Time to get this shit show back on the road, Hell’s Kitchen is down to the final five.
In case the sound of Elise’s voice hasn’t brought about enough seizures and suicides, she’s back for another week as she escaped elimination (again) and Elizabeth has been sent back to shadows of the Playboy Mansion. This brings us down to the final five contes-tards… Will Shakespeare, Tommy ForeheadTats, HomeHighlights Jennifer, That’s so Ravin’, and Paulie Meatballs. Will pretty much has the competition in the bag… if he doesn’t snap and flatten Ravin’s face in the panini press.
As we re-join the action, Jennifer sees that the black jackets won’t change Elise’s attitude, it’s going to just make it worse and that the men have no idea the punishment they have been sentenced to at the hands of Chef Ramsay.
The final five have been awarded black jackets and Ramsay reinforces the idea that they have some how “earned” a place in an elite competition and not just an ‘Unable to Identify a Hotdog’ eating contest. Elise says that getting a black jacket is “like winning without winning.”
As usual Elise is bragging over the smallest of victories… so she sounds the siren, she’s still here. STILL HERE!
WEEEEEE EWWWWW WEEEE EWWWW Still winning!
She screeches until the next day when they’re called back to the Hell’s Kitchen dining room for their first individual challenge.
Ramsay tasks the chefs with reworking an ugly food and to make it look as good as it tastes. They’ve written the names of five different dishes on white plates and the final five will have to run and grab they dish they want to recreate. Ramsay yells ‘go’ and Ravin’ takes off up the stairs to grab ‘eggplant parm’ first. Tommy quickly realized that he can’t afford an elbow to the face courtesy of Elise, so he takes a leisurely walk to the back of the dining room and picks up ‘chicken and dumplings’ – Paulie isn’t as fortunate. He tries to challenge Elise for the eggplant and she bodychecks him like a hormonal Hanson brother. He’s left to watch as Jen takes lasagna and Will gets meatloaf, so he’s left with the last remaining plate, tuna casserole.
They’re given 50 minutes in the kitchen to prepare their dish, and Elise is immediately the focus of the black team’s discontent… she has taken up nine burners preparing her eggplant parm and Paulie’s Meatballs are going cold.
Paul’s chosen to prepare the tuna casserole a little more “traditionally” than I would have expected… he doesn’t sear any fresh fish fillets, instead he hits the bomb shelter stores and cracks a couple of the Bumble Bee tuna cans and adheres to the recipe printed on the label.
Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish?
Ramsay calls time and announces the judges for this challenge, he has compiled a 5-person panel of food stylists, journalists and chefs… they’ll judge the dishes on a scale of 1-10 for presentation and then 1-10 for taste. Tommy is presenting his take on chicken dumplings and the judges are impressed with the dish (and his balance). It’s much more intricate than the design of his neck tattoos. It’s gets high marks for presentation, although Tommy didn’t really cook the dumplings, so he scores poorly on taste.
Chef Jabba the Hut thinks that the dumplings are raw…
Lucky for Tommy, he can always skate by on his looks.
Paulie Meatballs presents next and his food looks like a pile of Fancy Feast. He has also opted to make his new improved version of tuna casserole with canned tuna… Blech. Padma would have his meatballs for pulling that shit in her kitchen, but Ramsay doesn’t berate him… he just sits back and watches as the judges spit the Chicken of Sea back on the plate.
Chef Jabba the Hut says, “I’ll eat it, but it’s just tuna casserole.”
Ask any Mermaid… and they’ll tell you that was a piss poor choice.
Paulie gets a dismal score and Jen is up next. She announces that she hates lasagna and has taken all her frustrations out in one dish. She has recreated lasagna that is completely unidentifiable as pasta… actually, it looks like a crab cake with sauteed spinach and peppers placed on top. Chef Jabba confirms there is some pasta content, “lasagna it is… delicious it’s not,” he says to Jen.
It’s a mess with a colorful garnish — the judges all agree that the taste is off and Jen falls to the back of the pack.
Jen hides her head in shame as TommyTats keeps the lead.
