Last week on Hell’s Kitchen Viginia schmoozed construction workers and proved, once again that she can cook, just not when it counts. For her ability to handle a construction trailer kitchen she won immunity, a place in the final three, and a shopping trip with Ramsay to an upscale kitchen supply shop.
Virginia proved her lack of culinary terminology (come on, who doesn’t know what a cleaver is called?) and her lack of taste (a pink spatula, a “kiss-the-chef” apron), and her ability to svck up to Ramsay by purchasing one of his cookbooks (which may turn out to be quite fortuitous) – which he presumably did not inscribe to either a Holstein or a female dog.
Meanwhile, our left-over crabs were stuck in the kitchen shucking crabs and, well, crabbing about Virginia behind her back. Returning to the kitchen, Virginia further proved herself clueless by giving insulting gifts to her fellow competitors and then being surprised when they were insulted.
During evening service the kitchen self-destructed, celebrity chefs were left underwhelmed by everything except Heather’s skill handling meat. Sarah proved that she couldn’t count pieces of fish, running out of salmon half-way through service and getting into an amusing screaming match with Chef about how it wasn’t her fault. Keith proved that he’s willing to cheat on quality when he’s not watched like a hawk, serving twice cooked spaghetti to the most important guests they have yet to serve. And, Virginia, as usual, lost control of her vegetable station and went to pieces. In a rare fit of anger Chef removed Virginia’s immunity at the last minute.
Virginia gave up and promised to quit. Heather took her at her word, and convinced Sarah to do the same. Virginia kept her word and told Chef she didn’t belong there. Sarah smirked. And, Chef proved that he was a man of his word (his original word that is), and gave immunity back to Virginia – if she wanted it.
Whether she wanted it or not is still up in the air. What isn’t up in the air is how badly she wanted the opportunity to pay Sarah back for her previous sabotage. Tearfully accepting her reprieve, our cow was led to slaughter to the surprise of Heather and Keith, and the glee of Virginia and Ramsay, who returned Sarah’s parting insult to her picture as he slammed her jacket onto the meat hook.
And the wheels of the bus went round-and-round, driven by your own mysticwolf, who has now finished the necessary clean-up and has delivered it back to the kitchen for its next DAW run.
And now, with the weeks running together in my mind, having now rewritten the aforementioned “what happened last week” to reflect last week, instead of this week… Doh!
This week in Hell’s Kitchen opens with Virginia blubbering and crying because she can’t figure out if she’s there because Chef is a man of his word or if she deserves to be there. (Trust me, Virginia, it’s the former.) Finally realizing that it really doesn’t matter as it worked to eliminate Sarah, Virginia’s all smiles again. Heather feels badly about having sent Sarah to her slaughter. But not too badly, as at least she didn’t send Keith to his. Keith doubts that Ramsay would have kept his word to Virginia if it had been he standing front and center with her. After all, he’s K-Grease the Magnificent, and he feels no threat from Virginia. Ramsay wouldn’t dare remove grease from his kitchen. And, somewhere in the background we can hear the irony gnomes chuckling, drowned out only by our own laughter as Virginia tries in vain to get someone, anyone, to tell her that she actually does deserve to be there more than Sarah did.
Faced with gaping yawns, and no answer (which she doesn’t realize is their answer) from Heather or Keith, Virginia wanders away to check out her a** in the mirror and CT that this experience has given her a “whole new skin on life”. She admits her inexperience in the kitchen, but declares that it will not hold her down. Heather and Keith, meanwhile, declare her delusional and Keith repeats that it will be an HK final two, where he will destroy the H in the K(itchen). (And, the gnomes laughter grows stronger.)
A full moon (not Keith’s, thank the heavens) gives way to blue skies, waving palms, and a jabbering Victoria who is trying to get Heather to teach her how to do what she’s spent the last 2 months not learning. Heather refuses to answer any of her questions, and CT’s that she’s not about to help her win, which doesn’t stop Virginia’s jibber-jabber. Then again, when does anything stop Virginia’s mouth from moving?
The DAW’s enter the kitchen to find Chef actually cooking. He tells them that while they have all done well, it’s time to teach them what it will take to be successful. Not, at winning the competition, but once they actually have won the competition.
They are presented with the dish that he’s prepared. He tells them to smell it. He tells them to taste it. Then he gives them 20 minutes to recreate it from smell and taste using their choice of the ingredients they will find in the back room.
They all recognize that it’s a fish of some kind, with a puree of something, in a sauce of some kind, seasoned with something. But, what fish is the first question. They all decide it’s bass, but Keith thinks it’s Chilean Sea Bass, while Heather and Virginia choose wild Striped Bass (a much thicker and meatier texture than Chilean, by the way).
