Hell’s Kitchen on FOX – Week One, Part One of Two

Things are hot in the kitchen this summer when Chef Gordon Ramsay returns with another season of Hell’s Kitchen. Tempers will flare when 12 more contestants fight for the reward they’ve always dreamed of – a restaurant of their own from Chef Gordon Ramsay. Chef Ramsay will reward one aspiring chef with their very own restaurant at the new Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.

This week’s two hour premiere of Hell’s Kitchen was only the beginning of what they said will be this season’s hottest Hell’s Kitchen they’ve ever had! From a small fire in the kitchen to trips to the emergency room, that’s just a small part of the many things to come.

The first task for the 12 contestants was to prepare their own signature dish for Chef Ramsay to taste test, and they only had 30 minutes to prepare the dish. This task was an important one, because it would show Chef Ramsay their talent, and I’m sure they all wanted to make a good first impression. However, only a few made that good first impression.

First up was Keith, a 28-year-old chef/bartender. Chef Ramsay called Keith’s signature dish “the leaning tower of piazza, but Keith called it Cha-Ching Sesame Crusted Tuna. Chef Ramsay told Keith his sauce was “piping hot,” and Keith told him he was suppose to dip it with care, but Chef Ramsay said he was going to stop eating with care. Nope, I wouldn’t call that a good first impression.

Did Rachel, a 29-year-old personal chef make a good first impression with her Butterfly Shrimp in Chocolate Sauce? I don’t know what Chef Ramsay’s first thought was, but mine…well, let’s just say I didn’t think shrimp in chocolate sauce sounded too appetizing. But, like the saying goes, “don’t knock it until you try it,” however, I don’t think I’ll be trying it anytime soon. Chef Ramsay was brave enough to try it though, and he thought the dish was weird with far too much chocolate sauce. I suppose Rachel also failed to make a good impression.

Polly, a 43-year-old caterer tried for her first impression with an Undone Focaccia Bread with a Garlic Dipping, but Chef Ramsay didn’t even try Polly’s dish. I don’t think he liked the idea of it being “undone,” and he told Polly, “Right now, I would rather eat poodle **** than put that in my mouth.”

Larry, a 38-year-old fishmonger seemed to be prepared for any feedback from Chef Ramsay, because he said that he’s use to being under estimated because of his height (about 5 feet 4 inches tall).

Larry prepared a dish that he called Potato Crab Cakes with a little bit of Asian flare, soy and peppers. Chef Ramsay was still not impressed. He told Larry that his dish was very hot, and he also told him it was undercooked.

In the confessional, Larry said, “Don’t piss me off or you’ll get a pet bull.” Of course Larry didn’t say how he handled being under estimated; he just said he was use to it.

Maribel, a 31-year-old cafeteria chef prepared her Argentine Plant in Soup for Chef Ramsay.

“It’s garlicky, hot and it looks like baby vomit,” Chef Ramsay told Maribel after he spit the soup out.

“I don’t think it was too spicy. I don’t think he could take the spice. I think he’s a wimp when it comes to that,” Maribel commented to the camera.

My personal opinion: I’m not a big fan of spicy foods myself, but if something has too much spice, or if it is extremely hot, I think it does ruin the dish, and too much garlic will definitely ruin a dish; you have to be real easy on the garlic.

After Maribel got back in to the line, Chef Ramsay said he felt sick, and he told the group he wasn’t sure if he could go any further. He said, in a raised tone, “I’m saying a prayer now.”

Despite feeling nauseated, Chef Ramsay did continue on.

“Who’s next?” Chef Ramsay asked.

“It’s me, ****,” said Tom, a 43-year-old former stock broker.

Before sampling Tom’s dish, Chef Ramsay got a concerned look on his face, and he asked Tom, “You’re all sweaty. Are you alright?”

“I’m a sweafster,” Tom answered and nodded his head to confirm that he was alright. (At least I believe that’s what Tom said.)

After the chef found out that Tom was okay, he moved on to sample the dish Tom had prepared – Shrimp Scampi with Caesar Salad.

“First time in my entire life I’ve been served a cooked Caesar salad,” Chef Ramsay said.

