Two big hours of Ramsay and the donkeys tonight, courtesy of last week's cancellation, and I think we all need a new way to conceptualize the rapidly diminishing cast of HK. And given how quickly we're coming down to the end, the three writers sharing this space might only have one more crack apiece. So without further ado, here's my distillation of the Ramsay essence, in bullet form:
Bête noire: How to send Gordon Ramsay into a screaming fit
- Peppery Swiss chard
- Inability to do simple math ("Dumbo!")
- Frozen pork ravioli ("That's not cold, that's stone cold!")
- Taking your own sweet Sabrina time on the meat station
- Not having the decency to wipe up sauce that you spill on the hot plate
- Raw halibut from both kitchens ("it's flipping on the plate, it's so raw")
- Cooking two tortelloni when the portion is three
- Sweating in the food ("by the way, you got a little touch of Van in that one")
- Burning lettuce. This is the final straw in a Ramsay kitchen. Avoid at all costs.
Smooth Moves: Who wants the AraxiResortInWhistlerBritishColumbia?
- Wow, an actual Top Chef on Hell's Kitchen! The winning Blue Team goes to have lunch with Mark Peele, executive chef at Campanile. That's one of the very few big-name chefs to appear on this rather downscale show, Ramsay excepted.
- Dave pinches a nerve in his already injured trying to reach a heavy pan over to the pass, and leaves the line in agony — but comes back cookin' bisque!
- Suzanne and Dave pick the right fruit for the citrus vinegarette — passion fruit — but then can't hold her tongue congratulating herself.
- Suzanne gets confirmation that being a know-at-all is a winning strategy from Christina of season 4, who is now working for Ramsay at the London West Hollywood.
- Tennile takes charge, and when she gets praise from Ramsay, she gushes, "Save it 'till after service, Chef, you're making me blush!"
- After Tennile, Kevin, and Dave finish service, Ramsay calls Tennile over and says, "That's the best I've ever seen anyone cook meat."
You've Given Up: Fatal errors
- Exclude team members at your own peril. Sabrina gets the cold shoulder from the girls, and newcomer-to-the-blue-team Suzanne finds her suggestions falling on deaf ears. But Sabrina's the only person who knows that the nice rack of meat they got from their Araxi ingredients is not lamb, but venison. Since no one was including her, she keeps her information to herself, and Tennille gets schooled when she proudly presents "lamb" to the judges, Johnny Mosely and Sasha Cohen.
- Ramsay specifically says that he wants the team menus to reflect each member's contribution. The Blue Team collaborates beautifully, but strangely, the Red Team's Ariel and Sabrina shoot down all of Tennile's suggestions without adding much creativity of their own. And predictably, Sabrina complains to Ramsay about the one idea of Tennile's that does make it onto the appetizer list, an Asian salad.
- Tennile decides to sweep up during service, neglecting her broccolini.
- Why the hell does any team nominate for elimination someone who didn't have a bad service, as the Blue Team considers doing with Suzanne and as the Black Team does with Ariel? Do you enjoy having Chef Ramsay overrule your nomination?
- Van's habit of carrying cooked fish around on a spatula comes back to haunt him when he drops it on the ground during the last minute of the Taste It and Make It challenge.
- Tennile is thrilled to get Kevin as her partner, but then Kevin forgot to put the calamari garnish on the plate.
- Are you quitting on me, Gordon? A devastated Chef Ramsay gathers Sous-Chef Scott and retreats from the kitchen, utterly defeated.
- Suzanne believes that the chefs walking out might be a test to see if they'll send substandard food out; "Better just not to do anything at all," she reasons.
Grade: A- for the Ramsay walkout and the unfeigned confessional emotions. It's getting hot in here.
- Noel's finally figured out whom Tennile reminds him of: a Fat Albert character. Specifically Russell.
- Sabrina: "Oh my God, they don't like our red food!"
- Sabrina: "I expected it to be easy." Memo to all potential Hell's Kitchen contestants: It ain't easy.
- Is there any chance that Dave's arm will heal before the finals? Or that the finals will be postponed to allow him to get to full strength? It just doesn't seem quite fair.
- Dave: "I can die a happy man now that Chef Ramsey has personally cooked me a filet mignon breakfast."
- Suzanne: "I can't imagine that you have to be too perfect to win this thing."
- Van is geniuinely concerned by Chef's collapse over his second straight night of raw halibut.
- There are so many people under that proverbial bus that they are actually acting as chocks and preventing the bus from getting underway.
- Van: "I'm not lookin' good, I'm not cookin' good."