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'Hell's Kitchen' recap: Beating the crepe out of each other

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Image (1) hellskitchen_l1.jpg for post 1499A number of you PopWatchers noticed a shot of Tek during last week’s Hell’s Kitchen episode. What keen eyes you have! I completely missed the editing gaffe (I was most likely looking down at my notepad, scribbling the solution to our nation’s health-care crisis), but I re-watched the episode, and you guys were correct. Here’s the explanation a Fox rep sent me: “In reality television, editors must go through hundreds of hours of footage to cut a show. This episode featured a scene that was the result of an unfortunate editing oversight.” Was it merely an honest goof? Who knows? The mistake did, however, allow the show to squeeze in one of Ramsay’s better lines: “They serve fish more cooked than that in a sushi bar!”

On to last night’s episode, which, for the most part, confirmed what we already knew about the contestants. Kevin and Ariel continued to excel in the kitchen without making a fuss. Dave ran around like a culinary Usain Bolt, putting more energy into his cooking than anyone else. And Tennille managed to stay on her upward trajectory. As for Sabrina, Andy, and Suzanne, well, we’ll get to them in a bit…

Team challenge: Ah, crepes. (Quick shout-out to my brother’s wife, whose Nutella crepes introduced me to both crepes and Nutella, the latter of which should be crowned king of the condiments.) Each team had to make four crepes — for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert — in 20 minutes, while Ramsay and J.P. judged the results. For breakfast, Ariel’s smoked salmon crepe won. The lunch crepe award went to Andy’s ham, cheese, and avocado variation. By comparison, Tennille’s lunch crepe of cheese, bacon, and shrimp was too hot for the judges, prompting Tennille’s umpteenth “never before in my life” quote: “I’ve never seen two grown-a– men so scared of spice before in my life!” The dinner round was a tie between Kevin and Suzanne, so it came down to the dessert crepe.

Dave’s cream-cheese crepe was a thing of repulsive beauty. I wish I could embed an image of it here without breaking copyright laws, because it’s the sort of ghastly, extraterrestrial concoction that deserves to be viewed once a day as a way to add perspective to your life. Horrible day at work? Well, things could be worse — you could be Dave’s deformed crepe. Ramsay went straight to the point: “It looks like a plate of diarrhea.” Sabrina’s pear and chocolate crepe, however, delighted Ramsay and J.P., and thus, the red team won 3-2.

Reward/punishment: The red team’s reward consisted of dining at a fine French restaurant and learning the art of pantomime from a mime. Since every word devoted to the discussion of mimes only increases their superpowers, I’ll stop right here. The blue team had to prepare both kitchens, and took a break to each a lunch that included boiled cow tongue and head cheese (or the meat pieces from the head of a pig). And suddenly mimes don’t seem so disturbing anymore.

Dinner service: Beware the potato grater. With an hour left before dinner service, Andy sliced the tips of three of his left-hand fingers. He was rushed to a clinic to receive stitches and returned to the kitchen just before service was about to start. The rest of the dinner can be easily split between the good chefs and the bad. On the good side, Dave eagerly assisted the ailing Andy with his risotto; Kevin also bailed out Andy by making some of his crepes; and Van, Ariel, and Tennille earned positive marks simply by not getting on Chef Ramsay’s nerves. As for those who did get on his nerves, oh my! Let’s quickly list their grievances:

Sabrina — Her first risotto was too bland and her frog legs were deemed a disaster.

Suzanne — She frustrated her teammates by frequently altering her cooking projections, sliced her lamb way too early, and repeatedly cooked her lamb for incorrect lengths of time.

Andy — As Dave pointed out, “Andy is dangling off a cliff by a dandelion, and that’s about to snap.” It did snap for Andy, who continually struggled to craft passable crepes, and who couldn’t even construct a simple salad. Granted, he had just suffered a debilitating injury, but by this point in Hell’s Kitchen, excuses will no longer tolerated.

So how did Ramsay react to The Three Stooges? By kicking all three out of the kitchen, leaving Kevin, Van, and Dave to finish the service in the blue kitchen, and only Tennille and Ariel in the red kitchen. And, miraculously, those five chefs managed to successfully complete the service. Ramsay declared no winner this week, so both teams had to come to an agreement regarding the two chefs they would nominate. They chose Andy and Suzanne (who, by this point, seemed to be hated by everyone, including Dave’s crepe). And just when you thought it was Suzanne’s time to skedaddle, Ramsay booted Andy off instead and switched Suzanne to the blue team.

¿Por qué? Well, for one, Andy has been a consistently worse chef than Suzanne. But the more likely reason is that Suzanne adds friction to the show. Why keep a mundane chef when you have someone who inspires unadulterated hatred from the other contestants? Ramsay’s decision (or some producer’s decision) to transfer the know-it-all to the blue team is pure genius because now we’re left with an enticing cliffhanger: Will Suzanne find a more accepting home in the blue team, or will she agitate a whole new group of people?

Here are this week’s rankings, which need no added explanation:

1. Kevin

2. Ariel

3. Dave

4. Tennille

5. Van

6. Suzanne

7. Sabrina

PopWatchers, what are your predictions regarding Suzanne’s swap to the blue team? And who else here worships the wonder that is Nutella?

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