Friday, July 20, 2007

Separating Chefs from DONKEYS!


Greetings, beloved audience! Thanks guys, for keeping me informed and giggling with your comments. Last week MODULUS cleared up the Le Bec-Fin question and let us know that Jen’s having worked there is actually an omission of epic proportions. ChicagoGal helped me out with what pancetta actually is, and Donna Martin Graduates gave Chef Ramsay my favorite nickname yet – Chef RamJam. I wanted to steal that, but not without giving proper credit where it’s due. I’m having a ball with Hell’s Kitchen, and couldn’t do it without you guys. Keep the laughs coming!

We start this week by listening to both teams reflecting on the grand banishment of Melissa. Bonnie thinks it’s like watching a main character die in the first five minutes of a movie. Yeah, except that it’s Week 7, not Minute 5, so not really. Rock doesn’t care because he’s just one elimination closer to winning. Or one tantrum closer, whichever you prefer. The girls elate over continually beating the boys who are supposedly oh-so-advanced professionally. It’s called hubris, and it is the Blue Team’s downfall.

Continuing with what is now our very familiar routine, the next morning we meet up with Chef Ramsay downstairs to find out about today’s quick challenge. We learn that today the chefs will be working with leftovers – a word that has never been a friend of mine. Chef Ramsay says that this is a test he gives to each one of his chefs. He wants to see them make something “stunning” from leftovers. Hmm, maybe I can learn something here. Each team has to prepare one appetizer and two entrées from a bunch of leftover stuff – all in 30 minutes. Let’s go! I soon discover the difference between Chef Ramsay’s idea of leftovers and mine. What he has is a bunch of ingredients that can be combined in any way, like uncooked spaghetti, chicken stock, raw beef, raw chicken, and eggs – basically not really leftovers, just a random combination of uncooked food. My leftovers are always something I already made and am tired of, like lentil soup or some kind of casserole. Can’t the chefs show us how to make chicken cordon bleu using nothing but day-old pizza? That I would like to learn.

Fresh leftovers, not like mine.

The Blue Team gets right down to business, but the Red Team can’t seem to decide on anything to make; they just keep throwing out ideas. Let’s see what everyone comes up with, shall we? Herr Narrator has some orientation for us before judging begins. “At this point in the competition, Chef Ramsay is looking for chefs who stand out with their resourcefulness and creativity.” At this point? So up to now he was looking for what, best hairdo? Anyway, Bonnie and Brad step forward to present their “leftover” appetizers. Brad has made curried bass with crustacean tomato pasta. Bonnie immediately rolls her eyes and confessionals that she is dead meat. She then reveals her rustic chicken stew, which Chef Ramsay finds rustic indeed, and also quite fresh. He can’t pick a winner, so both teams get a point. Boo! Next up are Jen and Josh. Jen presents steak and eggs, and Chef Ramsay says that sounds more like something that would come from Julia. He expects more from Jen in a half hour. Jen whines to the camera that the steak and eggs were Bonnie’s idea and she should have done something else. Yes Jen, but you didn’t. Josh presents chicken legs stuffed with something I can’t understand. Chef Ramsay tastes it, makes a huge face, and makes Josh taste it as well.

"Blimey! You've got to be winding me up!"

Josh admits that it is “highly acidic.” Chef Ramsay adds that the chicken is undercooked and it’s just crap. He’s disappointed in both Jen and Josh and neither gets a point. What do you know, it’s neck and neck. Last up are Julia and Rock, or as Herr Narrator says, “The Waffle House cook versus the Executive Chef.” Rock has whipped up a petite rib eye and pan seared bass. (Leftovers indeed.) Julia presents fish and chips, which isn’t the smartest decision, considering that Chef Ramsay hails from Jolly Old England where fish and chips are a matter of national pride. Surprisingly he finds it nice, but not nearly as impressive as Rock’s surf and turf, which was done with finesse. The Blue Team wins the challenge – only their second ever, but they are understandably overjoyed, especially after last week’s garbage punishment. The girls, since they presented dull dishes, get a dull punishment. They have to thoroughly clean Hell’s Kitchen in its entirety and unload the morning’s coming delivery. Chef Ramsay tells the guys that for their reward they get a chance to get back at him. Rock confessionals that he hopes Chef Ramsay is speaking figuratively because Rock could definitely kick his arse. Oh calm down, Rock.

