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Hell's Kitchen 3 - Episode 1 Summary

'Welcome to Gordon's Nightmare' By mysticwolf
Original Airdate: June 4, 2007

I got the call late at night. As I raced down Charleston Blvd. my mind was spinning. Tires squealing I wheeled into the brightly lit parking lot and came to a screeching halt under the glare of the University Medical Center Emergency Room entrance and leap from the car, not bothering to shut off the engine.

I saw him immediately, crouched in a corner of the room, surrounded by doctors. His face was red, teeth clenched and shaking with the effort of staying silent. He doesn’t stay silent often, my friend. He saw me and started to moan, swaying softly back and forth in a calming motion. But he was far from calm.

The doctors looked at me in relief as I bent down to place my arm across his shoulders. "Come on, Gordon. That’s right. Stand up. It’ll be all right. We just need to talk it out. Like last time. We can make it better, together. C’mon..."

I coaxed him to his feet where he leaned against me, whimpering softly. "I’ll need a room with a couch and a television with a DVR."

"Yes, of course, Dr. Please, come with me."

The nurse led us into a very pleasant sitting room painted a soothing shade of pale green. There’s a reason, you know, why so many commercial buildings, particularly hospitals and Dr.’s offices, are painted green. It’s a calming color, chosen to relax nervous, sometimes over the edge, patients and their families. That’s also why I speak in green when I’m with one of my patients. And, Gordon was most definitely in need of green at the moment.

"I’ll bring you some coffee…" The nurse cut off rapidly at the hurried shake of my head. The last thing Gordon needed right now was caffeine. "Perhaps a nice bottle of cognac, if you would, please. There should be a bottle in my office… You know where that is? Good. In the cupboard next to my desk. I keep a supply there, just in case, you know?’

She did know. They all did. They saw a lot of Gordon last year. She’d just forgotten, as he hadn’t had a relapse in almost 10 months. That’s why I’d been so surprised to get a call on this night. The last I’d heard Gordon was back at home in England teaching his kids, and other people thanks to the marvels of television, about the origins of their food. He was raising pigs for Gawds sake. What the devil had happened?

We sat silently, waiting, and she returned shortly with the requested bottle, a pair of bubble glasses and a candle over which we would warm our drinks. "It’s on Fox", she mumbled as she handed me the bottle. And, in that instant I knew.

"Geezus, Gordon. You did it again, didn’t you." He nodded slowly.

"Well… You know what we have to do, don’t you. In order to let go you need to relive the experience. That’s the only way to put it behind you."
He moaned softly again, but he nodded. He knew. We’d had to do it so many times in the past. I sighed. I really thought he’d learned. Oh well. Here we go again. May as well get it over with.

I splashed a bit of cognac into each of our glasses and lit the candle. As he sat slowly rotating his glass over the flame I switched on the telly and the nightmare began again.

Wait! This time it was different. Classical music, not heavy drumbeats; a blue tang swimming lazy circles in a fish tank. And Gordon, sitting quietly at a perfectly set table, speaking calmly. Softly. Admitting his mistakes as he had learned to do in last year’s sessions.

As scenes from past years played, in and out, cut into the background, Chef admitted that he’d been known to lose his temper, admitted that these people are chefs already, not prone to idiotic mistakes. What?!? Wait! I don’t recognize that scene. There… The one with the eggs that he’s screaming about. Those are scenes from last year, aren’t they? They must be. He’s promising he won’t lose his temper or swear. Yet, there he is screaming and swearing. And… No. I don’t remember those people. And, now he’s… he’s… telling me that he’s just kidding…

The drumbeats throb, the flames fill the screen… And, now it’s my turn to moan.

Now it’s scenes from past years. A retrospective of invective of sorts. Chef screaming and swearing; you can see the blue haze surrounding his head as he orders former wannabe’s out of the kitchen. His kitchen. And calmer moments…

There’s Michael, now head of his own restaurant, Tatou, in Las Angeles. Huh? LA? I thought he was supposed to be in Las Vegas. I turn to Chef and see his eyes flare.

