10 Thoughts on Hell's Kitchen — Episode 6-13, Part I

OK, I got my large coffee from Donuts, so let’s get to the two-hour Season Finale of Hell’s Kitchen, yes?

1) The next day, Chef Ramsay talks about Whistler, British Columbia and about how it’s going to be crazy when the 2012 Olympics happen up there. Behind him are three domes, and each one has a world cuisine type under it. Ariel draws China. Stoner Dave picks India. Scheming Kevin gets Mexico. The pantry is stocked with ingredients from those three cuisines. We’ve only got two hours here so let’s jump into our–

2) Reward challenge: make an entree. Stoner Dave’s never made anything Indian before, and is looking to just India-cize something he knows how to make. This laser-guided plan ensures that he’s the last one to start prepping. But all of the chefs finish on time (of course), so let’s eat! Chef Ramsay’s not the only one tasting, though. He’s got three chefs, each an expert in the cuisine type, to help him—Vikas Khanna (India), Thomas Ortega (Mexico), and Eddie Wong (China). Wha’d ya make?

Ariel: Some kind of noodle dish in a broth with duck (she completely blanks on what she was going for). It receives faint praise, but no one is blown away by it.
Scheming Kevin: Orange and cumin pork tenderloin with mole sauce, but oops! Scheming Kevin forgot to put the sauce on the plate. Chef Ortega believes the dish is very obviously missing it, but the other two guest judges like it.
Stoner Dave: Mung bean puree and seared pork tenderloin. He explains that he doesn’t make Indian food, and that he thought that using beef would be wrong. Chef Khanna politely explains that pork wouldn’t really fly in Indian food due to the population of Muslims. But the flavors were good.

3) Heere’s your winner, Stoner Dave! He’ll get lunch prepared by the guest judges and the opportunity to talk to them and pick their brains. He also gets a set of cookware, the same brand stuff the chefs have been using in Hell’s Kitchen all season. The losers will be prepping the kitchen, and sprucing up the dining room. Stoner Dave gets to eat with his fiance and his sister at the chef’s table, as well. In the dining room, Scheming Kevin and Ariel slog their way through polishing silverware and ironing tablecloths.

4) Dinner service challenge: Chef Ramsay needs to find out who can run a restaurant, which means each of them will take a turn running the pass. For the sixth time in as many seasons, the chefs are told that they need to run the kitchen…or the kitchen will run them. It’s time for our final dinner service! Sous Chefs Scott and Heather will help out where needed. This also means they will be sabotaging dishes for each contestant to test whether or not they look at and taste the food prior to it being served to the diners.

5) First up, Scheming Kevin. His communication is good, and the chefs seem to be following his lead well. Things can’t be rosy the whole time, though, and the first sabotage is coming in the form of a halibut being used in place of a sea bass. He catches it! Chef Ramsay praises his eye. And here’s where we get to see the contestants act like perfectionists. Scheming Kevin claims Ariel is slowing him down. She sends up a too-done lamb, and Scheming Kevin asks for it again. And again. She thinks Scheming Kevin’s got it out for her. I imagine this will translate into her sending back everything Scheming Kevin makes when it’s her turn to run the pass.

6) Next up is Stoner Dave. He calls out orders, and starts yelling at everyone in a very Ramsay-like manner. This is a different side of Stoner Dave. It does result in food leaving quickly, so bully for him. His sabotage comes in the form of spinach puree being used instead of asparagus puree in the risotto. He tastes it, and sends it out! Chef Ramsay calls for a stop, and takes Stoner Dave out to the dining room to tell him what mistake he missed. Ramsay pushes him to run things better. Stoner Dave’s next sabotage is a tuna sent to the pass with no sear and no sesame seeds. Again, Stoner Dave lets it go out, and Chef Ramsay curses a storm at him to let him know that he’s got to run the pass better. After that, Stoner Dave starts spotting errors and finds a groove.

7) Our first hour is winding down, so it’s Ariel’s turn at the pass. Her first sabotage test is a parsnip puree in place of mashed potatoes. She lets it go, and when Ramsay orders her to taste it she only guesses that it needs more cream. She doesn’t recognize the taste of parsnip. Her leadership skills seems to be intact, as orders are going out. Since she missed the first test, it’s time for another. This time salmon is used in place of a sea bass. She catches that one, and yells at Sous Chef Scott to re-fire it. But since her time at the pass is almost done, here comes the Scheming Kevin drama. He claims to not know what she’s calling out, and starts to slow down. He even asks Sous Chef Heather what the orders are, and apparently this is the “breaking the rules of the kitchen” we were teased with at the end of last week’s episode. Wow. How, um, controversial? Chef Ramsay lays into Kevin for not asking Ariel to repeat the order, but then gives it to Ariel for not maintaining control over the kitchen. She interviews that Scheming Kevin is trying to make her look bad.

8) Well, service is completed. Chef Ramsay tells us that the real test tonight was [obviously] the test of leadership at the pass. He claims that each chef had ups and downs, and wants each one to come up with the one person they feel does not belong in the final two. Upstairs, no one knows what to do. Scheming Kevin claims it was Ariel’s communication skills that caused his slowness. No one is yelling or throwing someone under the proverbial bus, so we go downstairs for–

9) Elimination time.
Scheming Kevin, who should go? Ariel, because she’s not “there” yet.
Ariel, what’s your thought? Scheming Kevin, because he didn’t have her back at the pass. Oh awesome, a tie.
Stoner Dave care to resolve this? Ariel, because of her time at the pass.

Chef Ramsay’s got nothing. OK, new tactic.
Scheming Kevin, why do you belong here? He claims he’s the strongest in everything he does. He can run the Araxi restaurant.
Ariel how about you? She explains that she’s grown, she’s got potential, and she can run the Araxi. I love how these guys think they’re actually going to be running a restaurant when this is over.
Stoner Dave, your inclusion in the final two is a forgone conclusion, but how about you give us your two cents? He says that he’s led himself through this game. He can run the kitchen.

10) To find out who is advancing to the final, two screens fall from the ceiling. The advancing chefs will be projected onto the screens. And first up is Stoner Dave! Chef Ramsay announces with considerable less enthusiasm that the second person in the finals is Scheming Kevin. Ariel says her goodbyes, and is given a praise-filled sendoff by Chef Ramsay. He even allows her to keep the black jacket as a reminder of her time in Hell’s Kitchen. The final two have a limo waiting for them, as we head into the second hour.

Next time: No next time this time, we’re going right into our second hour! What are you waiting for? Head on over to Part II for the exciting conclusion!

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