The puree offers more choices for error. Pushed by Chef to keep tasting, Heather takes another bite, Keith already seems to know and chooses to pass on another taste, and Virginia spends time puzzling over it, smelling and tasting it again and again. She CT’s that it’s smooth and creamy and white, like mashed potatoes – which both Keith and Heather have decided on – but she’s not convinced. She decides to spend some time poking around the back room looking to see what else has been provided. When she finds a rack of beans in the prep area her taste buds finally signal her brain the nuances of what she’s been smelling and tasting. She chooses to go with a Tuscan White Bean paste puree. (Seemed to me to be a better choice. This is supposed to be a “Signature Dish”, y’know. Frankly, mashed potatoes seemed a little plebian for either such a dish, or for this type of challenge.)
Moving on to the sauce, Keith once again proves that he’s willing to cheat if he can get away with it. Deciding that he, and only he, would ever recognize Israeli Cous-cous, he tries to find a place to hide the bag where the others won’t find it. Unfortunately for him, he is caught trying to hide the bag. By Virginia, whom he accuses of cheating when she says she needs cous-cous, too.
(Um, Keith? If you didn’t think they were smart enough to recognize it themselves, why did you take the time to try to hide the bag? If you’d just taken some and left she wouldn’t have had time to discover your attempt at sabotage. If you’d taken some of something else, too, that might have thrown them even farther off the scent. But, no. You just had to show your greasy side, didn’t you?)
When it gets to the seasoning both Heather and Keith fall back on the plebian, having evidently forgotten that this is supposed to be a ”Signature Dish”. It’s green, cilantro is in the kitchen, therefore it must be cilantro, right? Heather chooses something a little more upscale - basil and grapefruit.
Tasting time has arrived.
Heather describes her dish as Sea Bass with mashed potato puree with a pancetta in a vegetable medley sauce. When asked, she admits to using cilantro for seasoning. Minus the pancetta, it’s basically a nicely plated dish of fish, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables with a cream sauce and parsley sprinkled on top.( Something that I’ll bet some of us have served at one point or another, although I don’t usually bother mincing my vegetables that finely, nor do I serve my fish on top of the potatoes. Not exactly what I’d expect to pay top dollar for in a fine restaurant, even if it looks gourmet and Chef does declare it tasty.)
Virginia is up next. Her dish is Wild Striped Sea Bass over a Tuscan Bean puree with ham hocks and pearl cous-cous (which, to Keith’s disgust she trips over saying), served in a grapefruit buerre blanc finished with a little bit of basil. (This seems more like a candidate for Signature Dish, in my opinion. Something you might find in a top restaurant, rarely in your own.)
So far, Chef likes them both, and points out that they’re both very different dishes. (You think? Except for using the same fish, every.single.ingredient was different! Duh!)
Keith is starting to sweat. He can’t watch as Chef tastes what he starts out describing from the sauce up. The sauce is a sweated-down mirepoix finished with cilantro-butter. (Sound familiar? It’s basically the same thing Heather did.) Mashed potatoes with sautéed chorizo (instead of the pancetta) and onions (which should be in a classic mirepoix, anyway), with a pan-roasted fish of unspecified type. (Once again, subtle differences, but essentially the same thing Heather came up with. Particularly, when you realize he forgot to mention anything about the inclusion of cous-cous.) Chef complements the creamy texture of his sauce.
Chef thinks that all of the dishes are tasty and, belaboring the point a bit, notes that they are all very different. (I dunno. Maybe he has eaten dishes before that taste the same in spite of being made with different ingredients, using different techniques. * shrug *)
However, there is one dish that has the fish, the puree, and the sauce, absolutely spot on. In other words, one person has managed to make what might rightfully be called a ”Signature Dish”. And, that means that it’s time for a commercial, and for a recap of what we’ve just watched, because someone who doesn’t know that different ingredients might make a dish taste differently must have the attention span of a gnat. And, that someone must be us.
Unsurprisingly, to me at least, that turns out to be Virginia, who smiles and sways with pleasure as Chef complements her palate. In CT, Virginia thinks that all the “walks I took my tongue on” really trained it. She mimics using a whip. (Funny, the only things I recall being “trained” with a whip are slaves, sled dogs, horses, oxen, and Big Cats. Which one is she calling herself, I wonder.)
For reward, Virginia has won intimate time with Chef Ramsay. In the kitchen, people! Get your minds out of the gutter. He’s going to show her, one-on-one, how to run a line and how to lead a restaurant. He’s going to go through as many secrets as he knows to make her a top chef. (Which, if he expects her to retain any of it, means that we’ll be back next year for the second half of the show.)
For punishment, Heather and Keith have to watch Virginia receive her reward as they work under the watchful eye of Jean Phillipe polishing all of the glassware and tableware in the restaurant. And, that’s a whole lot of glass and silver.
