‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Review: “15 Chefs Compete”
While the men celebrate their success from their most recent victory, the two most volatile women on the ladies’ team — Kimmie and Tiffany — commiserate over Barbie, who they believe should have been sent home. More drama? More drama! Welcome back to ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’
Ramsay wakes the contestants up with sheep dogs and brings them down to a farm, where sheep have ingredients written on their backs and collars — they’ll have to grab enough “ingredients” to make four lamb dishes in today’s challenge. Let’s just acknowledge how ridiculous this challenge is. Cooking lamb dishes? Totally sane. As a chef, you should know how to cook a wide variety of proteins. Catching lambs to steal their collars? In what scenario will a chef ever need to do this? Ramsay, your methods are insane.
Guy cuts his finger while chopping some potatoes, giving us our first legitimate injury of the season. Never fear, someone will sprain an ankle or burn their arm and use the excuse to leave the show. We should start a betting pool now.
Tiffany goes up with her pine nut and anchovy crusted lamb chop, while Clemenza brings a feta lamb — both are equally tasty, netting both teams a point. The women take the next point with Kimmie and Roshni’s coconut curry lamb, and it’s a good thing Kimmie and Tiffany can cook because their attitudes are so rank. After the women present a raw rack of lamb, the men take the next point. The final round pits Royce against Dana, who both present impressive dishes, but the men take the final point and win a VIP trip to a racetrack. Ramsay even gives Clemenza $100 to gamble.
The ladies are forced to wash the paint off all the sheep and clean and prep both kitchens for the evening’s dinner service. As if that weren’t enough, the ladies are given a plate of lamb testicles to eat for lunch. Kimmie goes hardcore and eats half a dozen in the time it takes most of her colleagues to eat just one. I’m not sure what this new ‘Fear Factor’ element of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is, but seems wholly unnecessary… That is, until the ladies start fighting over how many testicles they ate and if it even mattered while doing their dinner prep. So the point is that they don’t really have to eat the gross food they’re served, but if you put it in front of them, they’re going to think they have to eat it to win the competition. Are they that stupid, or are the producers that horrible?
Danielle gets the women off to a poor start with her undercooked and under-seasoned risotto. It’s a testament to the large pool of competition in this show that I hadn’t even noticed Danielle until tonight’s episode, but Kimmie seems to have formed a strong grudge against her already as she tosses out her trademark insult, “stupid b—-,” a phrase that makes me cringe every time she says it. I guess they don’t have common courtesy and manners in Nutbush, Tennessee. I’m not going to even ask how she feels about feminism.
Brian is having a tough time on the fish station tonight as he repeatedly over- and undercooks his cod until he runs out altogether, leading Ramsay to (justifiably) kick him off the service. Roshni has similar issues over on the meat station in the red kitchen, unable to successfully cook her beef wellingtons, and she too is removed from the kitchen.
Don, for all his dorky affectations, turns out to be sort of a meat genius because his beef wellingtons are perfect, but that victory is short-lived — apparently his genius only extends to wellington because his New York strips are raw. Don is the next to get kicked out of the kitchen, replaced by Royce on the meat station.
The troubles aren’t over for the women as Robyn over-seasons her dish and Danielle sends up an incorrect sauce. Ramsay is growing more impatient — both women are kicked out of the kitchen, followed quickly by Royce and Justin on the men’s team. With at least half the kitchen exiled, the contestants are performing better than ever. It’s not a surprise — the more cooks in the kitchen, the harder it is to communicate properly and the more confused and flustered everyone gets. Fewer cooks means more efficiency and better food. This is why the back half of any season of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ is always the best.
Both teams finish service, but both are tasked with putting up nominees for elimination. Brian’s poor performance on the fish station and Don’s mishap with the steak earn them both the nomination from the blue team, while the women let go of their Barbie grudge for the time being to focus on Roshni, Danielle, and Robyn. They eventually settle on Danielle and Roshni, the latter of which is making her third appearance on the chopping block.
Poor, quirky, nerdy Don is sent home, but Ramsay isn’t done yet. It looks like Roshni might be going home, but Ramsay’s just pulling his first big bait-and-switch as he places her on the blue team.