Hell’s Kitchen: Down to two

Last night’s episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” brought us to what we’ve all been waiting for this season….what has become the inevitable cage match between the two most talented competitors. But first, after Ben had been eliminated last week, the three remaining chefs–Andrea, Danny and Paula–had a quick visit from their families. And I don’t know how much was edited, but they showed about one minute of said visit, and then the families were headed home again. What, they didn’t even have the chance to cook for them? Weird.

Then the challenge came and it was cooking a dish for 100 Hell’s Kitchen customers–who were all the top chefs in Los Angeles…and I do mean top chefs…all Michelin star and James Beard award winners. Each chef had to cook one dish, with tasting portions of 100. And they had only 90 minutes to do this. It went so fast that I could barely hear what their dishes were, but know Danny made some sort of halibut and it failed miserably, with 76% of the visiting chefs calling it the worst of the three. That same 76% number called Paula’s dish the best. So Paula had a makeover, after some fabricated romantic banter between Paula and Jean Phillippe in the limo. Please! Then Paula had her makeover and she actually looked really good with her hair down, not the plain looking chef we’ve all seen this season.

Meanwhile, Danny was bummed out about how he took a beating in the challenge, and he and Andrea had the task of cleaning up Hell’s Kitchen, including wiping off the big screen TVs. On said TV as they were doing this was none other than Paula and chef Ramsay on the FOX show “Good Day LA.” Ha! Nice going, producers. Danny and Andrea also had to do all the laundry and ironing for the kitchen.

Then it was time for the dinner service and like they do every season at this point, the three chefs took turns at the pass playing the role of Ramsay. Paula and Danny, who are both somewhat soft-spoken, were nervous and fumbling at first. And as they always do, there were tricks meant to stump them along the way, like subsituting halibut for John Dory or squash puree for carrot puree, or not cooking scallops or potatoes long enough. Paula and Danny both rebounded and Andrea started off nicely, with her (let’s face it) big mouth. But she also missed some of the planted traps and then started to get on chef Scott’s nerves by riding him a little too much.

The good thing, though, is that Ramsay was smiling after the dinner service, because it was the best one of the season so far. But then he turned somber, saying he was going to have to send one of them home. He asked the remaining three to go back to their dorms and each choose one nominee for elimination. Not surprisingly, Danny and Andrea chose each other. Was Ramsay going to let Paula choose who went home? Paula, despite being friends with Andrea, chose her based on the entire season, and it was the right nominee because Danny has been mostly rock-solid.

Ramsay asked Danny and Andrea to step forward and state their cases, and then he told Andrea to take off her jacket and leave Hell’s Kitchen. Danny’s sigh of relief could be heard around the world, and I’m glad it’s coming down to truly the two best contestants. Paula should be the odds-on favorite based on how she’s taken the show by storm recently, but Danny is no slouch. This is going to be an interesting final for sure, maybe one of the best the show has seen to date.

I’m not quite sure if we have one or two more episodes, but I’m guessing the latter. Either way, I’ll see you all next week…..who do you want to win?

  

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