Heather CT’s that it’s making her think that no matter how good someone is, they may not be chosen. Virginia, in CT, shows that she does have some clue about what it takes to run a good restaurant – artistry. And, she thinks she might just be a better artist than the others are.
Sitting around the backyard (once again, I can’t quite figure out how they always end up being sent off to get their reward/punishment only to end up around the picnic table together), Heather and Keith are drinking sour whine and grousing about how Virginia always seems to win the challenges, insulting her, when, surprise, surprise, Keith realizes that Virginia just happens to be at the table, too. Virginia tries to explain how she discovered the beans and the ham hocks when she was looking for the bacon, when Heather remembers the Ramsay cookbook Virginia bought. Remember that?
Heather states flatly that the recipe is in his book. And, thus starts conspiracy theory #1. Heather must believe that Virginia is a speed-reader with an eidetic memory. Because, she knows that the only way Virginia could have won that challenge was to have seen and memorized that particular recipe, out of all of the recipes included, during her cover-to-cover reading of the book in the past two days. Geez, how much down-time do they actually get?
Realistically, I don’t think that’s possible. The only way Heather could know that the recipe is in the book, would be if she had seen it, too. So, why didn’t she remember it when it counted, instead of after the fact. Besides, that is not the only copy of that cookbook in existence. Frankly, if it were in the book, the irony gnomes would have been scrambling all over themselves to show it to us. (And, by the way, is it actually possible that these people took on this show without trying to learn as.much.as.possible about Chef Ramsay and his cooking style before showing up on day one? Including buying and reading the books that he’s written? If they didn’t they’re bigger fools than I’ve so far given them credit for. But, I guess, at least, in Keith and Heather’s case that must be the case.)
Virginia finally realizes what most of us learned back in kindergarten. Namely, the people you’ve trounced in a competition are not likely to want to celebrate your victory with you. Her pride now diminished by Heather’s accusations, she leaves. Heather and Keith continue their grump and grouse session, reassuring each other that there is no way Virginia can win because she can’t do anything. (Except, of course, continually beat both of them in head-to-head competition. But, that doesn’t count. Right?) Keith tells Heather that, if he can’t win, he wants her to win and proposes an alliance against Virginia. (Hmmm… Could have sworn they were already in an alliance and, so far, it hasn’t done them much good. But, I guess they’ll conveniently overlook that little fact.)
Finally, we end up back inside the restaurant. Back where they were sent before they somehow ended up on their smoke break. Virginia is all smiles as she enters the kitchen where a down-to-business Chef Ramsay tells her that he’s going to walk her through cooking the dish while her job is to ask as many questions as possible. (We’ve seen her display her ability to ask a coherent question before. I’m betting that if she stays true to form she should be able to get… oh, maybe one or two fully formed questions asked in an hour. If she’s lucky?)
Heather and Keith, meanwhile, are given over to the tender mercies of Jean Phillipe, who’s overjoyed at the prospect of finally being able to pay them back for the grief they’ve given him. He rubs his hands together with glee and directs them to mounds of silver and masses of glasses, telling them not to waste any time getting busy. It will be their job to polish each and every piece until it gleams, smudge-free. (This, btw, is about the lowest job you can get in a restaurant, usually handled by young kids in their first job, who’s other duties usually include scraping plates and taking out the garbage. In other words, just about perfect for them.)
While Ramsay shows Virginia how to properly cook a fish, using the side of the hot pan to sear the edges, our polishing crew strains to hear what secrets he’s imparting. Keith mopes that he wishes he were getting a cooking lesson from Ramsay, ‘cause that’s something you can take home with you. (Have I missed something? Hasn’t this entire show been about getting lessons from Chef Ramsay, or does all the rest not count, somehow?)
Frankly, being taught to use a whisk to add seasonings to a sauce doesn’t seem to be that big of a secret to me, but Virginia is thrilled. In CT she tells us that she’ll be taking what she’s learned to “add gasoline to her, vroom vroom, car, to get to the front of the line”.
But, cooking secrets aren’t the only things Virginia is being taught. Ramsay also decides to teach her how to properly expedite a kitchen. In other words, he teaches her how to be rude, crude, and belligerent. Just like he is. Heather and Keith are now totally convinced that Ramsay is setting her up for a win. They think it’s totally unfair that they have to “show love” to Jean Phillipe’s glasses, while Ramsay gives Virginia everything she needs to know to take the prize. (But, guys, I thought she was hopeless. You’ve been telling us that you both know all of this stuff. You really think a single session with Ramsay will suddenly catapult her ahead of your vaulted personages? Ah well, if we’re gonna deal with conspiracies I guess we’ll add that one to the list – conspiracy #2 is born.)
