Last week on Hell’s Kitchen… Nah! No way. I’m not about to recrap a recrap that’s going to be recrapped at the start of this week anyway.
So, moving on to this week’s clusterfest of DAWdom…
We get to start with the inevitable recrap of last night… NO!!!!! They make us go allllllllll the way back to the beginning. Because, obviously, there are going to be a lot of peeps that didn’t watch one stinking episode, and don’t have a barking clue who any of these DAWs are, or why they are in their living room, who absolutely MUST see the finale. And, any of the rest of us? Well, we know they think we don’t possess enough operating brain cells to remember what happened before a commercial break, so how could we remember what happened 9 weeks ago? (Then again, they might have a point. We are wasting brain cells watching this drek. And, since I’ve had to watch almost every hour twice, I’m losing twice as many as most. I can feel them dying as I type.)
* sigh *
O.K. Let’s get this over with…
They arrive. They get yelled at. They cook poo. They are separated like a 7th grade dance with the lights on. Virginia brainfreezes. Heather shines. Tom sweats. Mini-DAW’s revolt. No one wins. Polly gets chopped.
They dumpster dive. Women win. Larry can’t take the heat – in the kitchen, or the hot tub. Ambulances arrive. Larry leaves - permanently. Sarah gloats. Heather shines. Men self-destructs. Heather suffers. Ambulances arrive. Sarah leaves. Women win. Gabe gets chopped.
Women win. Women sun. Sarah disgusts. Men taunt. Heather mood-swings. Heather stumbles. Sarah shines. Sarah gloats. Tom whines. Giacomo fails Fire Discovery – 101. Women win. Giacomo gets chopped.
Chef appoints Heather to manhood. Keith revolts. Kids destroy. Men, headed by the one most manly, wins. Sarah sabotages. Heather babysits. No one wins. Tom gets chopped. Tom whines some more.
Virginia proves she has taste. Women win. Women primp. Sarah disgusts. Heather gets a girlfriend. Virginia shines. Rachel self-destructs. Keith’s ego gets inflated. Heather’s GF gets chopped.
DAWs shop. Virginia shows off big breasts. Virginia wins. Keith whines. Garrett displays a knowledge of sign language. Men complete service. Women embarrass. Maribel gets chopped.
Teams combined. Keith shows off his meat. Keith wins. Keith displays a death wish and takes Virginia to Vegas. Garrett seethes. Heather shines. Virginia brainfreezes. Chef’s voice cracks. Sarah discovers Teflon®. Garrett tries to save time by practicing guest reduction techniques. Chef saves Garrett from a second prison term. Garrett gets chopped.
Please, feel free to sing along. Four blind DAW’s. See how they run. They all run a construction lunch. Virginia flirts as the best of the bunch. Heather fails and is worst of the worse. Four blind DAW’s.
Virginia’s safe. Heather’s meds run out. Heather gets more meds. Heather shines. Virginia brainfreezes. Chef reneges. Virginia gives up. Sarah gets set-up. Virginia snivels. Chef reneges. Virginia snivels. Chef persists. Virginia sabotages Sarah. The wheels on the bus go round and round and living rooms erupt with joy.
Virginia’s tastebuds reign supreme. Chef teaches Ramsay’s Rules of Rudeness. DAW’s rule. Heather likes lumps in potatoes. Keith eats with his hands. Virginia proves she’s not color blind. Heather yells. Keith doesn’t. Virginia steps up between bouts of brainfreeze. Keith tells Ramsay where he should put his risottos. Keith’s a virgin, while Virginia faces Ramsay for her 3 millionth time. Keith blusters. Keith whines. Keith gets belligerent. Keith says what many believe. The pot calls the kettle black. Keith gets chopped.
And… in the Red corner, we have Heather, NY sous chef supreme, vs. the Blue corner, Virginia, salad chef of good taste and E-Z-Freeze brain. I, mysticwolf, will be your guide. Right after I finish whimpering about having another 110 minutes of carp to watch before we reach the inevitable, foregone, conclusion. (So foregone, as a matter of fact, that most of us knew what it was destined to be 9 weeks ago.)
Now, here the editors actually do us a favor. Before they even start they show us all we really need to know in the upcoming highlights. Both women want it. Both women will fight for it. Heather has mood swings. Keith proves he’s a jerk. Tom proves he’s a clumsy, sexist jerk. The media notice Virginia’s hot for someone other than her newlywed husband. Both women overcome adversity – mostly supplied by their team. Someone will win. And, we all know who.
But, I suppose that’s not good enough. Nooooo. We have to see it all happen in real time. Because, otherwise they’d have to pay back all the money they collected from commercial sponsors wanting to shill their products at us, and we’d miss hearing how expensive Red Rock is for the 5-billionth time. (Notice how they’ve never given us any indication that the Red Rock is any good? Just that it was expensive to build. Why that should move me to help pay off their debt escapes me, but someone in their marketing department thought this was a good idea.)
The girls celebrate with champagne. There’s a knock at the door, which they’ve evidently forgotten to lock because whoever’s there just strolls on in. (I wonder what activity they thought might be going on that required giving advance notice that they were barging in? Nevermind.)
Heather screams. Virginia screams. Oh! They’re happy screams. That must be why Heather immediately starts to cry. We get to meet Heather’s mommy and daddy. She’s really, really, missed them. We get to meet Virginia’s mother and her husband. Virginia’s missed him so much she slaps his face for kissing her hello. Not what I call a good sign for newlyweds. Then again, maybe that’s Virginia’s idea of foreplay. I don’t wanna know.
Heather displays her need for medication – and everyone at home really, really, hopes mommy and daddy have brought her a new supply. We relive dumpster diving. Heather tells mommy about her new GF, Rachel. Virginia brags about how spectacular her palate is, forgetting to mention that she can’t actually cook for more than 2 people at a time. Heather has learned her weaknesses. Virginia has learned her strengths. Heather’s daddy displays where she gets her mood swings from.