The girls get to cleaning while the guys are whisked away for their grand opportunity of… paintballing! Yes, it’s three against one as the Blue Team takes on Gordon Ramsay in a rousing match of paintball. The way it works is that the guys can each hit Chef Ramsay as many times as they want, but as soon as one of them is hit, they are out. Chef Ramsay quips that maybe he’s found something Josh is good at. Oooooooh snap! Josh just giggles. Apparently he’s not good at sarcasm either. The guys start out with target practice, aiming at targets that have been fitted out with pictures of Chef Ramsay, Julia, Jen and Bonnie. Way to encourage sportsmanship, Fox production assistants!

Dream on, guys.

Meanwhile the girls are unloading a delivery truck and checking things off on a list as the boxes come down. Once inside, however, they realize that they should have opened up, counted and sifted through each and every one of the boxes because a whole lot of stuff is missing. Bonnie starts crying because she was the one who was supposed to be checking the boxes. She really does cry an awful lot over everything. Jen tells her to stop the drama. Sous Chef Mary Ann eventually steps in and organizes a checking system so that we can all get on with the day. As this little incident continues, there are so many mistakes in the delivery that I’m wondering why the delivery service isn’t under scrutiny. Perhaps it was a deliberate set up to make sure the girls were paying attention – which they weren’t, of course.

Over at Paintball Central, the guys are getting ready to play in a setup that looks like a bombed out town. Chef Ramsay is huddling behind a messed up car and the guys are all as giddy as little girls as they prepare to take shots at their mentor. I think we can all guess how this will come out. Do you honestly think that Josh or Brad would stand a chance against Chef Ramsay in a shoot out? Uh, no. Sure enough it isn’t long before it’s down to Rock and Chef Ramsay. Chef Ramsay plows him down and the guys all gather to high five each other. They all seem exuberant. It’s amazing how combat lifts the male spirit.

"Nothing like a good kill in the morning!"

Upon returning to Hell’s Kitchen, the guys find the girls again carrying tons of boxes inside from a truck. Julia tells the guys to grab a box, but they stroll past like they didn’t hear her. Next Jean Philippe tells the guys it would be nice if they would help the girls. The guys say “yes it would,” and proceed upstairs without helping at all.

"What's that you say?"

Jean Philippe says it’s disgusting, but the girls aren’t surprised at all. I don’t know. I get that the guys won and that hardly ever happens, but it wouldn’t have killed them to pick up one box while they were walking in anyway. Not cool.

“It’s a new day in Hell’s Kitchen…” again and Chef Ramsay has yet another surprise for his wannabes. Each team will be coming up with its own menu to present to tonight’s diners. There will be three appetizers, three entrées, and three desserts from each team and the guests will choose what they would like to eat. Chef Ramsay wants to see creativity and teamwork. The teams scamper upstairs to design their menus. The girls are astounded and appalled to discover that Julia doesn’t know what Ahi tuna is. Over on the guys’ side, Brad is suggesting pan seared scallops with horseradish spaetzle, and Rock is irritated that Brad is talking so much. Rock wants to make macaroni and cheese, which Brad says is fine as long as they call it a cassoulet. (I looked that up. It’s French for casserole.) Rock would rather call it macaroni and cheese and then let the diners be impressed when it’s elegant. Brad is stuck on fancy names and I’m not sold either way. Julia suggests a New York steak for the girls’ menu, but Bonnie says that’s a cop out and she wants to do rabbit (yuck). Jen is really annoyed because Bonnie doesn’t know how to cook rabbit.

"That's not how we do it at Le Bec-Fin."

Tension thickens as the teams head back downstairs to present their menus. Here is an extremely mature exchange between Bonnie and Jen:

Bonnie: Why are you shaking your head?
Jen: Because I can.
Bonnie: Ah Jen, don’t turn into a bitch now please. Come on.
Jen: Don’t call me a bitch.
Bonnie: Don’t act like one.

I’m ready for hair pulling, but Chef Ramsay is ready to see the menus, so the catfight will have to wait. He looks at the Red Menu and asks Julia which of the dishes is her influence. She answers honestly, saying none of them are and she wanted to do steak and shrimp. Chef Ramsay tells the Red Team to swap something out for steak and shrimp. Ha! Next he looks at the Blue Menu and tells the guys that their menu is ambitious and he wonders if they can pull it off. The guys are confident that they can. Everyone starts their prep work.

