Thursday, August 16, 2007

Surprise of the Century!

The End!

So tonight actually is the finale of Hell’s Kitchen Season 3, thank goodness. I’ve learned a lot this season, including how to make bloody risotto, what turbot is, and that you shouldn’t take food out of the garbage and serve it – wait, I already knew that. I am still fuzzy on the difference between flan and crème
brûlée, so if you know, please enlighten me. (Donna Martin Graduates?) Chez Honey Gangsta still has a limited menu, but it used to have no menu at all, so I would call that progress, yes? All right, let’s see how this ends up, as if there is any question. Please join me now for our Grand Finale…

As we pick back up, everyone heads up to the dorms to talk about the Big Dinner Service. The girls talk about the good old days of beating the boys at challenges and they all tell Bonnie that they are here for her. Julia adds in that she wishes it were her, but she’ll be here for Bonnie. I’ll let that comment go because I think she was trying to explain her many tears. That’s enough, though. Then she tells us again that she thinks Rock deserves it more.

"So if Josh waits here, in the bathroom, we'll have a shot."

Rock wastes no time kissing and hugging, but busts out a chart he made of the different stations and gets the guys to work making a huge list for the dinner prep. Bonnie reclines on the couch, casually telling the girls that she doesn’t exactly have recipes for her dishes, nor has she tasted them all yet, but those are details. Tonight will be great! Yeah, it’s always a brilliant idea to just wing it at an event on which your entire career hangs. Actually having a plan of attack is highly overrated.

"No worries, the food is downstairs, chopping itself."

Downstairs as prep begins Rock reminds us that he is placing his fate in the hands of his team – but he controls their hands, so it should be good. Why does everything he says bother me so much? So arrogant. On the Red side, Bonnie offends Julia by trying to give her an instruction. Julia, I love you honey, but you’ve got to just eat it on this one. Yes, the situation sucks, but it’s over and you’re not winning any points by being snotty. Where’s the upbeat Julia we all knew and loved?

Out in Bonnie’s Euro Shabby Chic dining area, there is a wallpaper shortage – ew, how tacky! In Rock’s Blue Kitchen, Josh is already messing stuff up on the prep. Rock takes him for a little walk to give him a pep talk and lets us know that he (Rock) is a good director, so handling Josh shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Well, at least Josh isn’t crying, right? Back in the Red, Melissa overcooks some prawns, then starts over and overcooks them again. Could this be a “savotage?”

Busy busy bees making all kinds of honey.

Now it’s time for each of the finalists to present samplers of their menus to Chef Ramsay. Bonnie goes first with a fried goat cheese salad (like what the kids ate at Alhambra High School!), fettuccini with Bonnie Sauce and Thai prawns, and a chocolate truffle array for dessert. Mmm… truffles. Well wouldn’t you know it – the Thai prawns are overcooked! Maybe it’s time to rotate Melissa off of prawn duty, what do you think? Chef Ramsay also says that Bonnie needs to “beef up” the dessert course because it just looks like something you’d have with coffee. Pass that chocolate-covered strawberry over here, I’ll take care of it! Rock’s menu starts with his glorious fried chicken and crab cake over jasmine rice, then has pan roasted prime rib eye, and a vanilla bean milkshake with chunky chocolate chip cookies. Something is terribly wrong with the starter dish because it has been way over-garlicked. I wonder if that was Vinnie or Josh, because I’m sure it couldn’t have been Rock. Then Chef Ramsay tells Rock to tone down his dessert a little, like by putting the milkshake in a martini glass because it doesn’t have to be so huge. That’s actually a great idea. It would be terribly charming to receive a milkshake in a martini glass. It also lessens the amount, thereby reducing my chances at violent vomiting due to overstuffing. Chef Ramsay sums it up, saying that Bonnie’s menu is light and vibrant, and Rock’s menu is substantial and robust. Yeah, yeah, let’s get on with it.

But first Chef Ramsay wants to have a look at the restaurants Bonnie and Rock have designed. Bonnie’s first and she tells RamJam that her concept is simple, but classic and elegant.

Wow, am I in Paris?

