Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mum's the Word!

The Final Three in all their lunacy

So I got really close to actually cooking something for Chez Honey Gangsta this week, but unfortunately, the dish only made it to the boundaries of my mind. I did think hard about it though – and it might just happen before next week’s recap. RamJam is having a positive effect on me after all! If only I could cook telepathically while fast-forwarding through So You Think You Can Dance. Ooh, and dance telepathically. I’d get a great workout followed by a great meal and all without leaving the couch! But I digress. The important thing here is that this week on Hell’s Kitchen we go from three to two with a little maternal nudge to help us through it.

As we continue our adventures in Hell’s Kitchen we join our three questionable finalists leaving the kitchen after their pitiful fights and the even more pitiful decision to send Julia away. As they retreat to sit in clouds of smoke Rock pulls Jen aside and apologizes to her for acting like a complete jerk during dinner service. Of course he prefaces it by saying that he doesn’t like the way she talked to him, but whatever, he’s sorry. Jen says that she’s sorry too and they hug it out. Rock confessionals that he learned the importance of clearing the air by messing up with his wife. Too bad he didn’t learn to just not be a twerp in the first place, but I guess we’ll take what we can get.

All three finalists are pretty sad to see Julia go. I think deep down they all know that Julia was the most karmically deserving of them – and yes, I just made up the word “karmically.” Bonnie tells us yet again that she never thought she’d get this far and she doesn’t think she is worthy to be here. Well you’re right Bonnie; you’re not worthy to be here. Then Jen and Bonnie discuss Rock’s background, saying he came from nothing and has had to work so hard to get here. Well… he’s still mean.

Bright and early the next morning, Chef Ramsay is in fine form, telling the finalists about some of the great chefs he’s worked with over the years and this morning he is introducing them to the very best of all. Ooh, is it Wolfgang Puck? Nope. It’s Chef Ramsay’s mum. How cute! She comes in carrying a silver domed platter and Chef Ramsay warns the chefs not to curse.

"I've brought a sweet for wee Gordon."

Under Mum Ramsay’s silver dome is a dish of macaroni and cheese, which Chef Ramsay says is his very favorite. He goes on to explain the concept of comfort food, bringing images to people from their childhood with foods that are familiar to them. But in fine dining, comfort food has to have a spin to be something unique. For example, Chef Ramsay’s fancy version of macaroni and cheese contains roasted lobster, black truffle shavings and aged parmesan cheese – how fru fru.

Mum Ramsay's been completely shown up.

For today’s challenge the chefs are going to do their own fancy version of an American comfort food. I call total BS on this one. “Top Chef” did this EXACT SAME CHALLENGE about three weeks ago. This is straight from the Bravo website:
The Elimination Challenge called for the chefs to reinvent family classics like lasagna and franks and beans.” Is there a finite number of cooking challenges available to the human brain? If so, these cooking competition shows are all doomed. So let’s see if the Hell’s Kitchen version of this goes down any differently from the Top Chef version.

Sous Chefs Scott and Mary Ann wheel in two tables on which are lined up five domed platters. Each chef has to pull a dome off to see which dish they’ve been assigned. On Top Chef the dishes were lined up and they got to choose by sight – it wasn’t a surprise to be found under the dome. Bonnie goes first and picks franks and beans. Yup, that was one of the Top Chef dishes too, as you just read. Bonnie thinks this must be a British import, not an American classic. Uh, Bonnie? Is there any sort of brain in there at all? You didn’t draw figgy pudding or strawberries and cream. You didn’t even draw fish and chips. Franks and beans, airhead! What do you think franks are? They’re hot dogs! No one goes to England to eat hot dogs – wake up! Oh, she’s an idiot. Jen picks fried chicken – another one they did on Top Chef. American enough for you Bonnie? She does a Napoleon Dynamite “Lucky!” so I guess fried chicken would have worked for her. Rock gets spaghetti and meatballs, which wasn’t exactly on Top Chef, but lasagna was, so close enough. They have one hour and can use whatever they find in the “well-stocked” pantry.