In CT Heather shows how quickly her mood swings hit her, alternating between manic joy and crying jags complete with snotty nose separated by seconds. Up… and down. Up… and down. Up… and, wait – I’m getting seasick.
Their families leave and Heather’s in manic phase again. It’s Virginia’s turn to have a crying jag. I suppose as long as they both don’t melt down at the same time it works.
Both girls primp and Heather decides Hermione has a look worth copying. Heather’s gonna run Virginia over in service. Virginia does what every woman does after spending hours doing her hair and makeup for a press conference. She engages in a spirited round of kick-boxing, delivering head-high roundhouse kicks to a body bag while she fantasizes it’s Heather. (Maybe that slap really was foreplay. Nope. Still don’t wanna know.)
Chef and the girls engage in a race to get to the kitchen first, with Ramsay winning. After all, he only had to run 5 feet down the hall. And, the lighbulbs flash and the cameras whir. It’s – gasp – a press conference. Which puts Heather into a manic phase as she tells us, in full makeup, hair done up in ringlets, that she never expected that. (Right, Heather. You just thought it’d be some show flunky with a Polaroid. Sure you did.) Virginia plays along, too, and, once again displays that brain-to-mouth missing synapse, telling us she thought Chef was going to have them toast bagels for breakfast.
Chef proves that he’s spent waaaaaaay too much time around Virginia, telling the press that he’s “very proud to deduce ” them.
(deduce: Pronunciation: di-'düs, dE-; chiefly British -'dyüs Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): de·duced; de·duc·ing Etymology: Middle English, from Latin deducere, literally, to lead away, from de- + ducere to lead -- more at TOW 1 : to determine by deduction; specifically : to infer from a general principle 2 : to trace the course of)
Please, God, don’t let him mean the second definition. I absolutely refuse to recrap him recrapping their course to DAWdom yet again in this episode. I won’t do it, I tell ya.
Whew… it really was just a Virginia moment.
The first question gets fielded by Heather, who, in 2 sentences, manages to diss all of the chefs in L.A. by saying that there are bigger competitors in Vegas. She’d better win this thing, ‘cause I doubt she’ll get a job in L.A. after that.
Virginia gets asked about her husband. And, I guess the Fox media plant can’t remember what she’s supposed to ask when the first take doesn’t work. It’s not the question we’ve been shown over and over about how her husband feels about her being on the show. It’s how her husband will feel if she wins and has to move to Vegas. (Ah, well, the casting call just called for people who could hold a microphone. It didn’t say anything about being able to remember lines.)
Virginia tells us that she married a chef, and if she wins, she’ll just hire him. (Oh, yeah. He’s gonna feel really good about working for her.) Ramsay, realizing what his class in Ramsay’s Rules of Rudeness will mean for marriage longevity, dithers and suggests that one should never mix business with pleasure.
And, the final question gets a two-for-one answer. First, we find out what Mark from Fox’s Road Rules has moved on to. Having proven that he’s a crappy host he’s either taken a job as a reporter, or answered that casting call for plants I was talking about. (But, I’ll bet we weren’t supposed to notice that.) Second, we find out that during their down time Virginia used her cheerleading talents to create a happy dance designed to make them both look ridiculous. Heather realizes this so, of course, they do it for the cameras. (Shoot me now, please. Put me out of my misery. No? Darn.)
A curtain sweeps down from the ceiling of HK, splitting the dining room in two and avoiding splitting Virginia’s head open which would have spared us from any more of this farce. * sigh *
We’re told that someone by the name of Sandra Tingle has won last week’s $10 grand, which is small compensation for the teasing she’s had to endure for being a woman with the last name of Tingle.
And, we come back from commercial with the producers still convinced they must have put us to sleep before we saw what transpired before. (Now that I think of it, that would be a good way to watch the show. Sleep until commercial break. Wake up and get a drink or use the bathroom. Watch the first 2 minutes to see what happened and what’s about to happen. Go back to sleep. Too bad I just figured out that strategy. I wouldn’t have missed a thing and I’d be far better rested.)
Heather is wild about red. Stark raving mad for it. (I’d think green would be more likely to augment her meds.) And, Virginia tells Chef that if she were any happier she’d “need a personal assistant”. (A “personal assistant”. Is that what you call something you use to make yourself happy when you’re away from your spouse. Interesting term for it.)
Chef sends them away and then calls them back again. He’s so cute when he does that. They get white jackets with black trim to replace their white and black jackets, which replaced their white and red and white and blue jackets. This sends them into paroxysms of joy. Virginia tells us that she’s excited that Heather’s excited which excites her even more and they’re both so excited they are about to explode. I’m about to explode, too, but it’s not from excitement. Heather just thinks her name on the jacket makes her look cool, because, I guess, it’s in a different font than her name on any of the other jackets? I dunno.
Heather is so happy in CT that, of course, she’s crying. She tells us that she’s so happy she wants to die. No, wait. She wants to win the restaurant first, and then she’ll die. Which might explain why no one has heard anything about her since the show ended months ago. We can only hope. Virginia’s happy, too. She’s going to create her perfect restaurant and put art on the walls. (Um, good idea Virginia. Putting art on the walls is something no one’s ever thought of for a restaurant before. It’ll be groundbreaking.)
The women meet with the designers of HK and Red Rock. They get the dubious pleasure of translating scattered DAW thoughts into reality. I’m sure they’re just shivering with joy at the prospect. Jean Phillipe gets the job of dresser for their staff. Mary Ann gets to play sous chef for Virginia, who promises to try not to cut, burn, or otherwise maim her, for which, I’m sure, Mary Ann is eternally grateful. Although she looks a bit dubious that Virginia will be able to keep her promise. (Look what happened the last time Virginia promised to do something. Don’t remember? Ask Sarah.) That, of course, leaves Heather with Scott, who I’m sure really is eternally grateful.
Heather goes to her designer meeting armed with her box of 64 crayons and a vision of three pictures of women cooking. Nothing else, just three pictures of cooking women. Such creativity is astounding! No. Really. It is. I can’t describe my reaction as anything other than astounded. Fortunately for Heather the designers are better at translating absurdities than I. Suffering her foolishness gladly, they suggest moving pictures. She’s overcome by the thought.
