Melissa Firpo becomes the sixth chef eliminated from 'Hell's Kitchen 3'
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/10/2007
Melissa Firpo was unable to make the most of the second chance given to her by foul-mouthed culinary king Gordon Ramsay, and as a result, the 29-year-old line cook from New York, NY became the sixth wannabe chef and restaurateur eliminated from the third season of Fox's Hell's Kitchen during last night's broadcast.
Hell's Kitchen 3's sixth episode began with Jen Yemola, a 26-year-old pastry chef from Hazelton, PA, explaining how Gordon did the all-female Red team an "excellent favor" by deciding to move bossy Melissa to the all-male Blue team after the teams' fifth round of dinner service. Melissa promised her new teammates -- Josh Wahler, a 26-year-old junior sous chef from Miami Beach, FL; Rock Harper, a 30-year-old executive chef from Spotsylvania, VA; and Brad Miller, a 25-year-old sous chef from Scottsdale, AZ -- she would "work better as a team" with them and "never sabotage" any of their challenges (at least not intentionally).
Bonnie Muirhead, a 26-year-old nanny and personal chef from Los Angeles, CA, made her feelings for Melissa perfectly clear, calling her a "bitch" and a "bully" while imploring the two other remaining members of the Red team -- Jen and Julia Williams, a 28-year-old short-order cook from Atlanta, GA -- to "step-up" their game at the next challenge. Meanwhile everybody was starting to learn Jen was a little more experienced in the kitchen than they originally thought. Rock called Jen a "liar" to her face, but respected her for keeping her talent hidden.
"Jen wasn't lying, she just held back," he said. "I appreciate it because it's gamesmanship."
The next day, the seven remaining wannabe chefs and restaurateurs then met Gordon in the kitchen for a challenge that would test their creativity, because as he explained, you "succeed with your ingredients." Gordon then revealed the teams would be working with lobsters, which immediately gave the Red team some concerns, as Julia commented she's unsure if she's ever even eaten lobster and Bonnie said she cried whenever she has to kill them to cook them.
"The quicker you put the knife through the head, the better," said Gordon, offering some words of wisdom.
The challenge pitted the Red team against the Blue team, with each given one hour to prepare three lobster dishes that were both creative and delicious. However because the Blue team had an extra member due to Melissa, Gordon informed Josh he would be unable to touch any lobster throughout the challenge because during a previous test of his pallet, he thought lobsters were scallops. While he was unable to touch the lobsters, his plan was to help Melissa as much as possible.
With the challenge underway, Bonnie tried to get out of having to retrieve and kill a lobster by offering to collect the cookware needed for the Red team. It didn't work however, and Bonnie was forced to get her lobster -- which she finally did and successfully killed. Jen commented she was "proud" of Bonnie for overcoming her fear. As Josh coached Melissa and Brad and Rock worked at a good pace, the Blue kitchen was doing well while Jen had concerns about Julia in the Red kitchen. With time expiring, Rock was impressed that Josh "coached the hell" out of Melissa.
Both teams then presented their dishes to Gordon, who served as the judge. Bonnie presented the first dish for Red, a grilled lobster salad with baked apple. Gordon called it "ambitious" and "nice." Melissa then presented the dish she made with the help of Josh, a citrus herb salad with poached lobster. While Gordon said he liked the freshness of the citrus, there was "slight disappointment" with the lobster because it wasn't cooked properly. He awarded the first dish of the challenge to the Red team.
Next Julia presented lobster risotto -- by basically using the same risotto recipe the Hell's Kitchen chefs have been using since the beginning of the competition and adding lobster. Gordon described the lobster as "tender, nice intriguing and spicy," but thought that overall, the dish was "boring." Rock then presented his buttermilk fried lobster tail, which Gordon thought was "ambitious" but "cooked perfectly." He awarded the second dish of the challenge to the Blue team.
Tied at one apiece, the challenge would come down to the final dish, with both teams presenting a lobster bisque. Gordon commented Jen's was "not too chewy" and "nice," and also thought Brad's was "cooked nicely."
"It's very, very tough. I'm so sorry there has to be a loser. This is so hard," said Gordon following the challenge before naming the Red team as the winners. "Don't be disappointed because that was the hardest decision so far," he added to the dejected Blue team.
For their reward, Bonnie, Jen and Julia would accompany Gordon on an exclusive photo shoot and interview with In Touch Weekly, while the Blue team would have to go through all of the garbage at Hell's Kitchen restaurant and pick-out the recyclables. Brad immediately noticed Rock was "pissed," and both he and Josh told Melissa they had "never" seen Rock that mad.
