Joanna Dunn and Aaron Song sent packing from 'Hell's Kitchen 3'
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/19/2007
Two of the 10 remaining wannabe chefs and restaurateurs were sent packing by foul-mouthed culinary king Gordon Ramsay during last night's episode ofHell's Kitchen's third season -- one for ending up in the hospital and the other for almost putting her customers there.
Joanna Dunn, a 22-year-old chef's assistant from Detroit, MI, almost served patrons rancid crab during the dinner service challenge and was eliminated for a mistake that could have put someone in the hospital, while Aaron Song, a 48-year-old retirement home chef from Palos Verdes, CA, had to be sent to the hospital after collapsing in the kitchen and was unable to continue in the competition.
Hell's Kitchen 3's third episode began with Josh Wahler, a 26-year-old junior sous chef from Miami Beach, FL, commenting that he "could not believe" that Rock Harper, a 30-year-old executive chef from Spotsylvania, VA, had nominated him for elimination last week. However Gordon spared Josh and instead eliminated Eddie Langley, a 28-year-old male grill cook from Atlanta, GA, which set-up a confrontation between Josh and Rock back in the contestants' loft. Josh continued to insist he thought Aaron would have been the smart choice for elimination nomination since he "hasn't been feeling well and is tired."
"I know you're trying to be a leader, but we're both cooks right now. You're not the leader of the team," said Rock to Josh, who answered, "That's your opinion. Sometimes you see things one way and other people see it another and that's fine." Rock wasn't buying Josh's strategy to become the all-male Blue team's leader. "It really pisses me off because he wants to be the leader," explained Rock. "But don't do what you can't do because you make yourself look like an idiot!"
After the women enjoyed some congratulatory drinks after winning the last dinner service challenge, Julia Williams, a 28-year-old short-order cook from Atlanta, GA, reiterated she wasn't ready to be sent home and felt she was starting to prove that to her all-female Red team. While the rest of the girls went to bed, Julia decided to stay awake a little longer and study because she has "a lot to learn."
The next morning at 5:58AM, the contestants were awoken by the sound of Reveille blasting through their loft, as they were ordered to dress quickly and get into the kitchen on the double. Barely out of bed, Aaron said he was "cramping incredibly" and couldn't even get himself dressed. He received some help from Rock, who said it was "an essential part of a team to never leave anybody behind."
"It's the first time I've ever been dressed by two guys," said a slightly embarrassed Aaron.
Once in the kitchen, they were met by Gordon, who told them he was "expecting so much more" during the last dinner service challenge, specifically saying there was no consistency. For the first time ever in Hell's Kitchen's history, the restaurant was open for breakfast, with the challenge being for the Red and Blue teams to each create "the most amazing, consistent breakfast from start to finish." The Red teams goal would be to serve 50 members of the U.S. Army, while the Blue team had to serve 50 members of the U.S. Navy, and the first team to completely serve their group would win the challenge.
"That just touched me so much. It kind of made tears come down out of my eyes," said Julia upon the military personnel's march into the restaurant. "I was really honored to be able to cook for the Army and the Navy... I have a lot of respect for them and what they do."
Since she works at a Waffle House restaurant serving breakfast on a regular basis, Julia took the lead for the Red team. Aaron finally began to show some confidence in his abilities and took the lead of the Blue team's all-important omelette station. However it was the Red team that pushed out their first orders while Aaron burned several omelettes, which Gordon noticed. Bonnie Muirhead, a 26-year-old nanny and personal chef from Los Angeles, CA, said she noticed her Red team had "bonded" and it was helping their productivity, as they already had 20 plates of food out 17 minutes into the challenge while the Blue team still hadn't finished anything. Aaron's burned omelettes caught him a tongue-lashing from Gordon as Josh and Brad Miller, a 25-year-old sous chef from Scottsdale, AZ, were put in-charge of his station.
"I don't think Aaron's our weakest link, I know he's our weakest link," commented Brad.
As the Red team kept up their quick pace, Joanna slowed them a bit by undercooking the hash browns and was yelled at by Gordon. Fifty minutes into the challenge, "stone cold" hash browns seemed to be the only problem afflicting the Red team's kitchen. It must have been contagious, as the Blue team also started to serve cold food. Aaron wasn't doing anything and seemed lost in the busy Blue kitchen, and the Red team easily finished the challenge first. Gordon called Julia's leadership "exceptional" and quickly sent her into the Blue kitchen so the Navy wouldn't go completely hungry. Gordon described Julia ordering around the Blue team as "music to my ears," but the guys disagreed.