"Don’t ask", he croaks, his voice hoarse from overuse. Not a good sign. "The little pissant didn’t really want to work for me. All he wanted was a chance to sell his own line of knives. The only reason he agreed to this appearance was for free publicity."

Wisely, I keep my mouth shut as Heather, last years winner, appears on screen. I glance at Chef and, surprisingly, I see a tear slip quietly down his cheek. Huh? She’s at Terra Rosa at the Red Rock Resort. That’s where she’s supposed to be. I lift an eyebrow in question. "Poor Rachel. She just never quite got it together after I sent her packing. Now she’s dead and instead of focusing on the cause of death the papers just make veiled suggestions about her sexual preferences. And the bastards want to pull Heather into it, too. But, only by suggestion, of course.

And, Heather? She really wasn’t that good, y’know. That’s why I couldn’t even offer her her own restaurant like I did Michael. She basically just got a pizza kitchen. *sigh* Not one of my finest moments."

"Well, this year’s got to be better. Right, Chef?" I give him a cheery punch to the arm and get a sigh in response. Clips of aspiring contestants pop onto the screen. Oh dear God, what was he thinking? Sending Chef a video of himself stripped down to his skivvies, posing like Popeye. Ewww!

And, the chosen contestants?!? Oh, my, what is he? A mutant 12-yr-old? And what a mouth that girl has. As the upcoming scenes flash by I can see that this season isn’t going to be one bit different. They still can’t cook. They still scream, argue, and beyotch at each other, and about Chef. They plan revenge. They plan to sharpen their knives on each other, and, wait… on Chef?!? And, this time they get guns to go with the knives? Didn’t the wheels on the bus do enough damage by themselves? They need guns now?

No. I can’t watch any more. I know too well that I’ll be seeing all of this again. Once a week, probably. You see, that’s how Ramsay is. He can take it all as it’s happening. The breakdowns begin once it’s all over and he has to relive it. That’s when he needs me. His doctor. His friend. I’m the only one that will help him put it all behind him where he doesn’t have to dream about it any longer. I hit the fast-forward button and sigh. It’s gonna be a long 10 weeks. Now, who am I kidding? It’s gonna be a long night.

Hell's Kitchen Is Open For Business

And, we’re gonna cook in Hell, right along with Ramsay.

"Just listen to what these people think about me! Just listen! Tiffany? Tiffany thinks I’m crazy! Crazier than any other chef she’s trained under. What the *bleep*! I’m not crazy!" I refrain from glancing at the wire-in-glass window set into the door, or over at the two-way mirror I know is hanging on the wall to my right. I keep my face completely neutral.

Look! Just look at what they’ve saddled me with this time? Rock? He calls himself an Executive Chef. But, he’s driven to do this because of his wife and babies? NO! NO! NO! A real chef does it because he loves it. IT! The food. The cooking. The creativity and challenge. Does he know how long it took before I was successful enough that I could spend time with my family? Does he? Doesn’t he realize that that show I’m doing in England now is designed specifically so I can spend time with my family?!? Hell! If he wins this thing he’ll be lucky if his kids remember his name by the time they go to college. He won’t know what colour his house is painted, fer chrissakes!

And, this one. Jen. A pastry chef who wants to win so she can set the world on fire?!? She can do whatever she damn well pleases so long as she doesn’t set my kitchen on fire!

Listen to him. Yes, Jean Philippe. ‘Gather ‘round my children and you shall hear the wondrousness of me.’ Bah! Who gives a damn. They’re here to learn the wondrousness of me! And, it’s about time they learn they’re here to work. Quit staring and get cooking!"

