Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wedding Reception from Hell('s Kitchen)

Speak now or forever hold your peace.

This week, Hell’s Kitchen is full of surprises. Some poor couple got talked into having a free wedding reception in exchange for allowing the Hell's Kitchen chefs to make an attempt at feeding their guests. Rock teaches us how to shop on a budget, and Melissa showcases a severe fever blister. Also, Chez Honey Gangsta has a new item on the menu: rice salad. It's not bloody risotto, but it's a step in the right direction. I made it in honor of my new niece, who was just born yesterday afternoon. I think she'll quite like it. Who loves you like Auntie Honey Gangsta? Anyway, let's get back to these silly people who allowed Fox to commandeer their special day...

We continue our adventures in Hell’s Kitchen by, per usual, joining the chefs as they slink away from Chef Ramsay’s presence. Vinnie has just been given the burning boot and it’s time to regroup and rethink. Rock provokes Josh by asking if he’s mad about being nominated. Of course, Josh says he is hot crap and doesn’t deserve to go anywhere. PS if Chef Ramsay hadn’t glimpsed his genius, he’d be long gone. Thanks, pretty boy sushi man. Rock reminds us that he thinks Josh is maxed out and the only way he could win is if Rock and Brad both fell flat on their faces. Brad thinks that the Blue Team has finally rid itself of its excess weight and they are now ready to shine. Well, it would be about time, but I’m not holding my breath. The “cooks” keep beating the “chefs” right into the ground.

The girls also have a thing or two to say. Namely Bonnie, who has a whine fest about the girls not talking to her at all on their way back upstairs from the kitchen. Considering that the kitchen is at the bottom of the stairs from the dorms, that doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but who am I to try and stop Bonnie from acting ridiculous? Melissa’s response? It’s an f-ing competition! Bonnie whines some more that maybe she doesn’t have what it takes to stay. Newsflash, Bonnie: You made it! You weren’t eliminated! Now pipe down.

After what looks like about 15 minutes since no one has left the living room or changed their clothes, Sous Chef Scott calls and orders everyone into the Hell’s Kitchen SUV’s. Josh is excited because he hasn’t seen the sun in ages. It’s over to Bristol Farms where Chef Ramsay meets everyone to tell them the news that they will be hosting a wedding reception for the first time ever in Hell’s Kitchen. Today’s challenge will be for each team to create an appetizer, a fish entrée and a meat entrée on a budget of $100 and only 30 minutes to shop. The teams race off. The guys consider duck, but then dismiss it, saying there isn’t enough time to cook it. The girls consider lamb, but Melissa steps in and tells them they should do duck. Even though Jen questions the timing of cooking duck, Melissa persuades the girls based on the price. Speaking of price, Rock confessionals that he knows how to shop because he grew up in the ghetto. You don’t just go in and grab what looks good or has the best label. It’s funny, but those rules also apply to poor people in the suburbs, like me.

Shopping on a budget with Rock

The girls succeed in staying under budget, but the guys, even with Rock’s superb shopping genius, come in almost $40 over. Was someone grabbing things that looked good? Rock? They end up putting some wine back.

Everyone runs hysterically back into Hell’s Kitchen because now that the shopping is done they only have one hour to prepare their dishes. Melissa announces to the Red Team that she is the boss and if anyone has a question they are to come to her, after all that’s what Chef Ramsay’s been doing. Julia and I quietly disagree with that proposal. Soon enough Julia asks Bonnie about searing some meat and Melissa jumps right in the middle, saying to ask her not Bonnie. Ew, that’s really annoying. The boys pat each other on the back and decide to work as a team. Julia takes some duck out of the oven and Melissa is mad that she didn’t ask permission first so she puts the duck right back in the oven and announces that she assumed everyone had a little knowledge about how to cook. She reiterates that they are to ask her questions and not assume anything. What a freaking biz-natch. The guys overcook some lentils and decide to make them into a puree.

Well guess what. The duck is overdone.

"It's not my fault. I'm the leader."

Melissa points this out to Julia who says, “I know, you made it overdone.” Melissa says it’s not her fault because it’s Julia’s station. Julia says, “You stuck it back in the oven. Don’t try it. I took it out on time.” That’s right! We all saw that too! People on reality TV who think they can deny what we all saw on camera just crack me up. Melissa is acting loony. It’s time to plate everything for a tasting with the bride and groom.