“I understand that Chef,” Tom responded.

“Sounds disgusting,” Chef Ramsay said.

Before Chef Ramsay tasted the dish he decided to move the hot lettuce from the Caesar salad off the plate and into Tom’s hands.

“It’s hot,” Tom laughed.
“Tom, **** your Caesar salad,” Chef Ramsay said after he spit the shrimp into the garbage can.

“I’m a man. I can take it. And you know what, if he didn’t he care he wouldn’t break my chops,” Tom said to the camera.

Heather, a 25-year-old sous chef who works in a kitchen with 12 men came forward to claim her Chocolate Raspberry Empanadas. But before Chef Ramsay sampled Heather’s dish he rubbed his head in his hand and said, “Oh **** no.” I had to agree with the chef’s reaction, because Heather’s dish didn’t sound like it would be good. However, after Chef Ramsay tasted Heather’s dish, he did tell her, aside form being very thick on the outside, it was the best thing he had tasted so far. So maybe it didn’t sound good, but like I said earlier, “don’t knock it until you try it.”

Garrett, a 27-year-old former prison chef prepared a pile of meat for Chef Ramsay. Before sampling Garrett’s dish, Chef Ramsay asked Garrett where he learned to cook, and Garrett was quick to respond by saying he learned to cook in jail where he served time for stolen checks.

After Garrett answered Chef Ramsay’s question, Chef Ramsay motioned for Gabe to come up and taste Garrett’s dish first. Then, after Gabe tasted the dish, Chef Ramsay asked him for his opinion.

“It was a little overdone for me Chef,” Gabe responded.
“It was overcooked?” Chef Ramsay confirmed.
“Yes, Chef,” Gabe answered.

Trying the pile of meat himself, Chef Ramsay agreed with Gabe when he told Garrett his dish was a little dry.

“So far some really ***** cooks, but one honest one,” Chef Ramsay continued as he referred to Gabe as being the honest one.

So guess who was next? That’s correct, the honest cook, Gabe. Aside from being honest, was Gabe a good cook? According to Chef Ramsay, Gabe, a 27-year-old marketing executive may have been honest, but he wasn’t much of a cook. Chef Ramsey said his fish was raw. As a matter of fact, Chef Ramsay didn’t even taste the raw fish, and guess who stood in line with a smile from ear-to-ear? Yeap, you guessed right again, it was Garrett.

Chef Ramsay called two more up to sample their dishes – Giacomo, a 21-year-old pizza maker, and Sara, a 31-year-old deli manager. Chef Ramsay had Sara taste Giacomo’s dish before he did, and Giacomo said, to the camera, if she said anything else but good or excellent he knew she would be blowing smoke. I guess Giacomo was pretty sure of his cooking skills.

What did Sara say about Giacomo’s dish?
“Very nice,” Sara told Chef Ramsay.
“Do you mean that, or are you just kissing his ass?”
“No Chef, it’s good.”

It sounded as though she was being honest in my opinion. Besides, you could tell from the looks on her face that it wasn’t bad.

Chef Ramsay believed Sara, and so he tasted Giacomo’s dish as well.

“It’s not bad Giacomo,” Chef Ramsay complimented.
“Thank you Chef.”
“Thank God I’ve come across something edible,” Chef Ramsay said as he shook Giacomo’s hand.

Other than Heather, Giacomo also managed to make a good first impression, but I think Giacomo’s dish impressed Chef Ramsay more than Heather’s. Either way, Heather and Giacomo were the only two, so far, to make a good first impression.

Now it was Sara’s turn. Her dish was called Herb-Crusted Salmon with Peekytoe Crab Pasta.

“The pasta is way overcooked – it’s just like mush,” Chef Ramsay criticized.

Sara didn’t take his criticism hard though. She said that she did the best she could with what she had, and she was thankful that at least he didn’t spit her dish out.

The final one to approach Chef Ramsay was Virginia, a 25-year-old salad chef. Before Chef Ramsay sampled Virginia’s Coconut and Pomegranate Celery Root Salad, he really made her feel low and probably a bit embarrassed as well.