I watch the startled children scramble for the kitchen and pour another splash of cognac into our glasses. The bottle’s already almost down a third. I make a mental note to send an orderly to the liquor store during the upcoming commercial break. I think before the night’s over we may need another bottle, or three. I discretely push the silent buzzer and see a face appear at the window. I hold up 4 fingers. May as well play it safe. The face disappears with a nod of understanding.

"Look at that! It’s supposed to be a fish dish. You can’t even see the bloody salmon under all that chorizo. And, it’s bloody hot, as well. What a bozo. And then the bleeping jerk’s gonna talk back to me and tell me it was good? And tell everyone else that he intimidated me?!!!? I think ole’ Vinnie boy doesn’t know what intimidation is. But, he’s here to learn. Right?

Gawd. Joana’s apparently here to flirt with me. Or get me drunk. I can turn those tables. She can keep her drink. On second thought, I should have taken it. It would have made that dry, salty, chicken of hers go down a bit easier. Blech.

Now, look. That’s a signature dish! Pan-seared scallops with potato gnocchi. Those take time to prepare!" I look over at Ramsay, surprised that he’s actually pleased with an early effort. Rock’s evidently gonna go far. Oops. Ramsay may sound pleased, but his face is darkening rapidly, like angry storm clouds, settling into a shade of purple that matches his words. I wince as an empty bubble glass sails past my ear shattering in tinkling shards against the far wall. I push the button again, confident that more glasses and another bottle will arrive soon, while I watch Ramsay erupt.

The bleeping bleep bleep arsehole thought he could serve frozen gnocchi to me? Frozen food!!! To ME!!!! That’s the kind of "Executive Chef" he is?!!!? I don’t give a damn if his scallops are perfect. They’ve touched frozen food. They’ll never pass my lips, or those of any diner in one of my kitchens! What was he thinking?!!?

Tirade finished, Ramsay slumps back against the back of the couch and I pause the TV long enough to retrieve the new bottle and glasses from the scared looking orderly sent to bring them to me. Poor boy. He must be the low man on the totem pole of seniority.

I pour Ramsay a new glass, filling it, but not more than halfway. No sense setting him off again with a drink that hasn’t enough room to breathe.
"Thank you. Sorry ‘bout that." I shrug.

"I love fois gras. But, for gawds sake it’s liver. It has to be cooked! And, what’s with these people and salt? Do they really equate salt with sex? I think Josh needs a bit more experience with the right kind of partner. Maybe one that doesn’t sweat quite so much.

Dear Lord, give me strength. Just listen to her. I don’t want Bonnie peeing all over my floor. We have health standards, y’know. Besides, it’s been done. Remember Virginia? I don’t know if I even kept those plastic covers I had for the limo seats. Probably not. Guess I’ll have to shell out for another set if she sticks around. And, please! She’s gonna serve a road map with her cheese so people know they have to eat the dish from North to South? Once it’s in the mouth the flavour’s all supposed to blend, isn’t it? Well, in this case, maybe not. Lord, I hate newbie cooks. Why do they keep inflicting them on me? *sigh*

See? I did learn. You told me that things might be better if I would share the pain. I decided to try it in the kitchen. That little dude? Eddie? The one who says he’s a bulldog in a Chihuahua’s body? I decided to share his dish with Brad, and Brad’s dish with him. They’re both scallop dishes, parmesan crusted from Eddie and a terrine from Brad. I figured that if they’re undercooked we could all be rushed to hospital together. Save time and ambulance fees, y’know? Shellfish poisoning’s no fun. May as well have company from the ones that caused it.

Besides, it looks like Brad’ll need the lesson. He’s so unwilling to critique anything that he’ll lie to my face and call Eddie’s scallops ‘perfectly cooked’. Blech! They were raw and he’s a liar. At least Eddie knows not to lie to me. He may not be able to cook but he has a palate. And, he has promise. At least he can recognize a perfectly cooked scallop. And he’s also willing to admit that vanilla is too overpowering a flavour for Brad’s dish. Good on him.

