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Five Chefs Remain - July 24

Last week, the blue team lost an inspirational challenge, but despite their punishment, they managed to complete their dinner service for the first time, while the red team had trouble getting a single entrée served.  And though it seemed that Sara was more likely to be eliminated, it was Maribel that was sent packing.  5 remain, and a change is looming...

Talk of a merge

After returning to the dorms, Virginia is on her bed, in tears after having been on the chopping block once again.  And who comes to try to comfort her?  Sara.  Yeah, I'm surprised, too.  Even though she still thinks Virginia won't last much longer.  We'll see...  Meanwhile, outside, the blue team is chatting, and Heather says the teams are gonna merge.  Keith thinks there will be one more round with red vs. blue, but Heather seems certain of the merge, mentioning that the next day will see them competing in individual challenges, adding that the winner will pick someone to come with them.  Sounds like Heather really paid attention to the first season.  After she left, though, the guys seem to make an agreement where if one of them wins, he'll pick the other.  Basically, Keith and Garrett plan on watching each other's backs, as they're the only 2 guys left.

She knew it was coming!

The next day, still in the dorms, and it seems like Heather and Keith are really getting along.  Heather remembers Keith's prediction a while ago of the 2 of them being the final 2 [and at this point, it really seems likely], but she's also wary of the possibility that he may have a deal with someone else.  At 7:51AM, the teams are lined up in the dining room, and Ramsay congratulates them for getting this far.  He then announces that they will now become one team.  Just like Heather expected.  Ramsay then asks each of them, starting with Virginia, to step forward, and receive new chef's jackets with black on the shoulders instead of the team colors.  Then, he tells them to go and get changed, and return in 10 minutes.  Needless to say, they're all excited.

About 10 minutes later, the newly merged team is ready, and Ramsay gives them their first individual challenge (again, as Heather expected).  They will be shown 10 ingredients, and in 20 minutes, they'll have to create "something special".  The winner of this challenge will take a trip to Las Vegas, and they'll get to see the restaurant that the overall winner of this competition will be running!  After making sure that they all want this reward, Ramsay unveils the ingredients; fresh prawns, a loin of veal, baby spinach, lentils, saffron, fresh truffles, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, mushrooms, and white beets.

With that, the 20 minutes begins.  Basically, this is the type of test that Ramsay usually gives potential chefs before hiring them.  As they go, he also warns them that some of those ingredients require the entire 20 minutes to cook.  Garrett feels that he needs to step up after not doing so well in the last dinner service.  Keith felt that he was in a hurry, since he had up to 5 pans going.  Sara felt she didn't have enough time to cook the lentils.  Soon enough, time is up, and the chefs rush to plate their dishes.  Everyone has their dishes covered and ready, and Ramsay begins judging...

Garrett - Veal over the prawn and mushroom, with a bit of saffron

Ramsay says the veal was cooked perfectly, and it tastes nice, but there's too much saffron in the prawns.

Heather - Fresh saffron prawns over a bed of wilted spinach and Jerusalem artichokes

He says it's nice, but there's some dirt on the spinach.  Heather says she washed the spinach, but apparently, it wasn't washed enough.

Virginia - Chiffonade of spinach and beet tops, and poached prawns garnished with truffles

He says the prawns are delicious and vibrant.  He wishes she could have cooked like this the night before.

Sara - Grilled veal, with a sauce where she "toasted the shells from the prawn"

He says the presentation is boring, but it works well in terms of flavor.

Keith - Veal chops stuffed with wild mushrooms and spinach over a prawn salad

Ramsay says he managed an amazing color on the veal, that makes him want to dive in, and it's delicious.

Overall, Ramsay felt that they've all done better than he expected with this, so this will be a very tough decision to make.  But he has narrowed it down to Keith and Virginia.  After some pondering, Ramsay then gives the win to... Keith!  He's excited.  But of course, there's more; he can bring someone with him to Vegas!  (Again, Heather saw this coming.)  This presents an interesting dilemma.  Does he choose Garrett, since he's the only other guy there?  Does he choose Heather, whom he predicted would join him in the final 2?  Keith takes his time, thinking about his decision.  Finally, he decides to choose... Virginia, because her dish was the second-best in the challenge.  Interesting.  Virginia is clearly excited, while Garrett is disappointed, feeling that Keith just proved himself to be a liar.

