Last night on Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Gordon Ramsey kicked off the show with the guarantee to a group of assembled reporters that the contestants will complete the opening night dinner service. Say what?? Has he been kicked in the head with a soccer ball?
These people are usually tripping all over each other the first few weeks of Hell’s Kitchen. This is something that has never been done in six previous seasons. Typically, Ramsey shuts the kitchen down, disgusted and angry.
In what has become the standard first show, the aspiring chefs started the show introducing themselves to Chef Ramsey with their signature dishes.
First up, a mom and cook book chef. She made veal scaloppini and he was quite happy with it. She hugged him, and they kissed. And then THEY KISSED. He then introduced her as his wife, to everyone’s surprise.
Then the real competition began and it was men against the women, each trying to earn points with their dishes:
Highlights included a guy who likes to slaughter animals and eat near-raw meat, another guy who is so convinced that he’s going to win that he had the Hell’s Kitchen logo tattooed on his abdomen, and a girl who tried to kill Ramsey by forgetting to take the toothpick out of the dish she served him. Oh, most of the dishes were awful by Gordo’s standards. The men won 4-3.
To entice the contestants, Ramsey told them that they are playing for the right to be Head Chef at the Gordon Ramsay restaurant at the Savoy Hotel in London. This seemed to impress them and jazz them up a little. A quick search of the Savoy Hotel shows that it is one of the most prestigious hotels in London, and always was (and although it’s been closed since December ’07 due to extensive renovations, it’s due to reopen sometime this year). Interestingly, it’s the first hotel to have electricity, running water, elevators, and hot and cold running water in each room and a private bathroom in most rooms.
OK, history lesson over. Quite honestly, it’s touch to imagine any of this current batch of chefs (and I use that term VERY loosely) in a place like that. At least at this juncture.
For the first time, Chef Ramsey has provided the contestants with video lessons on preparing parts of the menu they will be using the next evening. Unfortunately for them, they were shown the lessons at all hours of the night. Following a night of very little sleep due to the continuous waking up for video lessons, the women’s team then had to wake up early to cook the men’s team breakfast as their reward for winning the challenge the day before.
Just a few hours later, they were back in the kitchen, listening to Ramsey rattle off orders like thought he was talking to a team of professionals and getting frustrated every time they messed up in the slightest bit. Vintage Ramsey, and it’s why we love him so much.
This is where we start to really learn who the contestants are and their various strengths and weaknesses, and boy, do they have many of those. Strengths were in short supply in this first show.
One woman, Stacey, makes scallops that are both undercooked and cold. That sends Ramsey into fits.
He quickly threw her out of the kitchen, along with an older woman named Fran, who seemed pretty overwhelmed and useless, and Maria, who was laughing at them, leaving only 4 members remaining on the Red (women’s) team to finish dinner service. He asked Maria if she thought he was funny, and he kinda sounded like Joe Pesci from Goodfellas. Personally, I would have gotten thrown off the show at that point because I don’t think I would have been able to stop laughing.
On the Blue (men’s) team, Ramsey went berserk on someone named Mikey for raw halibut, throwing fish everywhere while screaming, “Raw, Raw, Raw”. He then screamed at a lunkhead named Benjamin for using his tasting spoon to stir whatever he was attempting to make, and also for cooking risotto with no rice, something that would seem impossible. He quickly threw him out of the kitchen along with Salvatore, a guy with a thick Sicilian accent who has lived in the US for 22 years, but kept the accent to attract women. Yeah, a real winner.
Clearly, Ramsey’s plan was to lose the dead weight and keep only the people who can do anything half-way decent. With four people left in the Red kitchen and five in the Blue, Ramsey is putting them all together to complete the dinner service.
As Ramsey predicted, dinner service was actually completed, albeit with the combined leftovers who weren’t sent back to the dorm room. Based on the fact that he sent back more women than men, he deemed that it was the women who lost the first service and therefore had to pick two people for him to choose one to send home.
Back at the dorm, they discussed their strengths and weaknesses, which basically amounted to pointing the finger at each other and talking about what a crappy job each of them did in the kitchen. They decided on Fran and Stacey because Fran was kicked out of the kitchen and couldn’t redeem herself and Stacey just made too many mistakes.
I’m not sure how one can get kicked out of the kitchen and not redeem themselves and the other one can get kicked out of the kitchen AT THE SAME TIME and can redeem herself, but, whatever.
Stacey told Ramsey that she screwed up and let her team down and she had no where to go but up. She has strengths and could show it if given the chance. Somehow, I’m doubtful about this.
Fran wasn’t sure why she was sent up out of the kitchen or nominated. Uh, because she looked completely lost.
Ramsey chose Stacey to leave Hell’s Kitchen and decided to give Fran another chance.
He probably should have canned them both. Fran won’t last long if she doesn’t pull her head out of her ass and start pretending that she knows what to do in a kitchen, any kitchen.
His last comment was that it was a good thing Stacey was a private chef, her food wasn’t good enough for the public.
Such stabbing, searing words by the man normally known for love and affection. Clearly, Gordon is on his game in Season 7, and the this season’s batch of chefs (?) better watch themselves. It looks like it’s going to be a hell of an eventful season. Stand by for some fireworks from this group.