Back in their quarters Heather shovels chips and dip into her mouth while Virginia once again tries to make nice. She swears on her life that she didn’t see it in the book. She just has a palate that doesn’t lie. Chef wouldn’t have picked a recipe that was in a book he knew she just bought, anyway. Would he? Keith answers, telling her that he would if he was setting her up to win because he likes her. Not exactly the answer Virginia was going for… Oh, well, she asked for it.
At 1:45am Keith climbs into bed on top of a giggling Heather for a hug and a tickle. (* gag *), while Virginia kneels at the foot of her bed. Praying? Maybe. It sure couldn’t hurt at this point, ‘cause she needs all the help she can get. Mostly, she’s eating worms, ‘cause nobody likes her, everybody hates her, and it svcks being an outsider. (Tough, sweetie. Nobody likes a constant winner, especially when they’re the continual losers.)
Next morning finds us back in the kitchen with Scott leading a crash course in Ramsay 101. Virginia says she’ll help set up the vegetable station and is rebuffed by Heather who tells her that she’s going to set up the entire station on her own. So, instead of finding something else useful, Virginia duplicates what Heather’s doing. They should have plenty of vegetables tonight. Their plan of shutting Virginia out is backfiring. Instead of realizing what they already know – that one of them will be the winner, Virginia is more determined than ever to prove them wrong.
Once again, we’re reminded that the winner of the show will get the chance to be the executive chef at a multi-million dollar restaurant – because, we’ve undoubtedly forgotten that by now. (No. We remember all too well. And, the more we see of these three the more frightened we are by that. So, shut up already.)
Tonight’s service will see each one of them taking a turn at running the hotplate, and we’ll get to see just how much of what Ramsay taught Virginia stuck. Ramsay declares them all to be equal. He doesn’t know who will be going home. He needs to see how they do when they’re standing in his shoes, running the restaurant. Knowing that she’ll actually get a chance to run the kitchen causes Heather to declare that tonight will be real. (Obviously, the other nights were just for fun? Tell that to everyone who’s been sent home already, Heather. I’m sure they’d agree with you.)
Chef has increased the level of difficulty by adding 6 tables to the restaurant, and he’s assigned Scott and Mary Ann to help out in the kitchen. Well, with them cooking, we can be sure that at least some people will be getting something to eat, ‘cause they, at least, know how to cook to Ramsay’s standards. Right?
Virginia, eager to show Chef how much she learned from him, promptly burns 2 pieces of salmon and, without showing them to him, casually tosses them into the garbage, obviously forgetting their earlier lessons about kitchen waste and overhead costs. Oops. Not a good start. Chef is appalled that she can be so casual about wasting food and makes her dig them out of the garbage and present them to him so that he can tell her they’re burnt and need to be thrown away.
In CT, Virginia likens Ramsay to a dog that’s going to attack you. If you bow down the dog will tear you apart, but if you stare back into that dog’s eyes, it will be the dog that backs down. (Got news for you, honey. I hope you don’t believe that carp, ‘cause if you do? You’re a goner. Staring into a dog’s eyes is a direct challenge, guaranteed to provoke an attack. My bet is that it’ll provoke the same response from Ramsay.)
Now it’s Heather’s turn to screw up. First, she doesn’t tell Chef that she needs 30 seconds more for the chicken, then, when she delivers the chicken it is apparent that she didn’t really need those extra 30 seconds after all. It’s burnt and blistered. She tells us that she’s screwing up because she’s trying too hard. She’s embarrassed. (Well, Heather, as far as Chef is concerned it’s because you’re not trying hard enough. And he’s pissed.)
Keith is called up to the hotplate first, perhaps because he’s the only one that hasn’t screwed something up yet. Scott is sent to take over his station. Guess that’s one station he won’t have to worry about, huh? Keith calls out for a time on the spaghetti and Scott tells him 4 minutes. Ramsay tells Scott to overcook it. Will Keith notice? ( He’s spent most of his time in the kitchen on this station. He certainly should know how to tell if it’s cooked properly.) Yes, the greasy one notices, after he picks through it with his fingers and tastes a strand. (Ewww. Hasn’t he ever heard of a fork to pick it up with? I don’t want his nasty fingers in my food. Ish.) He sends it back and tells Scott he wants another in 5 minutes. (Now, for the $64,000 question. If he could tell tonight, what made him think those executive chefs he tried to put one over on last night wouldn’t notice? * sigh *)
So, he’s passed his QA test, and he’s telling Virginia how to cut the scallops, but everything he does seems to be in slow motion. Ramsay tells him he needs to step it up of the crew will be running him. He calls out an order to standby for “1 bass, 1 salmon”. Heather Yes-Chef’s, but Virginia is silent. He doesn’t notice. Ramsay does. Prompted by Ramsay he calls Virginia on it and asks her what he said. She responds with “1 salmon, well-done and…” she’s forgotten what else he said. Now, she’s lost track of where they are, and evidently Keith has, too, because he just stares at her until Ramsay tells him to repeat the order. (Um, Keith? If Ramsay has to stand next to you and tell you what to do, what to say, and when to do and say it, you’re not running the kitchen.)