Virginia admits to an obsession with water. She wants the walls transformed into a waterfall which will look “kind of like, running water” (spoken as a question). Imagine that. A waterfall in which the water actually looks like it’s falling. Who ever heard of such a thing?
Heather wants a fun, family-style, restaurant, patterned on her family, whom she loves so much that she’s been sitting on them. Virginia wants elegance with sexy clientele. (How’d you like to be that doorman? “No. I’m sorry, madam, I’m afraid you just won’t do. Now, if sir wishes to escort that lady into dinner, I’ll be happy to be accommodating. Perhaps you could join her husband and eat next-door at the family restaurant.”)
Heather wants trendy, fun, brightly coloured, uniforms. Virginia wants black ghosts. Jean Phillipe wants his eye to quit twitching.
Heather can’t quit hugging people. She hugs Scott, who congratulates her. Virginia receives congratulations from Mary Ann, who proves to be an excellent liar. She even manages to keep a straight face when she tells Virginia that she’s not surprised to see her in the finals.
Heather wants her signature dish to be white fish, because it needs to reflect how vibrant and colorful she is. ‘kay, White is supposed to reflect all of the colours of the spectrum, I suppose. Though I’m not too sure many people will get that as her meaning. She wants to keep the menu simple and concentrate on the flavors. She tells Scott that when he sees her menu he’ll be so excited he’ll wet himself. Scott’s excited at the prospect because it’s been far too long since he wet himself, and he got used to it, and kinda grew to like it, back in his early days of cooking for Chef Ramsay.
Virginia wants a chicken roulade as her signature dish, and the theme of her menu will be “Virginia’s brain”. In other words, confused, cluttered, and capable of freezing well. She asks Mary Ann if she’d want to eat there basis what’s on the menu. Whatever Mary Ann’s reply may have been doesn’t matter ‘cause they don’t show it and Virginia would want to eat there every night. And, that’s all that counts, of course.
Chef pulls them out of their reverie to tell them that it’s all well and good that they’re in the middle of creating their restaurants from scratch in two days time, but they need to pack their bags and take a road trip to Vegas. Now. Apparently, he’s developed a splitting headache at the thought of having to go along with them.
This sets off another mood storm for Heather. She giggles. She laughs. Apparently, she wets herself, because as they leave Chef looks at where she was standing, swears softly, and weakly asks for someone to please mop the floor. It ends with her sitting in the middle of a pile of clothes on the floor sobbing hysterically. God, she’d be fun to live with, no? Rachel? Run!
They have no idea what’s going to happen when they get to Vegas, perhaps build the restaurant themselves, Heather suggests. But, whatever it is, they get to go in a limousine, whose arrival is delayed slightly for the installation of a rubber car seat and floor mat. Wisely, Chef chooses to buckle each of them into separate bucket seats (Heather gets the rubber one), while he stays safely out of reach lying back on a couch seat opposite, expensive leather shoes kept well away from the floor.
And, we get to recrap the parts of the season we haven’t yet recrapped. We revisit their first dishes, where Virginia defines “cooking” as toasting nuts and Heather serves up shoe leather (not the tender, expensive, kind).
Both admit to surprise that they made it this far, only one of which is lying, and Chef points out that Virginia holds the record of winning the most challenges, winning all but one. (And, having lost that one to Keith, she still got the reward.) We get to flashback to all of her wins. (Go read the published recraps.) She also holds the record for being on the chopping block the most times, but that’s not mentioned. Why bring up bad memories?
Chef reminds Heather of her strength when she burnt herself. She knew she’d burned herself when she felt her fingers sear. (Ayep. That’d be a clue all right.) She kept going because she didn’t want her team to lose just because she wasn’t there. (Read: she didn’t want her team to lose because she’d been stupid about kitchen safety.) In CT she gives Virginia her due for challenges and creativity, but knows she’s better at service. Yeah. I think we all know that.)
Champy toasts all around and we finally get to find out why they’ve been brought to Vegas to begin with. Chef says he wants them to get a chance to see if their signature dishes will please their eventual customers. Well, that’s what he says. Really, he needs a way to decide who gets first choice in the loser-DAW-turned-staff pick ‘em game we all know will be coming up. He’s borrowed two kitchens in two closed restaurants for them to cook 21 servings of their signature dish. These will be served to 21 unsuspecting gamblers who will pick which one they like best. Best of 21 wins.
Virginia will be serving a chicken roulade with buerre blanc sauce against Heather’s signature whitefish dish, chosen to show people how vibrant and colourful she is, Chilean sea bass served on top of pureed cauliflower. Yep. White on white. That’s my first choice when I think of vibrant, appetizing, color. Not.
Taste-testers are recruited and points begin to accrue. H1 – V0, H2 – V0, H2 – V1, H3 – V1, H3 – V2 (boy, is this exciting!) H4 – V2, H4 – V3, H5 – V3, H5 – V4, H6 – V4 (have we figured out where this is gonna end up yet? You know the irony gnomes are working overtime tonight, don’t you?) H7 – V4, H7 – V5, H7 – V6, H7 – V7 (see it coming yet?) H7 – V8, H7 – V9 (of course Victoria is flirting unmercifully) H8 – V9, H9 – V9, H9 – V10, H10 – V10. All up to one final guest-DAW, who starts to sweat when the women start an over-energetic lobbying campaign. Ramsey tells them to back off and the winner…
…will have to wait until we recrap the whole thing after we get back from commercial.
Oh, c’mon… you mean all of the editing and filler about Virginia’s ability to win challenges didn’t tip you off? Of course she wins this one, too. They can’t just give the restaurant to Heather, after all. She’s gonna have to work for it a little… Final score H10 – V11. Virginia gets advantage in selecting a staff. (Except, of course, no one she’ll be allowed to choose from thinks she has any business being there. So, her “advantage” is kind of moot. Her only “advantage” will be if she takes people that don’t totally svck at cooking, and don’t totally hate her guts, and actually leads them to be better than they actually are. Not much of an “advantage”, but it is what she’ll make of it. Good luck.
