‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Review: “9 Chefs Compete”
Previously on ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ Robin was sent to the men’s team, where she proved herself a more valuable cook, but still couldn’t lead the blue team to victory. The red team flourished without Robyn creating excess conflict in their kitchen, and Royce was finally sent packing.
Robyn appears to be up to her old tricks, sucking up to Clemenza in a move that isn’t going unnoticed by her former teammates in the red kitchen. Will Robyn continue to pull her manipulative crap in the blue kitchen?
The challenge of the day is wing-eating competition because apparently to be a good chef you have to be able to eat more food than anyone. Chef Ramsay brings out competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut to challenge two members from each team to see who can eat 60 wings the fastest. In the history of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ challenges, this might be the dumbest and most pointless one yet.
Of course that wasn’t the real challenge (which just makes the eating competition that much more useless) — the real challenge today is a blind taste test, to give the chefs a chance to prove how refined their palates are. As the narrator notes, no one has ever achieved a perfect score in this contest.
Christina and Bryan are up first, both getting beets right but guessing onions instead of shallots. Christina incorrectly believes the turkey to be tofu, but Bryan nails it. The last food item is pineapple, which both of them get right. The score is at two for the red team and three for the blue.
Next up are Barbie and Robyn, and the first item is grits. Barbie guesses cauliflower and Robyn guesses rice. Neither of them correctly guess turnips or sea bass, giving them each only one chance to earn a point with the final item: cilantro. Robyn guesses tarragon, but Barbie gets it right, putting the teams in a tie at three and three.
Clemenza and Tiffany step up to the plate, so to speak. The first item is lamb, which both competitors guess to be chicken. Next is sweet potato, followed by eggplant — and neither of them get these right. The final item is crushed walnuts, which Tiffany guesses correctly, giving the red team the lead.
Dana and Justin are the final pairing, and the first item is scallops — an item they cook with every single night. Justin gets it right, but Dana bizarrely guesses tofu. The last item is sunchoke, which Dana also flubs, but Justin gets right, making him the first chef in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ history to get all four food items right in the blind taste test challenge, and giving the blue team the victory.
The blue team earns a very special trip to a water park, which they will have all to themselves. Meanwhile, the red kitchen will be stuck unloading food deliveries all day. Kimmie hatches a ridiculous plan to block the exit to the restaurant with boxes of food, which she doesn’t realize the blue team can easily shove aside. But that’s okay because Barbie distracts her with a new problem: Barbie is removing bags of ice from pallets on a truck and setting them on the edge, rather than carrying them off and up to the kitchen, causing a fight when Kimmie accuses her of laziness.
The red team’s punishment continues when they’re asked to crush giant containers of peppercorns and replace fryer oil by Chef Andi, who sounds like she had a few valium with her lunch of martini.
Just when the chefs think their long day has come to an end, they receive a special video message from Chef Ramsay asking each team to create their own menu with appetizers, entrees, and desserts to compete with each other in a Red vs. Blue dinner service.
Both teams must each prepare nine dishes each before the evening’s dinner service, but Kimmie continues to be a problem. She doesn’t want to play along when the women want to use her BBQ sauce recipe because they don’t want to call it BBQ sauce, which sounds tacky (really?). But when Kimmie gets in the kitchen she’s unsure of herself, unable to make her sauce correctly.
Barbie is also a problem during prep, taking two and a half hours to clean mussels. When she goes off to take a smoke break, Dana takes over and speeds up the process. Clemenza goes AWOL from the blue kitchen for 45 minutes, much to Robyn’s chagrin.
Both teams complete their menus for Chef Ramsay to taste and give his final approval. He starts out by criticizing the red team’s mussels, which he thinks look like they’re swimming in dishwater. He is equally unimpressed with their beet salad, but approves of their flatbread, fish, and ribeye dishes — the latter of which is dressed with Kimmie’s sauce. Overall, they get a pass and adjust some of the issues with their menu for the dinner service.
On the blue team Robyn’s salad is not a hit, and neither is Justin’s carpaccio. Clemenza’s steak and quail dishes also meet disapproval. It doesn’t look like the blue team has made anything worthwhile, and with Clemenza responsible for most of the mistakes, it looks like Ramsay might kick him out before service even begins. Sadly, we won’t find out until the next episode!