When he asks how long until he’ll get the fish, Virginia goes into scatter-brain mode. She ummms and ahhhs and mumbles to herself about not knowing what’s going on, and finally hesitatingly says she’ll need 3 minutes. (Now, look. We all know what Ramsay would have been doing at this point. Virginia would have been lucky to still have a head. After all, she obviously doesn’t need hers - she’s not using it. Keith? Does nothing except look exasperated. Heather is amused at Virginia’s incompetence. They both seem to be forgetting that, right now?… this is more about whether Keith can lead than it is about anything else. And, he’s failing miserably.)
Told by Chef that the crew is now telling him, rather than the other way around, Keith finally reacts and tells Virginia that he wants the fish in 2 minutes. (I suppose if it’s undercooked he can send it back to her.) Heather decides that it’s time for her to take control and she starts riding Virginia. They’re both completely ignoring Keith now.
Ramsay takes over and sends Keith back to the line. In CT, a grinning, cocky, Keith says that Ramsay was looking for them to be him. He’s not going to change who he is. “And, who says you have to be a * bleep * to be a chef?” (K-Grease? Hate to tell you this, bud, but you’re already a * bleep *, so that wouldn’t require you to change. Changing would require you to become an effective, efficient * bleep *, instead of the ineffectual * bleep * you are now.)
One hour into service and between Virginia’s screw-ups and Keith’s leadership skills they’ve only managed to get appetizers out to 25 out of 124 guests. (Wait. That’s what we’re told, but that’s not entirely accurate. Virginia always screws up, and that’s never slowed them down this badly before. So, it must be something else that’s different. Keith’s lack of any leadership skills, maybe? Y’think?)
Heather’s turn at bat. Chef runs through a ticket at mach speed and tells her to start by asking how long until it gets to the window. Scott needs 30 seconds on the Wellington. Virginia’s will be “coming right up”, which the last time I checked wasn’t on any clock I’ve ever seen. Prompted by Heather (who’s being prompted by Ramsay) she says she needs 30 seconds. Flustered by Ramsay’s attention, and intent on showing her stuff Heather can’t remember where to put the ticket. Oh, yeah. On the tray. She’s harried, she’s making mistakes and forgetting things. Ramsay tells her to slow down, breathe, and get herself under control.
Keith is still moving in slow motion. Pushed by Ramsay to get the risotto done, he delivers 2 bowls to the window. But, they’re not full portions and Chef calls him on it. Keith gives him one of his looks – probably rolling his eyes, and says he’s not going to argue with him. He walks away while Ramsay is still talking to him. Chef has had it with his attitude. He refuses his apologies, saying that he doesn’t really mean it - obvious from the way he’s behaving.
Chef shouts that he wants 2 * bleeping * risottos, and Keith responds with a few well-chosen obscenities of his own. Well, maybe they weren’t so well-chosen after all. Both Heather and Virginia gulp as Chef goes truly ballistic. He tells Keith which anatomical body part he should stick his attitude in and asks where the risotto is. Keith admits he missed it, and Ramsay’s had enough. He tells Keith he’s not going to take his head off, he’s thinking he’s gonna kick him out of the kitchen right now. Keith looks stunned. Heather looks stunned. And, we look in the fridge for beer, ‘cause this is obviously the perfect time for a commercial.
Back from commercial we get to watch the reaming again. Pay close attention to Keith. In CT he says that Ramsay was trying to push him into talking back to him. Ramsay says he doesn’t like his attitude, well, “I try not to have an attitude, but sometimes it comes out”. * shrug * Oh, yeah it does. It certainly comes out. As Chef tells him that tonight was his night, everyone was equal at the beginning of service, and now he’s so far behind he doesn’t know what’s going on, Keith is wearing a “talk to the hand” expression, if I’ve ever seen one. Mouth hanging open (does this boy have adenoid trouble?), he stares at Chef, shuffling his feet, in total disbelief.
Released by Ramsay he returns to his station and Heather remembers that it’s supposed to be her kitchen. She needs the risotto. How long? * shrug * “Seven minutes.” She wants it in 6 minutes. Chef asks her if Keith is going to give up and she tells him no, he won’t. She seems to be doing fairly well leading the kitchen because they’re back on track with where they should be at this time into service. (See? Told you it couldn’t be Virginia’s fault. She’s still there screwing up, after all.)