As we come back from commercial I hear moaning. I look over at Ramsay to see if he’s all right and realize the sound is coming from the television set. Good heavens! Does Jen have appendicitis? She’s bending over moaning and sweating and somebody in a cowboy hat is waving it in her face. "Ramsay? Is she ok? What’s wrong with her?"

"What’s bloody wrong with her is that she can’t cook and she knows it! That’s her charger I just opened. That lump is supposed to be a crepe. And, wow! She must’ve used half a bottle of Peach Schnapps in that thing. If that’s her definition of ‘not a lot’ we’re going to have to track the levels of the wine cellar while she’s around.

Now, watch this! This is one of the few refreshing points in my day. Melissa’s a line cook. And, she’s gorgeous. Best of all, she doesn’t want to flirt with me, she wants me to judge her on her cooking. And, she can cook. That pepper crusted steak was perfection, and the asparagus wasn’t all mushy. *sigh* I get all melty just thinking about it again.
One thing you taught me was to not push my luck. After that steak I really just wanted to get the rest over with. Time to step it up and go for another two-fer.

Thank God I did. Just look at that mess. Would you serve that? It looks like a white on white pile of crap with a case of spots. What is it you may ask? Julia says it’s some kind of chicken-fried chicken on penne with pepper. The chicken actually wasn’t bad, but Oh My God. The pepper in that thing. At least I can say it wasn’t salty. Definitely not salty.

At least Tiffany learned not to lie to me. She called her on the pepper. And, she can cook, too. That seafood tostada was something that I’d order in a restaurant. At least I got to finish that round with a decent taste in my mouth. And, I only have one more round to go.

Bwahahaha… Would you look at that plate! That’s supposed to be an appetizer of finger foods. For whom, I ask you? A giant? That’s enough food to feed a family of four. But, just wait until you see…

There! Look at that. An Asian Cowboy! Is that not the funniest thing you’ve ever seen? No wonder there’s so much food there. Aaron’s one chunky monkey, and his bleeping fingers… Well, it might be finger food for him, but I had to use a knife and fork. On the plus side, the one bite I had was pretty good, even if I don’t quite know what it was. We may have to up the kitchen ingredient supplies for a bit. At least until he learns what a portion size is supposed to be.

Hey, you’ll be proud of me here! Remember all those sessions we had to have last year when I had to go back and forth and back and forth with Heather, negotiating what she was going to get? This time I spelled it all out for them. The winner is going to get to be the head of their own restaurant, start at a quarter-million dollar salary, and a share in the restaurant profits. Pretty much what we did last year with Heather, but I won’t have to spend months negotiating the salary and profit-share. We didn’t really want it to look like the same thing though, so we had to find a difference.

You know, I thought long and hard about that. But, it finally hit me. We always split things up by colour. Why not split the restaurants up that way, too. Last year we did Red. With the Red Rock Resort. Why not do Green this year? What with global warming and all it’s become a very popular color. Besides, you taught me it was a calming color, so every time I say the name of the resort I can remember to breathe and calm myself down. Great plan, huh?

So this year, in celebration of season differences, the winning restaurant will be at the Green Valley Ranch Resort. Another benefit is that last year, if you remember, the women were the Red Team and the men were the Blue Team. Some people may have taken the choice of the resort as a spoiler. You know… Red Rock Resort? And, a woman winning and all? Well, no spoilers in the names this year. ‘Cause we don’t have a Green Team! Pretty clever, huh? Makes a big difference in telling the seasons apart, doesn’t it?

We needed that kind of edge for the new season, ‘cause that’s about all we’re gonna get. New uniforms being expensive and all, we’re kinda stuck with Red and Blue. And, when I’m yelling in the kitchen I want to remember just who I’m yelling at, so I didn’t want to mix it up too much.

So, once again… we have the Women’s Red Team and the Men’s Blue Team. But, this time they’re competing for a Green restaurant.

