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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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"Comeback Night" - June 20

When last we saw the kitchen, a pair of food critics were in the restaurant to judge the food of the 2 teams, and despite Jeff quitting in the middle of the third dinner service, the red team was the better team this time. And even though some of Andrew's food made someone sick, he caught a lucky break, as Wendy, who thought cold water would boil faster than hot water (I still don't understand that theory), was eliminated. 8 wannabe chefs remain...

Differing reactions, and valuable advice

Upon returning to the dorms after the previous elimination, as the blue team is still recovering from their first dinner service loss, Jessica is taking the loss personally, as she respected Wendy. Over with the red team, they're certainly taking the loss of Jeff much better, and they're even crediting his sudden departure as part of the reason why they were safe that night! Elsie elaborated that Jeff had been more of a problem while he was there, and once the problem is gone, they were able to get stuff done, and get some tables served. Then, once everyone else has gone to bed, Ralph tries to have a talk with Andrew, to see what's going on with him. Andrew says that he was just trying to stand up for what he believed in, but Ralph gave him probably the best advice that Andrew needs at this point; to just shut his ****ing mouth.

Attention to detail

The next morning, in come the sous-chefs, Maryann and Scott, with another wake-up call in the dorms. This time, they decide to use air horns to achieve this. The contestants wake up with a start, as the sous-chefs tell them to just put on their jackets and get into the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, the teams begin early preparation for a bit, before Chef Ramsay asks them to line up. At that point, Ramsay says that it's now time to head to the dining room to deal with attention to detail. The teams file into the dining room, lining up in front of the maitre d', Jean Philippe (a.k.a. JP). JP then went into a detailed explanation about how tables are supposed to be set up in a fine dining establishment, using a perfectly set up table as an example. I'll spare those details, but it seems that the teams aren't paying much attention to JP's speech.

Once the speech is done, Ramsay is ready to give the next challenge, as he pulls the cloth from under the table, wrecking the setup and breaking a number of plates and glasses. He then explains that behind the teams are tables, two of which need setting up for a group of 6. The challenge is for each team to set up a table for such a group, and make it as perfect as possible, coming as close as possible to matching the perfect setup (before it was destroyed). There are 96 pieces of the plates, glasses, and silverware for each team to set up. And if that wasn't hard enough, they only have 5 minutes to do it.

The teams scramble to get their tables set up, and as Jessica tries to get the tablecloth on the right way up, Elsie has no clue how to get the table set up, apparently having not paid attention to what JP said. Jimmy is having some trouble folding the napkins, and there's a clash between Andrew and Ralph over where a butter knife is supposed to go. After a last-second scramble in the last 20 seconds, the teams are asked to back away from their tables. Ramsay first takes a look at the red table. He notes a few of their mistakes; some chairs pushed in and others out, part of a plate is hanging off the edge of the table, napkins not properly folded (like they "came out of a ladies' toilet", as Ramsay said), and fingerprints on the glasses (they weren't held by the stems, like they should have been). Ramsay then moves on to the blue table, where he just notes that their glasses should stay clear of the rims of the plates.

Ramsay and JP have a brief chat, whispering so no one else hears what they're saying, then after another look at the tables, Ramsay declares the blue team as the winners of this challenge. He asks them to take off their jackets and head to the dorm, where their prize awaits, and they do so. Ramsay then gives the red team the punishment for losing this one; they'll have to polish all the plates, glasses, and silverware that the restaurant has.

Rest and relaxation

As the blue team goes to the dorms, Scott is there, handing each of them a robe as they enter a room, which just happens to have massage tables. Each member of the blue team gets a much-needed massage and other spa treatments after having gone through quite a few stress-filled days in Hell's Kitchen. Meanwhile, while polishing glasses, Jimmy, being the clumsy guy that he is, drops a glass onto a table. Oops. JP then informs the red team that they'll also have to deliver glasses of champagne to the blue team, which Chris ends up doing. Chris delivers the bottle of glasses to where the blue team are enjoying their reward, then pours a glass for each of them. After doing so, Chris returns to the kitchen for more polishing, and informs the rest of the red team of the reward that the blue team got. Needless to say, they were jealous. And yes, Jimmy drops another glass. He'd better hope he doesn't drop too much food the next day.

Afterwards, both teams gathered outside, talking about JP. As they talk, something catches Elsie's eye as she looks up. She then stands up and gets a better look at what it is; a billboard with Ramsay's face on it, as well as the name of the restaurant/show. Elsie points it out to the others, who also get up to get a look at the billboard. They get a good laugh out of it, joking about how the picture of Ramsay is staring at them, saying it's like he's watching them. Nothing like an extra reminder of who the boss is, eh?