Time for Heather’s QA test. Chef pulls Mary Ann aside and tells her that he wants lumpy mashed potatoes to go with the Wellington. Heather calls for the potatoes and Mary Ann takes her the pan. As a worried Ramsay looks on, Heather carefully plates them, calling out to watch the “chunks in the potatoes, please.” (So, she did notice them, but she’s going to serve them anyway? In Ramsay’s kitchen? I don’t think so.)
Ramsay calls the tray back to the window before the server takes 2 steps. Now, he’s in Heather’s face. He purposely asked for lumps in the potatoes to see if she would taste them and establish some quality. Virginia watches this with interest. You can almost see the little wheels turning. Keith is on the hotplate and Scott gives him undercooked spaghetti. That could have been a mistake on Scott’s part. (Not likely, but possible.) But, now, with Chef admitting that he purposely used Mary Ann to set up Heather? She now knows 2 things, and can extrapolate a 3rd, if the wheels turn fast enough to get a thought through to her brain. (Rusty from lack of use, you can hear the gears grinding – leading us to conspiracy theory #3.)
1) Chef is setting people up 2) Both set-up’s came from the station they were working before they took over the hotplate, ergo, 3) When it’s her turn there will be something wrong with the fish, at some point
(Maybe there is something to the conspiracy theory. Or, maybe there’s just someone left in the kitchen that he likes as little as he liked Sarah.)
Heather admits in CT that she second-guessed herself about the potatoes. She says that’s her biggest weakness. (Oh, come on! She knows darn well what Ramsay would have done if she’d given him lumpy potatoes. That wasn’t second-guessing, that was plain stupidity. And, that’s hard to cure.)
So, having now proven that a professional Sous Chef that runs a 12 person team of restaurant professionals can also run a 4 person team of 2 professionals and 2 DAW’s, Heather gets sent back to the line. It’s now time to see if Virginia learned anything and if she retained anything, or if her mental gears are rusted tight due to lack of use.
Ramsay gives her the ticket and she’s off. She yells out the lengthy order, remembering to include temperature for the Wellington, and a time to the window. (So, she can read. One more point for the cookbook conspiracy.) Evidently, Heather’s time at the window has affected her hearing, she asks that the order be repeated. Keith smirks. (But, then, Keith is always smirking when he’s not mouthbreathing.)
On the repeat both Yes-chef, but in CT Keith tells us that when she’s yelling she sounds like a cartoon character and he wasn’t listening to her. (Yeah. Good strategy, Keith. Ignore the one that Ramsay’s put in charge. That’ll impress him.)
She’s actually doing quite well, particularly with her Tigger imitation, bouncing up and down as she makes them give her times and respond to her vocally. But, Ramsay has noticed the same thing we have. She has a hard time remembering what she’s doing. This is a person that’s prepared things not on the ticket, forgotten where her ingredients are, heck, she’s forgotten what she’s cooking and where she is in the process of cooking it, while she’s cooking it. So, will she remember what she’s asked them to cook? And, if she gets the right number of fish dishes will she care, or notice, if one of them is the wrong fish? (Our departed Holstein wouldn’t have cared, we know. She wanted to substitute Turbot for Salmon without asking the diners. I guess, landlocked as her State is, parts is parts and fish is fish. And grits has nothin’ to do with corn.)
Time to test that third conspiracy. Chef has Scott exchange Bass for the Salmon he’s supposed to be cooking. (Now, come on. I know this is Virginia we’re talking about, and in all fairness, the fish is seared, so maybe it would be harder to tell… But, Salmon is a red fish, and its steaks are pretty thick. Chilean Sea Bass is a white fish, and it’s fillets are considerably thinner. You’d think Chef could have come up with a fairer test than that. Although, once again, we are talking about Virginia, a person that has to check her azz every time she steps in front of a mirror to see what that thing is that keeps following her around everywhere.)
The dishes come to the window and she starts to set up the tray. Hey! Whaddya know? She’s not color blind, and she can remember what that stuff she’s been cooking all night is supposed to look like. She sends the Bass back and gets an apology from Scott. Hey, again! What’s this? She even remembers to hand back the other dishes, telling the Chefs to keep them hot while waiting for the correct fish to arrive. Chef compliments her and she takes it one step further, telling Heather to slow down what she’s doing because nothing is going out of the kitchen until she has that Salmon. She follows up by calling the order that will follow the Salmon out of the kitchen. (Shades of Mini-Me, or would that be Replica-Ramsay. Are we sure that Ramsay hasn’t placed a bug in her ear so he can tell her what to say?)