Bonnie immediately goes into helpless mode, asking Sous Chef Scott what on earth franks and beans could possibly be. Do I cut it up? Does it go in a bun? What’s a frank? What’s a bean? Do you like my hair? The closest comparison she can come up with is a chili dog. There is no way she could honestly be this ignorant about franks and beans – it is ridiculously self-explanatory. She confessionals that the amazing ingredients available in the Hell’s Kitchen pantry get her mind working. Well good. Hopefully she will be able to concoct something resembling a sausage and a legume. Especially since the sausages are already made.

"So I'm making banks and freans? That's English, right?"

Jen decides to upgrade her fried chicken into a chicken roulade. She’s pounding, spreading and rolling. Rock is presenting three different versions of spaghetti and meatballs. He says it’s because he wants to have depth and range, but I’m thinking that he’s giving the judge three chances not to hate him. He asks around for the time and Chef Ramsay says they’re on their last three minutes. Rock clarifies that he meant thyme, the herb, and wants to know if anyone has taken it. Oh those pesky kitchen homophones! What happens when someone wants a pair of pears? Or if a chef has to desert the dessert? Mass chaos? The seconds count down and the chefs bring their domes over to be judged. For her fancified franks and beans Bonnie has made bruchetta. Um, what? Bruchetta is bread with tomatoes on it – was she really that confused about franks and beans? Even the girl on Top Chef with this assignment did chicken sausage with lentils. See how that’s an evolution of franks and beans? Bonnie has a mushroom cream leek sauce, which still doesn’t get me any closer to a hot dog or a bean, but what do I know?

Do I spy traces of a frank? Or a bean?

Rock presents his “study of spaghetti,” one with cream sauce, one with veal, and one with chorizo and pork. See, that actually is a version of his original dish – three versions really. Jen has done a fried chicken roulade stuffed with crab meat, spinach and goat cheese – that sounds amazing. And it sounds like a fancy version of fried chicken, imagine that. I guess Bonnie interpreted the challenge not so much as “make a fancy version of American comfort food” but rather as “make whatever you want.” Chef Ramsay must really think she’s cute.

Chef Ramsay drops the bomb that there are some special judges here to taste the food. Using my powers of deductive logic from last week’s previews and the chefs’ reactions as we go to commercial, I’m guessing it’s family members. Sure enough, we come back to Chef Ramsay welcoming the mums, Carol (Jen), Joyce (Bonnie) and Carol (Rock).


Naturally the chefs are overjoyed and can hardly wait for the judging to end so they can talk to their mums. The mums all have to taste all three dishes and then collectively decide on a winner. The chefs must, of course, remain completely mum in the background. Another homophone! They’re popping up everywhere today. There is a lot of whispering as the mums confer over which is the winning dish. It’s a unanimous decision and the winner is… Jen. I would have picked her just based on the descriptions. Yum, yum, yum. Jen falls to pieces bawling over her win – I almost thought she was Bonnie for a second. She keeps throwing herself to the ground in a squatting position, apparently the only way to deal with her joy. Jen’s prize is that she and her mum get to have lunch with RamJam and his mum. A luncheon! Smashing! Rock and Bonnie are sentenced to cleaning the dorms (just like their mums used to clean their rooms), and they have to bid their mothers farewell. As Chef Ramsay explains the cleaning, I find it amusing that he says “Hoovering” instead of vacuuming. Will they also be “Pledging” and “Cloroxing?” They get a few minutes for hugs and kisses and then the mums have to leave. Bonnie starts whining right away.

Sous Chef Scott brings Rock and Bonnie a huge box of cleaning supplies and he’s brimming with instructions – one of which is to “Windex” the glass – there you have it. Bonnie immediately says that she’ll make the beds because that’s all she’s good at. Rock marvels once again over this so-called nanny job of hers and I begin to wonder not only if Bonnie has ever worked, but also if she’s ever lived out of her mother’s house. Didn’t she go to college? Who doesn’t know how to wash dishes or clean a bathroom? Who doesn’t have to do these things regularly? Apparently Bonnie. She confessionals that she’s actually a personal chef who does a little bit of babysitting. Ah, the truth comes out. This family she works for must have an entire staff of people to do all those things Bonnie never learned – the chef doesn’t wash the dishes? Whatever.

