Hell's Kitchen recap: The Choicest Cut
The women trounce the men in a test of their poultry-prep skills, and later, Chef Ramsay makes the call we've all been hoping for
Big night of Fox TV for me, my darling slabs of bacon, as no sooner had I completed my on-the-scene report from tonight’s American Idol“ than I set about watching the continuation of Hell’s Kitchen. Gracious, what a shift in tone! Over in happy singing land, we’re all realizing that there can be miracles when we believe, and then boom, I’m thrust into a room full of angry women and ominous pots of steaming water. Seems the expected fallout from Corey’s decision to put Jen and Christina up for elimination last week — subsequently thwarted by Chef Ramsay’s hatred of women who wear makeup in the kitchen — was really freakin’ immediate, and Jen slammed her way back to the dorms. ”You ain’t gonna get rid of me,” she hollered. ”Not that easy! You f—ed now, Blondie! You done f—ed it up!” Meanwhile, Christina was still sobbing, and Corey was enjoying high-fives from the men for her gamesmanship.
Hey, Corey’s not here to make friends, and she doesn’t care if Christina thinks she’s a vindictive bitch. Does Corey have evil tendencies? I don’t know. But I do think that the prevailing opinion — that she should be trying to win challenges at this point, not eliminate the competition — is probably correct, especially given the shaky competence of the men. ”Corey is threatened by me,” rationalized Christina. ”And she should be.” Well then, Sniffles! Make it work! And start by picking up that chicken that just landed on your bed!
Yes, in the long-standing tradition of uncomfortable HK mornings, the cheflings were awoken by something rather fowl in the dorms. (Hardy har har! Wakey wakey!) Everyone grabbed one of the marauding chickens and headed downstairs, an activity that did not sit well with Bobby, to whose growing list of Things the General Has Never Done we can now add ”picked up a chicken,” right beneath ”been on a boat.” (PS: He said he’d have a ”better chance” if…well, something. I couldn’t understand him, unless he said ”the room’s made of thistles,” which I’m pretty sure he didn’t.) In the dining room, after a momentary beheading scare (not cool), we learned the challenge for the morning was to be cutting an (already dead and plucked) chicken into eight pieces. This, my bacon bits, was not a hard challenge. In fact, I’m relatively certain I could do it impeccably right now, and it’s 3:21 a.m. But given five minutes, enough folks botched the job to kind of get under Chef Ramsay’s skin, with the worst offender being ”Big Toque, Big…Hands?” Craig, who only managed to wring two acceptable portions from his feathered friend, thereby handing the men the loss.
As punishment, the hairier team was sent on a janky bus to pick peppers in the heat, where Ben fulfilled his promise to throw produce at Craig, and Matt made one of the several excellent Craig-based analogies he’d toss out this evening, saying the 13-year veteran sous chef carved chicken like something out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (Before we get too cocky, though, Matt, I’d ask you to remember that one time you prepared food that could have inspired a certain Chunk-at-the-movies monologue fromGoonies.) Meanwhile, the women were enjoying their reward at one of the ”finest” restaurants on the Sunset Strip, the Saddle Ranch. ”Finest”? For the love of God, that’s like a claim Trump would make, if he owned the Saddle Ranch. Don’t get me wrong: That place makes damn fine chicken-fried steak. But ”fine” is not an adjective I’d pull out of my extensive vocabulary when attempting to describe the only restaurant with a mechanical bull I’ve thus far encountered in L.A.
Speaking of mechanical bulls and Apprentice-esque moves, it was at this point the producers saw fit to gift us with an appearance from a proud alum: Aaron, season 3’s Crying Asian Cowboy. Luckily, that ghastly memory jolt didn’t last long, and the women could get down to planning the demise of the men. Phase One: Seduce at least one of them into the hot tub. Target: Toolsack. Yes, come nighttime, the ladies enticed He Who Shall Not Be Named into the bubbly water with very little effort — he whipped off his shirt and plunged into the tub like a fat man at a water park. (Come to think of it, that simile is more of an exact description, isn’t it?) There, Toolsack proceeded to spill all his Man Team secrets, which the men did not appreciate. Ben was especially mad. Ben, it seems, has something of a temper. Never underestimate a man with a mustache, I always say.
NEXT: Another disastrous dinner service
Come time for service, Chef Ramsay had high expectations. And with Christina and Corey attempting to get along, it seemed for a moment life might be okay. Sadly, as fans of HK know all too well, Dinner Service #3 is rarely the time to expect miracles. Instead, we got Toolsack’s inability to name the desserts, Craig’s inability to talk and work at the same time, Rosann botching salads, and a load of missing bacon. There was a glorious moment when Toolsack pulled a Petrozza, going all fetal and repeating, ”I’m done. I’m done,” because he couldn’t remember the four effing menu items, but much to my dismay, Ramsay barely yelled, and refused to accept Toolsack’s resignation. Then Vanessa made raw beef and started crying, Rosann set the meat station on fire, and Ben made raw salmon, blaming it on ”different techniques.” Out in the dining room, guests were writing ”S.O.S.” with bread, and Bobby was trying to feed the masses using only one tiny breast of chicken cooked tableside. Hardly loaves and fishes, in other words. To quote Chef Ramsay, ”COOKING MY ASS.”
No need to SHUT-TIT DOWN tonight, and no winning team — everyone sucked and they knew it. CR told Christina and Petrozza to nominate two new victims, and as the cheflings filed back upstairs, the grateful patrons cheered for their valiant, chicken-sharing general Bobby. Sadly, Bobby’s decision to wave to the troops got him literally screamed out of the kitchen by Ramsay. Again, the differences between this show and Idol cannot be emphasized enough.
The elimination candidates seemed obvious: Petrozza would boot either Craig or Toolsack, and Christina would toss mortal enemy Corey. ”There’s only one dumb blond left, and it ain’t me,” Christina said, proving herself this season’s master of the quippy declarative statement. But speaking of chicken, when the big moment arrived, Christina went with…Vanessa, who was still weeping about being worthless. Thankfully, Chef Ramsay took one look at his two choices — earnest, competent woman vs. misogynistic sack of lard that runs like a tortoise giving birth and according to Ramsay has no balls — and made the right one.
What did you think, my little Bac-Os? Was tonight’s ep a smidge on the screamy side for you, too? Do you see any hope for this group of individuals? Do you, like me, suspect Louross is going to win it all, simply based on the fact that he does very little but, like, cook good? Can you cut a chicken into eight pieces in five minutes? And would you enjoy using the space below to compose a farewell haiku to Toolsack? (The asterisks will just blot out the cussing!)