Hell's Kitchen recap: Big Rack Attack!
To liven things up, Chef Ramsay has the cheflings give cooking lessons to hot housewives, then invites suntan-lotion models to the dinner service
Good evening, my little hummus platters, and welcome to the continuation of Hell’s Kitchen. After last week‘s not-at-all-shocking elimination of Sam the Constipated Eagle, we were down to five cheflings, all of them (except Pumpkin Petrozza) pretty much the ones you’d expect. Not a bad final bunch, really, or maybe they’ve just grown on me, like hostage takers in Stockholm. Hard to say. But if I had to pick a favorite right this second, it’d be spunky little culinary student Christina, who won even more of my heart at the start of tonight’s episode by walking away from that last elimination muttering, ”One time, can I stand up there andnot cry?” I don’t know if you can, actually, but self-awareness will get you everywhere, my dear…
…which is why I can’t stand Jen. We all know the reasons her teammates don’t care for the BBJ — she dodges blame, she plays the hero, she gets pissed off at everything — but I think I stop listening the second she opens her mouth because it’s all so very negative, every single second of it. Yes, Jen, we know you’re not here to make friends. You’d think, however, you could at least try to be civil occasionally. Or, like, speak English. ”Culinary skills, I got all of them faded,” she said of her competitors tonight. ”Faded?” I wrote down. Is that the new slang for ”beat,” kids? Or did I hear her wrong? Can someone clue me in? This is like when I didn’t understand how something being ”the bomb” could be good. Yes, I am 97 years old.
Tonight’s challenge presented the first of two boobalicious groups of women to our cheflings, in the form of five desperate housewives, none of whom had cooked a day in their lives. (Allegedly. I mean, that would really take some doing, never cooking ever.) The contestants watched Chef Ramsay make lobster spaghetti (it’s baaaaack), then were tasked with teaching the ladies how to do it themselves. Of course, some of the cheflings were more susceptible to their students’ charms than others: As the housewives — and one gerbil/lapdog — sashayed in to some good old-fashioned bawm-chicka-bawm bawm music, both Petrozza and Bobby had to retrieve their jaws from the floor, and I had to grab my tongue with both hands to stop myself from gagging to death on it. Not sure what bothered me more: that these women, who seemed generally good-natured and decent, were being pimped out by the show as some sort of bobbleheaded sexpot army (do not get me started on our society’s current demeaning obsession with all things ”cougar”), or…wait, no, that’s totally what bothered me.
NEXT: If you can’t stand the hotties…
Even Jen fell prey to the easy jokes: ”Hopefully, her boobies won’t get in the way of cooking — they are ridiculously huge,” she said of her housewife, despite not exactly being this month’s training-bra poster child herself. Bobby compared the experience to ”day care” — but I thought men liked to teach helpless little women how to do things — and Petrozza spent most of the time helping his lady put on her apron and pull her hair back. Only Christina and Corey seemed to respect their students’ abilities, which showed in the results, as it came down to blonde vs. blonde, with Christina emerging victorious. This I did not find surprising. The student has become the master! As a reward, she got to spend her afternoon in the Blue kitchen with two celebrity-ish chefs, Mark Peel and Ben Ford. ”I get to pick brains! Ooh!” our pithy little ball of moxie exclaimed. ”And I get to hang out with Chef Ramsay all by my little ol’ self. How cool is that?” Well, not so cool: The rest of the group spent their day right next door in the Red kitchen, cleaning, which gave Jen plenty of reasons to sneak over into Blue and eavesdrop on the reward session. Still can’t believe she didn’t get called out for that, actually.
During prep time, Christina used her new knowledge (and namedropping abilities) to get under everyone’s skin, and Jen declared she wanted to ”booty-bump her” across the room. (Again, I get the subtext, Jen, but ”booty-bump”?) Meanwhile, Ramsay told the group their biggest challenge lay ahead: A 12-top was booked for the dining room tonight, and they owed it to that 12-top — and themselves — to have a terrific service. ”Big night, big night,” rain-manned Petrozza. Dinner had begun.
