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More than fire heats up Gordon Ramsay's kitchen as he searches for the scion of his new LA eatery.

Recaps by Don Harpwood, GSNN


FACT FILE:
Host: Gordon Ramsay
Maitre D'
: Jean Philippe Susilovic
Sous-chefs: Scott Liebfried, Maryann Salcedo
Narrator: Jason Thompson
EP: Paul Jackson, Arthur Smith, Kent Weed
Packager: Granada Entertainment, A. Smith & Co.
Airs: Mondays at 8:00pm ET on Fox


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"Casting Stones" - June 13

Last week, things got heated up as the blue team had to work the second dinner service without air conditioning, but they got through it and won again.  And Dewberry, who had deserted his station in the red kitchen for a moment, was given the boot.  10 remain, and things are not going to get any easier...

Small stone, big pain

After the elimination, and the teams returned to the dorms, members of the red team had mixed reactions about Dewberry's departure.  They thought that he'd be relieved to be out of there, but they did say they'll miss him, though they do understand why he was eliminated from the competition.  Meanwhile, Jeff goes to the bathroom to deal with some pain of his own.  Yes, it's those stomach problems again.  This time, upon coming out of the bathroom stall, it seems that he has what appears to be a tiny object, which he then places on a tissue that he then folds up.  Why?  Because that tiny object happens to be the kidney stone that had caused his stomach problems during the past few days!  And what does Jeff do with that kidney stone?  He shows it to everyone!  Jeff first shows it to Elsie, who is in disbelief by its small size.  He then shows it to Andrew and Jessica, and she compares it to a mustard seed.

Shopping under pressure

The next day, the chefs get changed and head out to the kitchen for another meeting with Chef Ramsay.  He comments on how the red team has shrunk, now that it's down by 2 members, and he then sends Michael to the red team to even out the teams.  He steps forward and trades his chef's jacket for a new one, signifying the switch from blue to red, before joining his new teammates in line.  After mentioning that this would be a good opportunity for Michael to emerge as a leader, Ramsay goes on to explain the next challenge.  Each team will cook a 5-course meal for a VIP, and Ramsay is that VIP.  He then sends the contestants outside, and the sous-chefs, Maryann and Scott, are waiting at a grocery store.

The method of transportation to get to that store: a double-decker bus.  (I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since Ramsay did come from the U.K.)  The blue team sits on the top level, while the red team is on the bottom.  This is so each team can make plans without the other overhearing.  With red, Jeff says that he has a soup idea, but Chris doesn't seem too confident in that, considering Jeff's current track record (despite the kidney stone).  With blue, they are also discussing soup, but Andrew is starting to think that Ralph is trying to overshadow his ideas with ideas of his own.  Upon reaching the store with their menus ready, they file out of the bus and in front of the sous-chefs.  Scott explains that each team will have $100 for their shopping as Maryann holds up the money, and they'll only have 10 minutes to get what they need.  That's not much time or money to get ingredients for a 5-course meal, so things could get quite hectic in there.

Scott blows the whistle, and they're off!  Each team gets one cart, and they run in and start looking for what they need.  Everyone on a team has to stay together, though.  On the blue team, Jessica grabs some milk, but Ralph says that they need cream, not milk.  She asks where the cream is with 7:45 left.  At least they're all working as a team, while over with the red team, Jeff wanders away from the group for a moment to get some bread, holding the team back for a bit.  Jeff's behaviour is understandably getting on the nerves of his teammates.  Meanwhile, the blue team grabs some peaches as they reach the halfway point of this part of the challenge, then they run to another section.  They hit another cart as they run, and Jessica, carrying a pineapple, almost slips while behind the team.  Back with red, Jeff is still lagging behind, looking in one section while the rest of the team is trying to move on to another.

With under 40 seconds left, though, the red team is done shopping, and are at a cashier, while the blue team is still hurrying to get what they need.  Some of them are running back and forth between the cart and various parts of the store, frantically trying to get everything.  This is sort of reminding me of Supermarket Sweep...  With time winding down, Ralph has bacon to add to the cart, but there's not enough time to get to the cart, which is being ran towards him, so just before time expires, he throws the bacon like a basketball...  The whistle blows, signifying the end of the 10 minutes...  And it's in!  Afterwards, the teams have their groceries in bags, and are back on the bus, going back to the restaurant.

A full meal in 60 minutes

Once they arrive, they are given 1 hour to prepare their dishes.  In the red kitchen, Jeff goes to work on his soup, with Michael offering some help.  He still isn't sure if Jeff can be reliable at this point.  But Michael has apparently fit in quite well with the red team, while over in the blue kitchen, Ralph is trying to fill the leadership hole, keeping the team in order.  But Andrew is seeing him as a control freak, and he doesn't like it at all.  With 15 minutes left, the teams have made good progress, and with time winding down, we see that Michael has decided to add an H, a pitchfork, and a K made out of mushrooms to the side of a dish of his, to look like the Hell's Kitchen logo.  It does look neat.