Bonnie is having trouble with her bacon so she asks her team for suggestions and is met with dead silence. Sous Chef Mary Ann reminds the girls that this is still a team effort, which causes Jen to snap, “Chef! It’s fine! If I make a friend that’s great, and if not that’s fine too. Like I’m just here to compete.” Sheesh! Jen, your team still has to win for you to be totally safe, my gosh. Bonnie complains that she can’t work with Jen like this, but there’s no more time for their nonsense because Chef Ramsay orders Jean Philippe to OPEN HELL’S KITCHEN!

At last we get to find out what is on each team’s menus – well at least the main courses. The Red Menu features New York strip steak from Julia, seared Ahi tuna from Jen, and a bacon wrapped leg of rabbit from Bonnie. The Blue Menu features turbot and mushroom consommé from Brad, lamb chop and herbed gnocchi from Brad, and sautéed chicken breast with truffle cassoulet... from Brad. What, no macaroni and cheese? Herr Narrator describes the Red Menu as “classic” and the Blue Menu as “sophisticated.” Let’s see what the diners prefer to eat.

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo...

The orders start coming in and they are all for the Red Kitchen. The guys stand there with their arms folded looking around. Right away there is trouble cooking Bonnie’s rabbit dish. Chef Ramsay wants to know whose idea it was and Bonnie just says it was a collaboration. Liar, liar. No one wanted rabbit. Jen confessionals that she is really upset with Bonnie for not knowing how to make the bleeping rabbit and thinking she could treat it like a chicken drumstick. In the kitchen Jen is getting nearer and nearer to flying off the handle. Chef Ramsay is throwing out suggestions, telling them he can’t do it for them and they need to pull it together.

After a half hour the Blue Kitchen finally starts getting some orders. Brad has more or less taken charge, but as soon as he sends food out it starts coming back in. “Stone cold ravioli” is the problem and Brad gets a sound tongue lashing from Chef Ramsay. The Red Team is getting their appetizers out – namely Julia with the rabbit leg (which I thought was an entrée). One diner says the rabbit leg is the best thing he’s ever tasted in his entire life. I wonder if Bonnie had some friends come to Hell’s Kitchen tonight because that is a bit surprising. Well guess which entrée seems to be extremely popular this fine evening. It’s the New York strip steak. You know, the one that very nearly didn’t even make it onto the menu? The one that wasn’t impressive and would have been a cop out? Everyone wants to eat it. And not only that, Julia is doing a stellar job cooking the steak and getting it out. Chef Ramsay is congratulating and encouraging her.

The Blue Team finally gets an order for their lamb dish and Rock is worried while he watches Josh trying to cook it. Josh’s pan isn’t hot enough, but he insists that he knows what he’s doing. When he brings the lamb to Chef Ramsay it’s all wrong. One of them is good, but most of them aren’t. Chef Ramsay bursts out with the line of the evening: “This is where it separates the bleeping chef… from a DONKEY!” He then pulls Josh over and screams in his ear, “You can’t cook!”

Chef RamJam and the Donkey
share an intimate moment.

Josh scurries back to his station to try and salvage something from the lamb and he says, “We’re coming, Rock.” Chef Ramsay says, “Yeah you’re coming. So is your bleeping elimination!”

It turns out that the menus did comparably well, despite Herr Narrator’s earlier misdirection. There are 52 orders from the Red Menu and 48 orders from the Blue Menu. The guys are still struggling because of Josh’s snafu with the lamb and they start muddling orders together, much to Rock’s dismay. Chef Ramsay is good and ticked off, telling Josh he wouldn’t trust him with a hot dog stand. Out in the dining room things are awkward because people at the same tables have ordered off of different menus and are receiving food at different intervals. So at a table where the lady ordered from the guys and the guy ordered from the girls, the guy is almost done with his food while the lady is still waiting for hers to arrive. This reflects poorly on Chef Ramsay’s restaurant, which means more screaming at Josh to make with the lamb. Josh brings over his second batch of lamb and Chef Ramsay almost loses it because this time it’s rare. He begs Brad and Rock to step in and help pull Josh out of the hole he has dug for himself. Brad and Rock both say, “Yes Chef!” and then just continue on with what they were doing. Josh gets no help and has to struggle on by himself with the lamb.

Chef Ramsay heads into the Red Kitchen to discover that Jen has left the service area to begin her clear down. He yells at her to get back on service and then he does an imitation of Jen walking around with limp wrists cleaning instead of cooking.

"This is you, Jen."

Jen complains in a confessional that she does not walk around that way, and in that exact moment the editors show us footage of Jen walking around with limp wrists. Hilarious! While Jen stands there extremely offended Chef Ramsay tells her to quit looking like a sad puppy and get a grip.

