Hell’s Kitchen: why this season is different

Season 7 of “Hell’s Kitchen” is a bit different. Because as we plow on through it, and I do mean plow, there are some things that have made this season unique. Mainly, it’s been unpredictable. Those who we thought were contenders (Ed) and those we thought were non-factors (Autumn) have proved us wrong. Even Ben showed last night his days are likely numbered and he can’t possibly win. And oh yeah, there is a blatant romance budding here between Holli and Jay. Big time. The clips for next week show Ramsay putting his foot down about said romance, so that should be interesting.

Anyway, we’re almost at the finale, and this show kicked off June 1…so Fox is trying to get it over with before Season 8 begins in September. Yes, that’s right. Season 8 is already in the can, too. I wonder how many more are in production, because the show is, despite the twists this season, getting really stale really fast.

So with that, here is our brief recap of last night’s double episode:

They began with a presentation challenge in which their dish had to look great and taste great, and it would be photographed by a professional. Culinary students were the judges on the looks, and the top 2 vied for the win with Gordon Ramsay and Epicurious.com’s Tanya Steel judging the taste. The winners were Ed and Ben, and Ben won the taste test with his fish dish. His prize was a makeover and spa treatment followed by a photo shoot with Epicurious. The five “losers” had to clean the dining room with Jean Phillippe watching over them.

At the dinner service, there was a special guest at the chef’s table…Whoopi Goldberg. Awesome! Anyway, there were some small errors by Jason and Ben–lack of seasoning pasta and not communicating, respectively. But no one failed more than Ed…who could not for the life of him cook fish all the way through. And I mean like 10 or 15 times. Yikes. Meanwhile, Ramsay called Ben out for being a great cook with no leadership skills. Ouch! And then he kicked Ben and Ed out, and left Holli, Jason, Autumn and Jay to finish service, which they did without a hitch.

Ramsay told the remaining chefs to choose two consensus chefs for elimination, not based on last night, but overall. Ben nominated Autumn, as he does every week. Autumn was a consensus pick, though, because she has landed on the chopping block numerous times. Meanwhile, the other was Ed, and his performance last night was enough to prove to Ramsay he didn’t have what it took. So Ed was sent packing.

In episode 2, Ramsay took the final 5 to a high end fresh market, where he gave them $10 to spend as they wished to create a dish with. They would be judged by Ramsay and three renowned culinary experts including a chef, magazine editor and Ramsay’s GM at one of his restaurants. Those judges would decide how much they would pay for the dishes in a restaurant.

Jay’s lamb chop went over well and averaged $28.66. Jason, however, used frozen ravioli for some stupid reason. I mean, does he not watch Ramsay on TV? He’s always preaching fresh ingredients! They liked his dish enough but it priced out at $16.00. Ben’s lamb loin came out at $25. Autumn made a veal chop and did really well, pricing out at $27.33. Finally it was Holli, who made a weird ahi tuna dish with 5 spice, parsnip puree and kumquat sauce. Say what? However, they loved it and thought the portion size alone garnered a high price–which came out to $29.66 and gave Holli the win over Jay.

Her prize was to hang out poolside for lunch at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills, and then have a $1K shopping spree at a restaurant supply store. Ramsay said JP would be going along with Holli but that she could also choose another chef to go…and she chose Jay…surprise surprise. Their flirting kept escalating. Meanwhile, the others had to do laundry, and Jason and Ben were annoyed by the motor that was Autumn’s mouth.

When they returned, Jay and Holli wound up in the hot tub and started, well, messing around…until Autumn showed up to break up the party! Jay had previously announced that he had two goals on this show….to win, and to sleep with Holli.

At dinner service, Ramsay made them switch stations constantly to help provoke communication and keep the flow moving in the kitchen. Everyone was struggling, but no one more so than Ben, who clearly can’t communicate with everyone else. Finally, sous chef Scott led Ben have it when Ben tried to take over Scott’s position at the pass. Dude! And I mean Scott got in Ben’s face like never before, Ramsay-style. It was awesome.

Ramsay told the chefs to come up with two for elimination, and once again Ben chose Autumn, but Autumn had seen enough of that crap and nominated Ben. Ben it was, against Jason. And Ramsay declared that Jason wasn’t enough of a leader and sent him home.

So there you have it…we’ve got Autumn, who Ramsay said is improving tons….the lovebirds Holli and Jay, and the struggling Ben.
Next week’s episode, as I said, shows Ramsay giving Holli and Jay and ultimatum…basically, end your love affair or leave the competition. I can’t imagine either of them wants to give up this dream after getting this far. And I think they will face off against each other in the finale. It’s TV too good for the producers not to let happen at this point! So my apologies to Autumn and Ben, but I’m sure that you’ve been sent home next.

What do you all think? Let me know in the space below and see you next week!

  

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