Time is up, and the teams are ready with their 5-course meals, covered, as Chef Ramsay walks into the dining room and sits down at a table.  The teams line up with each person holding one of their dishes in front of the table, ready for tasting.

1. Cold Starters

Blue - Jessica presents grilled pineapple with Yucca potato (though she hesitates when trying to mention the potato).  Ramsay says it's tasteless, and it doesn't do much for him.

Red - Elsie presents a salad (no mention of what type it is).  Ramsay likes it, saying it's nice. 

2. Hot Starters

Blue - Ralph presents roasted corn chowder.  Ramsay says it's very nice.

Red - Jeff presents a puree of white onion soup garnished with a parmesan and roasted garlic crouton.  Ramsay is actually quite impressed, saying that Jeff turned something boring into something delicious.

3. Fish

Blue - Wendy presents ginger scallion pan-roasted salmon with bok choy.  Ramsay likes the bok choy, and feels that the meal was not bad.  That happens to be the first positive thing that Wendy has done this whole season.

Red - Chris presents poisson over cauliflower, with grilled scallions and a scallion oil.  Ramsay says it does nothing to him, and that it is better off served to a sick rabbit.  Ouch. 

4. Meat

Blue - Andrew presents a grilled rib eye with an ox tail mushroom sauce and white peaches.  Ramsay notes the odd combination with rib eye and white peaches, and can't wait to see how it tastes.  He does so, and says that it doesn't work, calling the dish disgusting.

Red - Michael presents a grilled porterhouse with that H-pitchfork-K mushroom combination right by it.  After Ramsay notes that, he tastes the porterhouse, and says that it's tasty and delicious.

5. Desserts

Blue - Mary Ellen presents a trio of creme brulee.  Ramsay says it's delicious, flavor-wise.

Red - Jimmy presents a vanilla poached pear with feta cheese on the side and a port wine reduction.  Ramsay found it simple, but dull.

With that, each team got positive feedback from 3 courses, and negative feedback from 2.  Definitely an improvement from the first day.  So now, Chef Ramsay will have to decide which team's courses compliment each other better to determine the winning team.  And he chooses... the red team!  He liked the balance, and felt that their dishes "out-flavored" those from the blue team.  So, as the reward, Ramsay will be bringing the red team to a cool pub that he likes to go to while in L.A.  And as the punishment, the blue team will be cleaning the dorms.  And that includes the toilets.

The blue team gets started, with buckets in hand, and as they clean, Andrew expresses that he would obviously rather be at a bar than cleaning everything.  The red team later arrives at the bar, where Ramsay once again congratulates the team for winning the challenge, and Michael says that it's nice seeing this different side of Ramsay; the side that doesn't berate people who make bad food.  They drink and play darts, and Jeff notes that he sucks at darts after missing a throw.  As they enjoy themselves, back at the dorms, the blue team continues cleaning.  When the red team returns, the blue team is still hard at work with the chore.  While Elsie, Jimmy, and Chris are outside at a table, they see Andrew walk out with a rug and apparently vent his frustration by smacking it against a rail to remove the dirt from it.  After that, Chris says that he'll be shocked if red loses at the next dinner service, with the way things are going now.

Jeff vs. his team?

The next day, the teams line up early in the morning for another speech from Chef Ramsay.  He notes that they should be getting better now, and they should now be coming together  He is obviously expecting this dinner service to be better than the first two, especially after how both teams did in the challenge the previous day.  The teams begin preparing for the dinner service, and the preparations turn out to be running smoothly  But then, Jeff puts a hot baking sheet on the counter, and Elsie, not aware that it's hot, picks it up with her bare hands and immediately drops it afterwards.  Chris says that Jeff should have put a towel on it, and Elsie gets those out.  It's now more clear than ever that Jeff is the odd-man-out on the red team at this point.

During a brief break from preparations, the red team (sans Jeff) gather to discuss a problem: Jeff.  They feel that his still being there could hurt the team.  Elsie then goes to get Jeff, and when he arrives, the team switches the subject to who will do what during the service.  Suddenly, Chris and Jeff clash about what to put on endives (Chris says powdered sugar, Jeff says butter), and they begin arguing.  Jeff then gets up and starts yelling at Chris, then storms off after Chris tries to explain that it is nothing personal, and that he is trying to get Jeff to work with the team.  Things are definitely not looking good for the red team, teamwork-wise.  Teams return to the preparations, and moments before the opening, in the red kitchen, Jeff seems to be working slower than expected.  Over in the blue kitchen, things are under control, and Ralph is quite confident that the blue team will once again do better than the red team in the dinner service.