Gordon started giggling at his own cleverness and I realized we’d now consumed two bottles of very fine cognac. As Gordon’s giggles started to turn into soft snores I stopped the DVR and covered him gently with a blanket. I locked the door on my way off to my office to get a little shut-eye. I was going to need it. I knew that when he woke up we’d need to resume, and the rough patch was just coming up. For tomorrow we’d have to tackle their first night in the kitchen.

One benefit of being Gordon’s friend and therapist is that you eat well. If he’s not about to eat frozen food, he certainly isn’t going to eat institutional food, so meals are catered by the very best restaurants in town. Although, we always check to ensure that no former contestant works in the restaurants that deliver. There’s just too much chance that one of them will try to poison Chef if they get an opportunity. Actually, given the number of enemies he makes, at least 11 per year, all of whom are, or want to be, chefs, it’s quite amazing that Gordon has any restaurants left to choose from at all.

By mutual agreement we never take up the show again until after the sun has gone down. It does require both copious amounts of liquor and a strong stomach to get through, you know. But, sadly, the sun does continue to set, and eventually there’s no way to put it off any longer. Besides, listening to the increasing moans and whimpers coming from Ramsay as the time approaches rather wears on one’s own nerves. I send for the remaining cognac, making a mental note to lay in additional stock for next week, and reluctantly resume the DVR.

"I know I shouldn’t expect to get through a full service with new teams, but I had hopes. At least this time. I let them set their own menus. I set them up to work in teams. I mean, c’mon! You get to cook what you all decided you could cook, right? And you’ve just been made teammates and sworn undying loyalty to one another – at least until you annihilate he other team. What can go wrong?

Well, let me list the ways… Don’t tell your teammates what the menu is, don’t choose dished that everyone knows how to cook, don’t let the people that might know how to cook a dish actually cook it, don’t communicate with each other, bicker, beyotch, and backstab each other at every turn, cry often… Just watch. You’ll know why I’m damn near suicidal over this bunch. Pour me a drink, please.

I pour him a drink and watch. He’s right. It’s a mess. On the Red Team no one will tell Julia what’s on the menu. On the Blue Team Aaron is so nervous he can’t remember how to create a base for ice cream.

Joanna tries to delegate. Unfortunately…

Parboiling risotto???!!!!??? What the #### is that &%$&^$ thinking? Did anyone, anyone actually check to see if someone knew how to cook what’s on their menu???!!!???"

Gordon sat slumped, head in his hands, his glass already empty. I decide to wait before refilling it for him. Just to make sure it’s not about to hit the wall again.

Gordon calls the teams together for a pep talk and Julia tells him that there is no communication going on in their kitchen. Tiffany disagrees, and…

"Listen to that! Joanna admits that she agrees with Julia but won’t speak up! I hate that! One thing these people have got to learn is ‘DO NOT LIE TO ME!’ The time to fix a problem is before service begins, dammit!

I flinch, but the glass stays on the table. I take a chance and splash some cognac into it.

Mistake. The glass goes crashing into the opposite wall when Aaron starts crying simply because Ramsay has asked him how he’s feeling.

For Gawds Sake! What is his problem? I haven’t yelled at him. I haven’t yelled at anyone. Hell, we haven’t even started service and already he’s sniveling? Get it together, man! Y’know? Fried testicles are a delicacy. And, if I find out who chose this crybaby for my kitchen we’re gonna have a new dish to showcase. I can promise you that.

This could be the first time the restaurant doesn’t bother to open at all. But, he’s here, so I know it has to have gotten worse. Which means, it opened.

And, it does. Poor people.

The first order comes in for the Red Team. Unfortunately, they still haven’t figured out how to cook a risotto. The same blonde bimbo, Bonnie, that thought the rice should be parboiled now believes that the garlic should be first into the frying pan.

Garlic? First? Anyone that cooks knows that garlic gets bitter when added too early! Oh, that’s right. She’s NOT. A. COOK! She’s a &%&^%*&^% Nanny! Why the &%*^%^%$^% are they arguing about it?

