Hell's Kitchen

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Chicken Meatball

Well, it's another two hours of Hell's Kitchen this week. And next week. So here's how I guess it's shaking out: this week, they cut to eight. Then July 6, they cut to six, then it's four on July 13, cut to the final two on July 20, and the finale on the 27th, leading into this new Masterchef USA show. Seems a little rushed to me.

Gordon Ramsay's Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 27
Contestants' Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 34
How to Cook Crab Cakes: "When it's brown, it's cooked; when it's black, it's [bleep]!"

Benjamin hugs his old blue team compatriots and is theatrically mopey about being on the red side. He makes a couple of jokes about killing himself, and I wish he wouldn't tease like that.

Roll call. Someone will be having their 50th wedding anniversary at Hell's Kitchen, because what better way to celebrate a half century of marriage than waiting forever for undercooked risotto? Gordon introduces the couple to the chefs, and things get a bit condescending. Oh, old people! You're adorable. Anyway, Gordon had them bring the menu from their wedding reception so that his team can update it. That's a cute idea, I guess. So they'll be riffing off of Chicken Kiev, Steak Diane, and something that sounds like "travel mundine". I guess they'll repeat that last one.

Oh! By spying on the chefs' notes, it appears that "travel mundine" is actually "Trout Almondine." So there you go.

On the red side, Nilka is off to a bad start when she admits that she doesn't know what Steak Diane is. But her flambé is big and dramatic, which makes it look sort of like she knows what she's doing. The blue side is distinguished by Jay bragging in detail about all the awesome things he's going to do to the trout and by Autumn fretting about Salvatore's plans for meatballs for the Chicken Kiev.

Benjamin is leading the red side, asking when each dish will be ready. Everyone is smiling and there's tinkly piano music to demonstrate their equanimity. Meanwhile, the blue side gets crashing dissonant chords as they get down to the deadline and their chicken isn't cooked. Autumn insists that they can't serve raw chicken, but Salvatore insists it's cooked. Well, we'll see.

First dish: Nilka vs. Ed in the Battle of the Steak Diane. Nilka talks about the crab in the reduction, but Gordon was looking for something "in tune with the classic", which means cream, cognac and mustard. Nilka admits that she doesn't really know Steak Diane, although the married couple seems to like it okay. Ed's is slightly more Diane-like, and the blue team wins.

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Hell's Kitchen

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