Elise went all Slap Shot in order to get to the eggplant parm option and she’s presenting next. The judges love the plating and the taste of the dish — Jabba says it’s the kind of dish that most people would be willing to tackle a waiter for. Elise scores big in both categories and takes the lead from Tommy.
Good feedback is like winning, without a chance of actually winning.
Will needs to pull off a big score to win the top slot and braggin’ rights over Ravin’… his meatloaf basically looks like meatloaf, the judges aren’t wowed. Luckily Shakespeare is no stranger to ground beef and his meatloaf pulls in big points for taste and he wins the challenge…
Will has won a tasting tour of Los Angeles restaurants… and he’s allowed to take along one of his fellow contestants. He chooses Elise. He says it’s a strategic move, that maybe he’ll get to know her and build team morale… or he’s trying to lose weight by associating the sound of her voice with food.
Team Morale for Team Elise
The losers are left behind to clean all the linens… by hand, hillbilly style. As Jennifer gets elbow deep in laundry, she’s treated to Tommy’s peculiar brand of pep, as he does the hillbilly hoedown he learned from Jonathan to lighten the mood.
Shakespeare and Ravin’ roll out in a Rolls and the first stop on Ravin and Will’s DAY OF FUN!!! is Spago where Wolfgang puck was desperate enough for press coverage that he greets them curbside. He has one of his chefs present the food to Will and Elise — and check underneath their nails to see if they’ve washed their hands. Will found it appropriate to wear the same sweat-stained shit-kicker hat that he wears while deveining shrimp. The hat is tie dyed with sweat stains and he wears it to the best restaurant that will ever allow him through their front door.
Thy brow is dewy like the hind of a mule.
They enjoy a “celebration of beets” which looks a lot like a Seuss-ian celebration — then they continue the tour at The Foundry where challenge judge Jabba the Hut is executive chef. Will wants to voice his concerns about the drama that took place in the Red Team, that was mostly Elise-centric. She assures him that she will prove herself to be an amazing teammate… Will doesn’t choke on his duck breast, so I have to assume that he believes that this meeting has been effective and that Elise will try to be a productive member of a team.
That night the dorms get a late call from Ramsay who wants them assembled in the dining room immediately. He has called them to the dining room to introduce the twist in the next dinner service… although the contestants are assembled as one team, they’ll still have to face off against an opposing kitchen. He’s brought back 5 “Vets” to compete against the current cast. He then drags out contestants that have made it to the final rounds of Hell’s Kitchen, with little more than an ability to boil water and an eerie on-camera presence…
Ramsay calls them out one by one, Ben (Season 5) the Prison Cook, “Whoopi” Tennille (Season 6), “Pointdexter” Trev the goofy bastard from last season whose penchant for ominous monologues outshined his limited cooking abilities and Jillian “Brows”, who have been tolerable if she didn’t bring to mind so many associations with the Bride of Chuckie — finally Van (Season 8) who is obnoxious enough in his entrance to remind me of the reason I block out prior seasons of this show.
Of course the vets are really proud of themselves and really PUMPED to be back on the show that didn’t make them enough money to cover their monthly El Camino payment — or enough notiriety to cut the line at Sizzler.
But you wouldn’t know that their training is mostly from Bisquick boxes, because the shit talking has commenced. Elise says, “Did you bring your sunglasses, because we’re going to shine…” and Tennille replies, “no, I just brought body bags.” The smack talk on this show is makes the script at the WWE look like a Shakespearian sonnet. Randy “Macho Man” Savage is the poet laureate of reality television compared to these voids…
Both team will serve menus they’ve created, so they have to convene in the dorms and come up with the menu within one hour. The vets get their menu together quicker than a Dominio’s order, but the current chefs have to deal with Elise and her ego.
Elise has her place at the easel and she’s in control. She suggests lemon parmesan risotto. Tommy suggests lemon-thyme risotto, since it’s obviously going to have parmesan in it. Ravin’ doesn’t see this as ‘collaboration’ as much as ‘mutiny’ and she flips her shit. “This isn’t all what you want!” She screams.