And, Good Lord! Those eggs could be used as breast implants! But, rather than accept help from Julia, a short-order cook, who I’m pretty sure knows how to cook an egg in that job, that beyotch Tiffany just sends her back to chopping apples and doing prep work. What? Does she think this is the South in the early 1800’s and Julia’s only here for her convenience?

Gordon’s voice was rising to a screech and, fearing he’d lose it all together I handed him his glass. He took a drink and subsided onto the couch once again. But, only momentarily.

Vinnie comes on screen, serving a plate of pasta so gluey that Gordon has a hard time scraping it off of the plate. When Vinnie starts laughing at Gordon’s use of the word ‘rubbish’ I’m treated to a primal scream that rises from Gordon’s chest and burst forth in a manner that would raise the hairs on a mannequin. What does he meeeeeaaaaannnn ‘Use a word I can understand????!!!!????’ Does he not speak English????!!!!????

I cringe as I watch Tiffany, and then Bonnie – called in by Ramsay to take over – destroy one batch of quails eggs after another. I’m starting to understand why Gordon was in such a state when he checked in last night. How hard is it to fry an egg?

I look over at Gordon to see how he’s doing and it’s not a pretty sight. He’s given up on a glass and is holding the entire bottle of cognac over the candle – in between taking swigs. The scene that next appears provides an explanation.

The Blue Team has run out of vegetable stock for use in their risotto, so Vinnie is adding tap water. He sees nothing wrong with that as, in Vinnie’s world, stock and water are equivalent. On hearing this I grab the bottle from Gordon and take a healthy swig myself.

I just can’t get a break. I get the Blue Team moving by sidelining Vinnie and putting Brad in charge of the appetizers, and the Red Team falls apart even farther. Tiffany and Bonnie can’t cook eggs to save their souls, Julia wants to help and no one will let her anywhere near them. Look at that! Tiffany even covers them with her hand.

Gordon sobs and grabs the bottle back from me. On telly I see that he replaces Tiffany with Julia and Melanie. The Blue Team seems to have gotten it together under Brad. They’ve gotten 29 people fed out of the 50 that ordered. I suppose that’s not too bad. Or rather, sitting here with my cognac and any snacks we might want just a silent buzzer call away I suppose it’s not bad. If I were one of the people that’s now been waiting for 2 hrs. to eat I might feel differently. If I were one of the people that ordered from the Red Team, none of whom have eaten anything, I might feel very differently.

Of course, if I were one of those people? After watching on TV and seeing why I wasn’t served anything I’d be even more ticked off. I don’t eat eggs. I wouldn’t eat the blessed quails egg anyway. No matter how it was cooked. I’d just want my blamed scallops!

(And, after the number they’ve sacrificed they surely should be blessed. No creature should have to forfeit that many children in the name of incompetent DAWs out to make a name for themselves. Where’s Bob Barker when you need him?)

While the women continue to massacre baby quail the men move on to massacring more adult birds. Aaron is burning the maple syrup glaze on the wings.

"Gahhhh! I have to tell them to wipe their noses? Last year we had a guy that kept sweating into the food, this year I get Aaron, the human snot machine. He may have liked picking his nose and eating it, but I’m not about to add that specialty to my menu. Gahhhhh!

Look! Look! See??? I knew a short-order cook could do an egg correctly. Between Julia and Melissa their diners are finally getting to eat. But, again! What’s with all the arguing? Joanna!!! Wake up!!! Melissa’s right! I know you don’t want to hear it from her, but trust me, you’d rather hear it from her than from me. That spaghetti is overcooked! It’s darn near brown from the fry pan. If it doesn’t bend when it goes into the rubbish bin, it’s overcooked! Quit arguing!