Of course, there's a punishment for those who aren't going to Vegas; the whole restaurant is being fumigated tonight, to make sure it's bug-free and ready for the next dinner service.  So, they'll have to wrap everything up in both kitchens.  Ramsay then tells Keith and Virginia to get changed, and they head back to the dorms to do so.  Meanwhile, Heather and Sara start cleaning up the dishes, while Garrett, arms crossed, just stands there for a moment, seemingly ticked.  Back in the dorms, Virginia thanks Keith for picking her, but he mentions to her that he told Garrett he was originally gonna pick him, and he's gonna go nuts about this.

Oh, how I wish I could go to Vegas...

Back in the kitchens, the others have begun to wrap everything up in plastic wrap.  And I mean everything.  But Garrett's mind is preoccupied.  You can probably guess why.  Soon enough, he decides to just go and take care of something, and Heather says, "Oh, my God.  Better not be knives back in the dorm."  Considering Garrett has been in jail before, I'd say that's a legitimate concern.  Anyway, Garrett heads into the backyard, sees Keith, and starts yelling at him about breaking his word.  Keith says he made a mistake, and he apologizes, but he was torn because of how well Virginia did in the challenge.  But Garrett is still angry, and in a confessional, he says he hopes the plane (that Keith and Virginia will take to get to Vegas) crashes.  Oh my...

But it doesn't crash, and Keith and Virginia make it safely to Las Vegas, where a red limo is waiting for them.  They see Red Rock Casino, and Keith does his impression of a slot machine going off after a win.  They pull up to the casino, and who was there to greet them?  Ramsay.  He welcomes them, then says they'll be meeting the restaurant's architect.  Back at the kitchen, the others complete the big job of wrapping everything up.  But the sous-chefs, Mary Ann and Scott, let them know that the punishment isn't over yet.  It turns out that the 3 of them will be the ones spraying the kitchen to get rid of any bugs.  The sous-chefs give them the equipment and protective gear needed, and they tell them to get going.

Back in Vegas, Ramsay introduces Keith and Virginia to Albie Colotto, the main guy behind the construction of the restaurant that one of the 5 will win.  Albie then brings them to the site that it will be located.  I say "will be", because it's still under construction at this point.  Both Keith and Virginia are looking around, and they're imagining their dream restaurants in that area.  Ramsay then tells them that he had to borrow £25,000 from the bank when he opened his first restaurant back in October '93, and he was sweating for a couple of years to pay it back.  And that restaurant wasn't even 1/3 the size of this.  So, really, this will indeed be a dream come true for whoever wins this.  Ramsay then says that he planned a night on the town for them.  Sounds like fun.

What likely isn't fun is the fumigation that Heather, Garrett, and Sara have to do.  Sara mentions that she had 6 eyes when she had her gear on (meaning she had her glasses under the goggles).  And she tries a Darth Vader impression.  Oooooookay...  Meanwhile, Keith and Virginia are back in the limo, really enjoying themselves.  Then later, as they are walking along, they see a replica of the Eiffel Tower.  Keith kids around, saying that JP is there, and Virginia mentions that he's Belgian.  Overall, they had a fun night.  Back in L.A., after completing the fumigation, the others return to the dorms at 2:17AM, and Garrett is again expressing why he's ticked.  Heather tells him that she feels uncomfortable when he gets angry.  Garrett then mentions that after having been put in a youth anger program, he would never lay a hand on another human being again.  I hope he sticks to that, especially once Keith returns...

Tension before the dinner service

At 9:43AM the next day, one has to wonder if Garrett has been able to calm down after getting some sleep.  Keith and Virginia return, and Keith says that Garrett is gonna kill him.  Garrett is holding a knife.  Uh-oh...  Thankfully, though, he puts it back.  Upon arriving back in the dorms, Virginia begins to mention what it was like in Vegas, and how the winner's restaurant is still under construction.  But Keith is not saying much, as he doesn't want to rub it in anyone's faces.  Garrett doesn't want to know all that information yet, however, because he feels he'll get enough information about it after winning.  He'd better improve after what happened in the previous dinner service, then...

