Hell’s Kitchen: the Velvet Hammer swings

Last night was the season finale of “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX, and one of the stiffest competitions yet on the show between two low-key but talented Floridians, Danny and Paula. At the end of last week’s episode, they had just chosen their teams for their big dinner service, and Danny chose first since he won the challenge back at the Borgata in Atlantic City. His team was Ben, Giovanni and Carol; Paula had Andrea, L.A., and Lacey. Giovanni didn’t want to be there, and Carol admitted she had been pulling for Paula. But the biggest issue was that Paula got stuck with Lacey. Danny knew he had a decided edge already.

During prep, Lacey was at it already, just being Lacey…as she ruined an entire batch of creme brulee. Then Gordon Ramsay wanted to see the design of each restaurant. Paula went first, with her brightly themed “Sunergy” very impressive to the boss. Then Danny, who couldn’t resist
hanging fish on the wall and calling his restaurant “Velvet Hammer,” a reference to his sexual prowess in high school. I can’t believe he actually went through with that name!

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Hell’s Kitchen: throwaway episode?

By all accounts I thought last night was going to be the “Hell’s Kitchen” season finale, but it turned out to be mostly a fluff episode, setting up the meat and potatoes of the big showdown between Danny and Paula next Thursday. The show began with a 10-minute recap of the season, followed by the two finalists enjoying way too much champagne together and then feeling like crap when they had to wake up early the next morning.

They met with a designer for their restaurants, and had to pick a name…Paula picked something like “Sunshine” though I don’t quite remember exactly what…and Danny picked “The Velvet Hammer,” saying that was his high school nickname, because he “was smooth but could lay the hammer to the ladies.” Did he really just say that? Did I really just write that? Yep. Freaking hilarious.

Then they traveled on a private jet with Gordon Ramsay to the Borgata in Atlantic City, where one of them would run Ramsay’s new restaurant. Meanwhile, Paula and Danny each had two “advisors” left to keep an eye on the design progress, and those were family members, or Paula’s stripper sister and mom, and Danny’s dad and girlfriend. They were able to communicate with each other via webcam to make sure everything was running smooth.

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Hell’s Kitchen: Fabricated drama meets real drama

So remember last week at the end of the episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” where Gordon Ramsay said he was shutting down the restaurant? You all knew this was fabricated drama, right? So the show opens last night with Ramsay saying the reason he’s shutting down Hell’s Kitchen is that the final 5 contestants are going to Atlantic City, to the Borgata Hotel & Casino where one of them will be excecutive chef of their own restaurant. Ramsay wanted them to have a taste of what they are competing for. All that for that? Please.

They arrived at the Borgata via limos and private jets and had the opportunity to see the space that will house said restaurant soon. Then, at dinner with some of the Borgata’s top executives, something went wrong. Robert started having real chest pains and was sent to the hospital. Competition or not, they all love Robert and wanted him to be okay. So while Danny, Paula, Andrea and Ben tasted the good life a bit and flew back to Los Angeles without Robert, Ramsay called a meeting once they arrived. He then brought Robert into the room, but the news wasn’t good. Robert had pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the walls around one’s heart, and an early sign of heart disease. Robert was okay, but he was not able to continue in the competition. Everyone was bummed, especially Robert, who, let’s face it, is about 200 pounds overweight. Ramsay told him that had he stayed, Robert had a legitimate shot to win this thing. So sadly, Robert left and it was now down to the final 4.

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Hell’s Kitchen: Pressing Ramsay’s buttons

Gordon Ramsay, star of the FOX reality show “Hell’s Kitchen,” is pissed. He has his six finalists for the head chef position at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and he’s not sure he wants to hire any of them. Ratings for this show must be down, because they keep teasing us with twists and turns, more so than ever before, and Ramsay threatening to shut down Hell’s Kitchen permanently is clearly a gag. But more on that in a bit.

Last night the show began with everyone in a state of shock that Carol had just been eliminated, after her red team had won the dinner service. Ben and Robert were mostly relieved that they had survived the chopping block. So then Ramsay asked Paula who the weakest link on the red team was, and she said Andrea. Danny was asked the same question for the blue team, and he chose Ben. Andrea and Ben were asked to step forward, the lights dimmed, and Ramsay told them both, “I hate to do this, but give me your jackets.” What? Then he told them to get back in line and put on black jackets, and he asked everyone else to do the same, to signify that they were the final six and that from here on out, it was an individual competition, and not red vs. blue.

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