‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Review: “4 Chefs Compete”
In this week's episode of 'Hell's Kitchen,' Chef Ramsay will test our final four contestants' skills dictating orders and performing quality control at the pass. At the end of last week's episode, he sent them a mysterious surprise -- but what was it?
It turns out Ramsay brought in the remaining contestants' families and partners for a special visit, reinvigorating their spirits and inspiring them to soldier on in the competition. But their respite is over rather quickly and early the next morning Chef Ramsay brings them down to Bristol Farms, where they're each given $15 to create a dish. The challenge is to maximize profits -- spend the least amount on a dish that will cost the most money. Everyone makes it under budget except for Justin, who had to relinquish his avocado at the checkout counter.
Michelin star executive Chef David LeFevre, West Coast Editor of Bon Appetit Hugh Garvey, and general manager of the Patina group Christian Phillipo will judge the dishes and each offer how much they would be willing to pay for the meal.
Justin presents a roasted corn, jalapeno and mango salsa with a chile shrimp. Christian offers $24, David offers $29 and Hugh offers the most at $32, making Justin's average $28.33. Barbie is up next with a pork chop with sauerkraut and sausage, which is criticized for being too salty and going over the top with the sausage, but the average price coming in at $33 from the three judges.
Dana's dish is a panko and herb-crusted halibut with fennel salad and a beurre blanc sauce, giving her the edge over Barbie with a $34 average. Up last is Christina with a grilled swordfish with saffron rice and shrimp. Her broth is a huge hit, garnering a $33.67 average price for her dish, meaning Dana is the winner of this challenge. While Dana is whisked off to David LeFevre's restaurant for a meal and some one-on-one time with the chef, her competitors are left to sort bags of garbage in the heat for recycling.
When Dana gets back and expresses joy over her special reward, which included another visit with her parents, the rest of the chefs ignore her questions about the evening's dinner service. Chef Ramsay enters and informs them that each of them will take a turn running the pass to establish their leadership skills. To add another layer of importance to the evening, the president of the hotel where the winning chef will be working is visiting the restaurant.
The kitchen gets off to a great start with appetizers coming out perfectly. Justin is the first chef to try his hand at the pass. His orders are dictated strongly and clearly, but there's always a twist: Chef Scott tests Justin's attention when he sends up crab in the spaghetti instead of lobster, and Justin catches it immediately. Dana is unable to cook her fish quickly enough -- when Justin demands that she have it done in five minutes instead of six, she gets sassy, drawing Chef Ramsay's attention. Ramsay warns Dana to respect Justin because it will be her turn soon enough.
Sure enough, Dana's up next and she takes the reign effectively -- and hey, she found a use for her yelling! To test her attention Ramsay puts sugar in the risotto, but she doesn't catch it at first taste. Up next is Barbie, who is also just as effective at controlling her kitchen as Justin and Dana were. Her standards for quality are very strict, and when problems arise in timing between Justin and Dana, she's quick to remedy the situation. Her quality control test comes from Chef Scott, who replaces mashed potatoes with celeriac mash, and she catches it right off the bat. So far, Barbie's performance at the pass has been the strongest.
Finally, Christina is up at the pass. Her biggest problem seems to be treating her subordinates like friends more than underlings, which ends up biting her in the ass when Dana messes up the fish and it's taking too long to prepare another dish. Christina easily spots when her spinach is replaced with arugula, and the dinner service comes to a successful end.
It's a really close call in terms of performance at the pass, but Dana and Barbie were probably the best, even though Dana failed her quality control test. Still, when the contestants are asked to decide who should go home, everyone jumps on Dana -- even her friend Christina doesn't seem impressed by her skills at the pass, and Barbie focuses on the two times Dana was delayed in preparing her fish.
Ramsay gives everyone a chance to say why they deserve to stay in the competition, and doesn't even bother to hear who they've decided should go. With the next dinner service announced as the last, Barbie is shockingly sent home. But that's not all -- there can only be two chefs in the final. But it looks like we won't find out who the final two are until next week!