New items and extra motivation

The next morning, the teams line up in the kitchen for another meeting with Ramsay. And this time, he has decided to add 2 new menu items for that night's dinner service: frog legs and pigeons. He then goes on to show the teams how to prepare them, including a particularly bloody and gross demonstration of gutting the pigeon. Elsie said that she didn't want to be the one preparing the pigeons for her team, for obvious reasons. Ramsay then sends the teams off to begin the prep for the next dinner service. During the prep, Chris mentions how much the pigeons stink, Jessica gets frog juice in her eye, Andrew expresses confidence that the blue team will be safe that night, and Elsie, despite what she said earlier, finds herself prepping a pigeon.

30 minutes before the start of the dinner service, Ramsay gathers the teams for a quick word. He expects this night to be much better than the previous wreck, so he gives them a new goal; to make sure that all their tables are served that night. The first team to do so will be safe from elimination. Sounds like a rather tall task for these teams, who hadn't even come close to doing so the first 3 times. Can either team somehow pull it off this time? It's going to be even harder for the red team, though, because there's more to their punishment for losing the table setting challenge; they'll have to set up all the tables in the dining room (both red and blue tables) before they can get back into their kitchen!

As the blue team continues preparing in their kitchen, JP makes sure the red team knows how the tables need to be set up, and they get going on it. As they make progress with the tables, the blue team finishes preparations, and just have to make sure their stations are set up. With 5 minutes left, the red team have completed setting up the dining room, and JP lets them return to their kitchen, where they'll have to scramble to finish preparing for the dinner service. The blue team currently has a clear advantage in terms of being ready to get the food going, but will it be enough? With Ralph being unsure if Andrew can handle his part of the work, who knows... Heck, Ralph goes so far as to write notes on pieces of tape for Andrew and sticking them somewhere to help him with remembering which food gets which garnishes.

A race to completion

It's 7PM, and with the restaurant open for the night's dinner service, the tables fill up quickly with customers. And as the orders are taken, we hear from Ramsay that he won't allow mediocre food to be served this time; it must be as good as it can be. The red team gets their first order, and they get going with it, with Elsie at the meat station for the first time. The next moment, the blue team gets their first order, and as they get started, Ramsay reminds Andrew what garnishes the Wellington will need in a not-so-subtle way. And it seems that Andrew plans on sticking to that advice that Ralph gave him earlier, to keep his mouth shut; I wonder if he can at least pull that off. Mary Ellen gets the first tuna appetizer on the hot plate for approval, and Ramsay easily approves it, telling her to make sure that each tuna is done that way.

20 minutes in, and the blue team has already served some appetizers, while in the red kitchen, Elsie is starting to panic when asked how long the spaghetti will take to be done. That's definitely not a good sign, but Chris does try to get her to calm down. Back in the blue kitchen, at 7:48PM, their first main course is just about ready. With help from Ralph, Jessica has a Wellington ready for approval, and Ramsay approves of it. With their first main course being served, another one is almost ready, and Andrew has to get the garnish for it. But he ends up bringing the wrong garnishes, thinking of a different order. Ramsay tells him to get it going, and has another main course which Ralph brought up held up until the correct garnishes are there.

By 8:30, the blue team has made up for what Andrew did, and served almost all their appetizers, and some main courses. Meanwhile, Elsie has delivered an entree to the hot plate for approval, bringing the team close to completing the first of 15 tickets that they have to serve to complete the service. But the garnish, which Jimmy is responsible for in the red kitchen, is too cold, and Ramsay tells him to get it heated up. Ramsay asks Jimmy why the garnish was cold, but Jimmy says nothing. Ramsay asks again, but Jimmy hesitates with the answer, and is cut off before he can respond. Jimmy says he's trying his best, but Ramsay counters by saying it's not good enough. Ouch.

Back in the blue kitchen, Ralph completes desserts that are approved, completing the first 3 of 15 tickets for their team. After giving a reminder of the remaining 12 orders, Ramsay asks Andrew for an endive for one of the dishes. But he doesn't answer. Ramsay asks a few more times, before Andrew finally responds Ramsay now yells at Andrew about missing garnishes, and says to start the table again. While Andrew is apparently trying to get more garnishes ready (I'm assuming), Ramsay is trying to get his attention again, asking about what he's doing, and getting little response again. I think Andrew is sticking to Ralph's advice a little too well...

