Hell’s Kitchen: Day Seven
May 13, 2008

FOX, Tuesdays at 9:00PM

Genre: Reality

Conceit: Like Top Chef, But Less About Food And More About Violent Yelling.

So, in case you didn’t know from last episode, Matt is mad and he wanted you to know about it.  Ominous way to start the episode, huh?  Every season, Chef Ramsey challenges the pallets of the potential chefs.  This time, he prefaced it by having both kitchens taste 3 meat dishes to see if they realize there was no actual meat in it.  Of course they didn’t.  The actual taste test was as amusing as ever.  Chef Ramsey adds a dramatic flair when Matt and Ben have to go head to head in the deciding round of the challenge.  Both men were sufficiently impressive, but the girls lead made Matt’s victory a foregone conclusion.  This also set up what was going to be a thoroughly important dinner service.  

In the Red kitchen, the pressure was on Rosann, who’s been hanging on by the skin of her teeth for the last couple of weeks.  She actually rose to the occasion and hit homeruns with the appetizers.  That was short lived as the meats became the bane of her existence.  Meanwhile, the teflon all-star, Jen, inexplicably imploded.  After getting yelled at by Chef Ramsey, Jen kept to herself and the unravelling began.  Then she started talking back to Ramsey.  And with Jen went the kitchen.  The entire Red kitchen became quiet and defeated.  The only one who really had it together was Christina.  And Matt.  Bizarre.  He did make a bit much of it, though.

Ben renewed his place as Chef Ramsey’s punching bag.  And he pokes the bear by telling Chef Ramsey he’s not used to working in a divided kitchen.  I’m not sure what he expected to be the result of this, but it went exactly the way everyone else expected.  The men’s kitchen seemed to take three steps back as they struggled to get entrees out.  Ben’s meat station was falling apart and he couldn’t find a drop of water in the ocean.  And when it rains, it pours.  Ramsey benched Ben.  

Once the men were chosen as the losing team, the end was inevitable.  My early pick to win it all, Ben, was out the door.  But not before he tried to weasel his way out.  Go out with dignity, man.

Final Grade: B

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Hell’s Kitchen: Day Five
April 29, 2008

FOX, Tuesdays at 9:00PM

Genre: Reality

Conceit: Like Top Chef, But Less About Food, And More About Violent Yelling.

Well, I guess tonight’s challenge was more like Top Chef than usual.  As opposed to the normal “hot to run a kitchen” tests that the chefs have, tonight they were asked to make gourmet pizzas individually and then pick one from each kitchen to represent the team.  Matt continued to just be a complaining disaster.  His pizza was so bad that Ben couldn’t even comment on it.  Bobby and Ben pretty arbitrarily decided that Ben’s pizza would represent the men’s kitchen against stand out Jen’s pizza.  In another photo finish, Jen managed to win it for the girls and get her pizza put on the menu as a special.  So far, she has yet to have a bad moment.  Chef Ramsey commented that Ben’s pizza was good, but his failure to properly wash the mushroom topping was his undoing.  And just like that, the guys kitchen started to really unravel.  All of a sudden, the chefs found themselves on each other’s last nerves.

Vanessa found herself at a disadvantage during dinner service.  The burnt hand she sustained last week was fully bandaged and getting in her way.  Chef Ramsey gave her a choice and Vanessa walked.  That was bizarre.  Again, I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to do the work bandaged, but she didn’t even try the dinner service.  She put the girls down one for no reason at all.  Her comment at the end made it seem like her departure was more about how hard the competition was, as opposed to the burn.

Because the guys lost the challenge, they found themselves forced to deliver Jen’s gourmet pizza door-to-door in a rictshaw looking thing.  The scene of Ben physically pushing the cart backwards because he couldn’t find the reverse was hilarious.  If that was their only problem, it would be fine.  Of course it wasn’t.  Bobby stepped into Matt’s station when he couldn’t fry a decent quail egg.  Louross wasn’t fairing much better.  He couldn’t get a steak ready for his life.  Then Petrozza cheaped his way out.  He sliced a tops of the steaks to make them appear medium when they weren’t in fact.  I couldn’t believe he got away with it.  This was the turning point, as the guys banged out the rest of the dinner service flawlessly.

While Jen was still hitting homeruns, the rest of the ladies were falling apart.  Rosann had a particularly bad night.  Her breakdown made Chef Ramsey break one of his cardinal rules and send out dishes incomplete.  Chef Ramsey asked Jen to step in and fix things up.  The problem with this was that Jen was pulled off of the desert station, which she was supposed to work with Christina.  When Chef Ramsey ordered Corey to help her, Corey did so reluctantly, rather wanting Christina kicked out.

And so both kitchens finally completed a dinner service on their own.  Looking at the parts, rather than the whole, Chef Ramsey declared it a tie, so that one from each team had to go.  The women correctly chose Rosann.  But then reality TV minds stepped in and decided it was Christina’s time to go.  And let the claims of “If I come back, I’m gonna get you” begin.  Louross stepped up and threw himself in, knowing that he had an awful night.  

The best thing about this show is the fact that Chef Ramsey knows stupid when he sees it.  He was well aware that Christina was not the worst chef in the women’s kitchen and called the women stupid for maneuvering her towards elimination.  Turns out he didn’t eliminate anyone tonight, claiming that Vanessa leaving grants them a reprieve.  My guess is that the shows run is based on an elimination per episode, and a double elimination would throw that off.  Either way, prepare for the girls team to implode.

Final Grade: B