"It is not!"

Josh has finally managed to properly cook some lamb and Chef Ramsay is relieved to have the Blue Team back on track. They manage to catch up on their entrée service. Now it’s time for Chef Ramsay to tell the Red Team that the guys have overtaken them and they’ve lost their edge. Then he catches Bonnie working a pan over a burner that hasn’t even been turned on. She gets a shocked look on her face and Chef Ramsay starts imitating her cluelessness, saying if they go at her pace no one will ever get fed. Bonnie lapses into helpless mode.

"Oooh, it has to be on to be hot?
I'm not cut out for this."

A Blue diner sends her turbot back, saying it’s very bland. This is just after Chef Ramsay has hounded Brad about making sure the consommé that goes with the turbot is full of flavor. Chef Ramsay calls Brad over for a taste test of what looks like “baby vomit” and then orders him to start again. The girls, meanwhile, have let themselves get all flustered and now none of them knows what is going on and they’re running around like chickens. You know it’s bad when Chef Ramsay starts kicking the bins. The girls somehow regroup and get their entrées out. One of the diners even says that the food is so good it was worth the wait. As the girls move on to dessert Bonnie is whining that no one is telling her what is going on and Jen is extremely irritated with Bonnie’s whining. Miraculously both kitchens successfully complete their dinner services and now it’s time to get ready to face the music.

The music.

Chef Ramsay lines the chefs up and tells the girls that they had no stamina tonight. The guys’ problem was that they refused to work as a team. He points out that Josh was a disaster, but his biggest concern was that neither Brad nor Rock stepped in to help salvage the situation. Shame on them. Tonight there are no winners in Hell’s Kitchen, but there was one individual who was consistent and impressive. And that was… Julia! Hooray! Finally Julia gets a shout out after weeks and weeks of great performances going without praise. Her steaks were amazing – not one of them came back. But Chef Ramsay is dismayed that it almost didn’t even make it onto the menu, and then turned out to be the most popular dish of the night! Julia is to nominate one girl for elimination. The guys must collectively nominate someone.

Upstairs Bonnie thinks she will be nominated, but makes her case that she is very creative and has “a good tongue.” Oh Bonnie, maybe say things in your head before you say them out loud. Josh tells the guys that he is sick and tired of being their whipping boy. He whines that he’s been nominated for elimination too many times. Rock confessionals that if Josh would quit screwing up he wouldn’t have to worry about that.

Back in front of the firing squad Julia nominates Bonnie, saying that she has great culinary experience, but trouble with execution. Brad tells Chef Ramsay that the guys have nominated him for taking too much control over the menu. Rock clarifies, saying that Brad’s attempt at leadership today is what led them to be unsuccessful. When Brad tries to defend himself, he says that he steps up where other people wait in the wings.

"I'm irreplaceable."

Rock senses a passive attack and pipes up saying, “Say my name!” Brad says that he thought he’d be politically correct about it, to which Rock responds, “Oh there ain’t no politically correct – we tryin’ to win a competition. Say my name!” Say my name, say my name. If no one is around you, say baby I love you. Have you been running games? Say my name, say my name. You’re acting kind of shady – ain’t calling me baby. Why the sudden change?

Well hello, Beyoncé.

Bonnie defends herself the same way she always does – saying she has a great palate and creativity and that she just needs more time in the kitchen to hone her skills. Now comes the black and white reverie which Chef Ramsay ends by saying, “The person leaving Hell’s Kitchen is… Bonnie – wake up! Brad, take your jacket off. You’re leaving Hell’s Kitchen.” Another fake out!

"My good tongue saved me again."

On his way out Brad concludes that Rock and Josh kicked him off for being their biggest competition. Well, maybe. Chef Ramsay reminds them all that to be successful as individuals they first have to be successful as teammates. I think that’s the big reason why the guys were in the doghouse tonight, personally. Josh and Rock sign off with their usual arrogance, reminding us all that they’re still here because they are so freaking amazing. Brad’s picture withers in flames as he burns in Hell’s Kitchen.

Next week the Red Team and Blue Team are melted down into one little Black Team that will be cooking for some “VIP’s.” (Jen thinks it’s Mariah Carey.) Also, Jen and Rock fight in the kitchen and someone is kicked out of the kitchen completely. Julia and Rock both cry. Stay tuned!

So what say you? Is Josh just holding on by a thread? Will Bonnie’s looks get her through yet another week of kitchen disasters? Do tell me your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

No comments: