'Hell's Kitchen' star Gordon Ramsay cuts Sabrina Gresset, Van Hurd
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/23/2009
Sabrina Gresset and Van Hurd were both eliminated from Hell's Kitchen during last night's two-hour sixth-season broadcast of the Fox reality competition series.
Sabrina, a 34-year-old restaurant manager from New Caney, TX who currently resides in Phoenix, AZ, was ousted by Gordon Ramsay after undercooking halibut and finding herself on the chopping block for the third straight service.
"I cam in with red lipstick, makeup on, hair did, big bitch on the block," said Sabrina after her elimination. "But once Chef brings you off your pedestal, it is really hard. I expected it to be easy. I was wrong. It's very difficult. But I am so proud that I got this far. I am really looking forward to getting back to my own kitchen and seeing my own staff and getting pretty again."
Van, a 26-year-old fish cook from Buford, GA who currently resides in Dallas, TX, was given the boot after he also undercooked halibut and had a hard time accepting criticism from Gordon.
"When I came intoHell's Kitchen, I came in guns blazing," said Van after his elimination. "I kicked ass on the signature dish, but there's a lot more to it in Hell's Kitchen than just cooking. The stress got to me. But I had fun while I was here. The main lesson I've learned about myself is when you get down, don't stay down. I want to go out of here with my head up."
Hell's Kitchen's tenth sixth-season episode began following the previous elimination of Andy Husbands and Gordon deciding to move Suzanne Schlicht, a 24-year-old sous chef from Milwaukee, WI who currently resides in Las Vegas, NV, from the Red Team to the Blue Team, who made it clear they weren't happy to have her.
"We don't want Suzanne one single bit," opined Kevin Cottle, a 35-year-old executive chef from Plymouth, MA who currently resides in Middleton, CT. "She needs to listen to what we say and that's it."
The next morning the seven remaining contestants met with Gordon -- who spoke to them from the Araxi Restaurant in British Columbia, Canada, which is where the sixth-season winner will work as head chef.
Gordon then explained the next challenge, which would have the teams would each having two-and-a-half hours to prepare three entrees using 15 ingredients that are native to Canada. In addition, none of the ingredients could be repeated.
The challenge commenced and Sabrina was upset with the lack of input she was having with fellow Red Team members Tennille Middleton, a 28-year-old executive chef from Hampton Roads, VA who currently resides in Fairfax, VA, and Ariel Contreras, a 27-year-old sous chef from Santa Cruz, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
"They're not listening to me just because I've been on the chopping block two times," said Sabrina. "The girls don't think that I have an input, but I'm sorry that's wrong. We're on the same team."
Suzanne was running into a similar problem in the Blue Team's kitchen.
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"I definitely feel like an outside," she lamented.
As the teams decided what dishes to prepare, Sabrina noticed that Tennille and Ariel kept referring to the venison as lamb and were unaware of their mistake.
"They should have known that was venison, that's why I didn't say a word," said Sabrina. "They weren't including me, so..."
Gordon then arrived with the challenge's two judges: former Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen and former Olympic freestyle skier Jonny Moseley.
Both Sasha and Jonny awarded the first dish to the Blue Team and -- even though Tennille was criticized for initially calling the venison lamb -- both judges awarded the dish to the Red Team, tying them at two points apiece. The Blue Team then won both votes for their third entree to win the challenge.
For their reward, the Blue Team traveled with Gordon to the Campanile restaurant where chef Mark Peel showed them stylish versions of everyday dishes, such as a grilled cheese sandwich. For their punishment, the Red Team had to go to a farm to do various chores, including milking the cows, moving hay, and cleaning the pig pen.
The next day, Gordon informed the teams that each would be creating a new menu for that night's dinner service. Both teams returned to the dorm and immediately got to work, with the Blue Team collaborating and quickly producing a menu they were pleased with. The same couldn't be said for the Red Team, which struggled to balance their ideas.
Gordon quickly approved the Blue Team's menu, but warned the Red Team to be cautious with theirs after Sabrina openly criticized Tennille's appetizer idea. Sabrina was presumably upset since none of her ideas made it onto the Red Team's menu.
"It's not the most creative of appetizers," said Gordon. "This is not the kind of thing that I would personally want to go and eat... Be very, very careful."
The dinner service then commenced, and Van immediately began to have problems at the fish station when he miscounted scallops and slammed and spilled sauce at the pass, causing Gordon to yell. Van wouldn't look Gordon in the eyes and was obviously upset with being criticized.
"I'm not used to getting screamed at all the time. I try to keep letting that s--t go and keeping my head in the game, but it f--king threw me a little bit," said Van.
Dave also re-aggravated his arm injury after trying to lift a heavy pan, however he was able to return to service.
"I'm just experiencing so much pain. I'm nervous that I'm not going to be able to perform at my best," he said. "But I'm not a quitter and I'm here to win. I have the heart to do it. I can muscle through the pain and I'm not giving up."
The Red Team also had problems, as Ariel served cold pork ravioli three different times and Sabrina was criticized for moving too slowly and undercooking halibut. Van also undercooked halibut, and Gordon got so upset that he slammed his hand onto it -- causing it to explode in the kitchen. Gordon then decided to close both kitchens and end the service.
