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Eat Steak, Eat Steak, Eat a Big Ol' (^_^)ing Steer - June 12

The ladies head back to the dorm, dejected since they not only lost a teammate, but since they lost the first dinner service as well. Sara felt humiliated as a woman chef. Virginia felt that she was definitely in danger of going home that night. Meanwhile, the guys are happy, and both Gabe and Garrett are feeling confident that a guy will win. Well, it's still early in the competition, and I'd honestly say it's still too close to call at this point...

A pair of wake-up calls

At 5:24AM, the teams have only had a few hours of sleep, but that's not gonna stop Mary Ann and Scott from entering the dorms to make a lot of noise. Specifically, they enter with cowbells clanging, to wake everyone up. Giacomo compared the situation to something like World War III, and Virginia thought it was obnoxious. The sous-chefs then bring everyone outside to a pair of dumpsters, where Chef Ramsay is waiting. He says the night before was embarrassing, then notes that Virginia is lucky to still be here, and Larry needs to show more passion.

Ramsay then says that a restaurant would never survive with the amount of waste that the teams produced during the first dinner service. Then, to make sure they understand exactly how much waste they caused, he asks them to get into the dumpsters, and pull it out. They pull out the trash bags, and empty them out onto the ground, and what they get is a gross sight; a lot of wasted food. It was hard for them to see that stuff, but Tom is at least glad they didn't have to eat it. Um, you may want to avoid giving them any ideas. Anyway, Ramsay says they can't allow so much waste to happen again, then he tells them to go back in and clean up, since they stink. And I think he meant that in more ways than one.

There's plenty at "steak"

Some time later that day, the teams gather in the blue kitchen, and Ramsay introduces their next challenge; cutting steak. They're adding steak to the menu for the next dinner service, so they're gonna need plenty of it. Ramsay then demonstrates the proper way of cutting the meat to ensure a perfect 10-ounce steak, and no waste. Then, to ensure that both teams are even for this challenge, Keith is asked to sit out for the challenge. He doesn't like that idea, since he says he has cut a lot of steak before. Ramsay then explains that the challenge is to cut as many top-quality 10-ounce sirloin steaks as they can in 10 minutes.

The time starts, and they get to cutting. As they do so, they're told that a phenomenal prize awaits the winners, and a punishment awaits the losers. At this point, the narrator explains what exactly they have to do. They have to separate the sirloin from the bone, then remove a layer of fat without damaging the meat, then evenly slice the meat into 10-ounce portions. Both teams felt that it was important for them to win this one. Time runs out, and it's time to see how they did.

Sara starts for the red team, and she manages to get 3 of her steaks approved. Heather could only get 2, Rachel managed 3, Virginia scores a pair, and Maribel gets 2. With that, the red team has a score of 12, and "a lot of wasted meat", as Ramsay says. Now, for the blue team. Gabe starts things off with 3, and he feels the other guys will definitely get at least 3 each, if not more. Unfortunately, Garrett only manages to get 1 steak approved. Suddenly, things don't look so good for the guys. Giacomo scores 2 for them. And then, there's Larry. He has cut plenty of steak, but none of it meets Ramsay's high standards. That means that it's currently 12-6 for the ladies, and it's all down to Tom. He needs 6 to tie, and 7 to win. A lofty goal, considering how the others did. But a good number of his steaks do look good, so who knows. He does manage to score at least 5, meaning another one will tie... but that's all he'll get. Final score:

Red - 12
Blue - 11

The ladies win it! Though Tom was the best of the bunch, his efforts weren't enough to offset how badly some of his teammates did. As a result, the guys will be cutting all the steak for the next dinner service, while the ladies will be dining with Ramsay at Saddle Peak Lodge, a place that specializes in wild game. Ramsay then tells the ladies to be quick, because the helicopter is waiting for them. Needless to say, the red team is excited.

Meat on the table

Soon enough, the ladies are on the helicopter, and they're enjoying the nice view. On the other hand, the guys are cutting the steak, and Keith can't believe they lost this challenge. Larry, though, seems to be isolated from the group, as he is working on his own, while the others are working together. He also says he may not be feeling too good. And the team isn't sure if Larry can pull it together. Considering his poor performance in the dinner service, as well as in the steak challenge, yeah, I'd say that's a cause for concern. And at Saddle Peak Lodge, Ramsay is chatting with the women, saying that they'll now see 10-ounce sirloin steaks in a different way when they see it on a menu. Virginia says she can't wait to get to know him a little better, "maybe on a different level". I'll just leave it at that.

While they toast, the blue team continues to cut the meat. Tom is sweeping the floor, as they mention how they plan on coming back and defeating the ladies in the next dinner service. Speaking of whom, they return, and both teams do a bit of friendly trash-talking as they pass by the guys. Then, later, as the ladies enjoy themselves in the hot tub, the guys are planning for the next day. That is, except for Larry, who suddenly acts like he's feeling better, and joins the women in the hot tub! That's gotta make one suspicious, though he says he just likes women. Yeah. Anyway, at 4:20AM, the teams are asleep. That is, except for Larry, who seems to be having some sort of health problems. He calls for help, and we hear the ominous sound of an ambulance's siren...

