Last night on Hell’s Kitchen 2010, episode 11 started with a special, very interesting competition, and quickly took a nosedive from there. This challenge involved presentation. The chefs had to create a plate that was photograph ready, and they were to be judged by a group of culinary students.
Holli came in last, followed by Jay, then Jason, then Autumn. Benjamin and Ed came in first and 2nd. Next, those two had to go head to head in part two of the competition – taste. For this part Ramsay brought in Tanya Steele from Epicurous.com (apparently a culinary website that gets about 2.5 million visitors per week, according to Ramsay).
After hemming and hawing over how good they both were, she finally selected Benjamin’s dish. His reward: a layout in Epicurious.com, and all of the prep that goes before it, including glamorous full celebrity makeover. Just what the already arrogant Benjamin needs, a bigger head.
The rest of the chefs had to prep the dining room and kitchen for the evening’s service, including polishing all of the woodwork. This had its own entertainment value, as Holli and Jay raised their flirting up a notch and Jay informed us that his secondary goal on the show was to sleep with Holli. And this was after her saying, “You spray, I polish” (that would have been far funnier if she switched that around), to which he nonetheless replied, “That’s what she said”. Hmm, things are getting interesting between these two.
Right before the service began, Ramsay informed the chefs that they need to step up their game as he is starting to look for a leader. OK, what hell else was he doing over the last 10 episodes? Busting their balls for the sheer enjoyment of it? He also told them that there was going to be a special VIP guest at the chefs’ table in the kitchen.
The appetizers went out without a hitch. The chefs were on a roll. Then they hit entrees, and they hit a wall. Benjamin got yelled at, and immediately showed his leadership abilities by telling Autumn to get the F*ck out of his way.
Ed started having problems with halibut. How can he still bring raw fish up to the pass at this point in the competition? It should be an automatic disqualification at this point. Once you put on the black finalists jacket, you bring up raw food and you’re out. Hey, I might be on to something here. I can only hope that Gordo reads this blog.
Ed’s messed up halibut caused Jay to redo his Beef Wellington, amongst other items, and nearly brought the whole kitchen to a standstill.
If that wasn’t enough, Ed brought up undercooked halibut to the pass for a second time. Now most of the kitchen is cooking halibut, trying to catch up. But at this point, the Wellington has gotten chilled waiting for the halibut. So they had to be warmed. Finally, it all somehow got out at the same time.
A few moments later, with the next table’s order of burnt scallops coming up to the pass, Ramsay had enough. He tossed Ed out of the kitchen, followed by Benjamin, who was supposed to be leading this sad excuse for a team.
Now down to only four chefs, Ramsay moved Jason to fish, which he handled perfectly. And then the VIP walked in…and it was none other than Whoopi Goldberg. All of the dishes served to her appeared to be perfect, as well as the rest of the food that came out of the kitchen.
In his berating after the service, Ramsay told Ed that he should know how to cook halibut by now. Really? Ya think? That was about the understatement of the episode.
He also told Benjamin that while he can cook, he can’t lead. Ok, maybe that was actually the understatement of the episode. He then told the chefs to go back to the dorm and pick two people that don’t deserve to be there and he’s sending one home.
They all went upstairs and tore each other up for a while. Going back downstairs, they selected Autumn based on the number of times she’s been nominated. They also chose Ed because of all his difficult services and lack of communication.
Ed said he can multitask and has better knowledge than Autumn. Autumn said she feels like she’s getting better and getting more consistent (Say What???, Is this chick delirious???). He chose Autumn to get back in line because he felt she is getting better (Say What???, Is this guy delirious??? Really, what does she have on him? How much did she have to pay for those pictures?). He sent Ed home, and rightfully so. The guy practically brought the entire kitchen to a halt twice in the last service. Time to go.
Meanwhile, has anyone in reality TV history been nominated more times than Autumn and survived? This has to be some kind of record. Six times in 12 shows?
