Gordon Ramsay cuts no one after Ji withdraws from 'Hell's Kitchen'
By John Bracchitta, 02/06/2009
Ji was hardly the weakest link on Hell's Kitchen's fifth-season Red Team. However, after suffering an injury that left her hobbled during the show's second dinner service, the 33-year-old private caterer from Palisades Park, NJ withdrew from the show at the conclusion of last night's broadcast of the Fox reality cooking competition.
"I know I could've gone all the way," Ji said following her withdrawal. "It sucks to leave because of an injury. I'd rather be leaving because of lack of skill or something, you know? Maybe it was just not meant to be."
Hell's Kitchen's second fifth-season episode began immediately following Chef Gordon Ramsay's decision to eliminate Wil and ignore the other Blue Team members' suggestions that he eliminate Seth, a 27-year-old private party chef from New York, NY, instead.
"Sorry boys, you're stuck with me," Seth said with a smile as he went back to his dorms with his disgruntled teammates.
"J's upset that he has to spend another day with Seth" said J, a 32-year-old food court chef from Clifton Park, NY who apparently prefers to speak in the third person. "Seth's just a waste of time, a waste of life. He doesn't have the skill, he doesn't have the heart, he doesn't have the desire."
After the Red Team also returned to their dorms, Coi, a 22-year-old cafe cook from Austin, TX, apologized to Lacey, a 24-year-old corporate buffet cook from Charlotte, NC, for getting mad at her during the previous dinner serving. However, there was still a great deal of sentiment against Lacey by her teammates.
"Lacey is lazy," said LA, a 23-year-old line cook from Las Vegas, NV. "We all want her gone, she should not be here."
"I don't know if I'm the weakest link at this point," Lacey said later. "But I definitely wanna be here, [although] it's definitely harder than I thought it would be."
While all of the contestants went to sleep that evening, hoping for a full night of sleep, they were all disappointed when they were awoken at 5:50AM the next morning by a marching band. After throwing on some clothes and gathering outside, Gordon told the contestants met that they would have to rummage through two crates sitting next to him and gather all of the scallops inside of them before going back to the kitchen.
Once the contestants reconvened back in the kitchen with the scallops, Gordon informed them that each team would have to shuck their scallops in a certain amount of time. The team who successfully shucked the most scallops without cutting them in the process, Gordon added, would win the challenge.
The Red Team managed to successfully 35 scallops, with LA and Carol, a 30-year-old sous chef from Knoxville, TN, each successfully shucking eight scallops without damage. However, the team's weaker members included Paula, a 28-year-old executive sous chef from Coconut Creek, FL who only successfully shucked one of her 10 scallops, and Lacey who only successfully shucked three of her six.
The Blue Team matched the Red Team and successfully shucked 35 scallops as well with only J left to present the six scallops he had prepared. While Gordon threw away each of the first five scallops presented to him, he accepted the sixth one to give the Blue Team the victory.
Gordon informed the Blue Team that, to celebrate their win, they would be traveling to Catalina Island for the day while the Red Team would stay behind and set up a raw bar in the kitchen for dinner that evening.
While informing the Red Team of their punishment for losing the challenge, Gordon noticed Lacey looking off into space and called her out on it.
"Lacey, truthfully, do you seriously give a s--t?," he screamed at her.
"I do chef," she responded.
"You do, yeah? Show it to me!" Gordon screamed back.
Gordon the told the Blue Team to prepare for their helicopter ride to the island while the Red Team sulked back to their dorms.
"[Lacey] doesn't care about anything," Carol said later. "She doesn't care about the food, she doesn't care about this competition, she doesn't care about her team, she doesn't care."
The pressure on Lacey led to her running to her bed in tears, where she had to be comforted by Ji.
"I don't know I just keep freaking out. I just wanna go home," said Lacey while in tears.
"I shouldn't be here, at this point I don't even care," she added later. "I hate to say that because I know it disappoints my family and my fiance and myself."
When the Red Team eventually returned to the kitchen to begin setting up the raw bar, Lacey stayed behind in bed, angering her teammates further.
"You don't give up on your team, no matter how bad it is," said Carol. "I have no respect for the girl for that simple reason."
After the Red Team had been working in the kitchen for six hours, Lacey finally got our of bed and came down to the kitchen to help her team, eager to prove to her teammates that she wanted to be on the competition. However, she received a considerable amount of flak from her teammates, with LA facetiously asking how her "nap" was.
While the Red Team prepared in the kitchen, disaster struck Ji when she slipped on a slick spot on the floor and injured her ankle to the point where she needed to get it iced down and she worried whether she would be able to compete in the competition that evening.
"I'm in pain, my ankle feels like s--t," said Ji. "I don't know if I can do this dinner service tonight."
"I'm worried that Ji really can't go through with service tonight," added LA, who worried that her team may be losing one of its better contestants. "If she has to go home, I mean, that's really bad."
After the Blue Team returned from their trip and met with the Red Team in the kitchen, Gordon informed them that Paula and Robert, a 29-year-old sous chef from Quogue, NY, would be manning the raw bar that evening. For Robert, who weighed-in at close to 400 lbs., Gordon's decision was something of a surprise.
"You gotta be kidding me dude. Serving?" a shocked Robert said. "Do you see how big I am trying to squeeze by these tables!?"
Ji also informed Ramsay of her injury, but committed to still work in the kitchen that evening to help her teammates.