Everyone's a critic (well, not literally)

The clock strikes 7PM, and Hell's Kitchen is once again open for business.  The customers file in and are seated (must be new customers who didn't even hear about the first two services).  As the first orders are taken, Ramsay gathers the two teams for a quick meeting.  He explains to the teams that 2 top food critics happen to be customers on this night, so there will be a lot of pressure on them.  He then gets them back into their kitchens to cook.  What they weren't told is where they'd be seated, and that each critic is dining with a friend.  Melissa Clark is at a red table, and Kate Krader is at a blue table.  Their tables are right beside each other, and they will each sample the same food from both kitchens, to keep judging impartial.

The blue kitchen gets its first order, and the team is off and running.  Ramsay reminds them to treat every table as if one of the critics is there.  Meanwhile, in the red kitchen, 20 minutes into the service, Jeff had put up appetizers on the hot plate for evaluation.  But once Ramsay gets a look at them, he calls Jeff over.  He says that of 2 dishes that were supposed to be similar, one has all the lobster, and the other has none.  Yes, Jeff somehow screwed that up.  He is asked to fix that, and Michael comes over to help.  As Michael takes care of it properly, sous-chef Maryann tells Jeff to thank Michael, and he does.  Then, he mumbles that they're expecting too much from someone (and I quote) "who's never been on a ****ing line before".

Maryann obviously can't believe Jeff's apparent incompetence, and she asks if he wants Michael to take care of the meat as well.  That is when Jeff starts openly complaining.  Chris notices, and soon after, so does Ramsay.  He calls Jeff over, who says that he's trying to do what he can, but Ramsay says to stop shouting and just do what he has to do.  After reminding Michael of the risotto that he has to do, Ramsay calls for a main course from the red team.  He then heads over to the blue kitchen in the hopes that things are going better there.  He wonders why the spaghetti isn't ready yet, and Wendy says the water isn't boiling yet.  She then says that she is boiling cold water because she thought it was supposed to boil faster than hot water.  Huh?  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that just doesn't make any sense.

30 minutes in, and the red team is sending out appetizers, 2 of which are going to the critics.  Melissa tries the lobster spaghetti, prepared by Jeff.  She says it's very good.  Michael must have helped with that one.  Kate tries the crab risotto, prepared by Michael.  She's not much of a fan of it.  Jeff might have helped with that one.  Meanwhile, the blue kitchen are now sending some of their appetizers, and guess where 2 of those are going?  Yep, the critics.  Melissa tastes another lobster spaghetti, this one made by Wendy.  She says it doesn't really come together.  Kate then tries another crab risotto, this one from Andrew.  She calls it a mess.  Bad news overall for blue so far. 

But what do the customers think?  We're about to see, as Andrew's crab risotto is served to one.  But after some tasting, that customer apparently gets sick.  She throws up the risotto onto the ground!  The maitre d', Jean Philippe, as well as Kate, both notice this, and as Kate makes a remark about it to Melissa, Jean reports the bad risotto to Ramsay.  He calls over Andrew and tells him to taste that risotto, but he says he knows it's too salty.  As Ramsay tells him to just taste it, you have to wonder: If Andrew knew that it was too salty, then why did he serve it without fixing it or something?  He tastes it and reiterates the saltiness, and as the sick customer and the others at that table leave the restaurant, Ramsay scolds Andrew about serving such bad food, especially when there are critics out there.  To say that things are not looking good for Andrew would be an understatement right now.

At 8:37PM, Ramsay calls for lamb and bass from the red kitchen.  Guess who's responsible for that?  Jeff.  Is it ready yet?  Nope.  Ramsay is really losing patience with Jeff now, as he starts yelling at him about how he's so slow with most everything.  When Jeff tries to explain himself, Ramsay tells him to just move it.  Back in the blue kitchen, Ralph is leading the team, and they have gotten some of their main courses out.  Jessica seems appreciative of Ralph's leadership, and when she calls for help, he heads right over there to help.  Ramsay then notes that it seems like Ralph is doing all the work.

At 9:09PM, only 2 main courses have come from the red kitchen, and once again, Ramsay talks to Jeff, this time about having Michael help him.  Jeff tries to say that Michael pushed him aside to help, but Ramsay just sees this as an excuse for Jeff to blame someone else.  Ramsay scolds Jeff some more about how he hasn't done anything right tonight yet, before telling him to get back to his section.  Ramsay then calls out an order to the red kitchen.  But now it seems that Jeff wants to pull a Dewberry and desert the team!  Chris tells him not to, and Ramsay asks if Jeff is gonna run off.  Jeff then apparently changes his mind, saying he's not a quitter.  Looks like someone is flip-flopping...  But then, after Ramsay tells him he's not a cook either and goes back to check on some dishes on the hot plate, Jeff, albeit quietly, calls Ramsay "an a******"!  Uh-oh.