He says he likes it because it’s not intimidating. He’s also glad she brought in some area rugs because hardwood floors don’t absorb. So when the black-clad servers are spilling wine right and left, the handy dandy area rugs will absorb it all and clean-up will be a cinch! I don’t spy any mismatched china, but there are bunches of red roses on each table which I quite like.

And this must be Mississippi.

Rock comes out and Chef Ramsay calls his dining room sumptuous and elegant. Honestly it doesn’t look that different to me than before with the exception of these weird geometric panels on the walls that seem like they came out of a church basement in the 1970’s. Rock has single-sunflower centerpieces that are adorable. He tells RamJam that there are no salt and pepper shakers because his food will be seasoned properly when it comes out of the kitchen. I wouldn’t be too happy about that because nothing is ever salty enough for me. Rock says he’s focused on the food and it’s “time to grind.” Whatever Rock.

And grinding he is.

RamJam gathers Rock and Bonnie for some last minute advice and reminds them once again of his creed, “You run the kitchen, or the kitchen runs you.” Then he pulls out the final chef jackets they will wear which are all white with black piping. Apparently this is a big deal because both Rock and Bonnie are way excited over these jackets. They both go to put their jackets on and Bonnie tells us it’s a proud moment and she feels like she’s graduated to Master Chef. Rock keeps thumping his heart and telling us how wonderful he is. Have we repeated ourselves enough yet? Is it time to open the final doors already?

Rock and Bonnie gather their teams for a pep talk and they both emphasize the importance of communication, then at last Jean Philippe opens the doors to Hell’s Kitchen! Bonnie confessionals that tonight the girls are not her friends, they’re her brigade and she’s a force to be reckoned with, so look out! I’m quivering, Bonnie, seriously. Herr Narrator bursts forth with a big surprise: “Tonight’s dinner service determines who will become Head Chef and share in the profits of a multi-million dollar restaurant in the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas.” Oooohhh, that’s what this is all about. I’ve been wondering. Brad confessionals that when Rock wins, we all win. Um, no Brad. When Rock wins, the rest of you lose, and so do his future employees and not to mention the public.

And we’re off! Each kitchen gets its first order and the teams launch into service mode. RamJam is a little lost having to just stand on the sidelines so he starts to narrate for us, saying that the energy is high and everyone is off to a good start.

"I feel so useless not yelling at the donkeys."

The apps go out successfully, but the girls fail to salute Bonnie with a “Yes, Chef!” when she calls out the next order. She’s worried that they still don’t take her seriously – no one does, Bonnie – and now Julia won’t give her a time and Bonnie stands there saying, “Julia… Julia… Julia… JULIA!” Okay, sorry, I found that funny, so sue me. Yes, Julia is being a brat, but it’s kind of amusing to see Bonnie squirm. Julia admits that she just wanted to get the night over with, so she wasn’t paying attention. You weren’t paying attention when someone was calling your name repeatedly? Sour grapes much?

On the Blue side Josh is burning crab cakes. Rock shoves one in his face and tells him to do it over. Chef Ramsay pokes his head in, wondering aloud if Josh is still burning things like back in the old days. Josh tells Rock it will take one minute to do a new crab cake, but Rock wants it in 30 seconds. They go like four rounds of “One minute.” “30 seconds!” “ONE MINUTE.” “30 seconds!” My gosh! If it takes one minute to heat, it takes one minute to heat. Rock demands the crab cake after 30 seconds. Why? So he can throw it back at Josh for being undercooked? We get it Rock – you’re in charge. But that doesn’t alter the laws of physics. Yes, Josh is a retard, but thermodynamics are still ruling the pan, sorry.

"I'm still going to burn them just a little, okay?"

Bonnie is on the Red side yelling at the girls to count it down out loud for her. This is directly after Jen calls out a countdown, so I’m not sure what Bonnie is smoking. Jen whines to the camera that she was being quite vocal, so she’s getting annoyed. Now Julia tells Bonnie she needs some okra and Bonnie totally ignores her. Oh, here we go back to fifth grade, yes? Julia wouldn’t answer Bonnie, so now Bonnie won’t answer Julia. Bonnie dear, it’s not Julia’s future at stake here, so you might want to pull your head out and act like an adult. Nope. Julia can’t get her attention for love or money, so Chef Ramsay finally steps in and tells them they need to communicate. Bonnie still won’t acknowledge Julia, but her appetizers are still flowing out in good order.