The next morning, Episode 12 started with another inventive challenge. The chefs (?)had to go to a market with $10 each and try to make it stretch into a dish they could serve. Somehow they all managed to buy enough ingredients to put together a cohesive dish. I have to hire one of them to teach my wife how to shop. That was actually impressive.
Ramsay had the editor from Savour magazine, and the head chef from his LA restaurant, and another prominent chef as judges taste the dishes and say what they would pay in a restaurant. The highest average would win the competition. So, now he’s not only teaching them how to act like a total douche to your kitchen brigade, he’s also teaching them how to pay a pittance for ingredients and gouge the paying public as much as possible for the finished product. And to think I used to like him.
Jason had the low price at $15.00, mostly because he was foolish enough to use frozen, store bought raviolis as a base to his dish. Holli’s dish came out on top, at well over $29.00. Her reward: Spending the day at a poolside cabana with Jean Philippe, and getting $1000 shopping spree to buy kitchen supplies. And, she got to take a friend, and she chose Jay.
The rest had to stay behind and iron and press all of the tablecloths and napkins. Oh, and listen to Autumn talk, and talk, and talk. About anything and everything. At one point Jason looked like he wanted to iron her lips together just to shut her up.
While Jay and Holli ate prime rib, drank expensive wine, and flirted some more, the others ate spam sandwiches and tried not to kill Autumn.
Jay and Holli’s flirting started getting more sexual, but then they brought it back to the hot tub at the dorm and continued drinking, and things really heated up. Then there was talk about positions. Hold the phones. What? Positions? And then there was a commercial. Damn those commercials. Sometimes you almost wish that HK would have a HK After Dark on Showtime like Big Brother is smart enough to. Sometimes. Almost.
After the commercial, Autumn ruined Jay’s day by showing up in the hot tub. And she must have ruined the editor’s day too, because we segued right into the kitchen for the dinner service.
Ramsay informed the chefs that he was going to force them to communicate by switching their stations throughout the service.
It started out well, with the scallops coming out nicely. After the first switch, there was some confusion while the chefs all explained to each other what was going on at each station. The second switch went much smoother, while the chefs again explained how long each dish still had to cook.
In the third switch, Jay screwed over Holli in a big way when she took over his meat station (no double entendre’ intended here) and Beef Wellingtons came back and she asked him how long on the Beef Wellingtons. He told her 14 minutes, so she was counting on that much time to prepare her garnish (still no hidden meaning, you sick, dirty people), but he meant on the new ones that he had just put in, not the re-cooks. He does not get to put a check in his communication check block.
At one point, Chef Ramsay left the kitchen for a moment for some unknown reason. That gave Benjamin the opportunity to jump in and take a leadership role. Unfortunately, sous chef Scott was already put in charge and he jumped in Benjamin’s face in a way that would have made any Marine Drill Instructor proud. I was waiting for him to tell him to drop and give him twenty.
Scott told him in no uncertain terms to never step up to his pass and try to take his job again. He dropped more F-bombs in two sentences that Ramsay drops in a whole dinner service.
After the service, Jason told Ramsay that switching up the stations was too hard for Benjamin and Jay. Yeah, way to throw your chums under the bus. Did Siobhan give you some tips before she left? Ramsay told them all that he saw five line cooks in front of him, and to select two people for him to pick one remove from Hell’s kitchen.
And guess what? They started talking about Autumn again. Shocker. Jay told Autumn straight up that he can’t believe that she’s here. If nothing else, you have to give him credit for honesty. No doubt he’s still upset with her for interrupting his hot tub rendezvous.
Back in front of Ramsay, they nominated Benjamin for completely shutting down and several poor performances in a row. Their second nominee was Jason due his lack of culinary skills, and no one believes he can actually run a restaurant.
Jason told Ramsay that he can run a team, but he respects his decision if he wants to send him home. Benjamin said he overthinks when he cooks. Ramsay said he clams up.
Ultimately Ramsay agreed with the group and sent Jason home. It was a good move. He was a good cook, but clearly not a chef.