To finish out the night Ramsay drags them up to the rooftop where they can gaze down on the glittering city of Las Vegas. Instead of pushing one or both of them off, which might have made for a more entertaining show, Chef presents each of them with tickets to London and an invitation to eat at his restaurant. I do hope they long ago made the trip, because now that security concerns have forced airlines to ban people from flights, dinner would have to be carry-out.
Instantaneously transported back to HK, there is 18 hrs. to go before opening and, of course, there are some construction issues. (Ever remodeled anything? There’re always construction issues to be resolved. But, in the real world, none of them are going to be resolved in 18 hrs.)
Virginia’s plum color is too dark. Oooooh! Big decision. Make it lighter. Yeah! That’ll work. One problem solved. Heather’s big decision revolves around painting the stairway teal, instead of using plexi-glass that they can’t get. Well, that’s a no-brainer. Teal stairs it is. Virginia’s waterfall isn’t finished, which concerns her, but she doesn’t have to decide anything – yet. Heather’s upholstery guy doesn’t have time to reupholster 9 booths. But, they don’t show us what they decide to do about that.
It’s the big day. Both women fell asleep in the wee hours vowing that they’d neither of them sleep. Morning finds them at their usual toilette. Heather’s putting her hair up, ringlets tightly controlled; Virginia’s checking to make sure her azz is still attached and playing with a monkey puppet before cramming it tightly into her luggage.
6:48 a.m. and it’s time for the Loser-DAW parade, followed by a game of pick-‘em (that, supposedly, neither Heather nor Virginia see coming). Our losers stride purposefully down the darkened hallway into the dorm. Now, out of this bunch they break down into the following categories:
Jerk-DAWs Who Can Cook (JWCC): Keith, Sarah DAWs Who Maybe Cook (DWMC): Rachel, Garrett No Talent Pathetic DAWs (NTPD): Tom, Giacomo No Talent Uninvited DAWs (NTUD): Larry, Polly, Mirabel, Gabe
We don’t have to concern ourselves with the NTUD’s because they were so bad the producers are hoping we forget they were ever invited to begin with. But, the rest will end up on one team or another.
There’s a touching reunion between Heather and her GF (who’s pleased for Heather and surprised by Virginia). Our NTPD, Tom, whines that he thought it was “3 strikes and you’re out, like me.” (Problem is, Tom, that Virginia at least connected with the challenge balls. You never connected with anything in your life. That’s why you’re on your 4th “career” and unemployed. Chef can spot a career loser a mile away, and you’re it.)
Virginia has figured out that they’ll need to pick teams and she sees that there are 3 really strong people, and 3 really weak people. Heather has figured out exactly who she wants in her kitchen because she’s going to have to rely on them to “like, make food”.
Ordered into the kitchen, they line up and we’re treated, once again, to flashbacks of Giacomo practicing his patented “Cooking Without Fire” technique, and Tom schvetting into the food, Rachel being accused of quitting, Sarah ripping off buttons in her Superchef fantasy role, Garrett learning that food should have flavor, and Keith’s butt crack (accompanied by his CT that this is a good look).
Virginia gets first crack, and she chooses butt crack. Well, she knows he hates her guts, but who doesn’t? At least he’s a JWCC. Keith is so pleased to be on Virginia’s team that the editors drive the point home by flashing back to him telling Chef that the only reason Virginia is still there is because Chef is thinking with his pointer (so to speak). In CT we learn that Keith would like to eff her, too. Though not exactly in the same way he thinks Chef wants to. Great start, Virginia.
Heather chooses her GF. No surprise there.
Virginia takes Tom next up. Now, that is a bit of a surprise as we still have a JWCC and a DWMC left in Sarah and Garrett. Chef is surprised and Heather is ecstatic at this turn of events. Tom is already schvetting.
Heather picks Sarah, who is honored. Virginia explains she thinks she’ll get more response from Tom than she’d have gotten from Sarah, which is probably true.
We’re left with Giacomo and Garrett, both of whom support the Raw Food Diet, but at least Garrett only practices it with poultry. In a second surprise move Virginia chooses Giacomo in a move to boost his confidence by not being chosen last, coupled with liking his attitude better than our ex-con. Garrett is surprised and chagrined at being the left over, but he has respect for Heather so he thinks he’ll be able to become motivated to work his azz off on her behalf.
So, the final teams consist of: Heather: 1 Jerk DAWs Who Can Cook, 2 DAWs Who Maybe Cook. Virginia: 1 Jerk DAW Who Can Cook, 2 No Talent Pathetic DAWs
Guess it’ll come down to how well Heather can control the strong personalities on her team, and how well Virginia can bolster the confidence and control her hand-picked, mostly-losers and jerks team.
Time to get those teams fired up and motivated to do their best for you. Particularly for Virginia, this is crucial, as no one – not one single person on either team – understands why she’s in the final two.
She chooses an interesting strategy. After telling us that she picked Giacomo to bolster his confidence, she opens her motivation speech to her team by telling them she picked them because they were weak and she wanted to see what she could do with them. Yep! That’d motivate me, knowing that my leader had no confidence in me. Wonder why they don’t teach this technique in more management seminars? Because it’s stupid, that’s why! But, that’s her chosen route.
For once, Keith isn’t the only one who has his jaw hanging on his chest. He asks if that’s why she picked him. No. She picked him because she felt that if she picked other weak people he could carry them. Yeah, you can see Tom and Giacomo’s confidence level rising fast. Yep. This is working well. She’s just, essentially, told Keith – the man who hates her guts probably more than any other living individual (with, perhaps, the most justification) – that she expects him to win this thing for her.