Over at the fancy pants luncheon Chef Ramsay is giving Jen a little pep talk about how she is to perform at the next dinner service. He’s trying to get her to promise to be accurate, but the adjectives she comes up with are loud, assertive and in control. Apparently she and Chef Ramsay have different ideas of where she’s falling short.

Jolly good fun!

Back at the dorms Rock confessionals that it was okay hanging out with Bonnie all day. This is while we are shown a montage of Bonnie nagging and complaining, whining that she’s hungry… then she’s tired. Oh those lucky children (or animals) that she babysits! She’s really this close to getting her own restaurant to run? I weep.

Chef Ramsay has one more surprise for Jen and her mum. After lunch they get to have a one thousand dollar shopping spree at Surfas, a “kitchen equipment shoppe” as Chef Ramsay explains. Jen does another dive into crouching position while gasping and sputtering her thanks. Chef Ramsay is cracking me up in this scene: “Welcome to Surfas, yes? It’s an amazing shoppe, yes? A thousand dollars, yes? Spend it wisely, yes? Enjoy, yes?” Yes Chef! Jen freaks out and buys almost everything in sight. Yes?

Round silver pans, yes?

When Jen returns to the clean dorms, she and Bonnie share a moment of hugging and trading stories about their days, which causes Rock to reflect on his own isolation. He doesn’t care of course, because it keeps him focused. All three start wondering about tomorrow’s dinner service and Jen confessionals that she’s going to be strong, assertive and in control. Um, Jen? Accurate! That was the one word RamJam wanted you to remember. Remember? Rock hits the hay saying that tomorrow is going to be “great for Rock.” Ugh.

Rock ponders his possible elimination.

Did you know that tonight is the biggest dinner service of their lives? They get to work prepping and we hear from each one of them about their self-confidence and that each is sure of winning the grand prize. Filler! Chef Ramsay lines them up and tells them that tonight they will each take a turn at the pass – meaning they will be the ones yelling out the orders and sending the food to the diners, you know, what Chef Ramsay usually does. This will separate the cooks from the leaders. “You run the kitchen, or the kitchen runs you!” Yes? First they get to take turns practicing by pretending that Chef Ramsay is an errant cook and they need to put him in his place. Bonnie is first and she nails it. Gee, who would have guessed that Bonnie would excel at throwing a screaming tantrum? I for one am astounded. Rock is next and suddenly he becomes Mr. Nice Guy. Chef Ramsay tells him he sounds stupid and to try again. Maybe Rock needs some emotional recall. Remember when Jen’s lobster bisque won the photo shoot challenge Rock? Try that one. Or how about being summoned to the photo studio just to empty the trash? Maybe just hearken back to the last dinner service when Bonnie and Jen both made you look like a jerk – where oh where is the old familiar Rock? Next Rock just keeps demanding to know why Chef Ramsay “messed up.” “Just tell me why!” What? When has RamJam ever asked why? What a waste of time – just tell him to do it right. Lame. I guess Chef Ramsay is satisfied because it’s Jen’s turn and she is louder than usual, but almost talking in slow motion. Chef Ramsay tells her to imagine that he’s just microwaved her golden retriever which speeds her up a little. I’m still not trembling in fear, but let’s move on, yes?

Jean Philippe opens Hell’s Kitchen and the orders come pouring in. Everything is moving along smoothly and then Chef Ramsay summons Scott and Mary Ann over to discuss a sabotage. They are each to make a mistake or two while the chefs take their turns at the pass. This will help RamJam test out their quality control skills. Jen is first at the pass and she is completely befuddled when Chef Ramsay hands her an order. You see Jen, you need to tell the chefs what has been ordered – like Chef Ramsay does. Catch up! Mm, ketchup. Homophone! With a twinkle in his eye, Sous Chef Scott brings up a plate of spaghetti and crab – minus the crab. Sabotage. Wahahahahaha. It goes right under Jen’s nose and she sends it on out. Chef Ramsay is disgusted and has a fit, makes Jen taste the dish to identify the missing crab, and then start all over again. Busted!

"I think I've been ambushed."

Scott brings up some overcooked bloody risotto that she manages to catch so she thinks she’s redeemed herself. Now she’s trigger-happy though and tries to veto some sauce that is actually fine. That’s enough Jen. Who’s next?