Chef Ramsay asks if everyone used their time wisely, to which the girls say no, they didn’t. Bonnie says there was too much arguing and Julia says that there was one person who wanted to do everything. Chef Ramsay asks who is in charge and Melissa says she is, but she can’t do everything; she needs help. Chef Ramsay doesn’t like this at all. “I didn’t put you in charge, madam. You’re standing there acting like some jumped up little cavewoman! Today’s challenge, quite frankly, was a team effort!” It turns out that Chef Ramsay won’t be judging the challenge, but the bride and groom, Carlota and Cyrus will. They enter to fanfare and sit down at a table. Melissa immediately raises her hand and tells Chef Ramsay that she doesn’t think the Red Team should serve their food at all. Chef Ramsay almost pops a blood vessel. He tells Melissa that she will not spoil the couple’s big day and she needs to bring her appetizer and do as she’s told. Herr Narrator tells us that the team who has the most of their dishes chosen by the wedding couple will win the challenge.

Carlota briefly ponders a culinary career.

For appetizers, the guys present crab with thyme and grapefruit aioli and the girls present puff pastry with melted brie cheese and strawberries. Carlota likes the crab and Cyrus likes the strawberry thing, but says it is more of a dessert than an appetizer. Maybe, but it sounds amazing. Crab wins. One for the boys. For the fish dish the girls present sea bass with collard greens cured in bacon. The guys present a fresh herb crusted corvina sea bass with a vegetable broth butter foam sauce. That wordy description alone would be enough to make me choose the other one. Carlota finds the foam strange - as would I - but Cyrus loves the collard greens with bacon. Mm, bacon. One for the girls! As in every challenge, it is neck and neck. For the meat entrées, Melissa decides to throw another fit and beg to not serve theirs. Chef Ramsay tells her he’s starting to get pissed, so Jen brings over their dish. She takes off her lid to present a naked little piece of overcooked duck.

4 Star Dining

Bonnie goes on and on in a confessional about how humiliating this all is. All Jen can say to Chef Ramsay and the couple is that it is a duck breast. Chef Ramsay is deeply embarrassed. Rock presents a pan seared rib eye served with wild mushroom cream sauce. Which one do you think they choose? After Cyrus tries to saw through the tough duck Chef Ramsay takes it away and covers it with a napkin. And the guys win their first challenge ever! Josh announces to the camera that it is open hunting season on “the chicks” and they are going to pick them off one by one. Poetry, Josh.

You can't stop the Rock.

Chef Ramsay apologizes to the wedding couple and turns his fury on the girls. He says he’s never been so embarrassed in this restaurant. He orders the girls out of his sight. The boys receive their first congratulations on a challenge and learn that they will be pampered at a spa for the rest of the day. Chef Ramsay tells them they will be treated like the princesses they are. Oops, he said princes – an easy mistake. Upstairs the girls have a smoke and complain about Melissa. Downstairs Sous Chef Scott brings the guys a bunch of robes to put on before they even get in the car to go to the spa. Okay, whatever. The boys twirl and prance their way back upstairs to change.

The girls continue to rehash what happened and they all tell Melissa that she ruined everything. Melissa tells them that she had to take charge because no one else would. That’s not exactly how I remember it. Julia says that they all need to respect each other and Melissa tells her to grow a set of balls. I’m beginning to suspect foul play because Melissa isn’t even making sense anymore. Yes, she’s always been annoying, but this is the first time I’ve seen crazy coming to the surface.

The guys proceed nearly naked to their spa day and the girls learn that they will be decorating the restaurant for the wedding reception. Hmm. Again, I’m wondering what truly went down behind the scenes here. Who in their right mind would leave a bunch of straight guys in charge of decorating for a wedding? I think today’s challenge had a very deliberate air about it. I’m suspecting that a producer may have gotten to Melissa. Jean Philippe introduces us to Francisco the wedding planner. He’s wearing a headset – apparently to communicate with all four people in the room, none of whom are wearing headsets of their own. Francisco is having an epiphany. He very excitedly describes the ribbon and chiffon they will be using to make the room look so beautiful you would think angels had been there. I wish I were kidding. There will be champagne flutes, bubbles, roses, ribbons, in short – a garden of gorgeousness! “Are you ready to make magic happen?” Jean Philippe is giggling.

"I see you, Jean Philippe, you handsome devil."

As the girls begin to carry out their orders, Melissa decides to try and take charge again. Sitting at a table with some ribbon, Melissa goes around the room asking everyone if they need help, if they know what they’re doing, if they have a plan, if she can do it for them. She’s out of control. Bonnie pantomimes hanging herself and I wonder why they don’t all just tell Melissa to shut it.

Oh Bonnie, you are such a card.

Over at the day spa, the boys are all enjoying a group mani-pedi. Just kidding, Rock is actually getting acupuncture to help him relax. Uh, okay. He snores away and confessionals that he wasn’t really sleeping, he was more in and out. Not so much, Rock. Brad is getting some weird massage that involves being stretched, pulled, lifted and contorted - by a girl. He says he felt strange at first, but then he really got into it.

"It's good to feel manly again."

