J becomes the seventh contestant eliminated from 'Hell's Kitchen'
By John Bracchitta, 03/20/2009
J, a 32-year-old food court chef from Clifton Park, NY, was revealed to be the seventh contestant cut from Hell's Kitchen during last night's broadcast of the Fox reality cooking show.
"I guess I don't belong here, so I'll be going home," J said during his surprising elimination by Chef Gordon Ramsey, which occurred in the middle of dinner service after he'd committed a series of mistakes. "I'm here for a reason, and it's my boy and my wife, so of course I'm disappointed. It was a tough day."
"My dream when I came to Hell's Kitchen was to win, so now it's time to move on and get my own restaurants going. I don't need Chef Ramsey's opinion anymore."
Hell's Kitchen's seventh fifth-season episode began immediately following the conclusion of last week's episode, which ended with Gordon deciding to eliminate Red team member Coi, a 22-year-old cafe cook from Austin, TX.
Following the elimination ceremony, Andrea, a 30-year-old line cook from Reading, PA, attempted to smooth over her relationship with LA, a 23-year-old line cook from Las Vegas, NV whom she had nominated for elimination. However Andrea also attempted to support Carol, a 30-year-old sous chef from Knoxville, TN whom she had spared from nomination despite Carol's belief that she would nominate her after the two had argued in the kitchen.
"I don't feel that you're a weak part of the team, and I honestly feel like LA has not been there for us," Andrea told Carol while LA listened on. After some arguing between the three, Carol said that it was becoming evident that the Red team was beginning to divide.
"The Red team is definitely dividing itself into two little teams," said Carol "[Paula, a 28-year-old executive sous chef from Coconut Creek, FL] and Andrea are a team. LA and myself seem to be a team. We try to work together but it's just getting more difficult and more difficult as the days go on."
The following morning, both teams met with Gordon and were told that for their challenge each team would be making five different types of tapas dishes from the leftover food in the kitchen. Gordon added that he would then try each dish and award a point to each team if he liked the dish.
Prior to the challenge, Gordon also surprised both teams by having Giovanni, a 37-year-old executive chef from Destin, FL, switch from the Blue team to Red team, angering many of the Blue team members who felt they had gotten the "worst" from the Red team in Lacey, a 24-year-old corporate buffet cook from Charlotte, NC who previously had her team switched by Gordon, while giving up their "best" in Giovanni.
Both teams then began the challenge and put together dishes out of whatever they could find in the kitchen before presenting to Gordon for the taste test. After the challenge found itself in a 2-2 tie after the first four sets of dishes had been presented, Gordon brought forward the last pair of dished from Ben and Giovanni to decide the winner of the challenge.
Gordon was highly complimentary of both Ben's grilled tuna over asparagus and Giovanni's surf and turf style beef and fried lobster claw and admitted that it was very hard to come to a decision on which plate was better. However, after thinking it over, Gordon gave the point to Giovanni, winning the challenge for the Red team.
"I'm glad I can do my part for my new team, and hopefully I can keep on carrying us to victory," Giovanni said later.
For the Red team's prize, Gordon informed them that they would get to spend the day at a horse track while the Blue team cleaned both kitchens and prepared them for the tapas-style menu they would be presenting that evening. Gordon added that because the tapas menu featured smaller dishes, the Blue team would also have to unload, unpack, clean and polish many sets of smaller dishes.
While prepping the kitchens, Lacey continually complained that she was not being respected by her teammates and -- for seemingly the 100th time -- said she was quitting the show until Ben's obligatory lip service to her convinced her to stay. With all of the different jobs in then split up amongst the teammates, J drew the job of cooking the rice for both kitchens and did so rather quickly in one giant pot without seemingly paying much attention to what he was doing.
Meanwhile over at the Red team, Giovanni looked to keep the team's winning ways going by attempting to instill a more positive attitude amongst the team's members.
Following the Red team's return from the race track, the evening's dinner service got underway. However both teams stumbled out of the gate after it was discovered that the rice J had cooked for both teams was too mushy and cold not be served.
"Look at it J! how can you do that J? For both teams?" Gordon screamed at him.
"Yes Chef," he responded.
"Oh f--king hell, come on! You can't do this!" Gordon screamed back before canceling all of the risotto orders.
The night only got worse for J from there after he first undercooked the salmon dishes he presented to Gordon, and then burnt them while trying to heat them up. After being pulled aside by Gordon and told to shape up, J proceeded to burn an order of scallops to seal his fate, as Gordon intervened, told him to "get the f--k out" of the kitchen and that he had been eliminated.
Following J's ouster, Gordon attempted to restore order to the Blue team and reorganize them, but had no success in doing so.
"It was like [the blue team versus a semi-truck]. BAM!" said Robert, a 29-year-old sous chef from Quogue, NY. "No one had an idea what the f--k was going on"
While Giovanni helped lead the Red team, Ben was the next get caught in Gordon's laser sights after he undercooked his beef Wellington and was not able to quickly rectify it. Not mincing words, Gordon pulled Ben's ear close to him and laid out exactly where he stood with him.
"You're f--kin' next. I swear to God you're f--kin next!" he snarled at Ben.
While both teams were able to complete their dinner services, Gordon said it was "pretty obvious" the Red team had performed better and won the challenge. He added that each member of the Blue team had to come up with one team member they would no longer like to work with before returning for the elimination ceremony.
After discussing who had been the weak links in the team, the Blue team reconvened with Gordon. While Ben, Robert and Danny, a 23-year-old executive chef from Edgewater, FL, all called out Lacey as the teammate they no longer wanted to work with, Lacey countered by saying she wanted Robert to be eliminated.
Gordon appeased the team's wishes by bringing down Lacey to beg for her survival, but then also brought down Ben despite no one having called him out.
"I feel like I've offered a lot to this team from the very beginning, and bring a solid foundation of food knowledge to the table," Ben said to Gordon after being asked why he should remain in the competition. Lacey then followed with her reasoning as to why she should stay in the competition as well
"I've come a long way since I've first got here. Working on a line scared me when I first got here because I never worked on a line, but now I know I can do it. I didn't come here for a vacation, I came here to learn and grow so that I can win and become great."
Despite his earlier threats, Gordon ultimately decided to spare Ben, as well as Lacey, from elimination, but warned both of them that they needed to improve quickly.
The next episode of Hell's Kitchen will air Thursday, March 26 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.
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