‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Review: “13 Chefs Compete, Part 1″
When last we left our chef-testants in 'Hell's Kitchen,' Gordon Ramsay had yet to decide who would be going home because Fox sure does love their cliffhangers. So who will he choose to go home? Danielle, Guy, or Patrick?
Ramsay chooses Danielle and then sends the rest of the contestants to bed with, "Sweet dreams. F--- off." It sounds extra charming because of the accent. Dana is crying and worried about some sort of alliance between Kimmie, Robin, and Tiffany, and she should be, if Kimmie's one on one interviews are any indication. But as 'Hell's Kitchen' history goes, contestants who try to purposely eliminate their competition never succeed.
For this week's challenge Ramsay explains food trends over the decades, then tasks the cooks with creating a three course tasting menu for their judges, fashion designers David Meister, Amanda Che, and Ina Soltani. You've never heard of them. There must be one appetizer and two entrees -- one fish and one poultry -- and the winning team's menu will be featured for Hell's Kitchen's first "fashion night."
The teams go head to head, presenting each course to the designers for approval. First up: the blue team with a seasonal bean salad with lobster, but the designers are repulsed by the foam and don't think the food looks tasty -- they're wrong. The plate looks very well designed. When they do finally taste the food they unleash a litany of complaints ranging from, "Is this supposed to be sweet?" to "I emphasized spices!" Clearly they were brought in to be as picky and inhuman as possible for peak drama potential. And again, you've never heard of any of them.
The women present a chilled mango soup with crab, which looks vibrant and thoughtful. The cattiest judge -- Ina Soltani -- casually says, "Visually, it's a little clumsy." She's definitely the type of person that can't be happy for any of her friends. You've never heard of her. And it seems like these "judges" are picking on the visual style of the dishes too much. Are they food designers? No. They are fashion designers. That you've never heard of.
But the women take the first point. Next: poultry. Patrick presents a Moroccan squab, but accidentally says "mucus" when trying to describe an element of the plate. The women have a pan-roasted squab with fried eggplant, which almost gives the designers an aneurysm. I might actually agree with the designers this time that neither plate looks appetizing. Point goes to the men.
In the seafood round the men have a swordfish puttanesca with plenty of Spanish and Italian spices. The swimwear designer really likes the mussels and clams because she thinks they'll "resonate" with her guests. You know, because the beach. Ina Soltani makes googly eyes at Brian. Robin introduces her sea bass dish, and the swimwear designer likes the colors, but Ina Soltani complains about the lack of spice... again. She is the most unpleasant person to ever appear on a show that stars Gordon Ramsay. Blue team takes the point and the win -- their menu will be featured for fashion night. They're rewarded with a shopping spree and wine tasting.
The women are stuck at the kitchen, forced to build a runway and make centerpieces for a "chic" dining room under the instruction of a hellish coordinator.
As the men prep for dinner service, Clemenza is at odds with most of his crew, while Kimmie and Robin are still butting heads over the spices. Kimmie shows a much more sensitive side when she attempts to talk to Robin very calmly, bu that's quickly dispatched when she heads back to the apartment to hit a punching bag for a while. Credit where credit is due: that punching bag is totally shaped the same as Robin's head.
Dinner service is all about timing tonight, as they must time each course with the ongoing fashion shows. Clemenza is the first to mess up as he starts cooking scallops before the show even starts and Ramsay kicks him out of the kitchen and the "to be continued" title card appears. Psych! We totally won't see what happens during fashion night until next week!