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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

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 9:00pm ET on Fox

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"Familiar Feast or Famine?" - July 25

Last time, the final 4 had their most grueling dinner service yet, when they had to switch stations a few times as they went. And although she won a big reward, Elsie didn't get any help from the others during the service, and in the end, she was sent home. Only 3 remain...

Happy times

At 1:29AM, they're back in the dorms, drinking champagne that was there when they arrived, and they're quite excited to be in the final 3, especially Jessica. A little later, in the backyard, she mentions to Ralph that she didn't expect to be here, and that the 3 of them have always been a team. (Even while Michael was on the red team?) As time passed, though, Jessica was starting to seem a little drunk, due to the champagne. She tried to get into a hammock, but fell out. Eventually, at 3:22AM, they go to bed. Well, except for Michael; he stays up a little longer.

But it's only 4 in the morning!

At 3:49AM, the phone rings. Michael, the only one up, answers it; it's Ramsay, who says there's an emergency. He tells Michael that he, Ralph, and Jessica need to get into the blue kitchen with their chef's jackets on ASAP. Michael acknowledges this, and after hanging up, he goes and gets the others, attempting to wake them up. At 3:54AM, Ramsay and sous-chef Scott are waiting in the kitchen, and Michael is still trying to wake the others up, but to little avail. Jessica and Ralph are having a hard time believing Michael. That is, until Scott enters and yells to them to get going. That gets everyone up and dressed, ready for whatever this emergency is.

At 4:04AM, the chefs are finally lined up in the blue kitchen, and Ramsay lets them know what's going on; their next dinner service is happening in about 15 hours, and they need bread. So, they're going to bake that bread at this time. Ramsay heads off to get some sleep, while Scott makes sure that they know how to make the bread. Then, Scott also leaves to get some much needed rest, leaving the 3 to their work. Jessica is still a little drunk, so this could get quite interesting.

At 5:12AM, Michael and Ralph are busy with some dough, while Jessica is just standing there, yawning. She eventually gets the bright idea to get some rest on a cutting board. After a bit, though, she is awakened by a buzzer. Once awake, Jessica whistles while walking to the back. She then returns and starts helping with the bread. But then, Michael tells her that she should try to get some sleep. So at 6:03AM, Jessica is back in the dorm, climbing back into bed, chef's jacket still on, as Michael and Ralph continue making the bread.

An hour later, they've completed most of it, and Jessica is once again awake, and now finally ready to help. Eventually, the bread gets done, and they decide to try to get as much sleep as they can. At 8:05AM, all 3 of them are back in bed, trying to get as much rest as they possibly can. They won't get much sleep, though, as at 9:57AM, sous-chef Maryann comes in with a triangle, there to wake them up. They get changed back into their gear and head back into the kitchen.

Sleepy soufflés

The group lines up in the dining room, and after asking them about the overnight bread experience, Ramsay announces that for the dinner service that night, they'll each come up with an individual dish, and this time, what customers think of those dishes will determine who stays and who goes. He then sends the group into the blue kitchen, where he explains the next challenge, which Ramsay deems his favorite: they must make a soufflé He shows them how to make the perfect soufflé, then mentions that they can choose some extra ingredients, which are provided on trays in front of them. And they'll have 10 minutes.

Time starts, and the sleep-deprived chefs begin making their soufflés. Ralph says that he knew which extra ingredients he'd use the moment he saw his tray. Michael mentions how hard something like this can be when they've had very little sleep. Jessica notes that the egg whites have to be done just right, because even the slightest mistake is noticeable.

Time runs out, and the chefs are done. Jessica used a bit of mint and raspberries. Ralph used chocolate, hazelnut, and mint. Michael used raspberries and chocolate. Ramsay takes the soufflés and puts them in an oven to bake for 15 minutes, where they rise like they should. They do rise, and after the 15 minutes, Ramsay takes them out for tasting. He starts with Jessica's, and after noting its sponginess, he tastes it and, well, he hated it. I guess we know who's not winning this one. Ralph's is next, and though Ramsay liked the taste, he says that there should have been more egg white in it. Finally, he tastes Michael's, and he says it needed more sugar.

After that, Ramsay declares that the winner is... Ralph! He is excited to have won one of these challenges. Ramsay then says that Michael gets 2nd place, and Jessica gets 3rd place. Now, for the reward. Ralph is expecting some sort of trip outside of Hell's Kitchen, as he has yet to get one of those. And what Ralph gets, is a choice... between beef, chicken, and tuna. Huh? Apparently, all this is for is to determine who gets what type of meat for their individual dishes for the next dinner service. And for winning, Ralph gets first choice. He chooses beef. Michael gets second choice for coming in 2nd. He chooses tuna. That leaves Jessica with chicken.

Personal dishes

Now, it's time for the chefs to create their dishes. They go to the red kitchen for this. Michael goes with something that's simple to make, yet full of flavour. Ralph chooses to go with something that has been a top seller at Hell's Kitchen so far. Jessica is still trying to decide what to do, and is asking the sous-chefs for advice. Eventually, she does decide on something. With their ideas ready, they get started prepping for the dinner service.

At 6:03PM, Ramsay stops them for a bit to say something; he reminds them that their individual dishes, as well as their performance in the kitchen, will determine who's going home. And he still wants to see a fully-booked dining room fully served. [As a reminder, the closest they've come so far is back when the red team managed to complete serving their half of the dining room.] With that, he gets them back to the prep.

[This service has the chefs in the red kitchen once again.]

VIPs and dessert troubles

The clock strikes 7PM, and Hell's Kitchen is once again open. As the customers file in, here are the individual dishes that will be judged:

Ralph - Filet Mignon
Michael - Sesame-Crusted Tuna
Jessica - Stuffed Chicken Breast

The customers order their meals, while the chefs are hard at work getting ready for the first order. Ramsay reminds them again of the goal to complete the service. Once the first order is in, Ramsay reads it out, and the chefs get working on it. We then find out that Ramsay had invited friends and family of the 3 chefs to Hell's Kitchen to dine. But the 3 don't know that. Ramsay then mentions to Jessica that when it's time for the desserts, that'll mean she'll have more than just her individual dish to make. It is also noted that in addition to their dishes, Michael is also handling the starters, and Ralph deals with the vegetables.

30 minutes in, and the starters are moving rather quickly. Now, for the main courses. Ramsay asks Jessica for a time for her chicken, and she says one minute. As a result, he has Ralph redress a filet mignon. Ramsay reminds the group that they still have to communicate, so they can coordinate and make sure each dish is ready at the right time, so they can be served. Then, Jessica says that she needs 2 more minutes. Geez, how long is it supposed to take to get chicken done?

Here, it is noted that the chef's families have been seated in the balcony area, out of the view of the kitchen, to keep their presence a secret. The maitre d', JP, greets each of them up there, while back in the kitchen, Ramsay reads an order from what he says is a VIP table. He says he's not sure what's happening, but they have VIPs. This is meant as a bit of a cover, as those VIPs are the families of the chefs. And the table asks for one of each individual dish.

1 hour in, and everything appears to be moving well. We then see some random customer's opinions of the main courses. The filet mignon and the chicken are getting good marks, but one customer hated the tuna. Back in the kitchen, things are still moving smoothly, and it's time for Jessica to start on some desserts. Soon, she is walking around the kitchen with her chicken, even asking Ralph to handle one of her dishes, so she can take care of desserts. Michael takes care of the chicken, and soon enough, main courses are headed to the VIPs.

The families don't know which dish their loved ones made, so they can judge each one fairly. Buffy, Ralph's fiancé, likes the steak (good news for Ralph) and the tuna, but doesn't like the chicken, and has to spit out some of it. In the kitchen, Jessica is keeping her focus on desserts, so Michael is taking care of her chicken dishes for her. He could have easily sabotaged her dishes, but he doesn't seem to do so, as he and Ralph are able to get most main courses served.

But Jessica is struggling with the desserts. She says she needs help, but the others are still busy finishing up the main courses. Then, Ramsay starts yelling at her about how she's not getting them done fast enough. Jessica says she's trying, but Ramsay says it's not enough. She makes an offer to Ralph to switch stations, but he can't. Michael and Ralph are closing in on getting all the main courses served, though, so help may not be that far away...

It is 9:30PM, and Jessica sends up a pair of soufflés, but Ramsay rejects them. She asks Michael about switching, but he assures her that he'll start helping soon, once the main courses are out. Then, a desperate Jessica decides to try asking Ramsay for help. Right, like that'll happen. All she gets is some more yelling, this time about why he can't help. But wait a minute... JP enters the kitchen to see how Jessica is doing? Yep, and he even gives her an idea while reminding her about tables that need serving! Ramsay asks why JP is in there, and he gets back to the dining room. Ramsay once again tries to get an answer from Jessica about how the desserts are coming, and she once again reiterates that she's doing what she can. JP, meanwhile, heads to the VIP tables to let the families know that the desserts will take a little longer than expected.

Eventually, they get down to a few tickets left, and they're getting ever-so-close to completing the service. Soon enough, they're down to the last ticket, and Michael tells Jessica to make sure the dessert station is clean for when they get the chance to help. Soon, the last of the main courses are sent out, and we find out that 42 of the filet mignon, 34 of the chicken, and 26 of the tuna was ordered and served. And now, Michael and Ralph are finally helping Jessica with the desserts, since that's all that's left to do.

The 3 chefs are busy cranking out the desserts, and they even manage to get some to a table just before they were ready to leave without dessert! (Close call, eh?) Soon enough, they are able to get the last of those desserts out, and guess what? With the last soufflé arriving at a VIP table, the chefs have completed the service! For the first time, the entire dining room has been fully served! Ramsay calls them over, and congratulates them for a job well done. And considering they did this while deprived of sleep, they deserve it. The only bad thing? Someone still has to go home. Upon mentioning this, he tells them to clean up for the day.

Afterwards, Jessica feels that she did alright, but not great. But she was glad that a lot of people ordered her chicken dish. While she continues cleaning up, Michael and Ralph are outside in the backyard, and Michael says he's nervous, since he's not sure what'll happen. He knows that the chicken outsold his tuna, so he's praying that he did better than at least one other person. Ralph then says that he's also nervous. Of course, we hear that Michael is hoping for Ralph to go home this time, to get rid of his biggest threat. Later, all 3 are inside, resting and relaxing, while talking about the kind of road it has been, and how tough this elimination is.

The judgment of the loved ones

The group walks into the dining room and lines up, and Ramsay once again reiterates how glad he is that they did so well this time. He then gives them a surprise. He starts by presenting Michael's family, who enter through the front door. Hugs all around. Jessica's family is next, and more hugs ensue. Same thing when Ralph's family is introduced. Aww...

With that, Ramsay lets the final 3 know that their families ate at Hell's Kitchen on this night (good thing they chose this night, as Ramsay mentioned), and they will be helping him decide whose dish was the best. This will also determine who is going home. We get a flashback showing that, without knowing who made what dish, and without knowing what impact this would have, each of the friends and family members had written which dish they thought was best after the dinner service.

Before the results are revealed, here's a reminder of who made what:

Ralph: Filet Mignon
Jessica: Chicken
Michael: Tuna

Now, starting with Ralph's family...

Buffy (fiancé) - Tuna
Christine (mother) - Tuna
Richard (uncle) - Tuna

Ouch for Ralph, as his family basically gave Michael 3 points. Let's see what Jessica's family thought...

Courtney (girlfriend) - Tuna
Bonnie (sister) - Chicken
Deborah (mother) - Filet Mignon

More evened out, there. The score so far...

Michael - 4
Jessica - 1
Ralph - 1

I think it's safe to say that Michael will be safe from elimination. Now, for his family...

Lola (wife) - Filet Mignon
Jay (father-in-law) - Filet Mignon
Christina (mother-in-law) - Tuna

Ralph makes up some ground, but let's see the final score...

Michael - 5
Ralph - 3
Jessica - 1

With that, Ramsay lets the families know who made what, and tells Jessica to hand over her jacket. As she does so, Ramsay tells her that she has done very well overall during her stay in Hell's Kitchen. We get flashbacks of some of her more memorable moments throughout the season, and then, Ramsay decides that instead of heading through the back like others before her, she deserves to head out the front door with her family, which she does. Ramsay then lets the others spend some time with their families.

So, we are now down to 2 chefs: Michael and Ralph. One of them will win their very own restaurant. And next week, they face the final test, where they will find out what it's like to run one. Hell's Kitchen will be divided in half and will get a makeover, as the 2 will each design their half of the dining room, as well as their own menus. Plus, they will each have a staff, comprised of previously eliminated contestants, and Michael and Ralph will find out what it's been like to be in Ramsay's shoes during the dinner services. All this, plus we'll find out who wins it all in the 2-hour season finale next week!

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