Anyway, with Andrew once again holding up an order, Ramsay reminds the blue team that an order that had been waiting for over an hour had to be started again because of Andrew and tells them to get moving. They do manage to get moving, and the blue team does get more orders out, and Ramsay compliments Jessica on her lobster spaghetti. With that, they have 10 tickets left to serve, while the red team has 12 left. The red team needs to catch up, and Elsie has to get her station moving. She is getting a better understanding of what she has to do, and upon having a Wellington on the hot plate for approval, Ramsay notes that it is "spot-on", approving it.

With 1 hour left, the blue kitchen has 5 tickets left, but after a customer makes a complaint with a risotto, calling it mushy, JP has 3 dishes of the risotto brought back to Ramsay. He calls over both Mary Ellen and Ralph and asks them to taste the risotto. Ralph calls it bland, and Ramsay stacks the dishes and hands them to Mary Ellen to be redone. Ramsay then calls for the whole table to be redone, and says that that is to be the top priority, with nothing else done until that table is done. This gives the red team, with 6 tickets left, a chance to catch up. And they do so, making good progress with their food and showing good teamwork.

In the blue kitchen, Mary Ellen had completed better risottos, and with that table done, the team gets moving again. That is, they would be if Mary Ellen hadn't forgotten the tuna for another table. After Ramsay asks a few times when the tuna would be ready, he asks for that table to be redone. This is yet another setback for a team that had started off alright at first, and it could cost them. In the red kitchen, the red team has 4 tickets left, and they're making a big push to get them done before the restaurant closes. They manage to get down to their final ticket, and with the team's spirits high, they're able to get it served. And with that, the red team have managed to serve all their tables! It's a miracle! As they clean up the red kitchen, happy that they have completed a dinner service for the first time ever, Ramsay heads over to the blue kitchen to tell them to stop cooking. He has to repeat that to Andrew, who apparently didn't listen the first time. Once he does listen, the kitchen gets shut down by the team.

Better results, for once

Once the teams are lined up, Ramsay delivers the news that this was a huge improvement from past services, as both teams had managed to serve a good number of tables. But the shocker was that the red team, despite having to set up the tables, which took time away from their preparations, were the ones to complete all of their orders. As a result, this dinner service actually has a "winning" team, and that's the red team. As a result, the blue team will lose someone, and this time, Jessica will be nominating 2 teammates for elimination, as a result of her good performance in the service.

Once the teams are back in the dorms, Jessica and Mary Ellen chat for a bit, and Ralph, despite how he had done in past services, is worried that that may not be enough to save him this time. And Andrew? Let's just say he thinks that if he is nominated, he's pretty much done. We then hear that Jessica is considering putting Ralph up, due to him being her biggest competition, even though it could set the team back, but she does want to win the competition.

A difficult decision

The triumphant red team is again sitting at a nearby table, as the blue team lines up for this week's nomination and elimination. Ramsay asks if Jessica has made her decision, and after she says that she does, he asks if it was difficult. She explains how difficult it is to let go of someone on the team after they had been together for a while. Ramsay then asks for the first nomination, and Jessica chooses Andrew, because he had a hard time getting the garnishes out there, affecting the team. Ramsay asks for the second nomination, and having to decide on a friend who didn't do too well, or a threat that did do well, Jessica chooses Mary Ellen, because she had a bad night of her own, particularly with the risottos. Ramsay then asks Andrew and Mary Ellen to step forward.

They'll now have to give some sort of reason for them to stay. Andrew mentions that he kept his mouth shut this time, and he even refers to himself as a "learning machine". Ramsay then mentions that since this is his second time nominated, Andrew's team may not like him. Mary Ellen says that she had been doing good until she faltered, letting the team down. Ramsay reiterated that the blue kitchen was held back because of her risottos. After mentioning his disappointment in both of them, Ramsay decides that the person to be eliminated tonight is... Mary Ellen. Jessica seems shocked, as Mary Ellen hands over her chef's jacket and walks to the dorms, heading out of Hell's Kitchen. And Andrew has to consider himself very lucky that he is still in the competition after twice being nominated.

Next week, with 7 left, the teams engage in a challenge involving pasta, they'll have 2 dinner services instead of one, with one team in the dining room in each of them, Michael plans to sabotage the blue team somehow, even though they may end up sabotaging themselves, and a shocking elimination is made in the end.

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