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'Hell's Kitchen 3' sends both Josh Wahler and Julia Williams packing


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/24/2007 

Josh Wahler and Julia Williams became the eighth and ninth wannabe chefs and restaurateurs eliminated from the third season of Fox's Hell's Kitchen during last night's broadcast, however foul-mouthed culinary king Gordon Ramsay expressed different emotions following the departure of each.

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Josh, a 26-year-old junior sous chef from Miami Beach, FL, was kicked out of Hell's Kitchen restaurant during last night's dinner service challenge for a variety of reasons that infuriated Gordon.  On the contrary, Gordon commented he was "personally sad" to see Julia, a 28-year-old short-order cook from Atlanta, GA, leave the competition -- so much so that he told her he'd pay for her to go to culinary school.

Hell's Kitchen 3's eighth episode began after the previous dinner service challenge that saw Ramsay eliminate Brad Miller instead of Bonnie Muirhead, a 26-year-old nanny and personal chef from Los Angeles, CA.  Julia said she was "very surprised" Gordon sent Brad packing instead of Bonnie, but realized it was because he "saw something in Bonnie no one else does." 

"I think Brad was the biggest competition so it's good to see him go," said Rock Harper, a 30-year-old executive chef from Spotsylvania, VA.  "I feel like I can beat Josh easily."  Rock then told Josh he didn't think he could focus his energy enough to win the competition.  "That's your opinion," said Josh.  "I don't give a f**k what Rock thinks.  I'm still here and that's all that matters.  I'm all about winning."

The next morning the five remaining wannabe chefs and restaurateurs met with Gordon, who informed them there'd no linger be an all-male Blue team and an all-female Red team.  Instead, the remaining five finalists would work together in one kitchen during the next dinner service challenge.  After a brief celebration that included champagne and the finalists receiving new jackets, Gordon told them about their next challenge, which would be their first individual reward challenge.

Each of the finalists would be cooking for a group of "trendsetters" -- however it would not take place in Hell's Kitchen restaurant -- and instead the contestants would be traveling to the group of hungry patrons.  Julia thought they'd be cooking for doctors and nurses while Josh thought it was for Hollywood bigwigs, but both were wrong, as they would each be preparing a dish for a group of 100 students from Alhambra High School.  The students would determine the winner, who would receive a trip to Las Vegas with Gordon.

With an hour to prepare their dishes, the cooks got cracking.  Rock made a Kobe beef meatloaf; Josh prepared baked salmon with pineapple salsa; Julia made a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich with onion rings; Bonnie prepared breaded and fried goat cheese over a bed of greens; and Jen Yemola, a 26-year-old pastry chef from Hazelton, PA, made baked chicken fettuccini.

As the students piled into the cafeteria, each of the finalists took a somewhat different approach to serving their food.  Rock practiced some politicking; Josh expressed his full faith and confidence in his dish; Julia opined about the short amount of time she had to cook for 100 kids; Bonnie tried to be quirky; and Jen complimented the youth's clothing.  With "over 51%" of the students' votes, Julia was named the winner of the challenge.

"I am so excited.  I'm more than excited.  I'm ecstatic!" said Julia.  "I can cook.  Not only can I cook, I make my food taste good."  Julia then had 30 seconds to choose one of her fellow contestants to take on the trip to Vegas, and she picked Jen.  While they took a flight on a private jet with Gordon to Vegas, Rock, Bonnie and Josh had to vacuum and steam clean Hell's Kitchen restaurant's floor as well as iron the table linens.

Julia and Jen enjoyed an overnight trip to Vegas, which included a stay at the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa and Casino -- which is where Hell's Kitchen 3's contestants are competing to become head chef at a new Italian restaurant.  The next day, they traveled to Green Valley Ranch's sister resort Red Rock Casino, where they met Hell's Kitchen 2 winner Heather West, who is currently working as senior chef at Terra Rossa restaurant.  West shared some tips on the competition with Jen and Julia over some lunch.

"Getting to meet Heather really let me know that this is anybody's game," said Julia.  "Nothing is impossible."

Rock and Bonnie were at definite odds as the worked through the night on "really boring, horrible tasks" that needed to be completed, as she couldn't understand why he was so quick to get angry at every little thing.  While Julia and Jen were on their way back from Vegas, Rock, Bonnie and Josh had to prep for that night's dinner service challenge.  Bonnie threw away a tray of 23 monk fish because she said it "smelled bad."  She was promptly yelled at by Hell's Kitchen staff for throwing away perfectly good food and depleting the restaurant's supply of monk fish.

"It was a huge mistake and it could be my time to go home tonight," said a tearful Bonnie.  When Julia and Jen finally returned and gushed about the wonderful time they had in Vegas, Bonnie grew irritated and bashed the simplicity of Julia's dish that awarded her the challenge victory. 

