Gordon Ramsay cuts no one from 'Hell's Kitchen,' swaps contestants
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/16/2010
Gordon Ramsay decided against eliminating anyone after Hell's Kitchen's best seventh-season dinner service so far and instead had Autumn Lewis and Scott Hawley switch teams during last night's broadcast.
"After our best service yet, I've decided to give Autumn and Scott another chance," said Gordon after the switch. "But they better excel, or they'll both be gone."
Autumn , a 29-year-old personal chef from Chicago, IL who currently resides in North Hollywood, CA, will now join the all-male Blue Team; while Scott, a 32-year-old executive chef from Modesto, CA who currently resides in New York, NY, will be on the all-female Red Team.
"I'm here to win. No more silly mistakes," said Autumn after the switch. "My game face is going to be on from here on out. The Red Team is going to be sorry they let me go."
"Switching to the Red Team, I'm energized and just as excited to be working in the kitchen working with the ladies as I was to be with the guys," said Scott. "Now I'm going to come out to play."
Hell's Kitchen's fourth seventh-season episode began following the elimination of Jamie Bisoulis instead of Fran Klier, a 44-year-old catering chef from Rockville Centre, NY.
"I totally believe that Chef Ramsay has kept me here for a reason," said Fran. "He's a smart man, and I know that he knows I can do this. Just to be able to show him that he's right is going to make me very happy."
As the contestants went upstairs to the dorms, Gordon asked to speak with Salvatore Coppola, a 35-year-old pizzeria chef from Monte Di Procida, Italy who currently resides in Laurel Springs, NJ. Salvatore served as maitre 'd at the previous dinner service and threatened to quit.
"Sometimes when I tell you something, you disintegrate," said Gordon. "I need you to bounce back. I have not given up on you. Now fight back."
The next morning, Salvatore and Scott decided to go over the menu to help make the team successful.
"Scott is the only person that's been honest with me so far," said Salvatore. "I respect that."
The 12 remaining contestants then met Gordon in the kitchen, who explained the next challenge -- which would have them under the "maximum amount of pressure" to see how creative they can be on the spot.
The teams would be playing a craps-like game to see which ingredients they'd receive. For each letter they rolled they'd have to name an ingredient, which they'd then have to use to create a dish.
Scott rolled first and got an "H." He chose halibut. Jason Ellis, a 37-year-old personal chef from Greenville, SC who currently resides in Suwanee, GA, rolled and "E" and picked endive. Ed Battaglia, a 28-year-old high school cooking teacher from Burlington, NJ who currently resides in Edgewater Park, NJ, rolled an "S" and chose salsify.
Benjamin Knack, a 33-year-old culinary instructor from Elmont, NY who currently resides in Malden, MA, rolled a "C" and picked crab. Jay Santos, a 32-year-old executive chef from Melrose, MA who currently resides in Medford, MA, rolled "P" and chose peas. Salvatore was the last to roll and got a "B." After a moment of thought, he picked bacon.
"That is sounding delicious," said Gordon about the Blue Team's ingredients.
Fran was the first to roll for the Red Team and got a "B." She chose beets. Nilka Hendricks, a 28-year-old line cook from Glen Cove, NY who currently resides in West Hempstead, NY, rolled an "S" and chose shallots. Autumn rolled an "M" and picked mango.
Siobhan Allgood, a 25-year-old pub executive chef from Rockledge, PA who currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, rolled an "H" and chose ham. Maria Torrisi, a 24-year-old kitchen supervisor from Scranton, PA, rolled a "T" and picked turnips. Holli Ugalde, a 24-year-old banquet chef from San Bernardino, CA, was the last to go for the Red Team. She rolled a "D" and chose duck.
Each team had 30 minutes to create their dish and everyone needed to have input. The challenge commenced, and Autumn jumped in on Nilka as she was cutting the duck.
"Don't think that you're better than everyone," warned Nilka in a confessional.
In the Blue kitchen, nobody would allow Salvatore to help until Scott jumped in and gave him a simple task.
Time expired and the teams presented their dishes to Gordon. The Blue Team had a pan-roasted halibut with a bacon, pea and crab ragu and salsify chips. Gordon liked the dish, except for the salsify. The Red Team had a mango-glazed, pan-seared duck. Gordon thought the turnips looked boring but tasted delicious due to Autumn's idea to use duck fat.
Gordon thought both teams created fantastic dishes but awarded the challenge victory to the Blue Team because the Red Team could not serve raw fat.
"I'm angry with Nilka," said Autumn in a confessional. "I knew right when I touched the duck breast that it was too fatty."
For their punishment, the Red Team would have to clean the restaurant's entrance hall and prep both kitchen's for that night's dinner service. For their reward, the Blue Team would be going sky-diving in a wind tunnel.
As the Blue Team enjoyed their reward, Maria was having a hard time dealing with the pressure of prepping both kitchens. Red Team sous chef Andi Van Willigan checked on Maria and told her to stop being so emotional. The talk seemed to work.
