No, tonight didn’t test the chefs’ skills with a chic raw-food menu. The chefs did it unwittingly on their own: raw fish, raw chicken, raw, raw, “RAW!” Tonight’s dinner service presented another opportunity for my favorite Ramsay-ism—“YOU COULD’VE KILLED SOMEBODY!”—but no, he just stood at the pass, baffled, and muttering to himself, “It cannot be possible. It’s not physically possible. It’s just not fucking normal.” By Season 7, he’s going to be in a fetal position, but still swearing.
What drove Ramsay into one his predictable rage? The incompetence of his chefs, who blew the basics at tonight’s dinner service, conduct most unbecoming for people wearing the black jackets.
It started off promisingly enough. Tonight’s quickfire focused on presentation, with the staff of Bon Appetit judging the dishes based on appearance, then Ramsay and the magazine’s editor judging the two best for taste. The contest only served to reinforce the cooks’ high opinions of themselves: Suzanne was perplexed by her next-to-last finish because “my dish was a piece of art” (not so much), and Kevin, who assessed his co-win with Ariel thusly, “Of course I am, I’m the best chef heeeeeeyah.” (That’s my phonetic spelling of his Boston accent, which rivals the Chicago and Wisconsin’s for sheer ugliness.) Kevin’s smile couldn’t have been faker when he shook Ariel’s hand after winning. I could read his mind from my living room: “You’re lucky you get to share this win with me, bitch.”
While he and Ariel were whisked to Santa Monica for a Bon Appetit photo shoot at a restaurant on the beach, the losers had my favorite punishment of the season: picking up trash on the highway Hell’s Kitchen adopted—and doing it in orange convict jumpsuits and riding a jail bus. So demeaning, but so hilarious. Here was Ramsay’s chance to tell them mediocrity is their prison, but again, he missed the opportunity. (I’m available for consulting, FOX.)
The backbreaking labor didn’t end when they returned to Hell’s Kitchen—nope, they had to clean even more. All the work caused Dave’s wrist to swell up again and put him in great pain again. I have a lot of respect for Dave and the sheer determination he’s shown—really, he puts the others to shame when it comes to his play-through-the-pain willpower. But I’m sick of hearing about it. That’s too bad, because the trailer for next week hints it’s practically the Wrist Episode. Oh well.
Dave’s exasperation with Tennille at the beginning of the episode also bugged me. “What happened to sticking to your convictions?” he asked. She was, dude. Van deserved to be on the chopping block, and she didn’t want to lie to say otherwise. That said, Kevin wins tonight’s Biggest Asshole Award. I know you have to be kind of a conniving dick to win this thing, but he sets new standards for complete lack of self-awareness. At dinner service, the rice he overcooked sinks every risotto Tennille tries to make. Sure, she should’ve caught it, but why did it get to that point? Then he has the balls to talk shit about Ariel. “Chicken and lamb, that’s all you got to do,” he says. “The easiest station there is the meat station.” Really? Because cooking rice seems even easier, jackass.
Speaking of no self-awareness, Small Mouth Suzanne’s streak of utter cluelessness remained unbroken tonight. First, she thought her sloppy quickfire dish was “art,” then she had the audacity to complain that Kevin was “patronizing” during dinner prep. Yes, he was, but madam, you are Princess Patronizing. Kevin, who was working gaaaaaaaahhhhhnish, decided he needed to take chhaaaaaaaaaage—apparently after he ruined a huge tray of rice.
Ramsay clearly had his hopes up for this service. “When we get to stage of this competition, it comes to one thing: determination,” he said. “You push yourself to the absolute extreme.” He wanted perfection. He wanted the five best chefs to prove themselves. Instead, everyone screwed up, and they came within an inch of getting shut down. “You either get it together right now, or you fuck off!” he bellowed two and a half hours into dinner service, right after dressing down Ariel in front of the dining room.
When it came time to pick the nominees for the chopping block, Ramsay ordered them to make that decision as a team, though implacable self-interest seemingly prevented a consensus from being reached. Any of them could have gone up there, but Suzanne—again, mystified because her “shit was beautiful”—and Ariel went in front of the firing squad.
It was Suzanne’s fourth trip, which made the decision obvious. Despite Ariel’s recent slide, she’s arguably the strongest chef. She wasn’t going anywhere, despite Ramsay saying, “Honestly, truthfully, you both should go.”
Adios, Small Mouth. You won’t be missed.
• Okay, Tennille bugged me the first few episodes, but I kind of love her now. I don’t think she’s skilled enough to run that kitchen in Whistler, but she has some good quipping chops:
“I’ll save the shit for the toilet.”
“I dodged such a big bullet I had to do The Matrix to avoid it out this joint, man!”
“Excuse me, I am the Risotto Wizard.”
• Unemployed? Semi-experienced in the restaurant business? Willing to be yelled at by a short-fused boss and work with a nest of vipers? Then you may be interested in auditioning for Hell’s Kitchen! A commercial during the break announced casting for Season 7: Go to fox.com, or call 866-226-2226. Bonus points if you have rage issues!
• The next episode has TWO SHOCKING SURPRISES, according to the preview. Let’s open the floor to wild speculation! Maybe Big Fat Robert’s getting a third chance!
• “My major flaw was creating this distance with my teammates,” said Suzanne. And being a know-it-all suckup.