It's one thing to just think that.  It's quite another to say it, especially when someone else might hear it.  In this case, Maryann heard it, and she tells Jeff to repeat what he just said.  Ramsay, hearing the sous-chef, calls Jeff over and asks what he said.  He then just up and says it.  Wow.  Then, Jeff takes off his chef's jacket and walks out of the kitchen, into the dorms, and apparently out of the building, saying he's had enough!  I guess he is a quitter after all.  As the red team is trying to hold everything together, Ramsay lets them know that it is official, that Jeff is out of the competition, and is not coming back.  Despite this, the team has to just keep going, and get those dishes out.

Over in the blue kitchen, things are starting to fall apart there.  Only 5 main courses have been served, and Ramsay calls for an order.  Wendy says it'll be done in 10 minutes, and Ramsay isn't pleased.  Ralph then calls for a repeat of the order, and upon hearing it, he says he can get it in 5 minutes, which seems to be what Ramsay wanted to hear.  Wendy was apparently lost when it came to meat, so she asked Ralph for help.  He does help, as we find out that this dish is for the critics.  The dish is served, and they get to taste Wendy's lamb.  Kate felt that it was overcooked, but Melissa liked it.

Back with the red kitchen, and it seems that Jeff's departure has helped the red team, as they've gotten a good rhythm going, and they're getting their dishes out there more quickly now.  Now it's time for the critics to try Michael's lamb.  Both of them say that they liked this lamb better than the first one.  Advantage: Red.  The red team also currently has an advantage in terms of number of entrees served, as by 10:02PM, they served 15, while the blue team has served 8.  Those are still low numbers this late into the night, though.  And Wendy once again gives a poor excuse when trying to explain to Ramsay why something isn't moving quickly enough yet.  This is followed by Ramsay telling her to just shut up.

The majority of the customers are still waiting for their main courses, and some of them start leaving the restaurant, one having dumped her drink on the table before doing so.  It's looking like yet another disaster for Hell's Kitchen, as we see a brief fire in the blue kitchen, Jimmy being questioned about a bit of meat that he was responsible for, and Ralph slipping and falling to the ground.  At 10:17PM, Ramsay has once again had enough, and he orders the kitchens shut down.  The dinner service ends early for the third time in a row, and the customers leave.

The critics' decision

Afterwards, the teams are lined up and ready for the announcement of the results.  He'll be relying on what the critics said for his judgment this time.  He says that neither team's risottos were good, but the red team's lobster spaghetti was better than that of the blue team.  Same with the lamb.  So, based on that, Ramsay declares the blue team as the losing team.  Despite Jeff quitting, there will still be someone eliminated the normal way that night, as Ramsay then asks Ralph to make the nominations for elimination this time, since Ramsay was at least impressed with how Ralph has done.

To the dorms they go, and Jessica is worried that she might end up going home.  Mary Ellen comforts her, as Ralph is sitting nearby, possibly thinking about who to nominate.  He did notice what happened with Andrew and Wendy, but he also was worried about Jessica  He figures that it'll be tough to make these nominations.

Which link is weaker?

As the red team is sitting nearby, safe for the first time (though Michael may be starting to get comfortable there, since this is his third time being safe), the blue team files into the dining room for nomination and elimination.  Ramsay asks for the first nomination, and after some hesitation, Ralph chooses... Wendy, because her section (meat) had been holding back their service.  Ramsay asks for the second nomination, and Ralph chooses... Andrew, because of his bickering with Ramsay.  He agrees with the choices, then asks Wendy and Andrew to step forward.

It is now time for those two to plead their cases.  Wendy admits that she had done a terrible job, but she says she'd appreciate an opportunity to continue.  Huh?  She didn't even say anything about doing a better job!  She might have doomed herself there  That is, unless Andrew doesn't fare any better with his case.  He admits to disagreements, then after Ramsay asks for another reason after mentioning the salty risotto, Andrew says that he's a team player, and he's trying to help the team.  Okay...  Ramsay takes a moment to think about his decision, then announces that the one that is going home is... Wendy.  She hands over her chef's jacket to Ramsay as he mentions how lucky Andrew is that he's still in it, and Wendy walks to the dorm to leave Hell's Kitchen.

With 8 left, next week, Ramsay offers a crash course in basics, the contestants see (thanks to a billboard) that they can't escape him as long as they remain in Hell's Kitchen, and one team will apparently do something that hasn't been done there before.  Could it actually be something good?  We'll just have to wait and see.

[By the way, one more thing.  At the beginning of the end credits, it was mentioned that Jeff actually left as a result of an injury.  If that's the case, then what injury?  That kidney stone from earlier was no longer a problem by the time he quit.  Did I miss something?]

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