Tiffany Nagel the first wannabe chef eliminated from 'Hell's Kitchen 3'
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/05/2007
The 12 wannabe chefs and restaurateurs made a hellacious first impression on foul-mouthed culinary king Gordon Ramsay during last night's third season premiere on Hell's Kitchen on Fox. With Gordon describing the performance of all the contestants as "embarrassing" following their first dinner service challenge, Tiffany Nagel, a 27-year-old kitchen manager from Scottsdale, AZ, became the first eliminated from the competition.
"I had no idea it was going to be this intense," said Tiffany upon being eliminated. "I don't want to go home. Nobody wants to go home. But if [Gordon] was choosing people on heart, he absolutely made the right decision tonight."
Hell's Kitchen's third-season premiere began with the cast arriving at a "completely redesigned" Hell's Kitchen restaurant -- where they were met by Gordon -- who immediately put them to work in the kitchen as they each had to prepare their signature dish.
"Your signature dishes tell me a lot about you," said Gordon to the contestants, many of whom appeared visibly intimidated. "This is you on a plate."
Unfortunately things didn't go very well, as all but three of the contestants saw the quality of their dish panned and berated by Gordon, who praised only the work of Tiffany; Melissa Firpo, a 29-year-old line cook from New York, NY; and Aaron Song, a 48-year-old retirement home chef from Palos Verdes, CA.
"To be honest with all of you, I'm very disappointed with what I just tasted," said Gordon. "I need you to really, seriously, up your games."
Similar to last season, Gordon then dividedHell's Kitchen 3's cast into Blue and Red teams based on gender.
The Red team consisted of Tiffany; Melissa; Bonnie Muirhead, a 26-year-old nanny and personal chef from Los Angeles, CA; Jen Yemola, a 26-year-old pastry chef from Hazelton, PA; Joanna Dunn, a 22-year-old chef's assistant from Detroit, MI; and Julia Williams, a 28-year-old short-order cook from Atlanta, GA.
The Blue team consisted of Aaron; Brad Miller, a 25-year-old sous chef from Scottsdale, AZ; Eddie Langley, a 28-year-old grill cook from Atlanta, GA; 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 Vinnie Fama, a 29-year-old nightclub chef from Milltown, NJ.
With the teams set, Gordon informed them that Hell's Kitchen would be opening for business the following evening at 7PM before recommending they each get a good night's sleep in the shared living space they'd call home during the competition.
"It is the most important thing for the Blue team to come together and smack the crap out of the girls," said Josh. Commented Tiffany, "Women have a way to be able to work together. We all want to win. So if we're not working together as a team, we're all screwed."
The two teams awoke the next morning at 7AM and with the first dinner service 12 hours away, both would have to prepare a 15-item menu consisting of over 300 ingredients. Brad took the lead in the Blue kitchen, while nobody paid attention to Julia and didn't communicate with her in the Red kitchen. Despite initially impressing Gordon, Aaron struggled in the Blue kitchen because he was "stressed." However the guys gave it a team effort and helped Aaron, while Joanna instead barked orders at her Red team, which Bonnie and Melissa didn't appreciate.
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The first dinner service probably came more quickly than the teams anticipated, as hungry customers began to enter Hell's Kitchen. But before the cooking even began, Julia revealed to Gordon her concern about a lack of communication among the Red team, a fact Tiffany refuted. For the Blue team, Aaron started crying as soon as Gordon addressed him.
"I can't believe I'm crying... I'm cracking up right now," said Aaron through soft sobs. "Keep it together... For God's sake man!" yelled Gordon at Aaron. "Now you're making me feel nervous... Stop f**king crying! Stop! Stop!" Once Aaron reassured Gordon he was fine, the first dinner service was underway.
As Gordon began to dish out orders placed by the customers, Joanna continued to bark orders at Bonnie while Tiffany and Julia argued over their differences at the appetizer station. Gordon told Vinnie his pasta tasted like paste, and then he turned his attention to Tiffany, who was yelled at for frying eggs incorrectly. Amazed no appetizers had been pushed out yet, Gordon ordered Bonnie to help Tiffany, but she couldn't do much better and broke the yolks of the eggs.
"Jesus help us all," commented Julia, who was frustrated that Tiffany wouldn't let her fry the eggs.
With the customers grumbling that they were sick of eating bread after being at their tables for an hour with still no appetizers, the Blue team ran-out of stock and Vinnie instead used water to make the risotto. Gordon saw Vinnie do this and immediately removed him from the appetizer station and banished him to wash dishes. Brad took over for Vinnie, and the Blue team immediately started to make some progress. They managed to push out 29 of the 50 appetizers ordered, although Aaron said he felt "puny" and "useless."
The Red team continued to struggle. Two hours into the dinner service and still no appetizers produced, Julia finally broke down and told Gordon that Tiffany wouldn't let her help. He pulled Tiffany off the appetizer station and put Melissa in charge, and now the Red team was cooking, as Julia succeeded in correctly cooking the eggs and 17 of their 50 appetizer orders were finally delivered. With the Red team making progress, Aaron hindered the Blue team as his chicken was criticized by Gordon.
"I'll be back in five [minutes] gentlemen," said Aaron to his team, as he became dizzy. As Aaron began sobbing once again to Gordon in the backroom, Josh was put in-charge of the meat station. However multiple portions of Aaron's chicken were overcooked and the kitchen ran-out of meat, while the Red team continued to bicker and argue.
"Your tables are now getting up, pissed off, and leaving!" screamed Gordon at both the Blue and Red teams, neither of which was able to produce more than appetizers. "Nothing's getting done... Just stop. Shut it down! Forget it! We're shutting down..." With Hell's Kitchen closed after an abysmal opening, Gordon still had to decide which of the two teams performed better.
"You've got every right to look down because that was embarrassing," he said. "Ladies, I've never seen girls bitch so much. It was just evil and twisted... Hell's bitches! Vinnie... 60 minutes without any appetizers." Vinnie couldn't help but open his mouth. "I didn't know what you wanted, you didn't want to show me, so what did you want me to do?" Gordon put Vinnie in his place, asking him if he needed his butt wiped on a regular basis.
"Let's be honest, there's definitely no winners in Hell's Kitchen tonight. So tonight, the losing team is the Red team," revealed Gordon before commending Melissa by calling her the "best of the worst" and giving her the task of nominating two of her teammates for elimination. Julia pleaded her case to Melissa, as did Joanna and Tiffany.
"I don't want to go home," said Tiffany to Melissa. "You're not going home... No way," answered Melissa. Tiffany then recommended Melissa nominate Julia for elimination because of her inexperience as a short-order cook. With the Blue team able to relax, Melissa revealed her choices for possible elimination.
"My first nominee is Joanna because the way we worked together. The way she went about communicating with me," explained Melissa. "My second nominee is Tiffany because of how long the appetizers took to get out." Both Tiffany and Julia explained they deserved to stay, with the final decision up to Gordon. He eliminated Tiffany.
"To be a great chef, you need great attention to detail, passion and great work ethic," explained Gordon. "Tiffany worked hard, but that was it, and nothing else."