Heather is trying a different approach. She knows that Rachel and Sarah hate each other. She knows that Sarah isn’t exactly her best friend, either. She wants everyone to agree to let bygones be bygones. Both Rachel and Sarah say in CT that she has nothing to worry about with them, but for different reasons. Rachel points out that she behaves in a professional manner in the kitchen, even if she doesn’t like someone she’s working with. Which is pretty much the truth. Sarah says that she’s a team player. Which is pretty much a lie, except that she actually believes it. Heather follows up by telling them that she’d already decided who she’d wanted and they are her dream team. (Now that’s a whole lot closer to what I learned to do to motivate staff. But, maybe Virginia knows something that Dale Carnegie didn’t.)
The wanna-be head chefs present their menus. Keith actually likes what Virginia has selected, but he worries about her ability to execute it. Heather tells her team that everything is “wicked easy”, with only 1 item on the meat station. Recognizing his own weakness, Garrett hopes that it isn’t chicken. It’s not. Garrett thinks she’s set them up for success.
Having told them that they’re weak, Virginia tells them that she’s not going to put any pressure on them, but she’s going to demand perfection. Nope. No stress there.
Keith’s no dummy. If he’s gonna win this for her there better be something in it for him. He wants a promise of money. Now. In writing. Instead of trying to deflect the situation, Virginia takes the high road – or is that a high horse she’s riding – telling him that she doesn’t have to give them anything. Well, that solidifies it. Now they all want pay for play. (After all, as Tom reminds us yet again, he’s unemployed. He needs that money.)
Back from commercial we begin the second hour. By, of course, recrapping everything that just happened in the last hour. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you scroll to the top and re-read everything.
Dum de dum dum…
Back??? Good. Let’s pick up where we left off.
As her version of motivation hasn’t been the rousing success her pea brain thought it would be, Virginia has little choice if she wants best effort. She agrees to pay each of them $1000 if she wins. They agree they’ll do their best for her. Which means, if she’s lucky, they won’t set the kitchen on fire, they’ll try to remember to turn on the stove, and maybe Keith will be able to do all the cooking at all of the stations. Not likely, but it’s about the best she can do.
Time to prep. Virginia unloads a pile of clean spoons, exhorting her team to taste as much as they can all day. She wants everything ready by 4. Heather’s prepping what looks like a pile of chicken. (I thought she’d told Garrett that he wouldn’t have to worry about chicken.) She’s in manic phase again, and wants everything ready by 3. So, of course, it’s time to throw in a problem with the dining room. The booths don’t fit. She tells them to cut the corner off. They ask if she’s really okay with that. Um, yeah. What other option does she have? Put pillows on the floor and change to a Japanese service?
Virginia is suddenly concerned about Tom and Giacomo’s ability to work under pressure. (A bit late to worry about it, isn’t it, hun?) After telling Tom to make certain he cleans the chanterelles well – it’s her pet peeve – she’s confident about the kitchen, but worried about the dining room. She skips off to see how things are progressing. She finds a large hole in the wall. It’s supposed to be a waterfall, but they don’t have it plumbed, or lit, or anywhere near to completion. They can’t open the way it is, but don’t know if they can get it finished. Oh, the drama.
Finally, we get to see the menu selections:
Heather: Appetizers: Vegetable Soup Asian Chicken Salad Goat Cheese Tart (featured) Entrees: Mushroom Ravioli New York Steak Chilean Sea Bass (signature dish) Desserts: Chocolate Empanada Cheese and Crackers Bread Pudding (centerpiece)
Chef stops by to check her dishes. She proudly presents her Asian Chicken Salad. He tells her the chicken looks pre-chewed. The Sea Bass is nice, but boring. The chocolate empanada looks stunning. Heather tells us that she’s totally accepting of his suggestions and will work however long it takes to do it. (Which better be from now until the restaurant opens, but, whatever.)
Virginia: Appetizers: Pan Seared Scallops Foie Gras Jalapeno Tortellini (featured) Entrees: Chicken Roulade (signature dish) Red Snapper Braised Short Ribs Desserts Chocolate Truffles Fruit Churros Ice Cream Sundae (centerpiece)
She gets the chance to present her dishes to Chef. Tortellini is presented nicely and cooked well, but he cautions her to be careful of the thickness of the pasta. The foie gras is tasty, but why are there quail eggs there? It may look nice, but it needs to work with the liver to taste good. He likes the short ribs and parsnip puree. She tells us that he liked her menu and the things he mentioned were just little tweaks and his opinion, only. She doesn’t really have to do anything.
Chef sees the menus as being the opposite end of the spectrum, with Virginia coming from California and Heather’s reflecting hard-bitten New York. They will offer two, completely different, dining experiences.
Evening comes, and Heather’s restaurant is ready to be presented, while Virginia’s crew tries to get the waterfall completed.
Heather’s restaurant is brightly lit, red walls, golden ceilings, with splashes of white (including that staircase that I thought was to be teal). Her 3 panels of moving art are pictured on the walls in each booth, each showing the same image of a woman (her?) cooking, there’s a wall of what looks like flames dancing, and a HUGE screen (actually 3 put together to make 1 image) of her cooking in the kitchen as a centerpiece. It’s come together quite nicely, as she tells it a “white canvas” so that everything that comes out on a plate looks like art. But, she’s maybe taken the “family” theme a bit far. Amidst the fine white linens and upscale feel, she’s mounted a huge white board covered with stick figures and graffiti messages of good luck from various peeps. Chef doesn’t like it. It’s out of place. She tries to assure him that the great part about it is that it can be wiped off. No dice. He still doesn’t like it. (Maybe, if she’d covered the tables with butcher paper and provided crayons it would have worked. But not here.)
Virginia gets called out to see her waterfall. With 20 minutes to go it’s finished and she thinks it looks great. In another mind-mouth mishap she blurts out that “Now I know where to take a shower”. Somehow, I think she thinks that she’s complementing them on a job well done.
Chef calls her out to present. The dining room is done in rich shades of blue, plum, and gold tones, with her waterfalls (there are actually multiple waterfalls) running down the full length of the booth walls separated by sconce lighting. Beautiful wood-framed mirrors are gleaming on the non-booth walls, reflecting both the room and some gorgeous tulip chandeliers. Lighting for free-standing tables is provided by a low, lighted, wall running alongside reflecting light up onto the diners faces. Chef tells her that ladies really like being lit well, and she’s done a great job of it. (She thinks it’s interesting that he knows this. Duh! It’s his job to know what customers like, you idiot.) Chef finds the room cozy and sumptuous, and, I must say, in my book it’s the hands-down winner from a design standpoint. But, of course, she’s competing to be a head-chef, not a restaurant designer. (Too bad. She’d really have a potential career there.)