With 3 tables left, Ramsay has saved the power of jinx for the end of service. He begs them to act as a team. As soon as the women Yes-Chef him (guess he didn’t notice that nothing came out of Keith’s hanging mouth), they fall apart. Heather says she wants 1 Wellington, right after “that” – whatever “that” is supposed to be. Virginia is confused, (and, by now, this is a surprise, why?) and says, puzzled, “Wait… Three Wellington and one salmon?” Instead of answering her Heather just tells her “Right now!” Which, of course, completely throws Virginia for a loop. (“Right now”, what? Is that a time, a new dish? Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?) Virginia wants to know how long. And, Heather points out that she told her – “right now”. As they elbow each other at the refrigerator door, Ramsay wants an explanation. “I told her 30 seconds, Chef.” (No. You didn’t. You told her Right now. The very same thing that she got into trouble for saying to Keith when he was at the window.) Virginia apologizes and Heather tries to exert her leadership skills once again by yelling that it’s the “very last table”.
Having earlier Cted that it’s hard to be a team with someone you’re competing against, shows that, for once, he can be a good team member if he tries. He gives Virginia a non-stick skillet when she asks for one – the first time I can remember helping her out by giving her something she asks for since he started his trek into DAWdom. Oh, that explains it, he CTs that he just wants to finish the service to make everyone happy. (I’m guessing that “everyone” equals “Ramsay”, ‘cause I don’t think he gives a tinker’s dam for the happiness of his fellow DAWs, or, for that matter, the guests in the dining room.)
With a salmon and a pair of Wellington’s served, the fire goes out in the kitchen and the heat goes up. Chef tells them that he had a chance to observe their leadership qualities in the kitchen. Virginia looks self-satisfied and sways back and forth with a tiny smile. Heather looks possessed. (Every time Chef addresses them in line she tries to look so intent on his every word that I’m forcibly reminded of various mug shots I’ve seen on the news.) Keith looks like an overgrown Disney dwarf, in an aberrant production of Snow White.
Chef tells them that every head Chef must make tough choices every.day. So, their tough choice of the day will be to each pick a person for elimination. (O.K. That’s a tough one, all right. I’ll bet it will take Heather and Keith all of a nanosecond to make up their minds.) So, we know that Virginia will be on the chopping block today, the only question is who is going to be there with her. ‘Cause it will be her choice. (Gee. She gets to control the game at the chopping block. Again. Just like last time. Yet another conspiracy, anyone?)
Virginia gets the first CT. She knows that Heather and Keith will nominate her. But, she reasons that she’s been on the chopping block 3 million times, but she’s still there.
Showing her love of rubbing salt into her own wounds, she tells them that she knows they’re both going to nominate her. “Right?” Heather just looks at her exasperated, while Keith tells her “He’s probably going to send you home, anyway” and walks out of the room. Heather sticks around and they discuss Keith’s performance. Virginia didn’t think he was very good at expediting and she could hardly hear him.
In CT, Heather once again shows her professionalism, in that she is at least willing to consider Keith. She truly believes that Virginia is the worst of their happy ménage a trois, but that Keith was too quiet tonight, and she, too, thinks his attitude svcks.
Keith backs Heather into a corner. Literally, and figuratively. He laughingly says “You are going to vote for Virginia, aren’t you?” Poor little Heather. She admits that Virginia isn’t qualified, but tells him what a poor job he did expediting. He tells her to quit effing around, but he’s worried. Oh, no he’s not. He’s K-Grease the magnificent. In CT he hopes that Heather doesn’t throw a curveball, but “I don’t think either one of them did any better than me, so I’m not worried”. (No, Keith. No one can ever do anything better than you. You are a legend in your own mind. K-Grease is da man.)
He goes to find Virginia, who’s busy packing. She says she can’t fake it and if she’s not good enough, she’s not good enough. Keith says that’s what it comes down to, and then stuns her by telling her he’s not going to nominate her. His widdle feelings are hurt and he’s pissed ‘cause Heather yelled at him after he got yelled at by Ramsay. (Either that, or he’s into practicing kosher slaughter – nice and easy, with the lamb never seeing the knife coming. Wahtcha wanna bet?)
It’s time for the slaughter.
Keith nominates Virginia because her performance on the line, while better than ever, wasn’t better than Heather, and she confused him when she was expediting. (And the knife slips easily through the fleece. Oh, and Keith? If she really did confuse you it might have been because you weren’t.listening.to.her. You told us that, yourself.)
Virginia, with Keith having solidified her decision, returns the favor, nominating Keith. She calls him on his lack of leadership at the pass, and on the lack of fire and passion for food at tonight’s service. (Keith clearly can’t fathom what she’s talking about, but she’s spot on and unknowingly he begins to drip blood.)