"Jen and Julia got back from Vegas.  They were all smiles," said Bonnie.  "But I'm in the frame of mind of service tonight."

Hell's Kitchen 3's eighth dinner service challenge commenced, and Josh immediately boasted how he was "100% confident" he'd do well at the appetizer station.  However it didn't take long for him to get yelled at by Gordon for preparing way too much risotto when it hadn't even been ordered yet.  While the attention fell to Rock for a few minutes when he overcooked the scallops, Josh was in trouble with Gordon for once again overcooking spaghetti because he wanted to get ahead.  Bonnie was complimented by Gordon or her "nicely cooked" beef Wellington and Julia struggled at the garnish station.

But it was clear things were quickly falling apart for Josh who was caught cooking spaghetti for the third time when it hadn't been ordered yet.

"We cook spaghetti to order!  Even the dirtiest, scummiest Italian restaurant in Venice Beach cooks spaghetti to order you donkey!" yelled Gordon at Josh.  "You're pushing me to the f**king limit big boy!"  An hour into the service and appetizers were finally getting pushed out, however Josh's overcooked risotto was being quickly sent back by customers and he was apparently out of chances.

"You're standing there, you're screwing me, and you're f**king useless!  What are you doing?" Gordon asked Josh, who promptly apologized.  It didn't matter.  "Do me a favor, take that off," said Gordon to Josh as he ripped of the finalists' jacket.  "Get the f**k out of here!  Get out!  Get out!  Get out!"  So Josh packed his bags and left Hell's Kitchen.

"I would have given my right arm to stay in the service and keep fighting because I came here with a dream to win," said Josh.  "It appears it's over.  It appears Green Valley Ranch is not in my future.  The dream's over guys..."

Gordon placed Jen at the appetizer station to replace Josh, and she saw it as a "true test."  She passed, as Gordon thought her risotto was "seasoned beautifully."  With Josh out of the way, Hell's Kitchen had a nice flow to it and the stations were running smoothly except for Julia on garnish.  However rather than take a verbal beating from Gordon, he offered her words of encouragement not to give up.  She still started crying.

With both entrees and appetizers being pushed out, verbal bickering between Rock, Jen and Bonnie erupted.  It started when Bonnie called Rock out when explaining to Gordon why a certain dish was not ready, and continued when Jen began to bark orders at Rock, which he didn't take too well.  Despite the war of words, the kitchen was able to move onto desserts.  But Rock called Jen a "bitch" and "simple ass broad" while Jen called Rock a "big man" and "crazy." 

"Shut the f**k up!" screamed Gordon as he banged loudly on the kitchen's overhang in the serving area.  With that, the dinner service challenge came to a close and the patrons left satisfied by both the food and drama.  After expressing some disappointment about the bickering, Gordon said it was Bonnie's "best ever service" and gave her the choice on who to nominate for elimination.

As they walked back to their loft, Jen and Rock continued to argue, with Rock being especially harsh with Jen, telling her to "F**k off."  Bonnie, Julia and Jen discussed Rock's "mean temper" and how in their opinion, he's unable to control it.  Jen said she had no intentions of taking his berating lying down, while Bonnie reminded her it was just bullying.

"I didn't like the way Jen approached me, and I probably should have waited to after dinner service to tell her," said Rock through some tears.  "I let some stupid stuff get in there, and it took me off.  So I disappointed myself, I disappointed my family.  I just f**ked up... I'm better than that.  This is not the way I'm supposed to go out."

Bonnie told Gordon she was nominating Rock because he "lost communication" during the dinner service challenge and his "temper flared."  She then nominated Julia because while she "thinks the world of her," she pointed out Julia has "struggled" and also has "a lot to learn."  Rock described himself as a "great communicator" and said his outbursts were "uncharacteristic."  Julia said the entire competition has been "really hard" but added she hasn't given up and plans to keep fighting.

"I've got one guy that is completely driven to get to the top of his career, and one woman who has made the most significant improvements," said Gordon.  "This is a very tough decision on a personal front for me."  He then eliminated Julia.

"Listen, you have done phenomenally well," explained Gordon to Julia.  "I'm going to do something now that I've never done before.  I'm personally going to send you to culinary school because you have an exceptional amount of talent.  When you're done that I want you to come back and win it hands down, because there's something quite amazing about you.  I am very proud of you."  Gordon and Julia then exchanged a kiss and hug.

"I know that Chef Ramsay is only hard on us to make us better because it's made me so much better," said Julia.  "I know that great things will come out of this.  Just starting culinary arts school... I've made it really far."

Hell's Kitchen 3's ninth episode will air Monday, July 30 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.

(Photo credit Fox)


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