This week Hell’s Kitchen starts off by doing my job for me and putting a massive recap together of the entire season. We get to revisit all the highlights (and lowlights), including Craig’s big, dumb, tall hat; Mr. Mom Dominick throwing out piles of scallops; Fatso plopping his big ass into the hot tub with Corey; Vanessa’s combusted hand; Barbie’s make-uppy face; Jen’s enormous annoying mouth; and Ben driving around that tiny ridiculous pizza delivery van and wrecking it in someone’s lawn! Oh, and of course who can forget this little gem:
Oh what a long, strange, white chocolate-covered, raw quail egg trip it’s been…And NOW, the continooshussshon of Hell’s Kitschooon. We are down to our final two warriors: Christina, the culinary student from Virginia, and Petrozza, the catering chef from South Carolina. And one of them will become the executive chef (RE: dishwasher) of Gordo’s new restaurant in Los Angeles.
We pick up where we left off last week, with Christina and Petrozza still in the dining room, with enormous posters of their faces hanging behind RamJam. Gordon tells them that the final dinner service will involve the restaurant being divided in half, and they’ll each have a side. They both look totally shocked, which is funny because this is how it totally goes every season! This isn’t exactly a show with many built-in surprising, so every time they are genuinely shocked, I genuinely wonder if they’ve ever watched it before. Maybe all the cigarette smoke is going to their heads.
Our final two culinary warriors retreat back to the house to start designing their menus. In her increasingly raspy voice, Christina croaks that she’s been working in restaurants since 1998 so that makes this easier for her. That’s 10 years. Is that supposed to be impressive? Petrozza’s mustache is probably even older than that. And I don’t think “hostess at Applebee’s” or “cashier at McDonald’s when I was a pimply 15-year-old” count as true culinary experience, girl.
Our youthful contestant takes a time-out to study for the SATs.
Christina gets right to work with brainstorming ideas. Petrozza, on the other hand, eats chips. He also gets the goofy bumbling music that usually accompanies Jean-Philippe. He says that although he makes menus all the time, he can’t focus because of nerves and fatigue. So he finishes his chips and hits the hay.
Petrozza does, however, get up early the next day and talk to a bird. Christina wakes up and says that she thinks she has her menu all locked up. They play dramatic music and cut to Petrozza! And then cut to Christina! And then cut to Petrozza! And then cut to Christina! And it really reminds me of a silent film there for a second. I think they are trying to convey that Petrozza is intimidated by Christina’s industriousness? It’s unclear because I’m sure he’s not.
Next, they go survey the dining room and talk with Hell’s Kitchen designer, John, about their visions. John asks Petrozza what his menu is because he thinks the restaurant should reflect the food that’s being served. Petrozza’s menu contains a lot of “it is.” Finally he makes something up, saying that it’s rich foods like sweetbreads. John humors him, saying that his mouth is already watering.
“Um. Yeah, Petrozza. That sounds. Um. Great.”
Christina already has her opinions formed. She wants rich, warm colors like chocolates. What she likes the least about the room is the ugly carpet and olive green booth. The she says that she LIKES THE STRIPES. BECAUSE IT GIVES THE ROOM TEXTURE AND MOVEMENT BUT NOT TOO MUCH LIKE A FLORAL MIGHT. DID YOU HEAR THAT EVERYBODY??? CHRISTINA LIKES THE STRIPES. (Don’t worry, I’m being freaky about this for a reason.)
It’s funny to watch the contrast between Christina’s and Petrozza’s approach to this competition. Whereas Christina seems like she’s stressed and barely hanging on by a thread, Trozzy seems to be excited and enjoying himself. And whereas she thinks flowers are too much, Petrozza though wants extra flowers. Not just centerpieces, but flowers everywhere, lying on the table, even. He’s not going to stop until the whole place looks like a florist! Or funeral home!
After time has ended with John the designer, JP helps them choose a look for the waitstaff. Again, the contrast between our two contestants couldn’t be more night and day. Christina is up first and gets snippy because she hates all of the outfits that are modeled. She wants simple and plain. Black suit with black t-shirt underneath. She basically wants her staff to look like death took a holiday.
This is how they flip people off in Belgium.
