Hell's Kitchen Recap: 9 Chefs Compete

By Steve West 2009-09-02 00:41:25 discussion comments
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So is anyone going to be surprised when Dave is in the final two, and most likely wins? His arc is certainly following a very familiar format. The quiet, but really capable, chef who falters a little midway through the season, yet continues to show his strength week to week in small ways. Looking back at past seasons I canít help but feel weíve seen this all before.

This week the challenge is the taste test, which for me is like the Hellís Kitchen version of Restaurant Wars in Top Chef. Except without all of the baggage of actual talent or a developed palette. Iíve often wondered how Iíd do at something like this, because I have to imagine itís harder than you think. Being told that Van and Ariel are about to try whipped cream cheese makes you believe they canít miss. But the tang of the cream cheese, along with it being whipped, might just make me guess something silly like crŤme fraiche or yogurt.

The challenge goes like youíd expect with most of the contestants barely getting one out of their three answers right. In the end it comes down to Andy versus Amanda, the two weakest people left on the show. Of course Andy has been getting a lot of flak for his inability to perform in the kitchen, although apparently heís pretty book smart when it comes to food. That doesnít help after he inexplicably gets lychee. For those who wouldnít be aware on how to tell the difference between salmon and ahi tuna you really would have to hold it in your mouth and get the texture. Technically they are very different flavors, but both being fish could easily be mixed up when youíre blind and deaf.

Andy loses it for his team by guessing that the ahi tuna was salmon, although no one wants to mention that the other guys also only got one correct. The girls get to go to Opaque for a unique dinner in the dark, while the guys have to polish glasses and make sorbets for the next nightís dinner. Please mark me down for not wanting to try such a silly concept restaurant as Opaque.

Dinner service starts and immediately there are problems with Suzanne. Tennille mentions that the scallops look a little too dark, but Suzanne says theyíre fine and serves them. Chef Ramsay tells her they look good. Stop. Hold on just a second. If the scallops they showed in the pan were the same ones sent to the pass they were very close to being burnt. Crispy and golden brown should be the goal, and those were beyond that point. In any case Suzanne knows that the gals are teaming up against her, but canít figure out why. The answer is simple: youíre fairly capable in the kitchen and theyíre threatened. It doesnít get much deeper than that. Honestly it appeared that the girlís unwillingness to work with Suzanne was more of a problem than her having an attitude or throwing people under the bus.

Meanwhile Sabrina is kicked out of the kitchen for serving raw lamb, which she claimed was done because Suzanne pushed her to get to the pass. So basically Sabrina is admitting she doesnít have what it takes to run a kitchen. Suzanne spent the rest of service undercutting the other contestantís fire times by 30 seconds or more. Then it all came back to bite her as she couldnít go to the pass with everyone else and an entire table had to be redone. Way to go.

The guys donít do much better. Kevin steps up to deliver the sorbets for the tables, so Ramsay throws Van onto apps for the time being. Out in the dining room a guest tells Kevin about her disappointing risotto, which leaves him to believe things canít get done when heís not around. But it was the potatoes that really caused the biggest problem. Andy told chef Ramsay that he may have underestimated the amount of mashed potatoes needed for service, but chef doesnít want to hear it. You know what you do when you realize something like that? You go make more mashed potatoes. You most definitely donít wait until theyíre all gone.

This is exactly what Andy does, and Ramsay tells him to get out in the dining room to personally explain to the guests. Meanwhile Dave steps up to do a quick batch of mashed potatoes, which impresses Ramsay. Thatís the kind of crisis an experienced chef can handle without any problem.

The guys end up winning the night and Tennille is named best of the worst. Her number one nominee is clearly going to be Suzanne, but she chooses Sabrina over Amanda because of service that night. As the girls are brought down Ramsay asks Amanda to step forward. Do I really have to mention how little it matters who gets nominated? Suzanne may not be working well with others, but sheís far from being the one who should be going home this week. Ramsay makes the right choice and sends Amanda home.
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