after plate of it for the diners to rave about. But wait, there’s more. Since the Blue Team lost the lobster challenge, it is their job to run to the tank and fetch lobsters every time an order comes in for Bonnie’s salad. Before people run for cover from Rock’s next blow-up, Josh volunteers to be the one to fetch all the lobster. Thank you for saving us all Josh. Rock, skip the tantrum please. Chef Ramsay finishes by reminding Melissa that this is her very last chance. Jean Philippe opens the doors to Lobster Night in Hell’s Kitchen!

The Red Team starts taking orders and Chef Ramsay is giving them some uncharacteristically sweet words of encouragement. This is his kind mentor side showing through and I find it quite endearing, like he’s gratified that he’s made real chefs out of this rag-tag bunch of wannabes. I secretly think Julia is one of his proudest achievements. She immediately needs a lobster and Josh goes running out to fetch one for her. He confessionals that tonight he is the lobster bitch and it sucks. Yes Josh, but we all thank you for not letting Rock do it. That would have led to the tanks being smashed all over the dining room and the lobsters escaping and pinching all of the soaking diners while Rock threw broken glass around.

As dinner gets underway Rock tells Melissa to just lean on the team and ask questions if she has them. He confessionals that he’s not really concerned for Melissa, but he just wants his team to win. That makes sense and Melissa has been a hindrance lately. Chef Ramsay notices some spaghetti soaking in a pot of not-boiling water and is immediately disgusted. Rock removes the spaghetti – he is the team leader after all.

The Red Kitchen is doing a great job being in sync and getting their dishes out in a timely manner. They are like clockwork and Chef Ramsay is complementing them right and left. On the other hand, the Blue Kitchen is still fumbling. Brad sends up a bloody risotto that no one has ordered and Chef Ramsay starts getting really annoyed. He calls it a little gift that he doesn’t bleeping need. “Stop panicking! Unbelievable.” The Red Team is still doing everything right.

The Blue diners are mostly still sitting around waiting for their appetizers and poor Jean Philippe can only thank them for their patience. Melissa has messed up some scallops by making them too thin. Chef Ramsay calls her a gremlin and says that she screws everything she touches. Ha! A gremlin. That is some great imagery.

Melissa looks for scallops.

Chef Ramsay continues to pump up the Red Team, saying they’ve had a phenomenal start and if they screw up now it will be their own fault. And just when it looks like the Red Team can do no wrong, Bonnie starts an enormous fire in a pan.

Hell's Kitchen gets literal.

She kind of panics and picks up the pan to move it, not really knowing what to do. Chef Ramsay is screaming at her to put the pan down and stop. She ends up putting it on the floor and Chef Ramsay picks it back up with the fire somehow miraculously out. He tells her not to ever pick up a burning pan, but to step back and not panic. Then he starts talking about Bonnie evacuating the place and how burning down the whole restaurant would be a first. And just as they were doing so well!

Over in the Blue Kitchen Josh is pouring what looks like cake batter from one bowl into another. It turns out that it is mashed potatoes and even I know that looks dead wrong.

Mmm... cake.

Josh needs to add more salt and Chef Ramsay starts kicking the garbage cans (bins) and calling the Blue Team a bunch of bleeping babies. The Red Team is back to their former glory, with perfect mashed potatoes and beautiful Beef Wellington. Blue Brad, meanwhile, has overcooked his bloody risotto and Chef Ramsay tells him in his ear that this has been his worst service ever. Brad tells us that Melissa is the one who ruined the risotto. That’s no surprise.

Our little Julia takes a bit of a tumble in the Red Kitchen when she becomes flustered and starts giving Chef Ramsay the wrong information. He quickly becomes exasperated and tells her to stop and focus. She keeps trying to cook while he lectures her which makes him very irritable. Personally I think he is desperate not to see his little protégé making silly mistakes.

Next on the Blue Team Melissa presents Chef Ramsay with overcooked monk fish. Josh is called over to confirm that the monk fish is ruined, and then Chef Ramsay goes to each member of the Blue Team separately to tell them that Melissa can’t tell when monk fish is overcooked. Even Sous Chef Scott has a look. Chef Ramsay says it looks like regurgitated dog crap and then we learn that Melissa has not only destroyed the monk fish, she has also run out of it. So now everyone who has ordered monk fish is out of luck. How do you think Chef Ramsay takes this information? That’s right, not well. He screams at Melissa to get off the fish station and on to the garnishes. Rock is ordered to take over for her. He tells the Blue Team that we never give up.