Stress and service

The next day, everyone is in the dorms, and they're wondering where Larry is. No one has any idea where he went. There is some speculation that maybe it has to do with him not feeling well, but Tom mentions how he seemed fine in the hot tub the night before. Then, the phone rings. Sara answers it... It's Larry... He's at the hospital. Everyone gathers at the phone to hear him. He says that all the stress was basically too much for his body to take, and he won't be able to return to the game. But he does give everyone some words of encouragement. Most of them were sad about Larry's sudden departure (even Heather felt it was unfortunate that he had to leave this way), and everyone wished him well. It is unfortunate, but as he said, at least he didn't quit.

Later, the teams, who are now even at 5 members each, have begun their prep. Sara doesn't seem too worried about Larry's exit anymore, since it means one less opponent. Giacomo wants to win this one badly. Eventually, minutes before the opening, Ramsay gathers the teams together. He then mentions that running a good restaurant needs not only good food, but good service as well. I think I see where this is going... He then says that Sara will be a waitress, serving the red tables, and Keith will be a waiter, serving the blue tables. Yep, just as I thought. They did this last year; they're doing it again. And Keith isn't happy about it; he'd rather cook.

When you play with fire...

It is 7PM. Hell's Kitchen is open. The customers file in, hungry for some of Gordon Ramsay's top-notch food. Of course, what they're gonna get is food from the contestants. That is, if they get any food at all (aside from the bread and wine). The teams in the kitchens are preparing for their first orders. Sara serves a table, while Keith heads upstairs, sweating. Sara gets her first order in, and Ramsay lets the ladies know what it is, so they get going. The guys... are just waiting for the first order from Keith. Keith gets it in at 7:20PM, but Ramsay notes that he forgot to write the meat temperatures on the ticket. He then asks for a napkin or mop for Keith's sweaty forehead, before telling him to write the order again. So, the guys are gonna keep waiting.

The red team has some appetizers ready, but Ramsay notes a problem with the vinaigrette in Virginia's monkfish. She says it has walnut in it, but Ramsay says the walnut is for the scallops, before dropping the dish on the floor. The plate shatters, and the ladies get it cleaned up. As a result of that one rejection, the whole set of appetizers has to be redone, because Ramsay will only serve food that's not only top-notch, but freshly prepared. Meanwhile, Ramsay is still waiting for Keith's first ticket at 7:32PM. Soon, he finally gets it in, and Ramsay lets him know that he shouldn't be screwing with his team like this.

Ramsay then reads the order to the guys, and Tom asks for it to be repeated. After it's repeated, Gabe asks if 2 quail is needed, even though there was no mention of it. Okay, it's one thing to not pay attention to it the first time. But to not pay attention to it the second time... Needless to say, Gabe gets yelled at for it. 45 minutes into the dinner service, and no food has left the kitchen. Sara has to ensure a table that some food is coming. In the red kitchen, Heather is helping Maribel with some appetizers, while in the blue kitchen, everyone is helping Gabe. Ramsay asks for a time, and everyone answers. Ramsay doesn't like this, because while they're helping him, they're not doing their own jobs properly. Gabe gets yelled at some more, due to his apparent incompetence.

At 8:05PM, appetizers are finally flowing out of the kitchens, and to the customers. And the customers like what they have gotten. In the red kitchen, the ladies are getting their first entrées ready, but in the process, Heather accidentally burns her hand! Oh, boy. Ramsay heads over to help her cool down her hand, and calls over JP. He has to yell a few times, before asking to get some ice to them. Once they get the ice, Ramsay gets Heather's hand in there. The other ladies are still trying to cook, though, and Heather, despite the pain, is still helping out by telling them what she had going. Ramsay then tells her to head to the back to see a nurse, and she does so. In the back, they say that Heather has to go and see a doctor. Looks like we have another one going to the hospital...

Back in the red kitchen, Ramsay is telling the ladies to stay calm, but things have simply gotten more chaotic. Looks like the loss of Heather is really taking its toll on them. Meanwhile, in the blue kitchen, the guys are starting their entrées, with Tom on meat, and Giacomo on sides. They're supposed to communicate with each other, to ensure that everything comes together. That's not what we're seeing here. What we're seeing here is Giacomo not knowing what's happening with the duck. Eventually, Ramsay says to him that he's supposed to tell Tom that there's a problem, and Giacomo responds by saying, "There's a problem." Yeah.

