Last week in Hellís Kitchen: the boys finally won a challenge and got to shoot Chef with paintballs while the girls cleaned the kitchen and received a truckload of stuff they didnít order. Juliaís simple surf and turf gave the Red team the edge in service and Brad was sent packing. For more details, please see the official summary by the lovely and talented Snigdet.
As per usual, we begin the show with the surviving chefs filing out of the kitchen and heading back to the dorms. Bonnie, who was the other nominee, asks if she is entertaining and is that why sheís still there. No, sheís just this seasonís Virginia. No real experience or ability, but a good palate and a pretty face. Virginia made it all the way to the Top Two even though she was put up for elimination rather frequently. (Please note that my mention of last season is kind of foreshadowing).
Right, so Julia is surprised that Chef didnít send Bonnie home. So is everyone else. Rock is glad Brad is gone, because he can beat Josh easily. He tells Josh pretty much that. Never let it be said that Rock will say behind Joshís back what he will not say to Joshís face.
The next morning, our chefs file back into the kitchen and stand awaiting Chef Ramsayís words. He tells them that they are the Final Five and that henceforth, neither colour nor gender shall rend them asunder, but that they shall be as one. Red shall be as Blue and Blue shall be as Red and all will be Black. So say we all.
For some reason, itís Scott the Chef who brings the glasses of champagne. For some other reason, Chef sprays them all with a bottle of champagne. Now whoís going to clean that up, huh? Thatís just a huge mess. How are you going to get all that out of the carpet? Good grief. (This was also sort of foreshadowing.) Josh is told to open wide as Chef sprays champagne into his mouth. The newly merged tribe team is then sent back to the dorm to put on their new jackets.
Sharply dressed in their new black and white uniforms, the chefs stand yet again in front of Chef in Hellís Kitchen. No doubt they all feel equal to the task of cooking for a select group of trendsetters with their finger on the pulse of fashion and music, etc.. This will be their first individual challenge. In confessional, Jen tells us sheíll just pee herself if itís Mariah or The Rock. Julia is thinking "finger on the pulse" means doctors. Josh admits that the suspense is killing him. Everyone looks happy and excited. Itís sad, really. These trendsetters will not be coming to Hellís Kitchen, Hellís Kitchen will be going to them. On with the blindfolds!
Our blindfolded chefs are driven to their destination and walked to their food prep area. The blindfolds are removed to revealÖa high school cafeteria! Ha ha ha! Oh, thatís a funny one there Gordo, *knee slap* getting their hopes up and then dashing them against the cruel rocks of fate, or whatever. 100 high school students will each get a portion of each chefís dish. They will then vote on which dish they liked the best. The winner will go with Chef on a trip to Las Vegas. Jen tells us in confessional that she thinks "Gordon" has something "amazing" planned. "Gordon"? On a first-name basis are we, Jen?
The chefs are given little cafeteria hot trays with sneeze guards. Their names are proudly displayed on little plaques. Their dishes are served on coloured plates for easy reference.
Julia serves grilled chicken/cheese sandwich with onion rings on an orange plate. Jen serves baked chicken fettucine (not spaghetti) on a green plate. Rock serves Kobe beef meatloaf on a ciabatta roll (a burger, essentially) on a blue plate Josh serves baked salmon with pineapple salsa on a yellow plate. Bonnie serves fried goat cheese on bed of greens on a pink plate.
"Vote green!" says Jen. "Pink is nice," says Bonnie "Donít vote for her, sheís not that nice," retorts Rock
All the chefs try to push their dishes and schmooze the kids. Itís embarrassing.
One of the students is shown saying "I could have made that at home." OK, Iím sorry. Just thatís so funny. A teenaged boy would have cooked himself anything at home? I guess itís possible, but itís the sort of thing that you hear about from a friend of a friend, you know?
The moment of truth arrives. The votes are tabulated and the winner has received 51% of the vote. Thatís certainly decisive. Chef drags out the "suspense" for so long that we are obliged to go to commercial. And here we are, back from commercial and "suspense" is still happening. Oh who will it be? Who? Who? Its...
...Julia! She jumps up and down, the students cheer. This isnít really a big surprise, Bonnie. I think the idea with a lot of these challenges (like last seasonís lunch-for-construction-workers challenge) is to show a bunch of know-it-all chef wannabes that they may be able to pronounce "NiÁoise", but if they canít satisfy customers, that knowledge is just wasting space in their brain. Julia has proven time and again that she knows what people want better than our snobs who seem to think people should eat what theyíre given.