Petrozza, being much more agreeable, likes many of the outfits. But he especially likes the one with the green chef’s jacket because he feels like it bridges the gap between the kitchen and the dining room. JP smiles a lot and seems like he enjoys working with Trozzy better than with Chrissy. If that’s true, then that could be a major plus in Petrozza’s corner because, ya never know, maybe JP has secret pull behind this entire operation!
Not surprisingly, Christina especially hates the jacket that Petrozza chose. JP asks Christina if she agrees that her restaurant should have a personality. She says that personality should come from within, not from the clothes. And personality should come out of the body in the form of a really raspy smoker’s voice!
Christina gets so miffed that she borrows Corey’s famous double-chin face.
Now it’s menu time! Petrozza collaborates with Scott, telling him that he loves sweetbreads and Chilean seabass. It’s one of his favorite things to put in his mouth. (That’s what she said.) Then he doodles on the page.
Christina works with Gloria. She says she’s seen a lot of food and worked at a lot of restaurants so she knows what she’s doing. She must be defining “experience” in a Hillary Clinton way. Maybe if you just keep saying you’re experienced enough times then no one will realize that you’re just a junior senator. I mean, please, girl you’re like 23. Petrozza has nosehairs older than you. Give it up.
With all those years of experience, comes much maturity.
As soon as the menus are wrapped up, Jean-Philippe interrupts in an anxious way saying that Gordon wants to see them in his office, urgently. The two nervously hustle upstairs and sit at Gordo’s desk. He tells him that he has concerns and had been wondering if he really picked the right two finalists.
Petrozza gets so concerned that his eyebrows pack up and migrate all the way to the top of his head.
But now he knows he did! Oh sweet relief! That trickster! All this fake tension is making my blood pressure spike! Rams wants to show them one of his other restaurants, so they need to get packed up because they’ll be flying to NYC and stat! Our contestants get so excited that they practically burst into fruit flavor.
Gordo meets them in yet another tight T (thank you god!) at the Hell’s Kitchen private jet. Exhibit A:
It’s tight, but not so tight that I couldn’t fit in there too.
On the plane, they all socialize for a bit, and Gordon tells Petrozza that he’s one of the bravest chefs he’s met because he served him the hen in the pumpkin. Remember that? Man, we’ve come so far. And then Rams tells Christina that she almost left after the second dinner service because everyone was intimidated by her intelligence. We also talked about when Petrozza almost quit because he couldn’t memorize the menu. And we discussed how dirty he is again. Gordon also points out that Christina is the all-time challenge winner with nine, and she gets all shocked because she thinks she won 10. Looks like our little Miss Intelligence can’t even count.
Aww! It must be hard being the nerd!
The fearless warriors arrive in NYC and stop in Times Square where a crowd awaits them. Gordon tells them that NYC has a very special treat for them both, which I’m hoping is truck full of New York firefighters slathered with New York cheesecake. But nope. Just a lame sign:
Maybe some firefighters should show up to put out those flames though…just a suggestion!
Then Gords breaks the REALLY big news — after spending time in New York, they will be heading to DUBAI for five nights!!! Christina doesn’t even know where Dubai is! You tell me that she’s the intelligent one, but are ya sure? It doesn’t sound like it.
Now it’s off to Gordon Ramsay at the London – New York. Gordon’s restaurant in LA will run very similar, so Christina and Petrozza need to pay attention. Gordo introduces them to Josh Emett who is the executive chef and will be overseeing the restaurant in LA via his magic mirror a la “Beauty and the Beast.” Anyway, Gordon gives Petrozza and Christina executive chef garb to wear and tells them that their final challenge is to prepare their signature dish for judging. Christina, whose ego has blown up enormously since the beginning of the season, deems herself the challenge queen and says she plans to keep her roll going. Time to cook!
Petrozza’s signature dish is filet mignon with carmelized onion risotto in a red-wine aged balsamic demi-glaze. Way to stick with the risotto, big boy! He even makes green onions into lame little paintbrushes. Christina, sticking with her cocky ‘tude, says she will wipe the floor with Petrozza. She is making a NY strip steak with herbed butter, sweet corn succotash and roasted potatoes. Well sufferin’ succotash! She’s sure she has it in the bag because it’s pretty and Petrozza’s looks like slaw. What is WITH all the trash talking today, Miss Chrissy?
This challenge will take place in front of a crowd of fans and be judged by a panel of five of the best palates in the world — All of Gordo’s executive chefs from around the world. I must note that NONE OF THESE PEOPLE are former contestants on this show.