Back on the other side, Josh is back to his old McDonald’s habit of cooking a whole bunch of stuff before it’s ordered – this time it’s the crab cakes. Why does he insist on making the same mistakes over and over? My gosh, I can’t believe he made it as far in the competition as he did. RamJam scolds Rock for not staying on top of Josh, which starts throwing the whole team into turmoil. Brad is worried because if Josh is lagging it causes Brad to overcook his food, and he was doing fine in the first place – it’s just a mess. Still happy you picked Josh over Julia, Rock?

There is big trouble in the Red Kitchen because the girls are down to their last four portions of fettuccini. Bonnie is furious that the girls didn’t tell her this sooner, and when she asks Melissa why, Melissa just looks at her with wide eyes and says, “I'm sorry?” Thanks Melissa, that helps.

"I swear, I had no ideer."

Bonnie is devastated because this is her signature dish with Bonnie Sauce and now it’s going to have to be served with boxed spaghetti instead of homemade fettuccini. RamJam steps in here and brings up a very good point. Bonnie has no idea how many portions they even had to begin with, so she has no business getting upset when it runs out because she didn’t prepare adequately in the first place. Yeah – shut it, Bonnie. My apologies, Melissa.

Rock is still struggling with Josh and his crab cakes. Um, why is Josh still on crab cakes? He burns yet another one and Rock yells at him that he saw that and to make with another crab cake quick. It seems they’ve only sent out one check’s worth of food in the last half hour. Not good. Chef Ramsay pulls Rock aside and tells him that Josh is totally ruining his entire service and he really needs to make a decision and get things moving. Rock’s big decision is to walk past Josh and pat his back saying, “Get it together!” Are you serious, Rock? He obviously won’t. Come on, big boss man, do some rearranging! Chicken. He confessionals that no one will stand in between him and his dream. Yeah right – no one but Josh. Josh burns a bunch more crab cakes and finally Rock yells at him to stop. He switches Josh with Vinnie and puts Josh at a station where he just has to warm things up. I’m sure he’ll burn those, too, but at least the line can proceed if someone is handling the appetizers properly. The fact that that someone is Vinnie is pretty humorous. “Rebuly, rebuly!” Vinnie even confessionals that he has no idea what to do at the fish station, but he’s got to pull it out. Rock starts shrieking at the guys to come on and pick it up! I’m sensing some desperation here and I like it.

Melissa has more bad news for Bonnie – they’re almost out of prawns now. Ha! I’m sure this is also Bonnie’s own fault for not checking during prep. But it’s also Melissa’s fault for overcooking so many of them early on. This one’s a tough call. Just as Bonnie is getting pissed off about the prawn shortage, Jean Philippe brings back a plate of boxed spaghetti with Bonnie Sauce containing cold undercooked prawns. RamJam just happens to be right there to see the whole thing. Bonnie has nothing to fill in for the prawns – no lobster, nothing. She asks Melissa to just redo the pasta with no prawns and the girls go back to ignoring her. Bonnie stands there wailing, “Have I lost my team?”

"Can't you see my white jacket with black piping?"

Julia goes, “Well I’m over here cooking every single thing that we’ve got on order, so I mean, just be happy I’m giving you your food.” JULIA! That is soooo snotty. You’re not a good loser, sweetie. Remember, you’re coming out of this with a bigger prize than Bonnie’s going to get… (foreshadowing).

Rock’s team seems to be into a good rhythm, getting out their entrées in an orderly fashion. Bonnie’s team is starting on dessert and she asks Julia to wrap something up and put in into the refrigerator. Julia delegates the task to Jen which drives Bonnie berserk and they launch into another whiny battle of wits. Julia’s mad because she’s already doing something, but Jen and Melissa aren’t busy, so why can’t one of them do it? Bonnie’s mad because she’s the boss and she told Julia to do it. Can someone just put the freaking food in the fridge? We’ve wasted triple the time arguing than it would have taken to open and close the refrigerator. This is nothing but a power struggle because Julia is so mad about losing and she’s making it personal. Bonnie is really mad and Chef Ramsay reminds her that it’s her kitchen and she needs to run it. Yeah, but it’s hard to herd around a bunch of third graders and come out with anything productive.