And then Jean-Philippe walked into the kitchen’s glass door, like a gawky, besuited bird. I cannot for the life of me decide if this was for real. Ramsay’s reaction certainly was dry — he asked someone to put a sign on the door reading, ”Open your eyes, you Belgian $%#@!” — and J.-P. seemed to shake it off. But when did he go from being the exacting and loyal maître d’ to the buffoonish comic relief? Was it so slow in building we just didn’t notice, like lobsters in an increasingly hot pot? It’s not an altogether unwelcome transformation, just strange.
Head injuries aside, service got off to a great start when Christina whipped out the apps. But then came entrees, and Bobby got the first ”what the f— is that?” of the night when he accidentally butterflied a filet mignon. At this point, our dear general rightfully acknowledged that Ramsay would be on him all night, and boy, was he correct. He got a brief moment of respite as Jen undercooked and overcooked the John Dory (”Meat meat meat,” J.-P. told his waitstaff. ”Push the meat.”), but then he cremated the Wellingtons, and it was just about over. (”Now I’m totally screwed here,” said J.-P. ”Push the chicken! Chicken chicken chicken!”) Out in the dining room, guests were pretending to be irate, and that menacing 12-top hadn’t even arrived yet.
NEXT: Lotion’s 12
As much as I enjoy him, Petrozza didn’t help his fellow cheflings much this evening, his worst sin coming when he brought some of Jen’s fish up to the pass too early. Ramsay yelled at Jen, she tried to explain, he yelled at her for talking back, and then Jen started crying. He yelled at her for crying, then asked if she wanted to go home, then yelled at her for clumping around the kitchen. Chef Ramsay, you’ll recall, is not a fan of those with inferior physical fitness, and I’m pretty sure Jen’s general shlumpiness will be her downfall before her attitude is, at this rate. But just in case any of us out here in TV land were equally dismayed at the remaining contestants’ lack of sex appeal, Fox finally sent in the 12-top. Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen, Hawaiian Tropic bikini models! Please have a seat, and enjoy the terribly awkward flirtations of our favorite ambisexual Belgian host! Don’t get your boobs in the risotto!
Blissfully unaware of the mammaries on parade, the cheflings scrambled around the kitchen, attempting to get 12 apps and 12 entrées plated at the Exact. Same. Time. This was fascinating to me, and I wish we’d seen more of the actual process. (It looked stressful enough that I shall never again bring more than eight people out with me to eat, that’s for sure.) Corey and Christina continued to pool their mutual hatred in order to kick ass, but the other three were a mess, and Ramsay even kicked Jen off her station briefly to get everything up to the window in time. ”Inconsistent, inconsistent, f—ing dreaming!” he hollered at Jen, Bobby, and Petrozza, but it didn’t matter much — the 12-top eventually got fed, and service was complete.
Christina got singled out as tonight’s all-star and went back to nominate two folks for elimination. She and Corey talked it out, deciding that Bobby was mediocre and they continued to have a blazing dislike for Jen. Sadly, astute reality-television viewers like me could tell that their blazing dislike for Jen = she’s not going home, and so despite Bobby’s best efforts (”Thank God for you, being at the pass, for stopping that food!” he said, kissing up to C.R., who responded with ”Are you running for office?”) and Ramsay’s verbal misdirection (”The person going home is…Jen¬-eral Bobby!”), there wasn’t much surprise when the Black Gordon Ramsay got the boot. Don’t worry, America: He’s leaving with his joy.
So what did you think, hummus platters? What did Ramsay mean when he stopped the remaining four to say, ”Oh, by the way: Good luck. I do mean that”? Is Jen going to strangle Christina in her sleep? Who’s your favorite to win at this point? Why do I have to listen to David Cook’s ”Always Be My Baby” cover at least three times while writing these recaps? And since I’m writing this on Sunday night and have no earthly idea what happened during Tuesday’s game, dare I ask: Celtics in four?