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"Breakfast... we should have been able to nail this one, and we got killed!" said Josh. Added Vinnie Fama, a 29-year-old nightclub chef from Milltown, NJ, "It was very disheartening not to be able to serve the people who serve us."
After congratulating the Red team for being "organized and on the ball," Gordon told them their reward would be a helicopter ride onto the USS Midway, where they would all enjoy lunch. Once he finished expressing his disappointment over the Blue team's lack of leadership, Gordon told them their punishment would be to peel "over 1,000 pounds" of potatoes and onions. As the Blue team went into Hell's Kitchen's parking lot to pick-up the produce, Vinnie wondered where the hand truck was. There was no hand truck, and the produce had to be brought into the kitchen by slinging the heavy bags over their shoulders.
Once the Blue team moved the bags and got down to work in the kitchen, Aaron succumbed to the dizzy feelings he had been experiencing and fainted. "I got to tell you it scared the crap out of me," said Josh.
With Aaron on his way to the hospital, the Red team was on their way via helicopter to the USS Midway, the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy's history. The Red team enjoyed lunch with Gordon on the deck of the Midway before returning to the loft and enjoying some relaxation in the hot tub.
As the Blue team sweated incredibly while peeling, they also still faced the Ramsay-ordered task of choosing a leader. Rock reiterated he doesn't think Josh has the know-how to be the leader. All four of the guys -- sans Aaron at the hospital -- expressed their desire to be the team leader. However understanding it was ripping their team apart, Josh decided to throw his support behind Brad to simply prevent Rock from taking over.
"When I changed my vote it was absolutely strategic," explained Josh. Rock understood what had happened. "Josh, he doesn't like me because I put him on the chopping block. Josh and Brad had a little allegiance going, that further takes me out of the two man circle. It doesn't matter. I just have to out-think them, that's all."
The next morning Brad was feeling "confident" in the Blue team's chances for that night's dinner service challenge, while the Red team continued to feel the pressure to win. However the Blue team didn't realize they would be a man down, as Gordon had decided Aaron couldn't continue in the competition based on doctor's orders. A visibly weak Aaron received a call from Gordon while sitting in his hospital bed and learned the news.
"Chef Ramsay... I've worked so hard to come to this point and work for you," pleaded Aaron over the phone. It was to no avail. "I really appreciate you trying damn hard to get back here," said Gordon. "The bad news is, you have a serious illness and doctor's orders, you cannot come back into this kitchen."
"I feel disappointed," said Aaron. "I worked almost 40-years in a kitchen for what? I guess I'm coming home." Gordon then informed the Blue team Aaron wouldn't be returning, and in turn the Blue team told Gordon they had selected Brad as their leader. Because Hell's Kitchen was also running low on water, Gordon explained the second part of the Blue team's punishment for losing the breakfast challenge would be to retrieve cases of water when they were delivered during the dinner service challenge.
Hell's Kitchen was then open for business and the third dinner service challenge was underway, with Gordon thinking Rock was winking at him while all Rock was really trying to do was get the sweat out of his eyes. Joanna was placed at the head of the appetizer station for Red and was excited at the opportunity to lead the way. However Gordon thought Joanna's risotto was "soft, salty and crap" and made her start over. However he was pleased with Rock's risotto and complimented him for it.
With Josh retrieving the water from the parking lot, he stumbled several times and was considerably slowed since his body was still sore from lugging the produce during the previous day's punishment. Forty-five minutes into the dinner service and Bonnie had to help Joanna as Red tried to push-out their first appetizer. But Bonnie got yelled at for trying to serve raw scallops while Rock continued to take charge of the Blue kitchen despite Brad being appointed leader. The Red team made their third attempt to get out their first appetizers, and that's when things really went downhill for Joanna as she used crabmeat that had been "off" for what smelled like a few days at the least.
"Anyone else smell that?" wondered Gordon, forcing Joanna to smell it for herself. "Can you not smell that!? The grab is off! It's f**king rancid!" With the rest of the Red team surprised Joanna would still attempt to serve the crab despite its rancid smell, Gordon pointed out the more serious problem with the blunder. "You'll kill someone!!" he yelled at her before pulling her out of the kitchen. Having wowed him at breakfast, Gordon put Julia in charge of the appetizers.