Show time, and time to give a few words of advice. Chef tells them that he will be watching everything that they do, from the food, to diners’ reactions, to how they deal with their staff. He cautions them to remember that, for the next few hours, these are not their friends. They are their staff, and they need to treat them accordingly.
Told to brief their teams, Virginia tells them she’s counting on them to be strong for her. They are her blood and her engine. She tells them to have fun and, if they burn something (looking at Tom, of course), don’t serve it to her.
Heather tells her team that she wants good communication, no frustration, no yelling. She says she is the only one allowed to yell. Taking a cue from Ramsay, she tells them that for the next 4 hrs. she is not their friend, she is their boss.
Both teams have a group cheer. On the count of five: “That’s my boy, Blue!” (Huh, wha???) and, on three: “Go Red Team!” And, we’re into the final stretch. (Thank God.)
As guests start to arrive, Mary Ann tells Virginia not to slam them. She points out that everyone is running around, and Tom says he wants to be on a winning team for a change. “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut, every now and again.” (Well, Tom… I’ll admit that you’re squirrelly.) Giacomo is cooking the fish and Chef asks if the oven is on. He Yes-Chef’s and, in another bout of confidence building, Virginia laughs and asks if he’s sure. He says he’s checked it four times already, earning a laugh and proving that he did learn something from his time in HK.
Heather tells her team that they’ve “got it in the baaaaag”. I wonder… Did she count those chickens before she cut them up?
Orders start to come into the kitchens at a fairly equal rate. Heather crisply calls out the first order and receives a group Yes-Chef. The red team gets cooking, and they’re moving crisply, efficiently, and confidently, as a team.
Virginia gets her first order. She starts to call it out and her entire team, including Mary Ann, tells her to speak up. She doesn’t, and as she reads it off, the team stares quizzically at her in what looks suspiciously like confusion. She finishes the order and everyonw in the room stands silently, staring at her. Screaming at them to move their azz, she finally gets a Yes-Chef and they start to work. I’m not certain they know what they’re working on, but at least they’re doing something.
Chef contrasts the energy level in the two kitchens. Unsurprisingly, he is inspired with confidence with Red’s response, and has expectations of poor service from Blue.
Heather reminds her team to talk to each other. She wants to hear times called out. Chef tells her that there is a very important customer in the restaurant tonight. (Hmmm… For a million dollar shot at fame, I’d think that every customer in the restaurant was important. I guess this particular guest is the most important of the most important customers either of these chefs will ever serve.) We’re told that this paragon of importance is the President of Red Rock, who will be sampling every dish from each restaurant, and giving his input. (Hope he’s hungry. That’s 18 dishes.)
Chef reminds Virginia that quality control is everything, which she takes a bit too much to heart, as we shall soon see. Heather gets off to a fast start, screaming for salads and tarts. Appetizers are flying out of her kitchen. Virginia’s worried about idiots on the hot line, so to cut down on them she decides she’ll play idiot by herself, leaving the food standing around getting cold while she insists on plating every dish herself. Giacomo offers to help and she refuses, leaving him nothing to do, while she frantically tries to get everything plated. Keith starts to help without being asked, drizzling sauce around one of the appetizers. Virginia stops him and accuses him of trying to take control.
Thirty-two of Heather’s 50 diners have gotten their appetizers while Virginia’s appetizers just keep piling up at the bottleneck she’s created out of herself. Unfortunately, not all of Heather’s diners are happy. A tart comes back as cold and flavorless. The diner has decided he’d rather have a scallop soup, which gets made on the fly. Chef reminds her that quality is what she is to be about and she tells her team that she doesn’t want any more dishes coming back. Sarah is reminded to warm the tarts all the way through.
Chef is pleased when Virginia refuses to accept a salad from Giacomo, but suggests that she needs to get the team fired up and working faster. Tom doesn’t take this at all well. He complains that now he has to look like he’s doing something, and says he’s 43 years old and he doesn’t need someone to get him psyched up to do his job.
One hour in, almost all of Heather’s guests have gotten their appetizers and Virginia is doing a great job. Of sending whatever is prepared back to the kitchen to be redone. Perhaps, she should have rethought her strategy of putting Giacomo, her least competent team member, on the appetizer station. After all, that’s the first thing anyone is going to get to eat and base an opinion on. It’s hard to be positive if you’re waiting an hour to get an effing salad. (Even Giacomo knows that he’s screwing up, calling himself the beyotch of the kitchen and point-blank saying he was running around without a clue.)
Tickets are lined up the entire length of the pass and Virginia continues to bogart the plating, until Chef tells her, in no uncertain terms, that she had better stop isolating herself and delegate some of the plating to others. She chooses Keith, who tells her no – he has to cook the next item. She corrects him and tells him he needs to help her. He agrees and tells her to fetch plates for him. She tells him to get his own effing plates and, when he realizes, shocked, that she just swore at him, returns the favor. Yep. K-Grease is oozing out again, pissed off that they have to do the work, she gets to yell, and if they are successful, she gets a restaurant. (Yes, greasy, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. And, that’s how it would have worked if you’d made it to the finals. Besides, that’s what you’ve been bribed to do. Remember?)
Now that she’s getting her appetizers served, the diners are enjoying them. For the most part. For the most important part? Not so much. The pasta she was warned to watch has come out slightly too thick on the Red Rock President’s serving, detracting from the flavor. Heather’s not faring all that well, either. While her soup is touted as phenomenal, the Asian salads that Sarah’s making keep coming back as being too salty or too flavorless. Sarah does not take kindly to being yelled at, but Heather’s not about to let her ruin her chances, so she yells anyway.
