Hell's Kitchen Review: Ramsay's Diary – Entry 7
Sept 5, 2011
On paper, we should have weeded through the shit in Hell’s Kitchen leaving only the best of the best in the Top 5. And while I may have found the best of the group, God only knows if they’ll be able to handle BLT Steak in New York. But I’ll be damned if a beam of optimism didn’t shine down during service tonight, proving that there just may be a winner amongst them after all.
Since their performances have basically been quite ugly, I decided to match that quality by giving the chefs a challenge involving ugly food. The goal: to make unappealing food look beautiful. I had my minions place five different plates throughout the dining room with labels on them ranging from Eggplant Parmesan to food’s most classic of butter faces, Meatloaf. The Top 5 ran through the dining room chasing after the plates that they wanted to prepare. Not shockingly, Elise fought for the plate she wanted and Little Miss Speedy Knickers eventually got her way. The rest of them fought over the lot of plates like chimps running around throwing their shit at one another.
Judging this challenge was a line of critics, stylists and photographers that represent the best of the best in food professionals. Right off the bat, Elise’s eggplant Parmesan got rave reviews in both plating and taste and held that lead. At the end, though, Will produced a world-class meatloaf, presented eloquently and tasting even better than it looked, which guaranteed him a big win, by one point. I decided to take the piss out of the losers and subject them to the rigors of laundry done old-timey, complete with wash boards and metal buckets. I don’t know why I get so much satisfaction out of special torture, but then I remember that these people have been driving me up the fucking wall for seven straight weeks and I really think the punishment should have been more severe.
Much later that night, I called the chefs downstairs to the dining room to tell them that there will be yet another team in the Red kitchen: finalists from previous seasons. I must have been out of my mind in welcoming these people back to the restaurant; as if the current team wasn’t enough to make me blow my brains out. Each team were to design a menu and push it out for service the next night. It took no time at all for Elise’s shitty attitude to begin to poison the Black team, which I could hear quite clearly via the screaming match that was going on in the dorms. I thought I was living in a slummy flat with paper thin walls in London again, but no, it was just another shitty set for a Fox show.
Service had its fair share of kinks in it, but God help me, the fucker ran smooth as butter. Elise kept questioning the way she was handling her meat, which hopefully is an issue that doesn’t extend outside the kitchen (no, Diary, I’m not above making the occasional dick joke. What are you going to do, not let me write in your pages anymore?). Returning chefs were not faring so hot. Tenielle was doing a fantastic job ruining the fish station whilst Trevor hadn’t changed a speck, running around like an idiot chicken with its head cut off. Elise once again gave a go at taking charge of the kitchen, but only managed to ruin the flow of the food going out by thinking only of herself once again. At the end of the night, the teams were neck and neck with finished tickets, both of them pushing out all the orders and clearing down before I got right pissed and shut them down. The winning verdict came down to comment cards, and one question in particular: “Would You Return To Hell’s Kitchen?” Again, it was surprisingly close, with one kitchen holding an 86% return rate and the other with an excellent 96%. The winners were the current chefs, but the celebration was short-lived as they had to still nominate two people for elimination. Those nominees were Jennifer and Elise. Elise, Elise. The poor sod has been up to elimination so many times I started to think I was in some horrible episode of The Twilight Zone where the elimination round is always the same, just repeating itself into oblivion. But honestly, Diary, for the first time this year, none of them deserved to leave. Elise is an enormous pain in my ass, but a ratings juggernaut, so I had to keep her around. In fact, I decided to give them all a second chance.
It seems like the chefs may have finally turned a corner in Hell’s Kitchen. Now it’s time to see how they live up to a real challenge…
Season 9, Episode 13: “5 Chefs Compete” (originally aired September 5, 2011)
Try and stand the heat in Hell’s Kitchen, Mondays at 8/7c on FOX
For another take on this episode, read “Second Chances” by Desiree Neall.
Images courtesy of FOX