Anyhoo, Chef tells Julia that she has 30 seconds to pick which teammate she wants to come to Vegas with her. Josh wants it to be him. Because obviously, he and Julia have been building up a rapport over the course of the last couple weeks. *eyeroll* Suspenseful music plays. "Jen," says Julia, "I gotta take Jen." Jen is overwhelmed.
The losers leave. Jen and Julia are shown leaving the high school, still in their black uniforms. It is night. Did they not just serve lunch? Ah, the editing, it never ceases to confound me. Jen and Julia are ushered to a waiting HK SUV, which drives them to the private jet that will fly them to Las Vegas.
The editing goes back and forth, but since I think you people have longer attention spans than the showís producers give us credit for, Iíll just talk about the Vegas trip first and then the punishment detail. OK? OK.
Having arrived in Vegas, Jen and Julia travel by limo to the Green Valley Ranch, where they will find their next clue. Because they are classy chicks, they poke their heads out the back window of the limo (that doesnít roll all the way down) like dogs. Jen repeatedly calls Julia "Jules". This becomes annoying. They inspect their room, which contains a booty cleansing thing, or possibly a bidet. Julia is fascinated. Having apparently changed on the plane, they are both wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Isnít Vegas hot? Heck, isnít California hot?
The next morning, Jen and Julia are wearing different outfits and head out to the Red Rock Casino to meet Heather (see? I foreshadowed it up there *points up at earlier paragraphs), last seasonís winner. Quick question here: how did they know to bring 2 different outfits? Are they told before they leave for the challenge to pack an overnight bag or something? These are the kinds of things I wonder about. So Heather serves them a few dishes and some stupid advice.
Jen: "What was your edge on Virginia?" Heather: "Virginia was a great competitor, but I wanted it so bad. You gotta remember: these people are gonna be in the end with you. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."
No doubt this refers to the Final Two challenge where each chef gets to pick a team from the discard pile. Jen seems to think it was good advice, but she could have gotten better from a fortune cookie. In fact here! Try it yourself! Julia takes heart from the meeting, saying anything could happen.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch Ė wait. Actually, that was a poor choice of words wasnít it? Rock, Josh and Bonnie didnít get to go to the Ranch. They are stuck with Jean Philippe, who tells them that they will be doing the tedious job of vacuuming and steam-cleaning the carpet, as well as ironing the tablecloths. Oh! Thatís why Chef didnít care about getting champagne all over! Josh reads the steam-cleaner while Bonnie and Rock squabble over how to iron the tablecloths. Honestly! I get working togehter, but there comes a point when you can just do it your own way. Rock, please feel free to iron right on the table. Bonnie, by all means use the ironing boards provided. Itís oooookay. Jean Philippe is there to lend Josh a hand and give him lessons on the steam cleaner: "This is not rocket science. It doesnít work with solar energy. It works with electricity." Josh says thereís a reason that chefs donítí work the front of the house. I donít think Josh should be in the back of the house either.
The next day, the losers are prepping for service. Where, oh where have the monkfish gone, asks Mary Ann. Bonnie has thrown it out because it smelled funny to her. She is made to dig it out of the trash. (Insert your own Jen/spaghetti joke here.) No-one else thinks the monkfish smells bad. Luckily, nothing comes of this faux drama but a few tears from Bonnie. And letís face it, Bonnie cries every episode. Or looks really surprised. Or confused. Or earnest. Yes, Bonnie knows how to show emotion through facial expression.
By 4:01 pm, Josh, Rock and Bonnie are sitting around yawning and beyotching about how Juliaís food wasnít froufrou enough for Hellís Kitchen. Rock agrees and I can only say (again, this time using different words) that just because you can use saffron doesnít mean you should. Know your customers, people! So Julia and Jen return just as the losers are saying how annoying Julia is. Rock fakes a smile and then tells us that he was faking. The bitter little lip-twist at the end of his confessional said it all, really. Julia takes another opportunity to gush about the bidet. Get over it, please. I really donít want to think about your butt.
And then itís time for service. Josh tells us that he is 100% confident in his ability to run the appetizer station tonight. Bonnie is on meat. Julia is on "garnish", which seems to mean vegetables or side dishes. This makes more sense than what I originally thought, because why would they have a whole station devoted to putting on the little sprig of parsley? That would be silly.
Being determined to get ahead on apps, Josh prepares several pans of risotto for which there are no orders. He must then toss all but the one that has been ordered and Chef yells at him for wasting money.
