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Four Chefs Remain - July 31

To say that last week was not a good week for Garrett would be an understatement.  After the teams merged, Keith won the first individual challenge, then picked Virginia to join him in the reward instead of picking Garrett like he said he would.  Then, after the group completed a tough dinner service, Keith nominated both Garrett and Virginia, and Garrett was sent home.  With that, we're down to the final 4...

Another week on the block

The teams return to their dorms after elimination, and on the way, Heather mentions that Keith is now the last man standing.  Keith seems happy about that, then apologizes to Virginia about the nomination, saying he knew she wasn't going home this time.  But that doesn't stop her from getting on her bed and crying again.  Virginia knows that while she's good at the challenges, she tends to not do so well in services.  Now, she's not so sure if she still belongs here, especially considering the # of times she's been nominated (that's 4, for those who may have lost count).  Sara again sees this as being only a matter of time before Virginia is eliminated.  Meanwhile, Heather and Keith is talking about what Heather mentioned earlier; that Keith is the last of the guys.  Keith knows he has to represent for the men now.

Working for a big prize

The next morning, the team lines up in the dining room, and Ramsay decides to start by asking who thinks they're the strongest chef.  Keith is the first to speak up, then, Heather, then Sara, all saying that they are.  Ramsay likes what he's hearing, but when he gets to Virginia, she says she is strong, but not in the hot kitchen.  Well, at least she's being honest.  Ramsay then tells them that he thinks they're all strong, then gets to the next challenge.  Basically, they'll each run their own restaurant.  That's all he'll say about it now, because he wants to mention the reward, and this is a big one.  The winner will receive... a guaranteed spot in the final 3!  In other words, immunity from elimination this week!  Now that's big, and Virginia could really use it after what she has been through.  With that, Ramsay then mentions that the restaurants are in a secret location, so the sous-chefs blindfold them, before they get going.

So, where are the restaurants that they'll be running?  Well, first of all, they're catering trucks.  And their customers are 100 construction workers, which is convenient, as the trucks are at the construction site they're working at!  And those workers will judge who has the tastiest lunch menu!  As the chefs get going, we find out what exactly they have to do; make 100 of their lunch specials to serve to everyone!  As for what they're making...

Virginia - Turkey & Feta Sandwich

Sara - Quail, Salad & Berries

Keith - Poached Lobster & Greens

Heather - Chicken Sandwich & Fries

The chefs are hard at work, and by the time the clock strikes noon, the workers are ready for lunch.  While serving, Sara decides to speak a bit of Spanish in the hopes of getting some extra points with the workers, while Virginia tries a bit of flirting with the workers, again for some extra points, so to speak.  As for Heather, she decided to put some alcohol in the onions, on the assumption that "construction workers love alcohol".  I guess you do what you gotta do to help influence their decisions, especially with immunity on the line.  After the workers get their food, they sample each of the 4 lunch specials, and decide which one they liked the most, as well as which one they liked the least.  Once they're all done, Ramsay tells the 4 that he'll let them know who won back at Hell's Kitchen.

Once there, the team is lined up, and Ramsay lets them know that not only did he ask the workers which dish they liked the worst, but also, which one they liked the least.  With that, he announces that they dish they liked the least was made by... Heather.  Ouch.  That surprised me.  She understandably felt disappointed.  Anyway, Ramsay then goes on to announce whose dish was liked the most.  And, as chosen by half of the 100 workers, that dish was made by... Virginia!  She was surprised, and asked if that was a joke.  Ramsay confirms that that's what the workers said, and with that, she has a spot in the final 3!  In addition, Ramsay lets her know that she's going shopping!  Things are only getting better for someone who hasn't done so well in dinner services...  As for the others, Ramsay lets them know that they're adding crab to the menu for the next service, so they'll have to get the meat out of a bunch of crabs, which are apparently delicate.