At 3:23PM, prep has begun, and Heather is explaining a few things to Sara.  As usual, Sara doesn't like it.  Then, JP calls Keith over, and lets him know that Ramsay was so delighted with his special the day before, that he wants it on the menu tonight!  He then asks for the wording of the dish.  Scott, who is hearing this, asks if it'll be the "Cha-Ching Veal" (a reference to Keith's signature dish back on the first day), and Keith says to just call it "veal chop".  Keith felt honoured that his dish was going to be on the menu.  Then, minutes before Hell's Kitchen opens, Ramsay has a few things to say.  Firstly, the pressure is really on, since it's now just the 5 of them serving the whole dining room (fully booked).  Secondly, among the tables, there is now a 12-top, a circular table that seats 12.  And he wants the whole table served all at once when the time comes to do so.  Sounds like quite the challenge, but are they up for it?

[They'll be cooking in the blue kitchen tonight.]

A big group, a big mistake, and big, um...

7PM.  Restaurant open.  Customers enter and order.  Cooking the appetizers this time is Heather and Sara (it doesn't sound like a good idea to have those 2 team up), and Sara is handling the scallops.  After Ramsay reads out an order, he reminds Sara that they only need to be turned once, or else they'll be overcooked.  It is then mentioned that they're overcooked.  Heather reminds her to watch those scallops, then Ramsay yells at Sara about using a nonstick pan to sauté the scallops (the pans she is using aren't nonstick).  He then calls over Heather with the risotto, so he can taste it.  Ramsay spits it out, saying it's bland.  With that, he tells both of them to stop, clam down, and start again.  Meanwhile, in the dining room, we see plenty of customers ordering Keith's veal chop.  Ramsay has noticed this after seeing the tickets, and mentions to Keith that his special is on fire (thankfully not literally).

Soon enough, Heather has a second risotto attempt ready, and Ramsay says it's spot-on.  He then tells her to keep making them that way, before acknowledging that Sara is finally using a nonstick pan for the scallops.  With that, appetizers are now flying out to the dining room.  Now, for the entrées.  Ramsay asks Garrett how the chicken is doing, and he gets good news.  At 7:56PM, the team is on a roll, with entrées now being served.  Garrett is on meat, and Keith is on fish.  Virginia is on vegetables, and she is dealing with 20 different veggies with which to garnish the entrées.  And she has run into a problem with some of them.  Ramsay tells her to get a grip and start concentrating.  Then, Garrett has some bad news; the chicken won't be ready soon enough.  Ramsay does like that he's communicating by mentioning the problem, but the fact is, there's still a problem.  And he wants Garrett and Virginia to both get going so they don't fall further behind.

Soon, Virginia has veggies ready, and Garrett has rushed his chicken to the pass.  But maybe he shouldn't have rushed it; it's raw.  Raw chicken is inedible and dangerous to serve.  That was a huge mistake that Garrett made, but he says he only did it because it's faster.  Another mistake.  Ramsay yells at him about it, then decides to have Garrett and Keith switch stations.  Soon after that, Keith has gotten the meat station under control, and after getting some dishes to the pass, Ramsay compliments him on the Wellington being cooked perfectly.

At 8:53PM, we are told that 83 of the 100 entrées have been served.  Since the group that will occupy the 12-top hasn't arrived yet, that means 5 are still waiting.  And one of those 5 has lost her patience.  She heads up to the hot plate and looks to speak to Ramsay.  He says he just needs 30 seconds, but she doesn't seem to care.  She asks how long her food will take, and this is what Ramsay says: "Would you mind taking your breasts off my hot plate?"  That's Gordon Ramsay for ya.  This made her angry, and she flips over food that was about to be served!  As the chefs and various customers see what happened with looks of shock on their faces, Ramsay asks for security to escort the woman out.

And the timing of this couldn't be worse, because at 9:16PM, a group of 12 has arrived.  Yep, it's time for the 12-top.  Ramsay lets the team know that they have arrived, as they are presumably working to redo the dishes that the angry customer wrecked.  The 12-top is all women, and after taking their orders, JP informs Ramsay that they're having a bachelorette party.  Ramsay relay this to the team, telling them not to screw it over.  He then reads the order for the appetizers, and Heather and Sara get to work.  Ramsay also mentions that this is the last table.  Sounds like they managed to get the others done in time, then.  Anyway, Ramsay asks Sara about how big the scallops are, and she says they're medium size.  Ramsay gets a good look, and tells her to clean her glasses, because they're "massive".

