Hell's Kitchen
4 Chefs Compete

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Monty Ashley: A- | Grade It Now!
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Polenta Tower!

Gordon Ramsay's Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 16
Contestants' Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 11
Number of times you have to type "risotto" before it starts to look really weird: Just one, really.

Okay! Top four! The best chefs of the season! Dave! Kevin! Tennille! Um ... oh, right: Ariel!

Tennille seems kind of surprised that she's still here, and shouts at us about how she's beaten thirteen people. Kevin is very confident, because one of his opponents has only one hand, and the other two are ... girls, I guess.

When the chefs arrive in the dining room for their morning challenge, Gordon Ramsay is up in his office, apparently stomping back and forth yelling at someone. We can hear him, but all we see is his silhouette. It's clear that something is up, but I admit that I was not expecting it to be a small child, stomping around like Gordon Ramsay. He runs through the usual Gordon Ramsay repertoire of calling them donkeys and delivering clearly scripted insults, but it's more fun than usual. Because it's a kid.

The real Ramsay shows up and replaces Mini-Ramsay. First, he delivers the news that "There's no bigger pain anywhere in the world than a vegetarian." Chef Ramsay wants people to just shut up and eat whatever he gives them, I think. But he recognizes that you have to give the people what they want, so the challenge will be to make an amazing vegetarian dish. The chefs have one hour to make eighty portions. Yikes. Okay, go!

Kevin starts off on an Asian style mushroom crepe with beet carpaccio while explaining to us that he is very comfortable making large amounts of food. Tennille is doing a vegetable-stuffed eggplant with rice. She doesn't say exactly what vegetables she's stuffing in there, which I find worrying. Ariel is also using eggplant in her vegetarian lasagna, which will also include tofu and fresh mozzarella. And Dave is making a polenta tower with roasted peppers. Is "polenta tower" a thing, or is it just a way of describing his plan to make it tall and skinny?

We see Dave having trouble with his broken wrist. He knocks something off the counter, then ducks into the pantry so no one can see him in agony. Then he's right back out there chopping tomatoes with one hand. When it comes time to plate, he has trouble separating the plastic plates. No one actually has all eighty portions ready when the time runs out, but surely they can finish plating while the first few are being grabbed.

The customers arrive! They are eighty screaming children! Led by mini-Ramsay! And Ramsay delivers the twist: "They don't like vegetables!" Oh no! That's pretty funny, actually. So the question is: which chef made a vegetarian dish that even a vegetable-hating child would like? Nice twist! Also, I haven't been mentioning the custom-made CGI commercial bumpers, but I enjoy this one where cutting an eggplant open reveals the Hell's Kitchen logo.

Dave is a little worried, because he doesn't work well with children. Oh, that's right! Remember how he couldn't even talk straight to the Bon Appetit staff? Tennille is also worried, because what kind of kid wants to eat "stuffed eggplant"? "I'm 28! I just started liking eggplant!" she shouts. And she's got a good point.

Chef Ramsay welcomes the children, and does not appear to tell them it's all vegetables. The chefs are not ready for everyone, so the kids start chanting "We want food!" Ah, they're such adorable little monsters at that age, aren't they? Tennille is valiantly trying to put her rice in little molds and put just the right amount of sauce on each plate, but Ramsay points out that the kids probably don't care, and she should just start getting the food on the plates as quickly as possible. So she switched into "cafeteria lady" mode. Dave interviews, "The kids were chanting 'We want food!' and I was like 'I've got food! But ... you're not gonna like it.'" That's the spirit! When Dave gets his food out to the kids, he decides to call it a "sandwich" instead of a "polenta tower", which sounds like the right decision to me. He also calls himself "the one-armed bandit" and tells the kids they're cute in a craven attempt to endear himself to them.

Ariel admits that she lucked out with her lasagna, because it's colorful and contains cheese. Kevin has straight vegetarian food, and thinks he'll be unstoppable if he can pull it off.