Big reward, live punishment

Back in the dorms, this time it's Heather who's crying after the discouragement from her dish being named the worst.  She and Keith get to talking about what happened, and Keith's theory is that the reason Virginia won is because she was the "hottest" of the bunch.  Heather then brings up the flirting, and says that Virginia can't run a restaurant.  With that, Heather and Keith decide to plot to not help Virginia at all in the next dinner service.  Yeah, even though she has immunity this week.  In the meantime, Virginia is really excited, and is preparing for the shopping trip.  While she's in the bathroom, Keith enters, and does his best girly voice while asking what she's gonna shop for.  Then, as he leaves, Virginia gives him some advice about dealing with the crab; advice that she says she read in a cookbook written by Ramsay!  Hmm...

A little later, Heather, Keith, and Sara are back in the kitchen, ready for the punishment.  Oh, and it turns out the crabs are not dead.  Keith finds this out the hard way, as one of them apparently pinches him as he tries to pick it up!  Ouch.  Meanwhile, for the shopping, Ramsay has brought Virginia to a store called "Sur La Table", that specializes in cooking utensils.  She goes wild, picking stuff like a pasta machine, some wine glasses, and a pink spatula.  Virginia seemed to really be enjoying this time, not just because she got to shop for all this stuff, but also because she got to know Ramsay a bit more, and get a bit more comfortable around him.  I'll just leave it at that.  And as Virginia notes that this is more fun than the crab stuff, we see how the others are doing with that.  Yeah, the crabs are definitely making it tough on them.

Back at the store, Virginia is now picking out some stuff for the others.  She suggests a ceramic cow for Sara, in reference to one of the things that Ramsay called her in a previous service.  Yeah, isn't that nice of her?  Then, Virginia decides that she wants one of Ramsay's cookbooks.  She wonders where they are, when they're right in front of her.  Yeah, she admits to doing stupid stuff like that at times.  And would you look at that; Ramsay signs the book that she ends up buying!  Now that is nice!  Overall, she ends up buying $966.89 worth of stuff!  Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the others are ticked that she's still around despite not doing so well in services.  Sara wonders if she had done any good at any stations, and Heather mentions that there's one that she did good at; the fish station.

And as they continue with the crabs, Virginia returns from her shopping spree.  She lets them know that she had $1,000 to spend (I guess that makes $33.11 left over), before giving each of them gifts that she got for them.  Yes, Sara got the ceramic cow.  Then, for some reason, Sara decides to quietly say "Big bucks, big bucks", as if she was on Press Your Luck or something.  For Heather, she got her an oven mitt.  And for Keith, a small tool to help with the crabs.  Not exactly the type of stuff they would have liked to get.  Keith was especially disappointed, as he picked her to go to Vegas, but all she got for him was some $6 tool.  Then, after showing them some of the stuff she got for herself, Virginia asks them if they're mad at her.  She gets no response, which she takes as a yes.  She feels that they're jealous that she won, but she also has to do her best in the kitchen the next night, despite the immunity.

A big night

The next day, the team is prepping for the next dinner service, and Virginia lets the other know that despite her immunity, she won't breeze through the service.  Sara doesn't care, while Keith is focused on taking care of the food he makes.  Then, minutes before the service starts, Ramsay lines them up, and tells them that 3 top chefs have been invited to Hell's Kitchen to dine.  He's excited about this service, but it has to put a lot of pressure on the team, as they do not want to screw this one up.

Can they impress the chefs?

The doors open at 7PM, and the customers enter.  We see that Keith is on appetizers, Sara is on fish, Heather is on meat, and once again, Virginia is on vegetables.  The first order is read to the team, and they get started.  Also, in addition to the veggies, Virginia will be preparing a Crab Amuse-Bouche, which will be served to all customers.  And she's moving along very well with that.  In addition, Keith's appetizers are being served very quickly; so quickly, in fact, that 30 minutes in, they're already getting entrées going!  This has to be their best start ever!  Could they get through this service without any problems at all?

