Hell’s Kitchen Review: Get Out and Eff Off!
Season 11 of Hell’s Kitchen premiered Monday night…all two hours of it. Before jumping into the review, I confess that the only cooking competition show I’ve ever watched on a regular basis is Top Chef. So I was a little surprised when I began watching Hell’s Kitchen. Not that I expected the two shows to be the same, but I expected that the contestants on HK to be a little more quality and less looney. But, looney gets ratings and sucky chefs do too, I guess.
So HK starts with Chef Gordon Ramsey flying all the chefs out to Los Angeles so they can board a bus and go right back into the airport to head to Vegas for their first competition. Was that diversion to draw in the viewer? Cause it was rather gimmicky.
The cheftestants head to Vegas and are greeted by Bally’s Jubilee Girls and also get a tour of Vegas. Right away, it’s easy to spot the characters…Nedra and her giant jugs and Sicilian Gina come to mind. Both of them are pretty obnoxious, but at least Nedra has solid one-liners. All Gina can muster up is Afredo Al Dente (more to come on THAT later).
Soon after arriving in Vegas, the chefs meet Gordon Ramsey and start the signature dish challenge in front of an audience at Caesar’s Palace. This challenge is where there is a very significant difference between Top Chef dishes and Hell’s Kitchen dishes. Mainly because most of the Hell’s Kitchen dishes look pretty unappetizing on camera (and probably in person). Even the crappy dishes on Top Chef usually looked pretty amazing. Anyway, the contestants are split into two teams – men and women – and start dishing out their dishes to Chef Ramsey, who proceeds to take a bite of most and then call them nasty (some, he doesn’t even eat – just tosses straight into the trash). There are some true fails…a stuffed steak (WTF), shrimp and salmon corndogs (bigger WTF) and raw lamb (say hi to the toilet if you eat that one). The winners were Ray’s stuffed veal and Janelle’s prawns with spicy Asian pesto (both are Executive Chefs in real life so not surprising that they would rock their dishes). And Nedra also found some success…maybe because she demanded everyone say grace before eating her creation. At the end of the competition, the women walked away with the win (by one point) and got a night as Vegas VIPS as their prize. They ate sushi off a human lady platter, chatted with Celine Dion and flew back to Los Angeles via private jet. The losing men had to trek back home on a jalopy of a school bus and listen to Chef Sebastian’s non-sensical pep talk the whole way home.
Once everyone arrived at Hell’s Kitchen in Los Angeles, it was time to study Chef Ramsay’s menu for the next day’s food service. Almost everyone took this seriously. I say almost because that’s when Gina decided to whip out Alfredo Al Dente – her hand held puppet. She shoved Dente in everyone’s faces pretty much confirming to the house that B be cray. I think Nedra said it best – “B****, you betta take you and that puppet and get the hell outta here!”
Well, Gina paid for her antics the next day when she went crazy in the kitchen and had to sit out, during which time, she did her eyebrows and re-applied make-up. When she made it back down to the kitchen, the Red Team was trying to get customer dishes out as fast as possible. Gina was determined to be a key player so she worked on scallops. Her first batch was perfect but she quickly regressed into making horrible scallops and eventually got kicked out by Chef Ramsay. Danielle was also rather inept in the kitchen. She claimed she had never worked on a brigade before and that was the root cause of her inability to function. I think it’s probably more because she is naturally not meant to be a chef.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, the Blue Team was not having much luck creating a dish of risotto or lamb. Sebastian was kicked out of the kitchen first and then proceeded to come back three times…which really got Chef Ramsay heated. Jeremy also proved to be pretty useless by cooking his kale by lighting it on fire. When it was pointed out that he need not go that hard on the kale, he proceeded to snap that everyone should mind their own business. Jeremy also had big problems reciting Chef Ramsay’s requests…hey guy – it’s 3 halibut, 1 bass and 1 chicken!
At the end of the day, Chef Ramsay had kicked out a number of chefs and ended the dinner service telling everyone he was pretty disappointed in the level of quality and talent in his kitchen. Then, he declared the Red Team as the winner, which meant the guys of the Blue Team had to nominate two people to be sent home. Kale blazing Jeremy was a nominee as well as cocky talky Sebastian. Chef Ramsay decided to spare Jeremy by keeping him and spare us all by sending Sebastian home. Bye bro.
Season 11, Episodes 1 and 2: “20 Chefs Compete, Part 1 of 2″ and “20 Chefs Compete, Part 2 of 2″ (originally aired March 12, 2013)
Hell’s Kitchen airs Tuesdays at 8/7c.
Images courtesy of Michael Becker/FOX.