Meanwhile, the women have started their bachelorette party, and JP asks whether or not the other 11 are married.  They say no.  This seems to intrigue him.  Back in the kitchen, the appetizers are still being cooked, and Heather says in a confessional that it's hard working with Sara because she doesn't listen.  Despite this, they manage to get the 12 appetizers to the pass, and Ramsay approves of them.  The dishes are served, and the 12 are enjoying them.  Now, back to the entrées.  Virginia and Garrett are both hoping to redeem themselves here, as Ramsay reminds them again that it's the last order.  There's another slight problem with the veggies, but it's easily taken care of.  Then, when Ramsay calls for carrots, Garrett apparently thought he heard his name, and says, "Yes, chef?"  Ramsay tells him he said "carrots".

Virginia is still having trouble, though, keeping track of which veggies are needed for each dish.  Then, at one point, Ramsay asks what she's doing, and she says she's getting the tortellini.  Just one problem; there's no tortellini on the order.  But Virginia thought there was, and this leads to more yelling from Ramsay.  She then says to herself that she's losing it.  But she's not the only one with problems; Garrett has brought some salmon to the hot plate, but it looks mangled and messy.  Ramsay asks if that's the best salmon he can do, and Garrett says yes.  Ramsay tells him what's wrong with it, and tells him to get a grip.  Back at the 12-top, JP is apparently getting along with the ladies.  Ramsay calls him over, though, and asks him if he's trying to lose his virginity.  JP seemed insulted at that.

In the kitchen, Ramsay asks Garrett what temperatures he's making the salmon, and thankfully, Garrett gives the correct temperatures.  He felt that he was able to rally back, but will it be enough to somehow save him later?  Anyway, the team keeps it going, and at 9:56PM, they manage to get the entrées served to the 12-top!  Apparently, the group of 12 didn't bother with dessert, because that means they have completed the dinner service!  And in under 3 hours, no less!  Simply amazing!

A tough decision to make

The team is lined up in the kitchen as the customers are leaving, and Ramsay congratulates them for the completion of this service.  The fact that they've served the 12-top made it that much better!  But Ramsay has one issue; they didn't work as a team.  He mentions that Heather and Sara didn't exactly gel on appetizers, he tells Sara that she had a rough service, and he tells Heather that she has been inconsistent.  Ramsay then says that they would still be trying to serve food at this moment if he hadn't switched Garrett away from the meat.  He also mentions that Virginia put herself in trouble tonight.  That leaves Keith as the best of the bunch, without any doubt.  So, it'll be up to him to nominate 2 of the others for elimination.

In the dorms, we hear that Keith is only sure of one thing; he won't nominate Heather.  Garrett then enters the backyard where Keith is sitting by himself, and expresses his hope that Keith won't nominate him.  He says he can only hope for some more time in order to continue progressing.  Keith then tells him as he heads back inside, "You are in."  Garrett says he'll be shocked if he's nominated.  Then, Sara joins Keith outside, and pleads her case, saying she thought it was hard working with Heather.  A little later, Keith enters a bedroom, where Virginia is sitting.  She says she doesn't want to go up on the block yet again.  Keith then says he'll probably just make a last-minute decision out in the dining room.

Friendship or performance?

The team is lined up in the dining room, once again ready to find out who is leaving.  Ramsay confirms that Keith has made a decision, then asks for the first nominee.  Keith chooses... Virginia, because she kept messing up during the dinner service.  As for the second nominee, Keith chooses... Garrett.  Ramsay wonders why he chose him, and Keith responds that he's just going by who did worse, regardless of who his friends are.  So, with that, Ramsay asks Virginia and Garrett to step forward.

Why do they each believe they should stay?  Garrett promises that his next performance will be his best, and he has so much more to give.  Virginia, who may be getting used to this whether she likes it or not, says she loves making food for people, and she wants to keep trying to do things right.  Ramsay says this is a tough decision for him, and we see flashbacks of Garrett being told about the raw chicken, and Virginia being yelled at.  With that, Ramsay decides that... Virginia is... staying.  Garrett is going home.  As he takes off his jacket, Ramsay reminds him of the raw chicken.  Undoubtedly, that was what ultimately led to his elimination.  After he leaves, Ramsay tells the final 4 that though they should aspire as individuals, they still need to remember to work as a team.

Next week, the final 4 will face a big challenge; cooking in their own "restaurants" at a construction site.  At the dinner service, Ramsay has invited 3 master chefs to dine in Hell's Kitchen, putting more pressure on the team than ever.  And wouldn't you know it; it looks like Sara may challenge Ramsay's authority again!  Either way, though, they're saying we'll see the most shocking elimination yet!


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