“What’s cooked on the plate?” Chef Ramsay asked Virginia.
“Uhh…the nuts are toasted.”
“Well, **** me. We’ve toasted nuts for 29 minutes, and then grated a coconut,” Chef Ramsay said.

Even though Chef Ramsay didn’t seem impressed with the dish Virginia prepared, he did try it.

“It’s fine…” Chef Ramsay paused.

When Chef Ramsay paused, Virginia smiled, but the smile left her face just as quick as it came when Chef Ramsay finished.

“…as far as rabbit goes, because it’s all raw and crunchy.”

Chef Ramsay had finally sampled all 12 dishes, and out of 12 aspiring chefs only two managed to make a good first impression on Chef Ramsay. However, I think many of them learned that Chef Ramsay doesn’t like spicy or uncooked foods.

“I’m deeply concerned. I’ll push you to the absolute extreme, because one of you will become an executive chef with a share in the profit of a brand-new, multi-million dollar restaurant. Are you seriously up for the challenge?”

“Yes, Chef,” they all answered in unison.

Immediately following their enthusiastic response, Chef Ramsay introduced his sou chefs – Scott and Mary Ann. Then, subsequent to his introduction, he told the aspiring chefs that for the first time in Hell’s Kitchen it would be men versus women. The men got the blue kitchen, and the women got the red kitchen. Although they were on different teams, the men and women both shared their living quarters – just a few steps from their kitchens.

Within a few minutes after they observed their dorm, both teams eagerly met Chef Ramsay in the kitchen. As they stood in front of Chef Ramsay, they found out that Hell’s Kitchen was going to open in 24 hours, and they also learned that they wouldn’t get much sleep. Both teams, knowing what was ahead of them, immediately got busy in their kitchen as they prepared for the next day.

The women worked together real well as a team, but Polly felt a little out of place. Polly said she thought she was the only one who hadn’t attended culinary school, and because of this she knew she would have to really listen and pay attention to the others, so she would know what they would be talking about.

Meanwhile, in the blue kitchen, the men were already taking heat from Chef Ramsay. Well, one man actually, Tom. Chef Ramsay scolded Tom for sweating in the food he was cooking. Chef Ramsay had Tom dump the food and start fresh. Thank goodness, because that’s not only unsanitary, but it is truly nauseating! I know some people sweat a lot and they can’t help it, but Tom not only sweated like pouring rain, he stood over the food knowing he was sweating in it. He could have at least tried to hold his head away from the pot instead of directly over the top of it.

The women’s teamwork allowed them to finish early, but the men continued to work. Instead of working as a team and finishing early like the women, the men chose to work as individuals, and their choice resulted in long hours with only about 45 minutes of sleep for opening day.

Opening day arrived, and the women arrived energized and ready to go. The men on the other hand, they arrived, but their energy was low from lack of sleep. Before Chef Ramsay opened the kitchen for business, he asked for one volunteer from each team to help with a challenge. Heather and Giacomo stepped up for the challenge, but when they found out what their challenge was they regretted their decision. What was so bad that made them regret volunteering? They had to keep the kitchen spotless. Keeping the kitchen clean and tidy may not be the best job in the world, but I can tell you from my past experience cooking in the kitchen that cleaning was all part of the job. I wasn’t a chef, I was just a cook, and I also never worked in a fine dining establishment, but the rules are pretty much the same. I can also tell you from my past cooking experience that being a chef wasn’t in my plans (I guess that’s why it’s my past and writing is my present). However, there are men and women who dream of becoming a chef, and if they follow that dream they must perform all the duties the job calls for. Hell’s Kitchen does an excellent job showing what a chef has to look forward too, but being shown doesn’t compare to actually performing the job, and what they’re going for is not only a job as a chef, but they will also be managing their very own restaurant.

Almost an hour had passed, and the only thing the customers had received was the bread; the appetizers hadn’t even arrived. Polly’s lack of culinary knowledge was what kept the appetizers from being finished on time. Even though Polly received help from some of the others, she still failed to produce the appetizers.