"Obviously, I want to shine -- plain and simple," said Maria.
Before dinner service commenced, Gordon revealed that some diners would be eating at chef tables -- with Entertainment Tonight anchor Kevin Frazier and his wife in the Red kitchen, and Entourage star Debi Mazer and her husband (a chef) in the Blue kitchen. In addition, there were also celebrities in the actual dining area.
The dinner service commenced and Scott was immediately barking orders at Jason.
"Scott acts like he's helping, but he's calling out my name trying to make me look bad and Chef, he can see that," said Jason.
Jay also felt the way Scott was talking to people was "condescending." Jason's appetizers were credited for being cooked perfectly and Siobhan used lobster instead of crab in her capellini .
"You're just cooking like a zombie," said Gordon. "You have to think!"
Salvatore served raw snapper in the Blue kitchen and Gordon told him to stop panicking. Siobhan's second attempt at crab capellini once again had lobster in it. While the bin she pulled it from did say crab, Gordon told her she should be able to visually tell the difference between the two.Meanwhile Salvatore's second attempt at the snapper was praised for being cooked perfectly, which Scott took credit for.
Nilka began working on the Red Team's first entrees and she was eager to cook them correctly, which she did. In the Blue kitchen, Salvatore's salmon was also credited for being cooked perfectly, which made his teammates happy. However Ed's potatoes were criticized for being "rock hard."
"I was a little bit disappointed in myself this evening with the garnishes," opined Ed.
In the Red kitchen, Autumn received a quick tutorial on how to handle fish. Gordon accused her of handling it "like a donkey."
"I'm just frustrated," she said. "All I did was not use a spachelor."
Scott's first filets were delivered to the pass in the Blue kitchen, but they were criticized for being undercooked. Despite some quick lip, Gordon told him to work on it again.
"My temperatures are usually always correct. Tonight, to be honest with you, I was a little bit off," said Scott. "I understand Chef expects perfection."
Scott scrambled around the kitchen as the Blue Team's diners were starting to get hungry. Nilka continued to cook the Red Team's beef Wellington to perfection, however the same couldn't be said for Scott -- serving raw beef once again.
"There's a big difference between rare and raw!" yelled Gordon. "What are you doing Scott!"
Salvatore's fish continued to shine, and he was happy that he could speak to the celebrity table in Italian. The Red kitchen also sent out good entrees and was on a roll. Scott's beef was finally cooked correctly, and they also got on a roll.
"Tonight was definitely a wake-up call for me. I have to really start paying a little bit more attention to my own station," he said.
Both teams finished the dinner service successfully in just over two hours.
"I'm amazed how good you were," said Gordon, specifically complimenting Salvatore and Nilka.
"Salvatore and Nilka, on the back of those outstanding performances, both of you go up to the dorms and give me one person each from your teams up for elimination."
Nilka said the job was "totally unexpected" and realized it was "a lot of weight." She said Autumn was the most criticized in the Red kitchen, however she defended herself because it was only due to her lack of spachelor use.
"If you look at dinner service, there isn't really anything that I did that would warrant that I was the weakest cook in the kitchen," she said in a confessional.
She told Nilka it felt "unfair" to be singled out and pointed out Siobhan also had problems telling the difference between lobster and crab.
"I'm definitely scared and nervous," said Siobhan.
On the Blue Team, Ed was aware his potatoes had some problems but didn't think it warranted him being sent home. Salvatore told Scott that while the two were friends, he did make mistakes at service. Scott blamed it on helping others and not focusing on himself He credited Salvatore for having a good service.
"I'm happy too and I deserve it. But I'm kind of sad," added Salvatore. "It's not like you don't deserve to be here, because you're good."
Back in the kitchen, Nilka revealed that she was nominating Autumn because she "didn't perform to her full potential." Salvatore revealed he was nominating Scott.
"The meat was not cooked well," said Salvatore.
Gordon called Autumn the "appendix" of the Red Team -- the one that everyone wants out.
"I don't believe that's true, I believe my team needs me," replied Autumn. "I think that I help my team."
Gordon added that he doesn't feel Autumn has any connection to the food she's cooking and called her "soulless." She defended herself and said she "loves to cook."
Scott admitted he cooked like an "a--hole" at the service but said he's a leader, maybe to his "detriment."
"I'm too concerned with helping everyone else out as a team effort, I learned my lesson tonight," he said. "I'm, going to f--k everyone else now and think about myself."
Gordon accused Scott of talking like a politician.
"You're not as good as you think you are," said Gordon. "Pipe down and have a little bit more of a humble approach."
Gordon then revealed Autumn would be joining the Blue Team and Scott would be joining the Red Team.
"Scott should have got eliminated," said Jason. "I don't even know why he's still here. Good riddance, take your ass over there to the Red Team."
Hell's Kitchen's next seventh-season episode will air Tuesday, June 22 at 8PM ET/PT.