As the dinner service got underway, Carol immediately drew Gordon's ire after first slowly cooking her risotto when she burned her garlic in the pan, and then having her risotto thrown out by Gordon after he inspected it and could not even get it out of the pan. While Carol was confused by Gordon's reaction after thinking that she had cooked her dish well, Andrea, a 30-year-old line cook from Reading, PA, came over and helped her make the dish correctly.
"I just know at this point that whatever situation I'm in, with whomever I'm [with], I'm gonna have to take the reins, no matter what," Andrea said.
The Blue Team struggled with their risotto orders as well, with Charlie, a 24-year-old prep chef from Las Vegas, NV, having his first attempt thrown away by Gordon. Even though he was working at the garnish station, Ben, a 26-year-old executive sous chef from Chicago, IL, stepped in and taught Charlie how to properly make the dish.
"I try to help other people in the kitchen because that's who I am. I'm someone who helps," said Ben.
While the Red Team was the first to get their appetizers off, Colleen, a 41-year-old cooking school instructor from Papillion, NE, quickly dispelled any confidence Gordon might have had in their team when he called her a "stupid cow" after she left her scallops in the pan after they were already cooked and burned them. As Lacey intervened to help Colleen cook the scallops, Gordon added that she hoped the cooking instructor would appreciate the "free lessons."
Gordon was only made angrier by Charlie after he and Seth forgot to add lobster meat to their lobster spaghetti dish.
"I feel like I just got hit by a train," said Seth after Gordon's tirade.
Colleen also fell even further in Gordon's favor after burning her salmon on the outside while the inside remained raw.
"You're not [really] a culinary school teacher, you're joking, aren't you?" Gordon yelled at her.
"No, I'm not joking Chef, I am a culinary instructor," Colleen responded.
"Tell me, tell me you're pumping yourself up to make yourself look good. You don't really have a cooking school!" Gordon shot back.
"No chef," an increasingly angry Colleen responded. "I own a cooking school. I have a business just like you do."
"You're f---ing business is not like my business. Let's get that f---ing right!" Gordon yelled back. "You're robbing people, you're a thief!"
After once again burning her salmon while being berated by Gordon, Colleen was kicked out of the kitchen and told to go help in the raw bar instead.
"Chef Ramsay is definitely not gonna break me," Colleen said after her demotion. "He can ask me to leave, he can kick me out of the kitchen, all those things. But he's not gonna break me."
One of the lone compliments handed out by Gordon over the course of the evening was to Danny, a 23-year-old executive chef from Edgewater, FL, whom he complimented for his well cooked lamb.
After two hours of dinner service, Gordon informed the Red Team had five meals left to cook, while the Blue Team only had four. He added that the first team to finish all of their dishes would win the cooking challenge for the week.
"The second he said that, the switch turned on and we busted ass," said Seth.
After each team tied with only one dish left, Carol slowed down the Red Team enough for the Blue Team to jump ahead and win the challenge.
"Boy oh boy, this is a sweet victory," said an excited Ben following the challenge. "We kicked these girls asses each which way to Wednesday."
Following the challenge, Ji hobbled off to receive medical care for her foot and apologized to her teammates for being a burden on them. However, each of her teammates congratulated her on working so hard, and said that she had not been a burden on them at all.
"[You gave] a courageous effort," Ramsay told Ji before dismissing the Red Team to decide on which two contestants to send up for elimination. "I think few in the room this evening would've given up."
The Red Team then met to decide which two contestants they would be putting up for elimination in front of Gordon at the upcoming elimination ceremony. While Colleen admitted that she needed to "take responsibility" for her poor performance, there was more debate concerning the second person to eliminate. Carol quickly said that Lacey should be put up for elimination, charging that she was not "fit to run a kitchen." However, Lacey shot back at her saying that the charge was "unfair."
"Lacey, don't ever say that's not fair, because you wanna know what's not fair?. Yesterday you [went to] bed and you slept all day and you cried like a f---ing baby all day long!" Carol shot back.
"I turned it around," Lacey said later. "I became a team player again. I think Carol should be put up for elimination just because she f--ks everything up!"
The Red Team then met with Gordon. LA told Gordon that the team had nominated Colleen "Just because she wasn't really calling back and listening, and she gives you a headache," and Lacey "Because she has no confidence in herself and it shows," for elimination.
Before making his decision, Gordon had each contestant plead their case to remain in the competition.
"I will admit that the past couple days I have not had confidence in myself, but I woke up, and I do have confidence in myself," Lacey told Gordon."I wanna show my team that I can do it and that I'm there for them."
"I am one-hudered-percent committed," Colleen said as she plead her case to Gordon as well. "I have been from the beginning, and I wanna prove to myself, and to you, that I am deserving of this position Chef."
However, as Gordon was about to announce his decision, a wheelchair-bound Ji interrupted him and asked for the chance to speak, which Gordon granted.
"It's an honor to work with you and in your kitchen Chef, but I would like to volunteer [my elimination]. I feel that I'm half manpower in your kitchen." she said.
That's still better that what's standing in front of us, at half power," Andrea said, referring to Lacey and Colleen.
"I want the girls, the Red Team, to win," added Ji.
Ramsay obliged Ji's request, and sent Colleen and Lacey back into the line before approaching Ji.
"You, madame, have been phenomenal," he told her. "A talented girl, but unfortunately because of the circumstances it not fair to continue carrying on under that amount of pain."
"Keep hold of your jacket as a symbol of courage and pride, because you've done bloody well," he added.
"Thank you Chef," Ji responded.
The next episode of Hell's Kitchen will air Thursday, February 12 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.