Now we get to see the adorable little moppets gagging and spitting out their food. They have forms to fill out, which ask (in Comic Sans) which food was the yummiest, and which was the yuckiest. Also, one of them has drawn a stick figure of Chef Ramsay shouting. Unless that was done by an adult who snuck it into the show.

Now Chef Ramsay has a special treat for the children: a bag of toys and candy! In no time, there is confetti and food everywhere, and whoever gets stuck with the punishment of cleaning up the dining room is going to be a sad panda.

Before the kids have even left, Chef Ramsay announces the results. First, there is a dish that 40% of the crowd said was the yuckiest, and it's Kevin's. He figures it's because beets are something that children don't like. That certainly lines up with what we've learned tonight. The top two dishes, meanwhile, are Dave's and Tennille's. The winner, with 55% of their votes (which is a huge lead when they had four choices) is Tennille. She's delighted, and why shouldn't she be? Well done, Tennille!

The kids leave, and the dining room is a disaster area. Ariel, Kevin, and Dave are not astonished to learn that they'll be cleaning it. Tennille, meanwhile, will be getting a Glamour Day, getting her hair done (what if Kevin had won? He ain't got no hair!) and generally getting spruced up to go to Nobu Los Angeles for sushi with Gordon Ramsay. And she's leaving right now in a cool old car of ... some ... sort. Dunno.

The remaining three chefs sit in the dorms and try to figure out how Tennille won. Ariel figures that it was uncomplicated, which probably appealed to the uneducated palates of the children. Well, maybe. It worked, though. They also feel that she's going to hate Nobu and will be made to feel really uncomfortable. She looks pretty comfortable to me, but that's because she's in the Sprucing Up phase, where you relax with champagne as people rub 14-karat gold facial scrub on you and try to figure out what "getting your hair done" means when you have dreadlocks that have to stay about the same throughout the season so interview segments can be moved around. Tennille loves it. She has a tie! And a vest! A vest and a tie!

The cleaning is a lot of work. The dining room is filthy. And gum has appeared under the tables. Not old, dried gum either. Recently-chewed, juicy gum. Ick. Meanwhile, Dave is pocketing some unopened candies as he sweeps up. Might as well.

Nobu! Gordon welcomes Tennille and they sit in front of Nobu Matsuhisa the Internationally Known Sushi Chef. It's fresh and delicious and all that. And Tennille gets some free knives, which is also pretty cool. They're handcrafted!

Tennille returns to the kitchen. Dave is a little offended that while the three losing chefs are focused on prep and, y'know, food, Tennille comes in talking about her makeover and new knives. Sous Chef Scott shoos her upstairs to get ready for the service.

Now everyone's prepping. Tennille doesn't know whether to slice or squeeze some grapefruits. How can someone not know all the prep details at this point in the season?

Before the service, Chef Ramsay lines everyone up in the kitchen. He expresses a confidence in their abilities that I fear is sadly misplaced. He's also keen on passion tonight. Let's find out! Here come the customers!

Kevin is on appetizers, Tennille is on fish, and Ariel is on garnish. I think. Kevin's risotto is approved, and things are going well. At this point, when things are going well with only four chefs, don't you wonder how they manage to find enough tasks for everyone at the beginning of the season? No time for that, though, because Tennille has provided some rubbery scallops. This show's all about risotto and scallops. Do not even send in a tape if you're not flawless on them. Now Tennille has perfect scallops and gets yelled at for that.

A half hour in, all the appetizers have been served. Well done, Kevin. Dave's on meat and has some lamb in the oven. He tells us that his number one goal is to get Gordon Ramsay's respect, and winning is number two. But just then! He uses the arm with the broken wrist to move a pan into the oven, and it looks like the cast does not provide enough support. He's down in a fetal position, and then he staggers out of the kitchen clutching his cast while Chef Ramsay calls out for the lamb.

Dave explains that the nerve in his wrist shot all the way up to his ear. That doesn't sound great, but it also sounds like something he told us last time this happened. He insists that he's neither a quitter nor a wuss and will not stop cooking. He manages to do it, although he's obviously in agony. Meanwhile, Tennille's sea bass has some burnt bits floating in

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Hell's Kitchen

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