Heather could, supposedly, go either way – but we know she’s not. Predictably, she nominates Virginia. But, before doing so, she slips the point of her knife into the hole Virginia started in Keith’s artery, saying that he could have been a little louder and more demanding. Virginia, on the other hand, didn’t (pointing at her eyes) “give me the demand. She didn’t look me in the eye and demand the respect she deserved when she was up there.” (Okay. That’s about the lamest reason I’ve heard yet. Particularly, since her performance at the pass was her strongest suit, and milk toast could have been more demanding than Keith was – and Heather knows it. So, without ever breaking her word to Keith, she sets him up for Ramsay to finish severing the remaining arteries. And, the pity is, she doesn’t even seem to realize it.)
Keith and Virginia step forward. K-Grease may say he’s not worried, but he’s sighing heavily and wringing his hands. (And, if you look closely at his face, you’ll see the belligerent look of a cornered animal lurking just below the surface.) Virginia’s been up there so many times she’s turned pro.
Ramsay: “Keith. This is your first time up here. Evah. Tell me why you think you should be a finalist in Hell’s Kitchen.” Keith: * wringing his hands and squirming like he needs a potty break* “I want this. I wanna be in the finals, I wan a chance to win, go to Vegas. It’s my dream, my dream come true. If you give the that chance, I mean, I won’t letchoo down.”
(K-Grease? News flash. I want someone to give me a bundle of cash so I can continue to play every day at the zoo. That’s my dream come true. But, that’s not a reason why they should give it to me.)
Ramsay: “Virginia.” (She knows the drill. He doesn’t even have to ask the question.) Virginia: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’m not an old dog. You can teach me new tricks. If you really put the time and care into me I could think exactly like you, do exactly what you do, ‘cause I don’t have any old habits. You can work with me. You can teach me. I’m ready. I want it. I’m willing. I’m able.”
Ramsay: “This is quite possible the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” (We flashback to Keith screwing up a dish and the argument over attitude, followed by Virginia acting like a scatterbrain and doing well at the pass.)
“The person leaving * catch in the throat * Hell’s Kitchen tonight, and will not be going through to the final two, is…
When we come back from commercial…
…Keith. (And the attitude starts to rise on top of the grease) ‘Cause what I’m lookin’ for right now, is a leader. And, personally, big boy, I don’t think you’re ready. Give me your jacket. (As Heather’s eyes start to exit their sockets on their journey to the floor, Keith shakes his head in disgust at Ramsay and steps forward to take off his jacket.)
He shoves the jacket at Ramsay without meeting his eyes, shuffles his feet and starts to plead, trying not to cry.
Keith: “So you’re tellin’ me that Virginia’s a betta leada than me? I been leadin’ the whole thing. I mean, whatevah station I’s on I been leadin’ da line. Every team I was on. The whole time. I mean people that didn’t even know anythin’.” (Virginia is looking embarrassed for him.) Ramsay: “I personally don’t think you’re ready to lead.” Keith: (Evidently deciding that pleading isn’t going to work, so he may as well see to it that Ramsay doesn’t ever want to offer him any kind of job.) “I personally think you have a * vernacular for stiffy * for Virginia.” (Heather stoops to search for her eyeballs.) Ramsay: “Why do you have to be so effing rude?” Keith: “You’re rude to me all the time.” (* snort *) Ramsay: “Now, I definitely know I’ve made the right decision. ‘Cause your attitude does stink.” (He drops the jacket as though it’s been contaminated with typhoid, while Keith smirks.)
Keith gives Heather a big hug and tells us that “I definitely deserve my own restaurant. The whole time I been here I did nothin’ but kill it. He doesn’t like my personality, so eff him, ‘cause I cooked betta than all them beyotches.”
Ramsay tells us that “You’ve got 2 choices. You run the team, or the team runs you. And, sadly, the team ran Keith. If Keith can leave the attitude, there’s one talented, talented, cook.”
We’re treated to the obligatory flashbacks of salad in the hat, butt crack, insulting Jean Phillipe’s heritage (by getting it wrong), cuddling with Heather (Ewwww)… all the things we’ve grown to love gag over.
In his parting CT, Keith tells us “He doesn’t like my personality? He doesn’t like K-Grease? I tried to hide him but he effin’ got out, so bleep bleep.”
See ya ‘round greasy. Don’t slip on yourself in the alley. Cockroaches like grease, but then, you’ve got a lot in common with them, too.
Chef congratulates our remaining finalists and sends them off to get some rest. As soon as they’re out of site they start sqealing, screaming, and happy dancing. When they get to their room they find a bottle of champy and a note of congratulations from Ramsay. Then he goes and ruins it all be sending our dearly barely remembered departed to drink it for them.
Next week… They each get to create their own restaurant, staffed by former “teammates”. They vow to fight to the finish, Virginia screams, Tom refuses to work for a woman, Keith insists on being paid, the media wants to know what Virginia’s husband thinks about her mooning over Chef, and whichever former-DAW team fails to cause their head-DAW to lose, creates a new Head-Chef for Chef Ramsay. Or not.