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"I'm pissed off! That was the dumbest f**king decision I've seen! That was bulls**t!" said a visibly angry Rock, with some of the comments he gave rendered inaudible due to all the censoring Fox had to do, although he did rant about the Red team's lack of originality and creativity. Meanwhile the Red team was getting pampered nicely for their reward, commenting they had gone from "Hell's Bitches" to the "Hotties of Hell's Kitchen." However things got a little uncomfortable when Rock showed up at the photo shoot to empty the trash and Gordon commented on his foul smell.
"Rock came back and he was even more upset," commented Brad. "It was like rubbing salt in the wound." As the teams began to prepare for that night's dinners service challenge, Rock realized he was being "loud and angry" and quieted down immensely.
"Right now I'm going to go back to being a leader and make sure my team is on point," said Rock. "I'm ready to cook, go back to my sanctuary, and do what I do best."
Gordon revealed that there would be a special main course of grilled lobster salad -- Bonnie's dish during the previous reward challenge -- served at that night's dinner service. He also informed the Blue team that as the other part of their punishment, they would be responsible for fetching the lobsters for both teams. Josh volunteered to handle the task.
"Melissa, this is your last chance. Don't clam up," said Gordon, offering an ominous and cryptic warning.
Hell's Kitchen 3's sixth dinner service challenge commenced, with Josh commenting how it "sucked" to be the "lobster bitch" for both teams. Rock reminded Melissa not to be afraid to ask questions if she had any concerns, but the Blue team still got off to a slow start with Josh running all over the place with lobsters in hand. Gordon complimented Julia's scallops as Red began to roll, while Blue continued to struggle, forgetting to boil water and then serving the wrong appetizer orders. The Blue team's customers were hungry, while the Red customers were satisfied.
Melissa dug Blue's hole even deeper when she prepared "paper scallops," causing Gordon to comment "everything she touches she screws." An hour into the challenge, and Red had pushed-out 28 of 50 appetizers with Jen in the lead, and Gordon heaped praise on them, telling them they were "on a roll," off to a "phenomenal start," and even adding it was the "best start" in the restaurant so far this season.
Then Bonnie almost set the kitchen on fire when her pan filled with flames and she panicked. Gordon calmed her down, gave her a few pointers on what to do if it ever happened again, and the Red kitchen barely missed a beat.
Despite not setting anything on fire, the Blue team had far and away many more problems than the Red squad. Rock criticized Josh for being "scattered" and trying to do too many things at once, causing his mashed potatoes to resemble some sort of soup. The Red team's beef wellingtons dishes received rave reviews, while the Blue squad's scallops were undercooked, which Brad blamed on Melissa. However 90 minutes into the challenge and Gordon found himself yelling at Julia, who was struggling at the Red team's fish station. Lucky for her Melissa wasn't doing much better at the Blue team's fish station, overcooking everything she touched and causing Gordon to put Rock in command.
With the Red kitchen enjoying a sizeable lead in pushing out dishes, Bonnie noticed Julia was having a hard time due to her limited experience. Even Julia commented she felt "really overwhelmed." When the Blue team ran-out of mashed potatoes and a whole tray of fish dishes were sent back to the kitchen by customers, Gordon shut the restaurant down.
"Blue team, let's put you out of your misery. You lost." said Gordon. "You're crap." He also made sure to point out that Josh still hasn't had a "good service," while this past service was Brad's "worst service," which Brad agreed with. Brad, Melissa, Josh and Rock then had the task of nominating two of themselves for possible elimination. Melissa knew she would "obviously be nominated," and the other members of the Blue team decided to go with Josh as the other nominee instead of Brad due to overall performance in the competition.
However before the Blue team could even tell Gordon their nominations, he threw Melissa out of the kitchen.
"I was the worst person in the Blue kitchen tonight," said Melissa. "I'm upset that I have to leave. I don't want to leave. I think Chef Ramsay sent me home tonight because he expects me to perform and he said he'd give me one chance and I didn't."
But Gordon then informed the Blue team he wasn't done yet and requested that Brad and Josh step forward to defend themselves. Josh said he felt he "improved every service he's been in" and added he has a lot more to show. Brad said he had never been so "embarrassed" and "humiliated" then he was following the last dinner service, but promised to do better.
"Endless excuses, pathetic cooking and a complete meltdown," said Gordon. "My decision is, both of you, get back in line. I'm giving you another chance."
"That was really difficult today because Brad and Josh were absolutely horrible," continued Gordon. "With Melissa, she's very assertive and she sounds like a leader. But unfortunately, she doesn't cook like a leader."