Maybe this is a hint to Christina and Petrozza that the position they are competing for is a ruse…
Mark Sargeant from Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s in London will taste first. He likes Petrozza’s dish but thinks the paintbrush is dumb. He thinks Christina’s dish is a touch bland, so he goes for Petrozza.
Next is Angela Hartnett from Cielo in Boca Raton. She finds Petrozza’s dish a little too sweet. She doesn’t like that Christina mixes vegetables from different seasons. And her meat is dry and could use a touch more salt. So that’s another one for Petrozza.
Third is Stuart Gillies of London’s Boxwood CafÃ©. He also finds Petrozza’s dish too sweet and one-sided. Not enough flavor. He doesn’t like Christina’s use of potatoes. He chooses Christina.
Fourth is Simone Zanoni of Gordon Ramsay au Trianon in Versailles. He doesn’t think that risotto and beef work together. Hmm. That’s odd. Petrozza has another great one-liner and tells us, “Give me a break, ya ding dong!” He goes for Christina because he thinks the flavors work well.
Looks like a long lost Weasley brother.
Josh Emett is last for the deciding vote. He thinks Petrozza’s risotto is a little too stiff and the meat could use some seasoning, but overall is nice. Christina smiles at Josh, trying to charm him, I believe. He thinks that Christina’s dish is well seasoned. He says both dishes have good elements, but he loves onion risotto, so he chooses Petrozza. Yay! It’s good to see him win one, isn’t it? Christina offers a fake smile.
As a reward, Petrozza will get to pick the first chef while choosing teams from previous contestants this season. Christina says that regardless who he has on his team, Christina will still win because her menu is designed better.
Then Whoopi Goldberg comes out to wish them good luck. And I’m not even joking.
See? I told ya!
Petrozza and Christina are now back in LA and ready to see their restaurants as they designed them. Christina is not thrilled and watching her is like watching one of those spoiled, whiney crazies from “My Super Sweet Sixteen.” She does not like the white window treatments or the striped wall paper. I agree that the stripes are uggers, but they are exactly what she picked out, so I’m not sure what her problem is. Petrozza’s room has a lot of maroon and exposed brick, which is nice. But all the floral prints and flowers, I find really geriatric.
Now here’s the funny part. The designer thinks that Petrozza’s fire place juts out into the room too far, so he wants to take the center portion of the wall and push it into Christina’s side. He thinks that offsetting it will provide more variety. Christina says it’s fine, but she’s in such a huff that I’m waiting for her to scream “DAAADDYYYY!” like the brats on the birthday show.
Christina tells the designer that she didn’t know the wallpaper would be striped. Then they replay the footage of her saying that she prefers the stripes. He tells her that both the samples they looked at were striped. She says that it looks really ugly with the stripes and the white frames and the blue. She says that she had no idea that it would be striped.
“I hate stripes! I’m only wearing this shirt because it’s laundry day!”
The designer tells her they can paint over it. Ew, really? Paint over wallpaper? She wants the inside walls to be chocolate brown and the outsides to be latte for a contrast. She storms off and goes to bed because if she doesn’t sleep, then they’ll have a sucky kitchen.
The next morning, Christina and Petrozza meet RamJam in the kitchen. Time to pick the teams! And there are all our fallen stars: The Beneral, Corey, Cringing Matty, Toilet Brush and Jen. Jen obviously has a big chip on her shoulder. She says that she’s far superior to everyone there and her goal is to make Ramsay second-guess getting rid of her.
Petrozza gets to pick first and he chooses the General, who looks quite dashing, I might add. No surprise, Christina picks Corey who also looks rather lovely with a pink scarf. Next Petrozza picks Ben and thank goodness for it because Ben probably would have sabotaged Christina. Christina picks the Toilet Brush, who has a new hoop nose ring, for some energy. And now Jen and Matt are left, and it’s a tough call. Christina hopes that Petrozza picks Jen because she can work with Matt but not with Jen’s attitude. Petrozza doesn’t want Matt on his team because he doesn’t want to hear him whine, but Jen can’t accept criticism. What to do?! WHAT TO DO?! So we’re left on a cliffhanger.
Worse than “Sophie’s Choice.”
So next week is the big week, y’all! Who are you pulling for to win? I’d really like to se Petrozza take it because he’s such a delightful person. But I think it’ll be a close one!
See ya Tuesday!