Knowing that she can’t afford any more screw-ups after having had appetizers coming back, she starts to ride Rachel on the steaks until she finally gets some that she can say were cooked perfectly. As a good leader should, she complements Rachel on their perfection, which goes a long way to steady her team. Additionally, her guests are noticing. Including her most important guest. If nothing else, the girl can cook a steak. Or, more precisely, Rachel can cook a steak properly and Heather can recognize one that is, but who’s counting.
Virginia’s mini-DAWs are getting restless. They’d really like to get a main course sometime tonight. She begs them to speed it up and Chef points out that Tom is just standing there diddling himself. She tries to get Tom to do something – anything. Even repeating an order to show that he heard it would be nice. Tom now decides he can swear at her. He sees nothing wrong with standing there in dreamland – that’s what he does well, you know. And, now it comes out… Future employers beware… Tom confesses that he can only take orders from a man. He is not about to work for, or take orders from, a woman. No way. No how. And, now we know why Tom can’t keep a job, is currently unemployed, and destined to remain unemployed. He’d best be looking to work for himself – doing what, I have no idea – because that attitude is going to cause every HR representative worth their salt to do everything in their power to see that he doesn’t work in their company. He’s no longer pathetic. He’s an a**hole.
In a desperate attempt to keep from working for a woman, Tom attempts to cut his finger off in order to get out of the kitchen. Unfortunately for him, there is a medic available and Mary Ann send him off to get fixed up. Virginia is clueless that she just lost a cook, learning this from Giacomo only after she calls for a time on the snapper that Tom should have been cooking. Tom whines and moans and goes on and on about how much blood he’s losing. Chef arrives to take a look and we get to see just how badly he’s hurt. It’s downright laughable. There’s a ½” long clean cut across the tip of his index finger. It’s closed and barely oozing blood. I’ve cut myself worse shaving. Chef is underwhelmed at the seriousness and calls Tom a drama queen. The medic slaps a band aid over it and Tom pulls on another glove and races back to the kitchen whining about Chef’s total lack of sympathy.
In spite of Tom’s total lack of station control, not to mention self-control, Virginia is getting the entrées pushed out. And, when the RR Pres. likes her signature dish, she’s back into competition. Chef tries to help her fire up the team and she demands the next order. This confuses Tom who wants to know about a different order. Chef tells him to move his fat azz and look at the ticket himself and, one more time, we get Tom in CT, kvetching about being called on all of the things he should be called on. Chef has hurt his widdle feelings again by calling him fat and picking on him for being the sweating pig that he is. According to Tom he’s a good-looking guy, if he does say so himself. Obviously, Tom lives in a house without mirrors in a state of denial.
Finally, Virginia manages to get all of her entrées served, but now her quality has slipped. The snapper is swimming in oil and, worst of all, the guest really wanted snapper, and she didn’t make sure there was enough on hand. In one of the more amusing moments, she asks if there is any more snapper in the house and Tom calls out “Snapper?” When no snapper answers him, he concludes they must be out. (Does his food usually talk to him? And, if you were a talking fish that had watched all your fellow talking fish get cooked and eaten, would you answer him, giving him your whereabouts?) Granted, this may be the only dish she’s had come back, but it’s a very important dish, especially when you can’t fix it and your customer isn’t interested in anything else you have to offer.
Keith has decided that this is the perfect time to remember her instructions to taste things throughout the night and, while she’s running around looking for food – any food – he smirks and eats bits and pieces of whatever he can find. I guess they’ve run out of those tasting spoons, though, ‘cause true-to-form, he’s just shoveling it in with his hands, enjoying watching her distress. (Guess he’s forgotten that if she loses he doesn’t get paid.)
Heather is exhorting her team to make desserts. Sarah has forgotten how to plate them, and doesn’t think it matters anyway. Told to do it again she pisses and moans about it, and does it wrong, again. Told to do it over she CT’s that she doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but she’s wise enough not to say so, as it might land her a “punch in the snot box”. Ah, yes, Sarah and her wonderful way with words.
Now the desserts are plated properly, but the bottom of the plates are covered in cream, which Chef has to point out. When he also points out that Heather shouldn’t have to clean up their messes she yells at her team to “wipe the bottom of those plates”. Garrett suggests that she should wipe the bottom of his bleep. This seems to give the rest of the team permission to diss her, too, which does nothing to improve her mood.
Resigned to the fact that they’re not about to get their snapper entrée, Virginia’s guests decide to skip straight to dessert. She tells the team to make it perfect, having forgotten who makes up her team. As she tries to get her team to move, reminding Giacomo that he can read, we repeatedly cut to Keith wandering around eating the fruits needed for the guests. In a kitchen worried about whether they have enough food left to finish. Guess he’s already decided who’s most likely to win and, since he’s not gonna get paid anyway, wants to make Virginia look as bad as possible.
The RR Pres. loves Heather’s bread pudding, and Virginia’s ice cream sundae, and in spite of all the problems, both teams manage to finish service and toast each other with champagne.
Lined up in the kitchen one final time, Chef tells them to begin by giving each other a round of applause. Keith accomplishes this by dusting his hands together, as eager to get this farce over as we are.
Chef compliments both Virginia and Heather and tells them that his decision will be influenced by the Scott, who we all know is the Red Rock Pres. Smiles are replaced with worry lines as both women realize that he ate food from each menu, and they have absolutely no idea what he ate, or which table was his. You can see Heather start to slide into depression as she realizes that one of the dishes that came back might have been his.
Scott starts by praising both the Sea Bass and the short ribs, which he pronounces as the best he’s ever had. He declares this to be a tough decision and, showing that he’s going to be a boss that avoids confrontation at all cost, leaves without offering any actual criticism.
Once he’s left, we have the obligatory hugs and goodbyes for the teams. Virginia thinks they kicked azz. Giacomo and Tom have a reputation for being weak and she wanted to look better by showing she could be successful with them. Showing that she lives in the same state of denial Tom’s in, she thinks she succeeded.
