Hell's Kitchen

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Monty Ashley: B+ | Grade It Now!
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Last week: There was less cooking than usual. The National League defeated the American League, 3-1. Alex Rodriguez didn't play. The joke I'm doing here is that I'm describing the All-Star Game as though I thought it was an episode of Hell's Kitchen. A little free comedy for you at the top of the recap. I'll give you a moment to enjoy it. Okay, that's enough. Let's move on.

Gordon Ramsay's Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 35
Contestants' Bleep-O-Fucking-Meter: 36
Unexplained Celebrity Guests:1

Gordon pretends to be proud of the top six and tells them to [bleep] off upstairs. Everyone is pretty smug in interviews, and they're all ranking themselves pretty highly. Since Nilka pretty much eliminated herself in the middle of the last episode, there's no awkward recriminations to deal with, and we press right on to the next morning's roll call.

The challenge is to make dishes that both taste and look good. Shouldn't they be doing that all the time? Well, this time the focus (ha!) is on the visuals, because the dishes will be photographed. Benjamin brags a bit about how great his presentation is and immediately sets something on fire accidentally. Autumn works with this huge chunk of tuna. Ed hits us with a barrage of clich├ęs. Jay makes a "salad" in which each element is individually positioned on the plate and nothing is touching anything else.

When the food is ready, everyone's food gets photographed and everyone but Holli is confident. Then they have to walk down the entrance hall with those video screens showing the dishes. Jay asserts that he is 99.2% confident of winning. And now it's time for another random swerve: the challenge will be judged a bunch of culinary students. And I bet Ramsay wishes he could start the season over again with the students.

The students start ranking the dishes while the chefs run back to the kitchen to remake the food. The top two dishes rated by the students will be tasted by Gordon. And the ratings are in! Holli is last, and she agrees with that. Jay is next, and he is theatrically shocked that not everyone agrees with him about how great he is. We heard some students looking at his dish and wondering what it was supposed to be, which is probably a bad sign. Then comes Jason and Autumn, which means that Benjamin and Ed are the top two. And Gordon brings in Tanya Steele, the Editor-in-Chief of epicurious.com to help him judge the taste. Ed's dish is a pan-seared striped bass and Benjamin has a pan-seared halibut. Benjamin included all the elements of Hollandaise, but not actually in sauce form. That's always fun. Tanya picks Ben, and Gordon gets rid of the culinary students. Ben's reward is to be on Epicurious, which he pretends to be pleased about in an interview. Although he starts be telling us he's been in Bon Appetit and The New York Times already. Also he's getting one of those spa rewards with the haircut and facial and all that. And the losers will be cleaning the dining room while JP annoys them.

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Hell's Kitchen

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