Of course, not; this is Hell's Kitchen, after all!  The first sign of a potential decline comes when Virginia hesitates to acknowledge an order that Ramsay is reading to the team.  But she's still moving, while Heather is really moving along!  Then, suddenly, Virginia asks where the green beans are, seconds before an entrée is ready to go.  Ramsay asks who she's asking, and she says she's asking herself.  But this ends up holding up an order that's almost ready to go.  Virginia is trying to move fast, but apparently, she's not moving fast enough.  They do get it served, though, and Ramsay compliments Heather on the Wellingtons.

At 8:08PM, 35 of the 100 entrées have already been served!  Sounds like a good time for the 3 top chefs to arrive; Josie Le Balch, David Myers, and Michael Mina.  And it turns out, as Ramsay says, that Michael Mina is a big success in Las Vegas, so whoever wins this competition will essentially be in competition with him!  Anyway, with the top chefs' table, it'll be the kitchen deciding what food to serve.  Keith has decided to make 3 spaghetti lobster for them, and Ramsay wants them to be the best he's ever done them.  Sara goes with 1 monkfish and 2 scallops, but Ramsay wants it to be 3 of the same dish, so she goes with 3 scallops.  Heather decides to make 3 Wellingtons.  With all that decided, the pressure is on.

And a fire in one of Keith's pans is not a good sign.  Ramsay tells him that he needs to show that he's in control.  However, Keith has made a mistake; he undercooked the pasta.  But instead of mentioning the mistake, he has apparently decided to re-boil the spaghetti!  After doing so, he gets the spaghetti lobster served, and it goes to the chefs' table.  Meanwhile, Sara doesn't have salmon ready for another table, as she apparently didn't have an extra one going.  That means the perfectly-prepared duck that Heather had ready can't be served, and Sara still needs 2 minutes.  Ramsay lets her know that she's holding back the entrées, and that she shouldn't dare try to sabotage the service, as things had been going smoothly thus far.

Soon, the top chefs have finished the spaghetti lobster, and Ramsay receives feedback from them about it.  And it's not exactly good, as they said that some of the spaghetti wasn't cooked right, and they weren't impressed.  Sounds like Keith's idea didn't work.  Ramsay tells him to get it together, but just as he says that, another fire shows up in one of Keith's pans!  That can't be good.  Then, Sara asks Heather if there's any salmon left in the building.  Ramsay hears this, and asks what's happening.  Sara tells him that she doesn't have enough salmon to get through the service.  Ramsay makes the suggestion of heading out to buy some.  Then, Sara asks if maybe they could substitute it for turbot.  Ramsay tells her to ask JP about it, and he goes to the table in question to inform them of it.  Ramsay calls Sara a useless cow, and tells her that she could be finished.  Then, Sara says, "Come on!"  Big mistake.  Ramsay yells at her some more about the whole situation, telling her to wake up!  Sara is trying to argue with him, though!  Oh, boy.  Ramsay decides to have Heather help her, but she says she doesn't need the help.  Ramsay finishes by telling Sara once again to wake up!

Then, her scallops make it to the chefs' table.  The chefs say they're cooked good, but a little salty.  Mixed reviews.  In the meantime, Heather is determined to impress them, but she also needs Virginia to be in tune with the veggies.  They're communicating well, but suddenly, there's a fire in one of Virginia's pans!  With that, Ramsay tells Heather to take care of whatever garnish Virginia hasn't gotten to herself.  Virginia then notices that she's out of cream.  She asks Keith to get some more for her, and Keith says no!  As Heather is trying to make sure her meat gets out there, Ramsay asks Virginia if she's not moving fast enough because she's safe.  Virginia denies it.

Soon enough, 63 of the 100 entrées have been served, and Heather's Wellingtons have reached the chefs' table.  They really enjoyed the meat, which was cooked perfectly, but David notes that the peas tasted like carbon, likely due to the fire from Virginia's pan.  Yep, they've noticed that.  JP relays the message to Heather, and she sarcastically thanks Virginia for the burnt peas.  Ramsay then mentions this to Virginia, before telling Heather to continue taking care of the garnish herself if Virginia doesn't have it ready.  As such, Heather is still moving really well, and she calls for 2 minutes to Virginia before she needs the garnish.  Then, for some reason, Sara asks for her to slow it down!  Ramsay hears this, and yells at Sara about saying that when this is no time to be slowing down.  There's 10 tables left, by the way.