There's the cute milkshake martini!

Both finalists nurse their teams through the end of dessert, each practically begging the others not to let them down now. Aaaaaaand we’re done! Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and then the finalists start reflecting on what went down. Rock confessionals that Josh screwed up big time and it could really hurt his chances. Julia tells Bonnie that she did a really good job and semi-apologizes for being belligerent. She goes, “Even though we got into a minor altercation, you know I don’t hate you.” Well, that’s a relief. Julia was a huge punk tonight, but I still like her and wish her well. Rock’s wife and kids come over to tell him he did a great job and it makes him all warm and fuzzy and reminds him why he’s here in the first place. Oh how sweet, you big jerk.

At the lineup, RamJam asks Rock what he would change if he could turn back the clock. Rock says that he would go back to the Vegas tasting challenge and win so that he could have first pick and choose Jen. Jen is, of course, all aflutter at Rock’s flattery, but I wonder if he really would have chosen her. You know what they say about hindsight.

"Aw shucks. I'm glowing."

Rock adds that he never would have picked Josh. Ouch! Josh tells us he doesn’t care because he knows how to cook and he’s very good at it. Oh really? Not from what we’ve seen, Josh. Bonnie says she would have gone back and actually checked her portions at prep time. Gee, do you think Bonnie? It’s funny that you had to actually go through this to realize that you should notice how much stuff you start out with. Chef Ramsay is nice to her about it, saying the biggest lesson any chef learns is not to take anything for granted – like thinking that the cupboards will produce an infinite amount of whatever you need. RamJam says this is a tough one because they both did a good job, finished their services, and demonstrated leadership qualities. Now he’s going to study the customer comment cards, so Rock and Bonnie can go relax. Great, this means we get to have another earful of each of them talking about themselves. Fine, let’s have it.

Rock says he was born to run a kitchen and he’s happy for his team because he couldn’t have done it alone. Oh, giving others credit for a change, are we Rock? He says it didn’t go as smoothly as he would have liked, but oh well, this is it. Bonnie says she knows she had the best team and everyone’s grown a lot. She’s happy that she’s proved to everyone that she has a talent and she believes in herself. Blah, blah, blah.

The site of past contestants' ceremonial burning.

RamJam reflects back on everything and then calls Rock and Bonnie down for the Final Decision. He tells Bonnie that she surprised him the most with her extraordinary idiocy. Oops, I mean assertiveness. He says that having Rock in a kitchen makes him feel safe. Rock is “rock solid.” Oh geez. This is the hardest decision he’s ever made, etc. Please stand in front of your doors.

The great and powerful Doors of Fate

One will open up into everything you’ve ever dreamed of, and the other will be locked. Wow, that’s harsh. Rock stands there praying as he grips his door handle and Bonnie says she wants to throw up. Me too, let’s go! Chef Ramsay counts to three while the dramatic choir kicks in and we go to commercial. Praise the DVR and its fast-forward button! We come back to do the countdown once again and guess what happens… SURPRISE! Rock’s door opens! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it! Who would have ever thought in a million years? This is so unexpected! This is such a shock! I don’t even know what do to with myself! Yeah right, we all knew this is how it would end and here it is. Rock starts bawling – for once it’s not Bonnie – and the crowd downstairs goes wild. I’m actually really impressed with how Bonnie reacts (there’s a first time for everything). She comes over to Rock and hugs him, telling him how happy she is for him and she honestly does look really happy and she claps as he goes down the stairs to his family. Take note, Julia: this is how to be a gracious loser.

Aw, that's nice, Bonnie.

Rock is all proud of himself for showing his kids how to be a winner. Well… after showing them how to be a big mean bully. Bonnie says she’s happy for Rock and that the right opportunity will find her. I think she may even be a little bit relieved – like the rest of us. Champagne and confetti explode and that is the end of Hell’s Kitchen Season 3.

Whew! What do you think? I’m sure you’re just as surprised as I am, yes? So what do you say, shall we plan a TVgasm reunion in Las Vegas and NOT eat at the Green Valley Ranch and Resort? Tell me your thoughts!

It’s been a fun ride guys! Thanks so much for all of your encouragement and support. I’ll be seeing you around the ‘gasm! My next assignment is Newport Harbor, so check it out!

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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