The men had picked up their pace and managed to get three tables their appetizers, but one table complained that there was no pumpkin in their risotto. The men were slowed down again by Tom’s fire. And Polly, in the red kitchen, still failed to get any appetizers out. Because Polly could not perform the simple task of preparing appetizers, Chef Ramsay ordered Polly to trade places with Heather.

Tom’s mishaps continued in the blue kitchen when Chef Ramsay pointed out that his stove was off. Apparently, during Tom’s fire, water spilt onto the stove and this put the pilot light out. Another thing Chef Ramsay discovered in the blue kitchen was Larry. Larry stood and watched the drama unfold, and he didn’t appear to be doing a thing to help anyone. Chef Ramsay wasn’t impressed with Larry at all, and he told him to get to work.

It had been three minutes since Heather took over for Polly, and she had finished the appetizers, but they needed to pass Chef Ramsay’s approval first. Chef Ramsay approved Heather’s appetizers, and in a burst of excitement Sara shouted, “Yay!” However, Sara’s outburst didn’t get Chef Ramsay’s approval.

Three hours had passed and the customers started banging on their tables as they shouted “I want my food” repeatedly. With all the commotions Chef Ramsay had, had enough – he ordered the kitchens to be shut down, and he closed the restaurant.

Once the teams had shut down their kitchens they faced Chef Ramsay, and he was not happy.

“I think we can all agree there are no winners tonight – nowhere near it – it’s just down to which team was worse.”

“Red team, you started cheering after an hour and a half of getting two dishes out. You thought that was a celebration for a cheer. Well let me give you a cheer…C.R.A.P. Crap, that’s what it was!”
“And then, when I came back into the blue kitchen, all I got was stares. Larry – just standing there – spaced out.”

“I’m gonna make a decision. I’m going to make my decision, based on what I saw tonight, going out of this kitchen; although, not much came out. The losing team…tonight…is…the…red team. There was one glimmer of hope in the red team…Heather. The first hour and a half we couldn’t get any food out. You (referring to Heather) swapped places with Polly, and then, within ten minutes, we started getting food. Heather, you’re the best of the very worst. Go back to your dorm and nominate two of your team for elimination.”

As the teams headed back to their dorm Heather had a big decision to make. If I were Heather my choices would be Maribel and Polly. Both of these women seemed to be the ones that slowed everyone on their team down the most, but that’s just my two cents.

Who did Heather decide to nominate?

“Heather.”
“Yes, Chef.”
“Have you made your decision?”
“Yes, Chef.”
“First nominee and why?”
“I chose Polly, Chef. I believe we can move further and better, because of her lack of experience.”
“Second nominee and why?”
“Virginia, Chef.”

Just as soon as Heather called out Virginia’s name, Virginia turned and looked at Heather in shock, because Heather just recently told Virginia she didn’t want her to go, and she talked like she was going to put Maribel up instead.

“I chose her because…she didn’t do the best that she could,” Heather continued.
“Polly. Virginia. Step forward, please.”

When Polly and Virginia stepped forward Chef Ramsay asked them to tell him why they thought they should stay in Hell’s Kitchen.

“I wanna succeed. Yea, I make mistakes on times and temperatures, but I want to learn to do that better. I wanna try harder at that. I wanna get that right. I don’t want to leave knowing that I can’t get a freaking temperature right on meat,” Virginia pleaded.

“Polly, why should you stay?”

“I have the maturity and the depth that maybe some of the younger girls don’t have, and I don’t have the culinary knowledge, but I’ve proven over my life that I can take challenges – face them – and make the best of them.”
“This is a very, very difficult decision, because you both should go. The person leaving Hell’s Kitchen tonight is…Polly.”

Before Chef Ramsay let Polly go he told her: “You didn’t even get out the starting blocks. Nothing happened for 90 minutes. Take off your jacket, and leave, Hell’s Kitchen.”

Polly’s final words were: “I think my family will be surprised, because they had fully expected me to come up here and kick some butt. I would rather be nice and loose, than to be somebody who’s conniving and win.”

…Continued. Read “Hell’s Kitchen on FOX – Week One, Part Two of Two.”

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