She continues to yell and scream and stomp her feet even when her team agrees with her suggestion of tuna tartar.
The rest of the black team is seriously puzzled, they’re agreeing with Elise and she standing with her hands on her hips like a obstinant toddler, dismissing dishes that were her idea.
Don’t say tartar like it was YOUR idea.
Jennifer jumps up, but she’s unable to quell Elise. Will loses his mind and starts growling. As the Black team turns to face their usually composted leader, Will accuses Elise of being THE problem. Naturally she doesn’t see it that way. “You come out here with a menu you’ve been writing for a week.” She says, accusing them of wanting to use dishes they’ve previously prepared, conceived or even heard of…? Will can’t take it and leaves the room.
I should have made you swear on your beets…
The team of current chefs settle on a menu despite the fighting and return to the kitchen the next day. Prep goes well with the current chefs in Blue, as well as the Vets in the Red kitchen. Ben thinks the Vets have the advantage since they’re not worried about an elimination… or a career.
The dining room opens and both kitchens receive their first set of orders. The appetizers go out — in Blue Will is riding Tommy’s ass to keep him on pace…
…as Trev rides high on speed, and cranks out salads one to two tickets ahead of the order. Trev brags that he’s “more cool, calm, collected. If you’re rushing around like an idiot, you’re going to look like an idiot,’ he says.
You look like an idiot.
Will has the Blue kitchen on pace, entrees are going out, as long as Ravin’ gets Paulie to consult on her meat station. She asks him multiple times about the state of her fillets, screaming the question again and again until Paul stops what he’s doing to attend to her.
Hey, you GUYS!
Tennille has not fine tuned her skill set since her time on Hell’s Kitchen and she gets raspberries from Jillian — she’s overcooked the tuna. In the Blue kitchen, Paul overcooks lobster and has to re-fire. Elise is not considerate of Paul’s workload and when Ramsay asks him for his timing Elise answers for him. Ramsay continues to try to get an answer from Meatballs, but he can’t out-scream Elise.
Nope, you can’t win.
Vets continue to make mistakes in the Red kitchen, but that’s because they’re not “returning champions” as much as they’re “free because they’re unemployed”. The Blue kitchen throws up some cold garnish, but Will steps in to correct the error and they finish service neck and neck with the Vets.
Ramsay assembles the teams to announce the winner as determined by the comment cards… The Blue Kitchen wins. 96% of their diners said they would return to Hell’s Kitchen.
The Vets return to obscurity and the Black team retires to the dorms to come up with two nominees for elimination. They nominate Jennifer since was responsible for the cold garnish. Most of the black team wants Ravin’ to be the second nominee since she was so difficult to work with during the menu planning. Elise jumps up to get in to Paul’s face after he says she’s detrimental to the team. She didn’t make a mistake in the kitchen, Elise reminds them, repeatedly. But she was a boil on Paulie’s butt by asking him to triple check her beef temperatures.
Elise says she only did it once — which the replay immediately disproves. Elise proves that she’s an effective leader and screams in Paul’s face that he’s intimidated by her.
Ravin’s tantrum doesn’t matter, the decision is made. Jennifer accepts her fate and has gone to prep for elimination. She re-scrunches her hair because she has one last thing to do before she faces the gauntlet tonight… she’s going to tell Meatballs that she has a crush on him.
Jen pulls Paul aside and bravely tells him that she thinks he’s adorable and he giggles and pushes her and tell her she’s “too cute” — but uses the same tone for “too cute” as you would with a child who has just presented you will the macaroni necklace they’ve made you. It’s toooo cu(ew)te.
No love connection, HK’s smush room will be empty tonight.
At elimination Elise tells Ramsay that she and Jen are the nominees and Ramsay calls them forward… in a long delayed fake out, Ramsay tells Jen to take off her jacket, only to hand her a clean, un-BO-ish one and sends both nominees back in line. No one will be going home tonight.
Who’s still with us? Who saw Ramsay’s elimination fake out coming? Who was able to identify all of the returning vets? Who CARES?