Let’s see, you start by picking weaklings, showing a deplorable lack of common sense or hiring ability. Giacomo was a disaster on appetizers, and you created a bottleneck for your own kitchen almost sabotaging any efforts to get the ones that did pass muster out of the kitchen. You couldn’t have motivated Tom if you’d set fire to his shorts. Both Keith and Tom talked back to you and swore at you. You didn’t plan for enough food to feed your guests. No one communicated with you, or with each other. You have an interesting definition of success. I have a hard time seeing how they could have made you look worse. But, I will admit that you had a kick-azz restaurant design, and your menu was, all-in-all, more challenging.
Heather’s mood has swung back to the down side. She can’t let go of her GF, and she cries her way through confessional, saying that she had a great, great crew. Presumably, that includes Sarah who couldn’t make a salad, couldn’t warm a tart, and couldn’t plate a dessert. But, they were great! She believes this. They weren’t, but they would have arguably been worse if she hadn’t been the one in charge of them.
Both women think they lost to the other. Virginia has shown throughout the season to have a fairly realistic view of her strengths and weaknesses. So, her assessment is grounded in reality. Heather, on the other hand, just likes to beat herself up. It’s fun. It must be, because she swings so fast from her manic highs to the depths of snotty-nosed, sniveling, depression that she must enjoy it. Otherwise, she’d really look at getting onto some medication that could actually control it. This is her version of a state of denial.
Chef’s decision will be based on customer comment cards, Scott’s recommendation, and his own observations. He sits at his desk, alone, stroking a non-existent mustache, playing flashback tapes through his mind. Shite! They’re not playing through his mind. They’re playing on my television screen. Again!
Heather taking control, requiring countdown communication, against Virginia, meticulously plating food while oblivious to everything else. Heather getting dishes returned, while Virginia refuses to send out sub-par dishes. Scott and Mary Ann knock on the door and request their presence upstairs.
In one final attempt at drumming up drama that hasn’t really existed since the end of the first episode, the women trade “you won”, “no, you won” back-and-forth and mumble about being nervous and having no idea who won. Maybe if they’d seen everything we did about what went on in both kitchens they’d be as bored as we are right now.
They’re placed before two locked doors.
Both are congratulated. Heather is told that she started out as a young girl and has matured. (I wonder if Ramsay put down rubber mats on Heather’s side to protect his hardwood floors. Just in case, y’know.) Virginia is, once again, told how spectacular and unique her palate is. He’s studied the comment cards and they show a slight edge toward one of them. And, by slight, he means slight – good to know, ‘cause that means the decision is actually going to be made basis who was the best effing Head Chef, not who had the best team in spite of their respective leadership. (Of course, in this case it’s going to end up being the same thing. But, still…)
He hands them both keys and tells them that whoever’s key unlocks their door wins the competition. (Soooo much more dramatic than simply announcing a winner.) The key that unlocks this door, also unlocks a door to their own restaurant in Vegas.
Hands tremble and lips quiver as they place their keys into the locks. Virginia just knows she’s going to win, the same way someone knows they’re in love. (Since her husband is eventually going to see her on this show, she’d better hope that he can see her love for him shining through all that schoolgirl crush crap she had going for Ramsay.) Heather snivels that she’d better win or she’ll be heartbroken. Lord, I’d hate to see her really sad.
Following commercial and another recrap of the trumped up drama, Ramsay finally manages to get “three” out and the door that we’ve known will open for 10 weeks finally does, and Heather walks through to a rousing reception from folks below. Virginia gets a consolation hug from Ramsay. Heather screams and, as we also know she’ll do, bursts into hysterical crying. Because she’s happy, y’know. Daddy and mommy hug her and her GF screams in joy. Ramsay walks Virginia down the stairs with his arm around her. He tells her that she has nothing to be ashamed of, drops her of with her mother and husband, and escapes – far away.
Once again, Virginia shows that she actually does have some class, congratulating Heather and CTing that she really is happy for her. She trusts Chef’s opinion, and knows in her heart that one day she’ll be as good as Heather is. And, I really hope she gets her wish.
Chef tells us that Heather got the nod because of her ability to control her kitchen. (That, and the fact that she kicked everyone else’s butt from day one.) Champagne flows and confetti falls as Heather proposes to Rachel and asks her to spend the rest of her life with her in Vegas. Chef declares that Heather is phenomenal for being only 24 yrs. old. He declares that she will be a big success.
Soaring through the night sky, we are transported 3 months into the future, where the President of Red Rock Resort introduces Heather to the staff (all of whom are wearing jackets identical to the Head Chef jacket Heather and Virginia were given) as their new Head Chef. There is more wild celebration, more hugs from mommy and daddy, flowers and a kiss from Pres. Scott. She dedicates her success to Mommy and Daddy (who’s also sobbing and sniveling), and to Gordon Ramsay, who couldn’t be bothered to show up.
With a final raising of her glass Heather fades from sight, and from the face of the earth, apparently. As of today, she has yet to accept any position at the Red Rock Resort. Management there says she was offered an interest in an Italian restaurant on the property, and they have yet to hear from her.
There are three possible reasons for this, imo.
1) She kept her word and immediately died after winning the restaurant. 2) She’s too embarrassed to return after wetting herself in excitement, once again. This time in front of her new boss and potential staff. 3) She’s done the same thing that last year’s winner did, started believing in her DAWness, and is trying to make it in a related field.
Of course, we also didn’t see her GF with her at the Red Rock, so Rachel may have rejected her proposal and Heather’s still hospitalized for her manic-depression, and they’re trying to get her meds stabilized. (Perhaps more likely than the other three.)
Whatever. I don’t really care. They’re all out of my living room, to be replaced by other DAWs that I don’t really care about, on other carpy RTV shows that mean absolutely nothing in the grand (or less than grand) scheme of things.
And, I, mysticwolf, can finally stop thinking about them, and writing about them. At least until next season, when I’ll have forgotten how painful it all was. And then, I’ll most likely be back. Whether you like it, or not.
So, in the parting words of Gordon Ramsay: “Eff you all.” (And, I can’t say it with a straight face, either. )