Back at Hell’s Kitchen Melissa is still at it, this time suggesting that the girls count out the number of each color of mints to go into each little bag. Like five pink, four yellow, etc. This has to be fake. Bonnie confessionals that she is getting ready to strangle Melissa with chiffon. The guys sit around at the spa toasting each other and vowing to win tonight’s dinner service. It’s so funny – the guys toast and congratulate each other whether they win or lose. I guess when you’re drunk you’re always proud of yourself.

"I'm so glad we got Spa Day and not
something girly, like decorating."

The next morning Hell’s Kitchen is all decked out and ready for the big party.

Have angels been here?

The teams have to share recipes since the couple chose dishes from both the girls and the guys. Melissa comes over to ask Rock about making his potato dish and ends up making things way too complicated which gets on Rock’s nerves. He tells her not to ask any more questions about the potatoes. Meanwhile the wedding is going down at a church somewhere. Chef Ramsay pops in to see how things are going in the kitchen. He spots Melissa’s Rock potatoes and they have become gray. Calling both of them over he demands to know what happened. Melissa of course just says she did exactly what Rock told her to do. Rock’s dish looks great and he is really angry. He confessionals that he showed her exactly how to make this “simple-ass, dumb-ass dish.” Melissa complains that Rock kept changing the recipe and Chef Ramsay just tells her to start over because she is going to ruin the wedding. Melissa makes another batch that also turns black. Chef Ramsay screams at her to stop panicking and listen to him. He tells her if she’ll shut up she might learn something. The potatoes have oxidized and she’s going to kill someone! “Now stop being a stubborn little bleep and bleeping move your bleep!” Yay, Chef Ramsay!!

Melissa is out of time because Jean Philippe announces the arrival of the newly married couple. They enter to applause and Chef Ramsay has to yell at Melissa to join in the applause and show some respect. When the applause dies down he tells Jen to take over and see if she can get anything done. Jen tells us she’s sick of getting yelled at so it’s time for her to step up. She starts a new batch of potatoes. Since the Blue Team won the challenge yesterday they get the honor of serving the bride and groom, who don’t even order the items they chose yesterday. The groom is having bloody risotto and Josh is stirring it. Chef Ramsay asks him how long and Josh says, “Yes Chef!” Chef Ramsay almost flips out and Josh finally tells him 90 seconds. Chef Ramsay is agitated because no one can eat until the bride and groom have been served. Josh continues having all kinds of trouble with the bloody risotto so Chef Ramsay orders Brad to help him out. It’s even making the girls mad because they have to wait for the bride and groom to eat as well.

30 minutes into the reception the bride and groom actually receive their appetizers. Now things can roll. Chef Ramsay tells Josh disgustedly that he looks fabulous and should be on the cover of GQ. Huh? I mean, what I mean to say is, huh? Josh? I guess this is an insult in the same vein as Chef Ramsay imitating Melissa adjusting her fake boobs. The Red Kitchen is getting everything together and succeeding in getting their appetizers out. Chef Ramsay spots Julia tasting something and tells her that she’s tasted more in the last five minutes than she has all week. She starts to defend herself, but he tells her it’s a good thing. Julia is happy and says she’s learning that working in fine dining kitchen is all about tasting things over and over.

Out on the floor Francisco tells Jean Philippe that the parents of the bride haven’t been fed and wonders if they have priority. Jean Philippe sends Francisco to Chef Ramsay to let him know about it. Then Jean Philippe complains to the camera that he doesn’t need a wedding planner telling him what to do during his service. I love it. Jean Philippe's one big chance to be in charge. Francisco tries to get Chef Ramsay’s attention and just gets screamed at repeatedly to get out of the f-ing way.

Never tread on Jean Philippe. Or Gordon.

Francisco says, “Okay, I think that went well.” Ha ha! He tells Jean Philippe that Chef Ramsay said he would speed things up. Ha ha again!

Herr Narrator tells us that for the first time ever in Hell’s Kitchen all of the appetizers have gone out in the first hour. He also tells us that at a wedding reception all of the servings of each course have to go out at the same time and Chef Ramsay is using this as an opportunity to test the chefs’ timing. Jen asks the girls if they are ready to send out a dish and Melissa says she needs four minutes. Then she tells Chef Ramsay her food is ready. He says, “I thought you said four minutes.” Melissa turns to the girls and says, “Guys do you still need four minutes? I can go earlier.” Chef Ramsay sees all this and pulls Melissa aside to let her have it. He asks her what on earth she’s doing, accuses her of switching off, and tells her she’s become a “right little bitch.” She just stands there shaking her head.

Chef Ramsay becomes a blur of profanity.