Rock is up and just as he starts to get comfy, Sous Chef Scott is plotting another sabotage. I have to say that Rock and Bonnie have the advantage of knowing from watching Jen’s turn that they will be sabotaged, so they’re on the lookout. Rock gets some monk fish that is missing its ham and I’m waiting for him to ask Scott why. Instead he just tells him to do it over. So Chef Ramsay is happy with Rock’s sabotage spotting skills, but not with his ability to keep the kitchen going at speed. Bonnie mentions that Rock has been an executive chef so he should have experience with the pass and be better. I agree – he’s too pokey.

Bonnie gets her shot now and she immediately messes up, calling out the wrong order and sounding a bit confused. Will she cry? Scott instigates his latest sabotage, which is non-crispy-skinned pigeon. Are they seriously serving pigeon? Aren’t pigeons just garbage birds? Unless pigeon is code for something else I’m a little grossed out. Bonnie spots the erroneous pigeon and sends it back. Well spotted, yes? Then she sends back some bloody risotto that Jen did – and not as a sabotage. Well this is interesting. Apparently it isn’t seasoned enough. Also Jen has overcooked a bunch of rice, setting them back even further. Uh oh. Bonnie’s done and Chef Ramsay finishes out the service. I don’t think Jen proved to be – what’s the word – accurate!

"Bloody Hell's Kitchen, what'll I do?"

At the post-dinner lineup Chef Ramsay tells them that this has been their best service yet, but it wasn’t perfect. They all had highs and lows with their turns at the pass and now they have to go upstairs to think about making their cases to be in the final two. Chef Ramsay says it’s going to be tough for him to end one of their dreams tonight and I actually believe him. I wouldn’t have in the beginning, but he seems to be fond of these last few standing – although I’m still not sure why with Bonnie.

Now comes the usual pontificating from everyone about why they are each the most deserving and how much they’ve learned, how far they’ve come, yadda, yadda, yadda. Jen thinks she really deserves this, Bonnie is very impressed with how long she’s lasted, and Rock is wanting this for his family – basically everything we’ve heard a million times. Downstairs they each make their usual cases: Bonnie has gotten better with each service, she can be a leader, she’s really fun to look at, etc. Jen lives for food, she feels at home in the kitchen and her confidence is growing. Rock says he’s a leader and he came here to win – plus we should all be grateful to him for existing. Chef Ramsay does one more black and white reverie about everyone’s highs and lows for the evening and then announces… “Rock, you’ve got to go… into the finals!” Oh, man! Another fake out! So obviously it’s going to be Rock and Jen in the finals, right? Nope. Jen’s going home. Oh brother! This has to be “Virginia Syndrome” because there is no way Bonnie is better than Jen, dumpster diving aside. It is absolutely ridiculous to put Bonnie in the finals and all that means is that Rock is guaranteed to win and that really chaps my hide. Everybody cries while Jen takes off her jacket and we have flashbacks of her journey while she bids us farewell, promising us that she’ll be successful. Aw, goodbye Jen. You should never have lost to Bonnie.

Now Chef Ramsay has one last surprise for the two finalists: Rock’s wife and Bonnie’s parents are standing behind them. So this is the woman who lives with Rock. Bonnie tells her dad she doesn’t think she’s going to be a teacher anymore. Rock wonders aloud if they’ll give him a “conjugal.” Eeeewww, gross. That was not classy. TMI! Chef Ramsay tells them that their biggest challenge is still ahead of them and just then a huge divider comes crashing down from the ceiling – but on purpose. It scares the pants off of Bonnie and Rock – and not in the way Rock was alluding to a second ago. Ooohhh the suspense!

"Conjugal visit?"

Next week both Bonnie and Rock think they’re going to win – ha ha! They have to redesign Hell’s Kitchen and take it all the way to the end. We get a return visit from the eliminated chefs to accompany us to the grand finale. Who will it be? Too bad it won’t be someone I like.

So what do you think? I mean, obviously Rock is the better chef, but he’s just such a creep. Which is the lesser of the two evils?

Thanks for reading, yes?
-Honey Gangsta

1 comment:

Jeanette said...

Mmmmmm, homophones, yes?