Soon after, Heather asks Sara if the salmon will be ready, and she says it will.  But Virginia then says she can't be ready!  And now she's the one that's asking for things to slow down, before mentioning that she burnt the cabbage!  After asking Heather to take the meat back because of this, Ramsay sends Virginia a message: "You're no longer safe!"  Uh-oh.  This is not good for Virginia, especially since she hasn't been doing as well as she should.  And despite the message, she's still having problems...  At 9:33PM, though, they're close to completing the service!  And even though there have been problems, they all get it together by this time, and they get all the tables served!  Once they're done, Ramsay compliments Heather, saying, "Well done."

Not feeling ready to continue...

With their second consecutive completed service, the team is lined up.  Ramsay mentions how everyone was in sync at the start, but problems began to surface in the middle.  He then pulls out the comment cards from the top chefs.  Ramsay explains that though there were mixed reviews with the appetizers and fish, the Wellingtons were great.  He says that was Heather's best performance ever, and that she was the best of the group this time!  That means that it will be Heather deciding which 2 to nominate for elimination.

In the dorms, Virginia tells Heather that she doesn't think she deserves to be there anymore, and she doesn't think she can handle a restaurant, since she couldn't even handle the veggie station.  She even goes as far as asking to be nominated!  Heather says she respects her for that.  Then, Heather heads outside and tells the others that Virginia is going to take herself out, so she'll be nominating Virginia and Sara.  Sara wonders what was bad about her performance.  [Gee, I wonder...  Maybe it was the arguing with Ramsay, or the whole salmon deal?]  Heather explains that she wouldn't put Keith up, then assures Sara that she's not going anywhere despite the nomination.  Sara does say she'll pack a bag just in case, though.

...or is she?

With the team lined up in the dining room, Ramsay confirms that Heather has her decision made, before asking for the first nomination.  Heather chooses Virginia, because when it comes to the past few services, she doesn't have it.  For the second nomination, Heather chooses Sara, who didn't have such a good performance either this time.  So, with the nominations going as expected so far, Ramsay asks Virginia and Sara to step forward.

Ramsay then asks for their reasons as to why they should stay.  Sara says that though she may make a mistake on occasion, she feels she can hold her own.  Virginia, as expected, expresses her doubts about wanting to stay, and says she doesn't think she can win.  Ramsay asks what she's saying, but Virginia then says, "I don't know."  Then, Ramsay says that he did guarantee Virginia a spot in the final 3 for winning the challenge, and despite what he said during the service, he's gonna stick with that!  So, basically, what he's saying is that it's essentially Virginia's choice whether or not she stays, and if she doesn't go, then Sara goes!  But Virginia then says that she doesn't want to keep sliding through, and she doesn't want to continue just because she's safe.  Ramsay reiterates that this is her decision.  Then, Sara says she has a question, to which Ramsay tells her to shut up.  Ramsay then asks one more time for her decision.  And what does Virginia say?

"Hell, no, I don't want to go!"

All of a sudden, Virginia explains that has chosen to stay, simply because she wants to!  Apparently, this put smiles on the faces of Heather and Keith, likely as a result of this sudden turn in her attitude!  Or maybe, it's because that means Sara is outta here!  With that, Sara is asked to take off her jacket and leave.  She did work hard, as Ramsay noted, but the fact that she screwed up the most of those who weren't immune, combined with some arguing with Ramsay, was just too much for her.  Afterwards, Ramsay tells the remaining 3 that it has been quite the journey, but their biggest challenge is on the way.

The end is in sight for the remaining 3 chefs, and next week, they'll apparently turn on each other.  Plus, during the dinner service, they'll get to see what it's like to stand in Ramsay's shoes, as they'll each take turns running the hot plate.  Also, another shocking elimination is on the way, and for some reason, one of the 3 will dare to take on Ramsay!


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