Melissa confessionals that she’s upset but she’s not going to cry because if she goes down the team goes down, implying that they can’t possibly hold it together without her. Oh wow, she’s having delusions of grandeur now. I’m still suspicious. Jen is doing a swell job leading the girls and Chef Ramsay even claps for her a little.

In the Blue Kitchen Josh is in trouble for trying to send out some sauce that is cold. Chef Ramsay is screaming at him to get it on the stove and Josh is just tearing around in a confused circle. Is there a GQ photographer in the house? Things have become stalled in both kitchens, but the chefs are saved by the bride’s sister making a toast. Meanwhile Melissa is working on a zabaglione sauce which is being either chilled or heated in a “water bath.” I looked this up and it is a dessert or sauce consisting of egg yolks, sugar, and wine or liqueur beaten until thick and served hot or cold. Well Melissa was careless and spilled the sauce into the water bath instead of standing it upright to take on the water’s temperature. It’s ruined.

Notice Julia "forcing" Melissa to mess up.
If only she didn't have to carry everyone.

Melissa’s solution is to run over to Brad and beg to use some of his sauce. He tells her that he needs every bit of it and then Chef Ramsay comes over and screams at her to get out of the Blue Kitchen. He continues screaming at her that if she takes the boys’ sauce they will run out, “Oh piss off, will you, you little sabotage!” Melissa scrambles to start a new sauce. Melissa asks the camera why she would “savatoge” the team. It’s “sabotage,” brainiac. Despite Melissa’s continued antics, both kitchens succeed in completing their dinner services entirely. Chef Ramsay didn’t have to shut down the wedding!

The chefs all gather around while Chef Ramsay presents the happy couple with a gift from Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a honeymoon at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas! That’s a really sweet promotional gift, but don’t they probably already have a honeymoon planned? It’s the evening of their wedding day. Also, I’d be slightly disappointed if a huge network like Fox got to take over my wedding and then only sent me to Vegas. Can anyone say “Caribbean?” Everyone applauds anyway. A production assistant must have held up a poster that said “applause.”

I noticed earlier that Melissa has what looks like a herpes outbreak on her chin, but in this latest shot it got really obvious.

Major pharmaceutical sponsorship opportunities.

Chef Ramsay tells the teams that they got off to a shaky start, but were able to pull it off anyway. Then he announces the ladies as the losers, due mostly, I’m sure, to Melissa and her idiocy. Also the guys finished their service three minutes before the girls. Chef Ramsay says that Jen did the best job for the girls tonight so she gets to nominate two people for elimination. I wish Julia would get to do the nominating for once. She is consistently good, but she’s always overlooked in the end. Naturally the guys hug and congratulate each other. Just as they would if they had lost! Jen whines that she has another difficult decision and doesn’t know what she should do. Boo hoo hoo. Melissa tells Jen that she gives and gives and gets nothing back. Jen says that the way she talks to people isn’t right. Melissa confessionals that the girls wouldn’t have gotten through the first three services without her. Okay, whatever. Enough with your heroics, Melissa. Jen tells us that she’ll for sure nominate Melissa, but she can’t decide between Julia and Bonnie. Um, hello? Is there even a question? Bonnie relies on her old standby, that she knows more than Julia. Oh brother, that hasn’t stopped you from making a complete fool of yourself, Bonnie, let it go already.

The girls line up downstairs and Jen presents Melissa as her first nominee for not recognizing her mistakes and always trying to blame everyone else. Her second nominee is Bonnie because even though she did a great job tonight, in past services, Bonnie hasn’t always been on point. True dat! The nominees step forward and Melissa says that she’s carried everyone from the beginning and besides that, she knows a lot of “things.” Bonnie says that she’s just skimmed the surface of her potential and she’s not ready to go home. The chef inside of her is just starting to emerge. Chef Ramsay dispenses tonight with his black-and-white reverie and just tells Melissa to hand over her jacket. Hooray! But wait! What’s this? Instead of sending her home, Chef Ramsay tells Melissa she’s going over to the Blue Team. Shock! He hands her a blue chef jacket.

I propose a toast - to us!

The guys – particularly Rock – are not pleased. Bonnie is safe, so no one goes home. Chef Ramsay tells Melissa this is her very last chance. Melissa confessionals that she is relieved not to have to carry everybody anymore. Rock tells us that Melissa might beat Josh, but she’ll never beat Rock. Bonnie says that she’s happy that Melissa is gone to the boys’ team because now she won’t be nagging and bullying the girls all the time. Chef Ramsay says he’s never seen anyone go from strong to terrible so quickly and that’s why Melissa gets another chance. I myself, think Melissa’s antics were a set up to justify the switch. But that’s just me!

What do you all think? Was this bound to happen? Do you sense a "savatoge?"

Thanks for reading!

-Honey Gangsta

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