Soon enough, there's a customer at the pass, asking if he's getting any food any time soon. Ramsay simply responds by saying he's "in a kitchen with muppets". The way things are going, I'd say that's accurate. Soon, Sara approaches, asking if she should change back into her uniform and get cooking in the kitchen. Ramsay decides that that's actually a good idea, and says yes. So, she excitedly heads to the dorms and gets changed, then returns to the kitchen, to the meat section. Back in the blue kitchen, Ramsay is still waiting for their first entrées; a duck and a chicken. Tom says the meat is ready for their sides, but the sides don't seem ready. In fact, Giacomo apparently decided to have the cabbage fried! Ramsay yells at him, and tells him he may have been better off as a hairdresser.

In the dining room, Keith is at a blue table, and customers there have been waiting for 2 hours for their entrées. Keith has to assure them that it's coming. But as we reach 10PM, other customers have decided that they've had enough, and are leaving the restaurant. But the ladies are still pushing, and they do finally get some entrées out. However, a problem arises with a tortellini dish, which Virginia made. One is split, and she says they're stuck together. Ramsay asks if she'd serve that in her restaurant, and she says yes. Ramsay repeats the question, and Virginia again says yes. *BUZZ* Wrong answer! Ramsay asks one more time, and she finally concedes, starting the dish again. In a confessional, Virginia says that though she handled it with care, Ramsay is riding her, and he always rides her. Again, I'll just leave it at that.

Then, JP delivers bad news; a table that the red team was just dealing with is gone. That's never a good sign. Ramsay then has the women stand at the pass and look at the dining room, and has the men do the same. They see plenty of empty tables. Ramsay notes that they see "a death of a restaurant". He then says those dreaded words... "Shut it down." And with that, the dinner service is over.

Chaos = disaster

The teams are gathered, including Heather, who was able to return to Hell's Kitchen, albeit with a bandaged-up hand. Ramsay starts by welcoming her back, then complimenting her on delegating her section to the team while enduring the pain of the burn. Despite that, the service overall was, as Ramsay said, "terrible". He sends Virginia a message about standards, then asks Gabe what exactly he was doing on this night. He then says that it was chaotic everywhere, with a lack of communication in general, and he isn't happy. He then announces that this time, the losing team is... the blue team. Simply because they didn't get any entrées out this time. The red team managed 10 this time, so while the ladies took a step forward, the guys took a step backward. Ramsay then says that only Garrett didn't have a bad service (among the guys), so he'll be the one to nominate 2 teammates for elimination.

Back in the dorms, Garrett says he won't put Keith up, since he was in the dining room, and not the kitchen. Giacomo says he won't say anything, letting Garrett decide for himself. But Garrett sees a tough choice, as he feels Giacomo, Gabe, and Tom all sucked. Gabe says he didn't know what was going on all the time, and he's definitely in danger of going home. Tom asks what was wrong with the cabbage, and Giacomo notes the lack of communication between the two. Well, at least he acknowledged that mistake at some point... Giacomo feels like he has always been the target. And Tom apparently proves it by telling him that if he wants "adult respect", to get a haircut. Meanwhile, Garrett decides that his decision should be about what's best for him, and to cut out the weak links. If only there weren't so many of those...

Not nominated = safe (or is it...?)

The red team is now sitting at a table, watching as the blue team now has to lose a member. Ramsay confirms that Garrett has made a decision, then asks for the first nominee. Garrett chooses... Giacomo, due to that night's "major malfunction". Ramsay asks for the second nominee, and Garrett chooses... Tom, noting that it was a tough decision. Ramsay then asks both of them to step forward, then asks Tom how many entrées they served. Tom says none, due to the lack of communication. He also says that what happened there won't happen again, and he won't let it happen again. Ramsay then says he believes Tom, asking him to get back in line. He then shocks the room by asking Gabe to step forward. Despite the nominations, it seems like Ramsay had something else in mind...

Ramsay now asks for Gabe and Giacomo to tell him why they should stay. Gabe says he came to learn from the best, and to be the best. Giacomo compares his goal to that of a greasy potato. Ramsay retorts with the words, "greasy mop" (referring to Giacomo's hair). He then notes that it's a tough decision, and the flashbacks show Gabe asking about quail when it clearly wasn't mentioned, and Giacomo showing his lack of communication. Ramsay then decides that Gabe is going home. He says that Gabe was too much of a sweet guy to be a cook. Then, after Gabe takes off his chef's jacket and leaves, Ramsay tells Giacomo to "get a grip", before sending everyone to the dorms to sleep.

Well, this was certainly quite the start to a new season of Hell's Kitchen. Ramsay continues to demand perfection, and again, early on, the contestants are having a hard time doing so. But I'm not sure if this start can be considered as bad as how last year's players started, or worse. As for who I think has a chance to win it all, I'd rank Heather at the top, with Garrett in second. But it is early, so only time will tell what will happen...

Next week, Sara seems to go missing, the "battles of the sexes" gets really tense due to some off-handed comments from Garrett, chefs turn on each other, and Ramsay decides to do something drastic, to try to improve things.


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