Thoughts on Hell's Kitchen — Episode 7-2

Fiiiiiiiiiirrre!

If the Ohio Players are on my TV then it must be time for the seventh(!) season of Hell’s Kitchen! Welcome back to summer, everyone. This year we’ve got a whole new crop of “chefs” vying for the title of Head Chef Developmental Talent at Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant in the Savoy London. I’m an episode behind but I think I can sum it up: Reward challenge ended in a tiebreaker, lots of yelling happened, people got thrown under the bus, and then someone went home. I know! It’s like I was there.

Line of the week: “Chef Ramsay is like the Jay-Z of restaurants; you don’t talk to the man like that!” courtesy of Jason.

Opening

This season’s opening of Hell’s Kitchen places our contestants literally in Hell, and they knife-surf on waves of lava, catch dead fish from boiling lakes, and sink into fire pits. I don’t know, to me this seems like they ran out of ideas. I kind of miss the camp of the circuses, mini-people, and swimming in stockpots. Red team: Autumn! Fran! Holli! Jamie! Maria! Nilka! Siobhan! Stacey! Blue team: Benjamin! Ed! Jason! Jay! Salvatore! Scott! Mikey! Andrew! Gordon Ramsay is the Devil and let’s get to cookin’!

Hometown Heroes

This year we have two chefs from the Boston area competing! Jason Santos hails from Gargoyles and Benjamin Knack cooks at Sel de la Terre. Chef Ramsay has renamed Jason, “Jay” for the season due to there being another Jason among the contestants. Though this does allow Ramsay to call him “Blue Jay,” on account of Santos’ electric blue hair. So far, they’ve been pretty low key. Neither of them did anything to garner a heavy edit this episode, with the exception of Ben’s soft-boiled egg being the tie-breaker in the reward challenge. Speaking of…

Reward Challenge

Teams were paired up and each pair had to make four eggs in five minutes: soft-boiled, scrambled, poached, and sunnyside up. Is Hell’s Kitchen really looking to Top Chef for challenge inspiration now? C’mon guys, you can do better than that. Anyway, things go to hell when Siobhan presents her four eggs, and is caught lying about their preparation. She first says that she was pressured by the team to let them help her, then backs off and says it was just Autumn who “forced” her to accept help. This leads to lots of crying from Siobhan, blubbering that she wanted to make everything herself and should have just pushed everyone else out of the way that wanted to help. I know people on this show are usually only partially connected to reality but this is ridiculous. If you didn’t want help, DON’T ACCEPT HELP.

And for the Boston guys? Jay’s scrambled egg gets bounced—literally—by Chef Ramsay. Jay feels that it just needs to taste good, not look good. This the first time you’re hearing of Gordon Ramsay, Jay? And as mentioned above, Ben’s egg clinches the win for the Blue Team.

The reward this week is a helicopter tour of Los Angeles. Hey, no one told Chef Ramsay that they hate the reward! That’s a plus. Andrew wants to fly over the projects, because he’s never seen L.A. (he’s a farmer, y’all). Jay is stoked by the reward; all he wanted to do was have dinner with chef Ramsay and go on a helicopter ride and they nailed it in one day. The punishment for the women is to take delivery of tuna, clean, gut, and fillet them. Siobhan is still crying. She thinks it will make her feel better. The rest of the team are pretty incredulous that they got thrown under the bus.

God damn, tuna is a big-ass fish.

Dinner Service—Who stepped up? No one, really.

This week’s dinner service featured tableside-prepared tuna tartare. Fran and Scott were sent out on the floor and aside from Fran not being able to read a map of table numbers they must have done fine, since we didn’t see them until the end of the episode.

Prior to the service, Chef Ramsay quizzes Salvatore on the desserts. Predictably, he cannot remember them, so he’s thrown out of the kitchen. Wow, that was fast. This seems to be the theme this season—throwing people out of the kitchen for any tiny infraction. I’m on the fence about it. On one hand, it allows for the competent people to shine, complete services, and get recognized by Chef Ramsay. On the other hand, it decreases the effect of the punishment. It does no good for the announcer to tease someone getting thrown out if it happens every week. It’s another formula the show is settling into. Chef Ramsay gives a pep talk before service, then things start failing, no one owns up to their mistakes, and we’re treating to Ramsay saying how much he doesn’t want to be there as the music unnecessarily crescendos every time he opens his mouth.

Anyway, sometime later Salvatore comes back and fumbles his way through the dessert menu, and gets to stay. Continuing the ineptitude, Autumn way over-salts the pasta water and lies about it. Then Autumn gets caught seasoning the risotto that Siobhan is currently making. When called out on it, Siobhan says that she’s trying to do it herself and isn’t being allowed. Ramsay tells Siobhan to kick people off the station. Maybe if she cries really hard?

During the commercials, we get a promo for new Ramsay show: Master Chef, in which Gordon Ramsay takes amateur chefs and makes them master chefs. Isn’t that this show? I swear, in a few years all the cooking reality shows will merge and we’ll all be watching The Next Top Hell’s Network Iron Kitchen Star Chef.

On the Blue side, Andrew is talking to the garnishes, and freaking out the team. When he tries to salvage soupy potatoes by adding in some fresh mash, Ramsay flips out on him (what he should have done is add some of the soupy potatoes to the fresh mash—putting thick stuff into a lot of thin stuff is just going to make more thin stuff). Andrew acts like an ass about it, though he thinks he’s standing up for what he did. Ramsay takes him out of the kitchen and calls him a joke to the industry. Maybe he doesn’t like farmers? JP tries to have a heart to heart with Andrew, but it doesn’t do anything. Andrew claims that he was told to leave. He’s not going to go back inside if it means he’s going to get yelled at, because he doesn’t want that. With that, he walks out. Um, OK.

Another complete service! Ramsay gives his critiques of everyone, and they’re not horrible. There is no winner, though. Oooh, oooh, lemme guess. Each team will pick someone, and then Ramsay will give everyone a second chance b/c we had a walkout.

Elimination

Jason feels that he shouldn’t leave because of his raw chicken. Shock. Now people gang up on Salvatore and say that he needs to go, because he…I dunno. Because he’s got a funny accent. The women do their own round-and-round of who should leave. No one seems to agree, and downstairs we go. Ramsay asks for the names.

Women:
Autumn. Because of the salted water, and for not being a team player.
Men:
Jason. Because he’s not a team player, and he makes it difficult for the rest of the team to work together.

Autumn doesn’t feel she should go home. She thinks it’s personal. When Ramsay asks who the worst cook on the red team is, they shuffle a bit and name Jamie. Back in line, Autumn. Jamie comes up. She’s got heart, though, she claims. Jason claims he messed up on the chicken, but powered through it and wants to stay. And with that, Chef Ramsay announces that the worst cook is going home tonight and pulls Mikey out of line. He’s gone for slowing up the team for two services. Well shet mah mouth, I thought we were going to get a pass tonight. Two down tonight. Ramsay does his bit about how he’s looking for a leader, etc.

I know this is said every season but it bears repeating—I don’t understand how the teams don’t know by now that all Ramsay wants is for the teams to name the worst-performing person for each elimination. If they try to strategize or make alliances, he’ll just pull out the one he wants anyway. That’s one of the best non-“reality show” aspects of this reality show.

Next time: Jason gets mad! And the red team doesn’t get along! And Salvatore walks out? And yelling! Which the announcer thinks is shocking, for some reason.

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