"Why must you sabotage me?"

It looks like the Red Team has just about achieved a splendid victory as they are working on delivering their two final tickets. But just before all ends well, Julia tells Bonnie her Wellingtons are done and Bonnie is not in agreement. She says it’s her station and to put the Wellingtons back in the oven. Julia calmly asks Bonnie not to talk to her like that (you know, like she’s a complete moron), and Bonnie says, “Julia, then listen, okay?” Bonnie then, of course, confessionals that Julia is overwhelmed because of her lack of experience and she just can’t keep up. How many times to we have to hear this already? Julia has done so well! Tonight is the first time Chef Ramsay has even had words with her and still the other girls keep harping on the fact that she has less experience. She’s never started a fire or dug food out of the trash. What gives? It’s so irritating. Apparently Julia thinks so too because she begins to cry as she is clearing down her station. Who can blame her? Am I playing favorites?

Well guess what has happened in the Blue Kitchen. Melissa has run out of potatoes. Chef Ramsay is nearing the breaking point and then a table of six sends back all of their entrées, saying that the lobster is dreadfully overcooked. I bet I know who cooked it! Chef Ramsay has had it and delivers the following speech: “Hello! Look at me! Thanks for the overcooked monk fish! Thanks for shafting me on the mashed potatoes! And thanks for being (incomprehensible) appetizers! It’s just so sad. SHUT IT DOWN!” It’s all over for the Blue Team. One diner sadly asks if they don’t even get dessert. Jean Philippe tells him when it’s closed, it’s closed. Shut down!

At tonight’s lineup there is no hesitation. Chef Ramsay tells the Blue Team that they lost and they are crap. Then he lists off their respective job titles: sous chef, executive chef, sous chef, line chef. And they’ve been beaten by a nanny, a short order cook, and a pastry chef. Feel the shame. After berating each team member individually, Chef Ramsay asks Rock why this is going on. Rock says that Chef Ramsay puts a lot of pressure on them (to which Chef Ramsay answers “Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen!”) and that some people just can’t handle pressure. The Blue Team is to select two nominees for elimination and to fudge off out of here.

Upstairs over several packs of cigarettes the Blue Team discusses who will go up. Melissa is of course the first choice and even she admits that. Oh, not carrying everyone anymore, Melissa? As for the second nominee, the guys discuss whether they should nominate based on tonight’s performance alone or on overall performance throughout the competition. They settle on overall performance and select Josh to go up with Melissa.

Back downstairs Chef Ramsay wants to know if their decision was difficult. Then he tells them to cut the crap, calls Melissa forward, and tells her to take her jacket off and get out of Hell’s Kitchen. Wow! He didn’t even wait to hear the nominations! “You, Madam, have had more chances than anybody. Good night!” Melissa nods and takes her fake boobs, fake hair, and fever blister out the door. She tells the camera that Chef Ramsay expected her to perform and she didn’t. That’s correct. Rock says he doesn’t feel bad because for him to win he’ll have to see everyone go. Just as the guys are about to breathe a sigh of relief Chef Ramsay announces that he’s not done yet and orders Brad and Josh to step forward.

The new faces of GQ

Josh claims that he has improved with every service, he’s not ready to give up, and he will keep fighting. Chef Ramsay tells Brad that tonight he was so bad that he complimented sh**. Brad says he’s embarrassed about tonight’s service, but he feels that he’s good. Chef Ramsay cuts him off, talking about endless excuses and pathetic cooking. He lapses into a black-and-white reverie reflecting on how awful Josh and Brad were tonight. And Chef Ramsay’s decision is… both of you, back in line! They both get another chance. It’s three girls and three guys and they all need to get a grip! Now get out! Chef Ramsay says that Melissa is assertive and sounds like a leader, but she doesn’t cook like a leader. Her picture ignites and she burns in Hell’s Kitchen.

Next week features a paintball competition and each team gets to present its very own menu for the dinner service. We are also promised that Chef Ramsay does “something drastic.” Oh you mean different than most weeks, Herr Narrator?

So tell me your thoughts! I think that Rock should have been on the chopping block for his piece of crap attitude in the kitchen today. Yes he’s done well with the food, but who cares if he completely loses it when things don’t go his way? That was the worst sportsmanship I’ve seen so far and I think Chef Ramsay should have called him out on it and scared him a little. But that’s just me…

I love to hear from you guys. Your awesome comments crack me up and keep me fascinated. Be sure to drop me a line!

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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