Charlie becomes the third contestant eliminated from 'Hell's Kitchen'
By John Bracchitta, 02/20/2009
Charlie was responsible for only some of the many problems that doomed his Blue team during last night's episode of Hell's Kitchen. However the 24-year-old prep chef from Las Vegas, NV took the blame, as he became the third contestant to be eliminated from the Fox reality cooking competition.
"This is the first job I've ever been fired from," Charlie said following his elimination over Seth, a 27-year-old private party chef from New York, NY. "Chef Ramsey made the wrong decision. I did what I could and I worked my ass off for that guy. I'm confident in my ability and if he did see that, that's his own [mistake]."
Hell's Kitchen's third fifth-season episode began with the Red team reflecting on the previous elimination of Ji, a 33-year-old private caterer from Palisades Park, NJ who withdrew from the competition after badly injuring her ankle while preparing to cook in the kitchen.
"I'm telling you, the woman that I wheeled out, she's better at 50% than some of us are at 110%," Andrea, a 30-year-old line cook from Reading, PA told her teammates while referencing Ji, who had been relegated to a wheelchair following her injury.
Andrea was also joined by LA, a 23-year-old line cook from Las Vegas, NV and Coi, a 22-year-old cafe cook from Austin, TX in telling Lacey, a 24-year-old corporate buffet cook from Charlotte, NC , that her underperformance had been saved by Ji's unfortunate accident.
"I'll tell you what, you had a saving grace tonight," Andrea told her.
"Do u want me to go quit right now?" Lacey shot back. "Then shut the f**k up about it!"
The contestants eventually got to bed at 3AM, however they were woken up only three hours later by cowbells and quickly herded into cars that brought them to an undisclosed location.
"I really didn't have any idea what was going on, I was still thinking about the cowbell," Charlie said. Even when we got where we were going we didn't know where we were."
Once at the site, the contestants were told to put on a hard hat and white one-piece coverall -- and also asked if anyone had a heart condition or was afraid of heights -- before it was revealed that they had been brought to an industrial butcher and would be learning where the different parts of beef come from on a cow.
After their lessons on all things beef, the contestants returned to the restaurant where they met with Hell's Kitchen host Gordon Ramsey and were told that they would be participating in a two-part challenge. One contestant at a time for each team would first have to look at eight different cuts of meat and identify the names of each of them. If a contestant guessed incorrectly a second contestant would have a chance to correct it and so on until the team had correctly named them. After a team got the cuts named correctly, the contestants would then individually have to show where the cuts of meat came from by sticking their names on a plastic cow.
"I truly need to know if all of you know your meat," Ramsey told them. "Trust me you do not want to lose this challenge."
Andrea and Ben, a 26-year-old sous chef from Chicago, IL, began the challenge for their teams, however they both named all of the cuts of meat wrong and had to be corrected by teammates Paula, a 28-year-old executive sous chef from Coconut Creek, FL, and Giovanni, a 37-year-old executive chef from Destin, FL.
The second part of the challenge was even more difficult for either teams, with the Red team cycling through three contestants who could not properly place more than two cuts of meat correctly on the cow. While the Blue team struggled as well, needing four contestants to attempt the second part of the challenge, Ben eventually placed all of the cuts correctly to win the challenge for them.
"The boys team, we're just a force to be reckoned with now," Charlie said. "Just coming off of a win on serving and a win on two challenges back-to-back, that's a kick to the teeth [for the Red team] in morale land."
Ramsey congratulated the Blue team and told them that they would be traveling via private jet to a wine tasting in Santa Inez before dining at an "amazing" steakhouse.
Conversely, Ramsey called the Red team's performance "pathetic," and told them that they would be punished by having to unload two complete sides of beef from a truck waiting outside and then cut them up into the appropriate cuts to be served.
"We got slaughtered again," an angry Andrea said after her team's loss. "Everything is an absolute clusterf**k with us."
While the Blue team wined and dined for the remained of the day, the girls struggled with the sides of beef and cutting them up. To add insult to injury, they were also forced to eat the "less favorable" parts of the cow, such as the tongue, kidney, hearts and liver -- causing many of the girls to throw up during their meals.
"This is not gonna break me," Andrea said through tears and in between bouts of throwing up the cow parts. "This is far worse than anything Ramsey could ever say to me."
"This is what happens when we don't work as a team!" she added.
Coi said later that Andrea's emotions during the meal "broke [her] heart," while many of the girls committed to winning the upcoming service challenge for Andrea to show their determination.
The following morning, Gordon met with both teams and told them that they would be serving a steakhouse menu that evening in the restaurant. He added that, as a twist, there would be two separate two-hour seatings for the meal, with one team cooking the food and the other team serving to the customers before switching places for the second serving.