And, WTF? Aaron overcooks all the chicken and then leaves the line to take a break???!!!??? The Blue Team is out of &^%*^^%$ food! No chicken. No Wellington. No &^%*^%^% lettuce! Tables are walking out. I’ve had it UP TO HERE!

With that Gordon gulped the last of what was in the bottle and slammed it to the ground. I wince, but I can’t blame him.

The only thing left is to see who gets the meathook. Well, that and to see who backstabs whom in order to avoid it.

"I had no choice. The girls were just evil, nasty, Hell’s bitches. The guys went over 60 minutes with Vinnie on appetizers without getting anything out of the kitchen. But, at least after I replaced Vinnie – and how dare he blame me for his faults; I shouldn’t have to teach him how to cook; And, I’m sure as hell am not going to wipe his a$$ for him. He’s lucky the rules were already set. If I could have pulled a Donald Trump and gotten rid of multiples? Oh, Vinnie would still be skidding down the road on the seat of his pants I’d have thrown him so far.

Nonetheless, at least I didn’t think I’d need to use fire hoses to separate them in a brawl. The Red Team needs to learn that no one wins in a kitchen if they don’t work together.

So, I had to choose the Red Team as the losers. Melissa wasn’t too bad. At least things started happening after I put her in charge. And, she didn’t cry. Julia’s another I thought did okay, but she cried. There really isn’t anyplace for crying in the kitchen and she, and Aaron, need to learn that. So, Melissa’s my pick for ‘Best of the Worst’. Let’s see what happens now. I haven’t seen the confessionals yet."

Gordon sat back, starting to calm knowing that the end was near and he’d get to rid himself of at least one incompetent. He cracked open another bottle and poured me a splash for a change.

"Wow! Everyone, particularly Tiffany, is down on Julia for working at a waffle house? Gimme a break! At least she could cook a &^%ing egg. More than she could do.

I have to give Melissa credit though. She could have put up anyone, and I know she questions Julia’s ability, too. But, she chose Joanna and Tiffany. Gordon gave a big grin at this point. I could tell hat he was loving the fact that Melissa was playing it correctly. Forget friendships, look at what – or who – works in the kitchen and what – or who – doesn’t.

Did you see the look on Tiffany’s face? I can’t believe she didn’t see this coming. Heck, if Melissa hadn’t put her up for elimination I might’ve had to overrule her and force her to put her up. She can’t even fry a freaking egg, fer Gawds sake.

It seemed a foregone conclusion to me as to who, among the nominated, would be going home, but I still needed to hear how they tried to acquit themselves.

Tiffany didn’t even try. Geez girl, you’ve been fighting with everyone all night long. Couldn’t you even muster a little bit of a fight to stay there? "Of course I can do better, Chef. But, I respect your decision."

At least Joanna tried. In spite of Melanie’s eye rolls she did provide at least some ‘excellency in the kitchen (comparatively speaking).

Geez. I said it was a tough decision, but, not really. Joanna created some arguments, but only because she actually knew how to cook risotto. Tiffany’s only contribution for the night was a possible patent for a new breast implant, if anyone out there wanted or needed breasts the size of half a quail’s egg. She had to go, and she did. At least she recognized that she did a %$#^$#%$#$# job tonight.

Let’s hope that the rest of ‘em get the message. Hard work isn’t enough. You need to concentrate, pay attention to detail, and have a great work ethic, as well as loving what you do.

With that Gordon turned to me, sighed a great sigh of relief, and raised his glass in a toast. He was feeling better. For now.

"Thanks, friend. Would you like to run out and get something to eat? My treat. The least I can offer for your support getting through my nightmare.

And, with that, he hurried me out of the room before I could get a chance to see what would be facing me – us – him, really, next week.

But, he forgot to take the DVD. After we got back – from a lovely meal, I must say – I couldn’t resist taking a peek. I’ll spare you the details. Just suffice it to say that it’s gonna be another long session next week. But, that’s okay. I already have my order in for a new case of cognac.

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