Robert Hesse the eighth chef cut from 'Hell's Kitchen's sixth season
By Christopher Rocchio, 08/26/2009
Robert Hesse's second chance at winning Hell's Kitchen has come to an end.
The 30-year-old sous chef from Quogue, NY -- who was one of the fifth season's Final 5 contestants before he was forced to withdraw from the competition after being hospitalized with pericarditis, a swelling of the sac around the heart -- became the eighth chef eliminated from Hell's Kitchen's sixth season during last night's broadcast of the Fox reality series.
"I leftHell's Kitchen last time because of my health," said Robert after his ouster.
"It was an honor just to be invited to come back. I felt like I was under a lot of pressure. I may have lost it a few times, but I fought back. I can damn sure say that Hell's Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay changed my life for the better. I'm going home and just focusing on my career and my health."
Hell's Kitchen's seventh sixth-season episode began with the all-female Red Team and all-male Blue Team competing in a craps-style challenge sans Robert, who had been taken to the hospital prior to the dinner service that aired in last week's episode.
Each team would roll a dice which had letters on twelve sides. Whatever letter it landed on the chef would have to name an ingredient starting with that letter. They would then have to cook using only those ingredients.
The Red Team went first and ended up with rabbit, green beans, potato, garlic and ham hock -- and they were confident it could be turned into a tasty dish. The Blue Team ended up with haddock, figs, angel hair pasta, apple and tomato, which they found to be less appealing than what the ladies had picked.
Despite an unconventional mix of ingredients, the Blue Team's dish was able to wow Gordon -- who awarded them the victory. As a result, the Blue Team traveled to Las Vegas for a night in Sin City while the Red Team was forced to clean both kitchens and unload several deliveries.
Upon their return, the Blue Team was confident -- even without Robert.
"The Blue Team, we don't need Robert," said Van, a 26-year-old fish cook from Buford, GA who currently resides in Dallas, TX. "We definitely bonded while we were in Vegas, and we're coming back into service ready to kick some ass."
As if on cue, Robert returned from the hospital just in time for the dinner service.
"Of course he's back," opined Andy, a 39-year-old executive chef from Seattle, WA who currently resides in Boston, MA. "It's killing me. I'm pissed."
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Robert sensed he wasn't wanted.
"These guys don't care if I'm back," he said. "That's fine. I have no friends here. I know that. I don't want any friends here. There's no team behind me, I feel like I'm in front of a firing squad right now."
The dinner service then commenced -- with Gordon arranging for there to be a chef's table featuring two chefs from his restaurants in each team's dining room.
"I put my neck on the line tonight because I've invited executive chefs from both my restaurants -- two out of New York and two out of West Hollywood," he told the contestants. "So, on your toes tonight. And don't make me look stupid in front of my f--king team!"
The service got off to a good start for the Blue Team, as Dave, a 32-year-old executive chef from Chester, NJ who currently resides in San Diego, CA, was cranking out flawless appetizers. Ariel, a 27-year-old sous chef from Santa Cruz, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, didn't receive the same rave reviews for her appetizers in the Red Team kitchen.
Despite their quick start, things quickly went downhill for the Blue Team -- as Van served two customers their fish dishes without removing the plastic wrap. Not surprisingly, Gordon wasn't too happy.
Robert also had problems cutting the rabbit off the bone, but that wasn't as bad as when he served raw rabbit -- a mistake that caused Gordon to shut their kitchen down.
While the chefs eating in the Red Team's kitchen commented that they enjoyed the food, the same couldn't be said for the Blue Team, as both chefs were disappointed with their dining experience.
Gordon declared that the Red Team had won the service and deemed Dave "the best of the worst" -- giving him the task of nominating two people for elimination.
It was clear that based on the most-recent dinner service that Van and Robert should have been the nominees, however several Blue Team members expressed a desire for Andy to be nominated based on his overall lackluster performance. Robert and Andy eventually argued over Dave's decision.
"I'll bet my whole damn savings account that you ain't going to ever win this!" yelled Robert. "Whether it be me to not win it, you damn sure ain't winning it."
Dave subsequently nominated Robert and Van, however Gordon removed Van as a nomination and replaced him with Andy.
"Andy, I can't feel that standing in-front of me right now is [Whistler ski resort's] head chef," said Gordon, referring to the sixth-season grand prize. "That's me being blunt."
Robert then explained he should stay in Hell's Kitchen based on previous performances.
"My history in Hell's Kitchen, never been up on the block once," said Robert. "I'm disgusted that I even share the same f--king stage with [Andy]. He's been [nominated for elimination] three times, not there for the team, always f--king around..."
Andy then addressed Robert's criticisms.
"If you ask my whole team, they'll all tell you that he does nothing during the day and barely does anything..." began Andy before being cut-off by Robert.
"You f--king fly under the radar all f--king night!" said Robert, accusing Andy of hiding from Gordon. "The fact is, you don't like being told that you f--king don't have it. I don't need your respect!"
"You don't have it," replied Andy.
"If you win Hell's Kitchen, I'll f--king hang up my chef clothes for the rest of my life!" claimed Robert.
Gordon then gave Robert the boot.
"You've had more services in Hell's Kitchen than any of these," explained Gordon. "And that last dish you sent me this evening, it was raw."
Hell's Kitchen's next episode will air Tuesday, September 1 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox.