Hell's Kitchen
Season 2
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Today is

Back Into Hell - June 12

Things are about to heat up once again, because 12 new aspiring chefs are about to enter Gordon Ramsay's world, this time to compete for a spot as Executive Chef of a new restaurant at the new Red Rock resort in Las Vegas.  They may think they know what to expect (especially those who saw the first season), but until they experience it for themselves, they have no idea.  After all, they don't call it "Hell's Kitchen" for nothing...

Right into the fire once again

As we start, a bus holding the new group of 12 is making its way to the restaurant, which pretty much looks like it did last year, albeit with some significant changes.  These people are excited, as they cheer when the bus pulls up to the front door.  When they enter, they are greeted by the maitre d', Jean Philippe (a.k.a. JP).  He lets them walk around the restaurant for a bit, and they seem to like the way this place looks.  As we get proper introductions to some of the contestants for this season, we see Gordon Ramsay in his office, looking at pictures of them and making comments about them (he calls one of them slightly demented).  He then gets up and walks out of the office, and as JP leads the group in a toast, Ramsay makes his entrance.  He lets them know that only one can win, and they must impress him to do so.  He then tells them to get right into the kitchen and cook their signature dishes.

Just like last year, this is their first challenge, and their first chance to show Ramsay what they can do.  Their signature dishes should be a way of saying something about who they are.  But instead of 45 minutes like last season's group got, these people only have 30 minutes.  During this time, one of them needs some wine, but without a corkscrew, he uses a knife to break the top open.  Except he just plain broke the bottle altogether.  Eventually, they get their dishes done, and soon, they're in the dining room, ready for evaluation.  Let's see if these dishes are any better than those that started last year...

Keith (28; a chef/bartender from South Hampton, NY) - "Cha-Ching" Sesame-Crusted Tuna

[He's the one that was called "slightly demented" earlier.]

Ramsay is unfamiliar with the "Cha-Ching" bit, and Keith explains that it's slang for "slammin'" or money.  He says it's light, then Ramsay has him take his hat off, before putting some of the food in the hat.  He then tastes it, and says the sauce is piping hot.  And this is just the beginning...

Rachel (39; a personal chef from Dallas, TX) - Butterflied Shrimp and Chocolate Sauce

Ramsay doesn't like the sound of that.  He tastes it, then says that though the shrimp was cooked nicely, the chocolate sauce ruined it.

Polly (43; a caterer from Ben Franklin, TX) - Undone Focaccia Bread with Garlic Dipping Oil

Yes, Polly says that the Undone part means it's not done.  Oh, boy.  Ramsay doesn't taste it, saying he'd rather eat poodle ****.  Eww.

Larry (38; a fishmonger from Arlington, TX) - Potato Crab Cakes with some Asian Flair

Ramsay says it's very hot, and some of it is crunchy and undercooked.  'Nuff said.

Maribel (31; a cafeteria chef from Brooklyn, NY) - Argentine Plantain Soup

Ramsay tastes it, then spits it out.  He says it's garlicky and hot, and it looks like baby vomit.  Yipes.

At this point, Ramsay feels sick, and he isn't sure if he can go any farther, wondering if it could possibly get any worse.  But he does move on...

Tom (43; a former stockbroker from Belleville, NJ) - Shrimp Scampi with Caesar Salad

[He's the one who broke the bottle of wine earlier.]

He apparently sweats a lot.  Ramsay says a cooked Caesar salad sounds disgusting, then puts that bit in Tom's hands.  He then tastes it, and spits it out.

Heather (25; a sous-chef from Port Jefferson, NY) - Chocolate-Raspberry Empanadas

Ramsay doesn't like the sound of that, either.  He tastes it, and says it's thick on the outside, making it hard to digest.  But he does also say it's the best thing he tasted so far (and that's not saying much).

Garrett (27; a former prison chef from Cedar Park, TX) - [name of dish not mentioned]

Gabe (27; a marketing executive from Chicago, IL) - [name of dish not mentioned]

Ramsay gets Gabe to taste Garrett's dish, and he says it was a little overdone.  Garrett didn't like that comment, but didn't say anything there.  Ramsay then tastes it himself, saying it was dry.  But Gabe's dish doesn't exactly get good marks either, as Ramsay notes the fish in his is raw, so it should have been called sushi.  (Sounds like that wasn't Gabe's intention.)

Giacomo (21; a pizza maker from Euless, TX) - Frutti Di Mare

Sara (31; a deli manager from Dallas, TX) - Herb-Crusted Salmon with Peekytoe Crab Pasta

Ramsay starts with Giacomo's dish, asking Sara to taste it.  She does, and says it's very nice.  Ramsay asks if she means it, or if she's just sucking up, and she says she means it.  Ramsay then tastes it, and says it's not bad, adding that he finally came across something edible.  Ramsay then tastes Sara's dish, and says the pasta is overcooked, like mush.  She's at least happy he didn't spit it out.

Virginia (25; a salad chef from New York, NY) - Coconut and Pomegranate Celery-Root Salad

When asked what on it was cooked, she says the nuts were toasted.  Ramsay doesn't seem impressed with that.  Then, after tasting, he compares it to rabbit food, saying it's raw and crunchy.

Overall, Ramsay says he's deeply concerned.  But he will push them, noting the prize that awaits the winner; that winner will become an executive chef, with a share in profits, at a new, multimillion-dollar restaurant.  He then introduces the sous-chefs, Mary Ann and Scott, who will be second-in-command in the kitchen.  Then, Ramsay splits them up into teams; essentially, men vs. women.  In other words...

Blue: Keith, Larry, Tom, Garrett, Gabe, Giacomo
Rachel, Polly, Maribel, Heather, Sara, Virginia

And once again, Scott will be in the blue kitchen, while Mary Ann will be in the red kitchen.  Scott then leads them to the dorms, where they'll be staying for the duration of the competition.  Like last time, the dorms are located near the kitchens.  But I gotta say, they look better this year.  And there's even a hot tub outside this time!

The first dinner service looms...

The teams get changed into their chef's jackets, and they split up to discuss what they'll do.  Heather seems bent on seeing two women at the end.  Well, last year, it was two men at the end, but who knows...  Needless to say, both teams are confident that they'll thrash the other.

The teams then gather in the blue kitchen, and Ramsay tells them that Hell's Kitchen will be open in 24 hours.  After noting that they may not get much sleep, he sends them off to prepare for their first dinner service.  Both teams are off and running with their first prep, and Polly feels she's the only one who hasn't been to culinary school.  Frankly, I doubt that she's the only one.  Meanwhile, Tom is sweating again, this time with sweat dripping into the food, and Ramsay sees this.  He has that food thrown into the bin (basically, the garbage bin), to be restarted.  Soon, Tom puts on a bandanna, hopefully to deal with the sweat.

Night falls, and at 2:33AM, the red team has finished the day's prep early, while the blue team is still working at it.  The ladies are proud of how well they did, while the guys can't believe it.  The next day, the red team has had plenty of sleep, and are back to prepping for the dinner service, but the blue team only had about 45 minutes of sleep, and it's taking its toll on them.

At 6:53PM, 7 minutes before the dinner service, Ramsay gathers the teams together, and lets them know that someone will be going home before midnight.  He then asks for 2 volunteers.  A few of the ladies raised their hands right away, while only one of the guys, Giacomo, raised his hand, though a bit hesitantly.  He then chooses Heather and Giacomo, before letting them know that for this dinner service, they'll be the "donkeys".  That means it's up to them to keep their respective kitchens clean.  He then sends them back to their kitchens, because it's time.

"I want my food!"

The clock strikes 7PM, and for the first time this season, Hell's Kitchen is open for business!  It seems to have generated a lot of excitement among those in Hollywood.  The customers have filed in, and they get ready to start ordering.  I just have to wonder how many of these customers have seen (or at least heard about) how the first season went.  Anyway, just like before, each kitchen will cook for half of the tables in the dining room.  As the orders are being taken, the red team seems quite nervous, while with the blue team, Tom is reminded not to sweat in the food.  At 7:11PM, the blue team gets the first order.  The team gets going on it, and while the donkeys are hard at work, the red team gets their first order at 7:17PM.

Polly is responsible for appetizers in the red kitchen, while Tom is handling it in the blue kitchen.  The ladies are helping Polly, but the guys aren't helping Tom.  That's definitely not a good sign for the blue team.  And, as such, the ladies are first to be ready with appetizers at the hot plate (where Ramsay inspects the food, to see if it meets his high standards).  Unfortunately, the food is so stiff, it's sticking to the plate.  Ramsay has them restart it.  Meanwhile, Tom has his first appetizer ready, but Ramsay isn't happy with that, either.  I think I'm starting to see where this is going.  At 7:58PM, all the customers have had to eat is the bread.  Yep, that's what I thought.  We have another potential first disaster on our hands.

When Ramsay calls for a time on a risotto, Polly says 6 minutes.  But Sara says 2 minutes, and Polly says she's handling it, so it'll be 6 minutes.  Oh, dear...  Polly soon has the risotto ready, but Ramsay has her taste it.  She says it's bland.  Ramsay tells her to start it again, while berating her about the bland risotto.  On the other side, Tom is ready again.  And this time, his appetizers are approved, and as a result, the blue team is the first to have food served!  And they manage to keep up the momentum, keeping those appetizers coming.  However, one customer tells JP that he was expecting pumpkin in his risotto, but it's not there.  The customer then heads up to the hot plate to complain, but Ramsay says he's too busy making sure other tables get served.  He even goes so far as to saying he'll get some pumpkin, and have it rammed up his ***!  That's Gordon Ramsay for ya...

Then, in the blue kitchen, a fire has started under one of the pans!  Hey, it wouldn't be Hell's Kitchen without fire, right?  Tom doesn't seem to be doing much to put out the fire, but it eventually goes out, and the result is a lot of smoke!  Ramsay yells at him about it, and the fire seems to have slowed things down.  Meanwhile, in the red kitchen, Polly is now on her 4th attempt at that first order!  Ramsay reminds her that the ladies have yet to get a single table served.  He then decides to have Polly and Heather switch roles; Polly is now the donkey, and Heather is now cooking.  Heather is glad to finally be able to help with the food.  Back in the blue kitchen, Tom is trying to cook something, but something isn't right.  Ramsay then points out the problem: the stove is off!  Geez, how did Tom not realize that?

In the dining room, we see some starving customers.  No surprise there.  Meanwhile, Ramsay expects Larry to do, well, something.  Anything.  'Cause he's apparently doing nothing.  At 8:33PM, Heather gets some food to the pass (another term for the hot plate), and it gets approved!  The red team has finally managed to get food into the dining room!  And Sara apparently thinks that's a reason to celebrate, as she cheers!  Heather tells her to keep quiet, but it's too late, as Ramsay heard it.  He then tells the ladies that there's no reason to cheer, because it took way too long for them to get appetizers out to a single table.

At 8:53PM, both teams have gotten out their appetizers.  Now, Virginia and Gabe have their work cut out for them, as they're on entrées.  Ramsay asks for a time for some meat, and Gabe says 10 minutes, because it's not well-done yet.  Ramsay isn't impressed.  Meanwhile, Virginia has a Wellington ready, but Ramsay tells her the meat isn't cooked.  Moments later, when asked for a time for the Wellington, Virginia says she doesn't know.  She's clearly flustered, and Ramsay isn't liking this one bit.  And at a red table, some hungry customers seem to be losing their patience.  Then, a fire is started in the red kitchen!  It doesn't last long, though.  And as if it wasn't clear enough that Virginia is getting desperate, after being told by Mary Ann that their veal stock isn't going to pass for lamb stock, she goes over to the blue kitchen to ask the guys for lamb stock!  Needless to say, the guys refused.

At 10PM, customers who have had plenty of wine but very little food start chanting, "I want my food!  I want my food!"  The stress is really starting to take its toll, especially on Ramsay, who tells the teams to listen to it!  He then decides that he can't take it anymore, and he has the kitchens shut down.  JP has to tell the customers the bad news, and they're disappointed.  Methinks a good number of them didn't see the first season of this show, then.

Making sense of a mess

Once the restaurant is closed, Ramsay has the teams lined up, and tells them that it's safe to say there aren't any winners this time.  Well, duh.  But he still has to pick a losing team, from which one person will be eliminated.  He mentions the red team's unnecessary cheering after they finally got something served, and also mentions a bunch of staring from the blue team, especially from Larry.  So, though not much came out of the kitchen, Ramsay will base his decision on what did come out of there.  With that, he declares the red team to be the losing team, due to 0 entrées served from their kitchen.  Ramsay then says that it was when Heather swapped places with Polly that the team finally got food served, so it will be up to Heather, as the best of the worst, to nominate 2 of her teammates for elimination.

Out in the backyard, Heather asks the other ladies how they feel.  Maribel says she's upset that she didn't get the chance to work the hot line.  Polly felt like an idiot.  She says that when Sara tried to get her to say 2 minutes, she didn't, because she didn't want to lie.  The other ladies apparently felt the same way.  Then, when Heather is on her own, Sara comes in and apologizes for the cheer.  But Heather doesn't seem so forgiving.  Meanwhile, Virginia doesn't like that she couldn't get food out properly.  But Heather tells her that she doesn't want her to go home.  Seems like things aren't looking too good for Polly or Sara...

The worst of the worst

It's time for the first elimination of the season.  The blue team is sitting at a table in the dining room, ready to see which member of the red team will have the dubious honour of being the first one gone.  Ramsay confirms that Heather has made her decision, then asks for the first nomination.  Heather chooses Polly, because she feels they could do better without her, due to her lack of experience.  Ramsay then asks for the second nomination, and Heather chooses... Virginia.  Why?  "Because she didn't do the best that she could," says Heather.  Interesting.

Anyway, Ramsay asks for Polly and Virginia to step forward and plead their cases.  Virginia says that she does make mistakes, but she wants to learn to do better, and she wants to try harder next time.  Polly says she has maturity and depth that some of the other, younger ladies lack.  Ramsay notes that this is a difficult decision, because he feels both should go.  We then see flashbacks of Virginia being flustered, and of Polly being forced to switch to being a "donkey".  Ramsay then makes his decision, and it will be Polly who has to hand over her chef's jacket and leave.  Her inability to get anything served for the first 90 minutes was what did her in.  And at this point, Ramsay has the feeling that none of these people deserve the prize that awaits the winner.  They all definitely need to improve, and they'd better do it soon.

And that's just the beginning of this journey through Hell.  Let's see what the next episode has in store, shall we?



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