Rock overcooks his scallops, prompting Bonnieís comments that it was amusing to see Josh and Rock struggle.
Not one to learn from experience, Josh tries to precook some spaghetti. Chef yells at him that even Chefís mum cooks spaghetti 7 minutes before she needs it. It goes in the garbage with the risotto.
Julia looks like sheís in a daze. Bonnie is complimented on her Wellingtons. She is pleased. Look at her "Pleased" face. Her acting coach would be proud. But Julia has lost the fennel. Chef tells her to wake up. "Come on, please Julia," he says. "Oh, whatever," she responds. Brave, brave woman.
Still apparently uncertain where Chef stands on precooking pasta, Josh again precooks some spaghetti. Chef is incensed. And not the nice sandalwood kind either. The insanely p!ssed off kind. "Youíre pushing me to the (bleep) limit, big boy, huh?" Surely when the customers taste Joshís appetizers, though, he will be vindicated. Surely.
Let us go now to the dining room, where Jean Philippe is asking a customer how the appetizers are. She whispers that the risotto is undercooked. So back goes the risotto. Chef tastes the risotto and spits it out. Josh is called over and the tirade begins. "What are you doing? Do me a favour. Take that off." Chef rips Joshís uniform jacket open and tells him to get out. "Leave the jacket and get out!" He throws a spoon after Josh as he leaves the kitchen. He actually follows Josh into the back to make sure the jacket is left. Josh makes the "crash and burn" sound effect in confessional and tells us that the dream is over.
I should be pleased to see some actual drama finally, but it was just so embarrassing. *cringe* He doesnít even get an elimination ceremony. Heís just out. No burning picture, no eulogy from Chef, nothing. Just a brief shot of Josh and his duffel bag leaving, alone, through the delivery doors.
Because of Joshís unscheduled departure, says the announcer, the kitchen is understaffed. Julia confesses that that was the worst firing sheís ever seen and she fears that Chef will target her next. Jen is selected to take over apps. She wants to impress "Chef Ramsay" (not "Gordon" this time) and does so with properly seasoned risotto.
Only Julia is struggling now. Chef tells her that her body language has given up. She is upset. Bonnie and Rock squabble. Rock thinks Bonnie is trying to make him look bad. Jen tries to give orders to Rock. More squabbling ensues. And continues. And continues. Chef tells them all to cut it out and work as a team. Despite the constant infighting, dinner service is successfully completed.
Once again, the chefs line up to listen to Chef Ramsay criticize them. Bonnie is told her performance was her best ever and she is given the responsibility to put up two of her teammates for elimination. That she will put Rock up is a given, of course, but she is conflicted about whether she will choose Jen or Julia as the other. She makes a lot of faces. She tells us that she never thought sheíd get this far.
Quick question: how does this affect the show's schedule? We already has a surprise double-elimination week followed by a non-elimination week. But there are only 2 more episodes scheduled, so was this a planned surprise double elimination? I'm so confused.
Rock and Jen continue to fight all the way to the dorms. The women discuss Rockís anger management issues. A tearful Rock confesses to us that he let his family down, that this was not the real him.
Back in Hellís Kitchen, Bonnie tells Chef that she us putting up Rock, because his communication was bad during service and her other choice is... *suspenseful commercial break!*
...Julia! From best to worst for poor Julia this episode. Bonnie says she struggled with garnish and still just doesnít know her product.
Both are given the opportunity to defend themselves. Rock says he can do better. Julia says she refuses to give up. Chef is clearly unhappy to have to make a choice. But the person leaving Hellís Kitchen tonight is Julia. Heads are lowered. Eyes water.
Chef tells Julia that she has done phenomenally well and that he will now do something that he has never done before. "I am personally going to send you to culinary school because you have an exceptional amount of talent. And when youíre done that, I want you to come back here and win it hands down. Thereís something quite amazing about you." For the first time on Hellís Kitchen, we are shown clips of the eliminated contestant doing well. Julia is upset to be leaving, but acknowledges that good will come of this.
The new Final Three give us their words of wisdom.
Bonnie: I really, really didnít think Iíd make it this far. Jen: I have what it takes and thereís a reason that Iím here. Rock: This is Rockís restaurant to lose.
In voiceover, Chef tells us that all Julia needs is a bit more experience to be able to run her own restaurant. The picture of her smiling face is burned.
Next week, Jen appears to be peeing herself - Mariah maybe? Ė and the chefs get a chance to run the kitchen. Canít wait!