Hell's Kitchen
12 Chefs Compete

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Things Fall Apart

The teams have barely filed back into the dorms before Patrick is already trying to kiss ass with Clemenza, while still telling us he's going to be getting rid of Clemenza as soon as he can. Clemenza's not fooled though, but a nighttime shot of him awake suggests that he might be worried about literal knives in the back now.

So after the neverending Fashion Night of last night's episode, we're back to a more traditional episodic structure with a challenge, although it's another contrived goofy thing where there are four domes on each kitchen's pass, each with six ingredients, starting with six proteins. Each team member has to grab a protein, and then do their best to grab complementary ingredients from each dome as they're revealed.

Veal, pork, turkey, lobster, chicken and fish are apparently the proteins, and the chefs get to work. Five minutes later, the next dome opens and ingredients start being revealed.

Dana's all "every woman for herself," forgetting -- or ignoring -- the fact that it's still a team challenge, and the teams should be making sure everyone's cooking up a good dish. You'll never believe this, but Royce thinks his lobster dish is amazing.

Ramsey starts introducing the judges, all of whom have earned Michelin stars. First up, Anita Lo of Annisa in New York. Barbie appears to have heard of her. "She's one of my female chef idols," she tells. There's Douglas Keane of Cyrus in San Francisco, and Michael Cimarusti of Providence. Justin says he's not the type to get star-struck -- translation: he hasn't heard of any of them -- but he at least respects the Michelin recognition.

The judges are going to award each team member's dish one to three stars, and highest total wins. Tiffany's seasoned monkfish has tarragon couscous and brown butter sauce, and quail eggs. Judges love it. Six stars for Tiffany.

Justin's got a five-spice roasted monkfish with chive ravioli, poached quail egg and heirloom tomato salad. Ramsay calls the ravioli "dangerous," and Justin talks about adapting. And the judges all like the ravioli, and he earns six stars as well.

Hen next: Barbie's pan-roasted hen with a potato-shrimp hash, and she's thrilled when her hero says it's seasoned perfectly. She gets five stars (Cimarusti giving her only one), but that's still not bad.

Clemenza's herb-roasted guinea hen is served up with grilled zucchini and balsamic, with saffron herb-roasted potatoes. "I love this guy," says Cimarusti, impressed that Clemenza has served up something so elegant. Kind of a backhanded "because you're such a fat dude" compliment, but Clemenza takes no offence. All of the judges think it's a little overseasoned, but he still gets five stars. Again, Cimarusti gives him just one. I guess he's the Simon Cowell of the judges table.

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Hell's Kitchen




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