Following a pep talk from Andrea before the challenge began, LA said she was confident they would perform better than they had in the past.
"Us girls, we are fired up," she said. "After what we had to do yesterday they're ain't no stopping us. The boys are in trouble."
Because they won the previous service challenge, the Blue team decided to cook for the first seating. However following the restaurant's opening, they quickly learned the downside to having their opponents serving their table as it took nearly 20 minutes for the first orders to get to the kitchen.
"Of course they're doing it on purpose, now we're pissed," Giovanni said.
Charlie quickly drew the ire of Gordon when he was slow to begin cooking his shrimp parmigiana. He only looked worse in the celebrity chef's eyes when he accidentally lit his towel on fire after leaving it unattended near a stove.
Gordon also lashed out at Ben after her prepared his desserts and had them ready to be brought out to customers before the appetizers had even been finished.
"What are you dreaming of!? Gordon screamed. "Are you stupid?"
"It was my mistake for not exactly knowing Chef Ramsey's terminology, but f**k if the words 'pick' and 'up' doesn't mean give me the desserts," Ben said later.
Things were only made worse when Giovanni, who works at a steakhouse, severely undercooked most of his steaks and had many of them sent back.
"It pisses me off. We have the executive chef for a steakhouse running our grill, wake up get together and make some decent food," Danny, a 23-year-old executive chef from Edgewater, FL, said later.
After Lacey forgot to service a table -- resulting in additional steak orders as the Blue team's time in the kitchen began to run out -- Seth committed the team's final mistake when he ripped apart a filet he was attempting to prepare to cook, wasting much of the cut's meat.
"He molested that filet," Giovanni said. "People have gone to jail for worse. It looked like he went at it with a jackhammer."
Angered by the incompetence of the team, Gordon ordered the restaurant shut down and scolded the men for a poor performance.
"[Ben] f***ked the filet, the shrimp goes out, this ***** serves the dessert before the appetizers. F**k off!" Gordon told them.
As the girls began their service for the restaurant's second serving, Charlie began sealing his fate by first forgetting whether or not he had waited on a table and having to ask Ben to check for him, and then spilling bacon all over a table and in the drinks of a group he was serving.
"It was a total catastrophe," Charlie said later.
The Red team suffered its share of problems as well, with Colleen messing up a Caesar salad and once again getting the third degree from Gordon.
"There's always gonna be that person in your life who's gonna be grumpy and not nice," she said later. "And then there's Chef Ramsey who's the arrogant vicious attack dog."
While Seth attempted to send back a number of steaks that had been made by Andrea on the meat station for being undercooked, the returns were rejected by Gordon who said they had been cooked "perfect."
"We will do anything we have to do to win," Seth said later. "We will take food back up, they sabotaged us first so now it's open game."
Although the Red team also came up short of fulfilling all of their orders, they completed more orders than the Blue team and therefore won the challenge. Gordon added that Charlie and Lacey had been rated as the lowest rated waiters for their respective teams by the customers.
Following the challenge, the Blue team was disgusted with themselves for performing so badly.
"We shoulda had this one in the f*****g bag, this shoulda been a cakewalk," Charlie said.
When discussing which two contestants to put up for elimination, Ben suggested Charlie and Seth. While Giovanni supported Ben's suggestion, Charlie blamed Giovanni's poor steaks for their failure and said he should be up for elimination.
"I cant go out like that I can't f***in go out like that," Charlie said. "[Giovanni's] a steakhouse guy. This shoulda been a slam f***ing dunk."
Seth supported putting up Giovanni for elimination, but only because he was a strong competitor and not due to his performance in the kitchen.
"That's not fair, that's not what this its about," Giovanni shot back. "It's about the people that f**k up that day. I will not pick any one of you because you're better than me."
Upon meeting with Gordon to announce their decisions, Gordon called on J, a 32-year-old food court chef from Clifton Park, NY who first nominated Seth, noting his lack of kitchen etiquette or experience, and Charlie, who didn't "meet the bar" in regard to serving customers their food.
Seth attempted to interject following J's announcement and say that he didn't agree with them, but was promptly shot down.
"The chef asked me," J said. "So I answered the Chef, so keep your mouth shut."
Gordon then had Charlie and Seth come forward to state why they should stay in the competition.
"Because I can cook my ass off," Charlie responded. "I've got a lot more experience than Seth, I've been doing this for a long damn time. I just haven't done it your way and I wanna learn your way and I wanna continue to be here."
"I think Charlie's comment is a great comment that I do not have as much experience as him," Seth said after Charlie. "And I believe that is where you would come into play and paint the canvas for me and teach me what I need to know for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely floored by this experience Chef..."
Gordon then revealed that although Seth was extremely close to going home, Charlie had been kicked out of the competition.
The next episode of Hell's Kitchenwill air on Thursday, February 26 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.
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