One hour into the dinner service and the Red kitchen was still unable to push-out any food, while over half of the Blue team's appetizers had already been served. With Rock offering encouragement to his team and them seemingly thriving underneath him, Vinnie tried to serve some raw eggs and had them mashed into his uniform by Gordon. Vinnie didn't look too pleased, and Rock noticed Vinnie was "about to buck." Vinnie admitted to screwing up again, but that didn't appease Gordon. "You've now just confirmed in my mind you're not trustworthy!" yelled Gordon, and Vinnie understood he had to just take it.
The Red kitchen finally pushed out some appetizers with Julia and Jen Yemola, a 26-year-old pastry chef from Hazelton, PA taking the lead, while the Blue team was struggling with their entrees. However Jen made a mistake when she threw-out some spaghetti she thought was no longer needed. Instead of taking the time to make more when it was ordered, she went garbage fishing. "I decided to retrieve the spaghetti from the top of the garbage and washed it at [212 degrees], kill the bacteria, and then I decided to serve it," explained Jen. When Jen told Julia what she did, Julia was beside herself.
"Who in the world takes food out of the trash?" she wondered. "You can't just do anything in the heat of the moment."
Luckily for Jen, Gordon didn't see the episode. As Gordon accused Brad of sabotaging the Blue kitchen's Wellington orders by burning the bottoms and still trying to serve them, the Red team caught-up and pushed out the last of their appetizers. However because it took them so long to finish the appetizers, Jen burned the Red team's Wellington orders as well, and both kitchens came to a standstill. As hungry patrons began to leave the dining area, Gordon decided to shut it down.
"I'm shattered. I'm exhausted. Physically, mentally exhausted," said Gordon, reminding the Blue team they have yet to complete a dinner service challenge and questioning Brad's leadership. Gordon also told Rock it was his "best night so far." Meanwhile, 95% of the Red team's patrons were not served an entree and Joanna was singled out for almost serving bad crab and Bonnie received the same treatment due to her raw scallops. Despite both teams doing poorly, Gordon informed them the Blue team had won the challenge, meaning the members of the Red team had to nominate two to go before Gordon and face possible elimination.
As the Red team deliberated their options, Joanna immediately informed the other members that she believed it should be her and Jen up for elimination. Bonnie and Julia agreed, with Julia referencing the "spaghetti issue with the trash" as her reasoning behind nominating Jen. With the spaghetti incident now known by all members of the Red team, Joanna saw it as opportunity to go on the offensive against Jen. Melissa Firpo, a 29-year-old line cook from New York, NY, turned her attention to Julia, who she thought should go due to her lack of knowledge of fine dining. While Joanna tried to defend Julia, Melissa nominated Julia and Joanna for possible elimination, and it was agreed upon.
Facing Gordon, Joanna said the first nominee was herself before telling him "they" chose Julia. Before the words were even out of Joanna's mouth, a guilty Jen stepped forward and said, "I'm the next nominee chef." Gordon wondered what was up, and Joanna explained why Julia was nominated among the other girls before Jen described what happened with the pasta during dinner service. Gordon just shook his head before telling Julia she was safe and showing her some support.
Jen explained she should stay because she "loves" her job and "taking charge of situations." Joanna said she was aware of her "weak" performance, but would never serve trash. "But you would cook spaghetti with the most disgusting crab?" questioned Gordon. "Maybe right now, both of you should go." However ultimately, Gordon decided to eliminate Joanna.
"Being kicked out of Hell's Kitchen is not going to stop me at all," said Joanna upon learning she was eliminated. "I think by me coming here, it made me a lot stronger, I'm ready to strive to be a better person and achieve my ultimate goal of having my own restaurant."
Jen realized her "bad decision" and was ready to move on, while Julia said the "drive" she had was making her a more dangerous competitor. Bonnie realized the importance of keeping the Red team strong, while Josh hoped the Blue team could keep the momentum.
"Not only did Joanna serve rancid crab that could have seriously made a customer ill," explained Gordon, "she completely gave-up, screwed her team, and if you can't handle one individual section, you have no chance of running a business."
Hell's Kitchen 3's fourth episode will air Monday, June 125 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.