"As far as the quality and the enjoyment and the balances of the dishes, no one won," said Gordon. "You both screwed up. It's not good enough guys. This was your night."
Both teams were then asked to provide a nomination for elimination. While Van tried to convince Kevin and Dave Levey, a 32-year-old executive chef from Chester, NJ who currently resides in San Diego, CA, to nominate Suzanne since she's the weakest member, it was obvious he had the worst service. Sabrina thought Tennille dropped the ball with the garnish, however she countered by claiming Sabrina had no input in the menu.
The Blue Team nominated Van and the Red Team nominated Sabrina. Both explained why they felt they deserved to stay in the competition. Van acknowledged he had a bad service, but said he wasn't "throwing in the towel."
"I know that the raw halibut tonight was instrumental in me being up here," pleaded Sabrina. "But I work with my team very well, I can mesh with a team and I can lead a team."
Gordon didn't think so and decided to give Sabrina the boot.
"Sabrina wanted to be the head chef in Whistler," said Gordon. "Now all she needs to do, is take those red lips and whistle on out of here."
The next day the six remaining chefs learned they would now be competing as individuals as each received their black chef jackets.
They immediately met Gordon for their next challenge, and he explained the contestants would be competing in teams of two and have 30 minutes to recreate one of his signature dishes, based on taste and look alone. Ariel was teamed with Van, Tennille was partnered with Kevin, and Dave was teamed with Suzanne. The dish consisted of four main elements: fish, garnish, puree and sauce.
The teams did their best at recreating the dish before being judged by Gordon. All three duos correctly knew the fish was talbot and that the garnish was calamari -- however Kevin and Tennille forgot to put it on the dish, eliminating them from the challenge.
None of the teams knew the puree was white onion, and only Dave and Suzanne correctly picked passion fruit for the sauce -- awarding them the challenge victory.
For their reward, Dave and Suzanne had lunch with Gordon at his London West Hollywood restaurant. It was cooked by Hell's Kitchen fourth-season winner Christina Machamer, whom Dave and Suzanne got to talk with while eating. For their punishment, the other contestants prepared the kitchen for the upcoming service.
The special "couples" dinner service then commenced, and Gordon told Kevin he'd be serving chopped salad appetizers and Porterhouse steak entrees tableside.
Since all of the appetizers had to arrive at the table together, it was crucial for Suzanne to set the pace on hot appetizers. She was unable to do so, messing up the portions on the tortellini, which threw off Kevin in the dining area.
"Suzanne needs to communicate a hell of a lot better," said Kevin.
"I messed up the entire flow of the restaurant," opined Suzanne. "I can't imagine that you have to be so perfect to win this thing."
Van also got off on the wrong foot when he started to sear sea bass before the appetizers were even sent. After he was yelled at for that, Gordon chastised him again when he began to sweat in the food. Tennille took control of the kitchen, and she was complimented by Gordon for having "good communication."
Similar to the previous dinner service, Van also undercooked the halibut -- which didn't go over to well with Gordon. While he was asking Van to focus in the backroom, Ariel forgot about a pan of garnish she was cooking and it burned badly, which was the final straw for Gordon. He left the restaurant with sous chef Scott Leibfried.
Unaware of how to handle the situation, Kevin returned from the dining area and all six contestants did their best to get the orders out without Gordon. While everyone was onboard, Suzanne was reluctant to plate the food since she didn't want to be responsible.
"Who knew if that was a test when the chefs walked out?" asked Suzanne. "Better just not to do anything at all."
The rest of the contestants were upset about Suzanne's decision, however they continued to push on and received compliments from the diners about the food. Van had some problems with timing on the fish station.
Gordon and Scott eventually returned, and Gordon wasted no time in kicking Van, Suzanne and Ariel out of the kitchen -- leaving Tennille, Dave and Kevin to finish the service, which they did.
"First time in five years I've ever walked out of Hell's Kitchen," said Gordon to Kevin, Dave and Tennille. "By no means any of your fault for the most frustrating dinner service ever. But thank you for the effort... Truthfully, there's no way any of you guys are going home. You cooked your heart out tonight."
Kevin, Tennille and Dave were then tasked with nominating two people for elimination. While Suzanne was an obvious choice, Dave, Kevin and Tennille thought it would be better to strategically nominate Ariel instead of Van since they viewed her as a stronger competitor.
"Ariel probably is a stronger chef than Van," said Tennille. "And to put her up, even with a rocky service, might not be too fair. Right now it's a hard choice."
Tennille, Kevin and Dave then nominated Ariel and Suzanne -- however Tennille told Gordon she didn't completely agree and thought Van should instead be nominated.
Gordon called all three out as nominations before revealing Ariel would be safe. Van tried to argue that he deserved to stay.
"I'm getting sick and f--king tired of being up here chef," began Van. "I hate this. I hate it. I'm trying to do my best but my mind is s--t right now. I'm tired, I'm not looking good, I'm not cooking good! I hate being kicked out of the kitchen... I know I can do this. This is what I was born to do!"
Despite a passionate final plea, Gordon decided to give Van the boot. He also commended Tennille for being honest about nominating Van.
Hell's Kitchen's next sixth-season episode will air Tuesday, September 29 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox.