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Three Chefs Remain - August 7

Last time, Virginia said that she's good at challenges, but not so good during dinner services.  And according to last week's episode, she's right.  She didn't do well during service, but because she won the challenge, she was guaranteed a spot in the final 3.  So, it was Sara that wound up going home.  There's only 3 left, and the end is drawing near...

Was it a plot?

The chefs return to their dorms after such an intense elimination, and Virginia is crying this time.  But this time, it's out of confusion, not necessarily because that was her 5th time on the block, despite the immunity.  She explains to Heather that while she told her earlier that she didn't want to stay, she just couldn't say so in front of Ramsay.  Heather then remembered that she had told Sara that she wasn't going because of what Virginia said earlier.  But then, Virginia reveals that her theory was to eliminate Sara!  Wow.  If that was really her intention this whole time, then...  Wow.  Then, later, as all 3 are outside, Virginia asks if the others feel she's better than Sara.  But Heather and Keith don't respond, except with yawns.  Well, it is getting late, and they could use some sleep...  But after Virginia heads back inside, Keith mentions that it'll still be him and Heather in the finals.  It's really looking likely now, but again, we'll see...

The toughest challenge yet

The next day, as Keith is brushing his teeth, Virginia is suddenly asking Heather assorted questions about what she does in a service.  Yeah, she's definitely determined not to screw up the next one.  But Heather doesn't appear to be responding.  And it's apparently annoying her.  Later, the remaining 3 chefs enter the kitchen to see that Chef Ramsay is cooking something.  He takes a bit of a break from that to let them know that they have done very well to get this far, but he needs to show them what it'll take to be successful in Vegas.  With that, he shows them what he was just cooking; his signature dish.  He tells them to smell it, then taste it.  Then, suddenly, Ramsay gives them their next challenge; re-create that dish in 20 minutes!  And with that, the time starts immediately!

This is going to be a very difficult challenge for these 3, because they don't have the recipe, and they're not told what's in it.  They only have their sense of taste to tell them what to use.  As they cook, Ramsay lets them know that the dish will remain there so they can refer to it again and again during the cooking.  As they cook, we find out some significant ingredients that each chef has chosen for the dish...

Fish

Keith - Chilean Sea Bass

Heather & Virginia - Wild Striped Sea Bass

For the puree, Virginia noted that it was creamy and starchy, liked mashed potatoes.  As a result, that's what the others were using.  But she didn't think that that was it.  Once she saw some beans on a speed rack and smelled them, she had a feeling that that's what it was.  So...

Puree

Keith & Heather - Mashed Potatoes

Virginia - Tuscan White Beans

When it came to sauce, Keith had a feeling that he knew that it was Israeli couscous, but he wasn't about to reveal it to the others.  But somehow, Virginia figured it out, and saw that he was trying to hide it.  So, they both ended up using the couscous.  As for the seasoning...

Sauce Seasoning

Keith & Heather - Cilantro

Virginia - Basil & Grapefruit

Soon enough, all 3 have their dishes ready, and it's time for Ramsay to decide who came closest to his dish.  So, he starts with Heather's dish.  He says it's tasty, and notes the cilantro.  He then tries Virginia's dish, and after she says she used some basil for seasoning, Ramsay notes that difference between her dish and Heather, though both were good.  Then, Ramsay tries Keith's dish, and he mentions a nice balance, with a nice, creamy puree.  Afterwards, he says that all 3 dishes were good, though quite different.  And it turns out that one of them has all 3 elements (fish, puree, sauce) that are spot-on.  And the one that made that dish is... Virginia!  Ramsay tells her that she has a palate, and now, she needs to use it.  And the reward for winning is a good one; she gets to spend time with Ramsay, to learn a few things about not only cooking, but also running the hot plate!  And he'll even share a few secrets with her that'll help!  As for Heather and Keith, they'll be dealing with some assignments to be given to them by JP.

But first, the 3 have a chance to sit outside to reflect on the challenge.  Heather and Keith cannot believe that Virginia did it again!  Keith asks Virginia about the puree that she used, wondering if it was just the beans in there, and she explains her discovery of them when she was looking for bacon.  Heather then says that the recipe is in Ramsay's book.  We then see a flashback of the shopping from last week, when Virginia decided to get one of his books.  So, maybe Heather is trying to say that Virginia knew the recipe beforehand?  Well, either way, Keith is still confident that Virginia won't make it through the next service, and he and Heather plot to make it happen.  Hmm...

An unfair reward?

Virginia arrives back in the kitchen for some training with Ramsay, and he tells her that it would be wise to ask as many questions as she can.  Meanwhile, Heather and Keith head to the dining room to meet with JP, who gives them a rather daunting task; polishing silverware and glasses.  For the entire restaurant!  As they get going, Virginia is getting tips on how to properly cook some fish.  And yes, the others are watching as they polish.  After having given Virginia some tips on cooking, he decides to move on to showing her how to expedite, or run the hot plate, which is what Ramsay has done in each of the past services.  Since those who get to the final 2 will have to do that, this should really come in handy if she gets there.  During this, Heather is telling Keith that Ramsay is essentially telling Virginia how to win.  Keith says she won't grasp it, though.  Back in the kitchen, Virginia takes a shot at calling out an order, with Ramsay and the sous-chefs at the stations.  Heather thinks this is starting to become a bit unfair.  Then, Ramsay advises Virginia to try scaring the chefs when expediting, so they won't forget what they have to do.  Virginia gives it a shot, and he seemed to like it!  It's certainly giving Virginia plenty of confidence!  And, of course, Heather is just like, "Whatever."

That night, back in the dorms, Heather tells Virginia that either she does have a good palate, or she saw the recipe for Ramsay's signature dish in his book.  Virginia says she didn't see it in the book.  She swears that she didn't see it as Keith enters the room, and she doesn't think Ramsay would pick a dish that was in a book that she bought in front of him.  But Keith says that it's possible that Ramsay likes her.  Things seem to be getting tense now...  But later, at bedtime, Heather and Keith are laughing it up in one room, while Virginia is alone in another.  She knows she's the outsider here, and it's really quite hard for her because of it.

Whatever it takes to win

The next day, the chefs are in the kitchen with the sous-chefs, and Scott is explaining to them that they're going to get a crash course in "Ramsay 101" today.  With that, they begin prep.  Keith says he's just going to keep his pants up and cook.  Heather is determined to win this, even if Virginia did get plenty of advice from Ramsay the other day.  And Virginia?  She just wants to prove her doubters wrong.  Then, minutes before the dinner service, Ramsay lines them up for a few words.  He says that this will determine the 2 finalists, and that he considers all 3 of them equal at this time.  So, for tonight's service, each of them will get their chance to expedite for a while!  Basically, he wants to see who has the qualities to lead a group of chefs.  With that in mind, he gets them going, and tells JP to open the doors.

Taking turns at the hot plate

The clock strikes 7PM, and Hell's Kitchen is indeed open.  At this time, we find out that 6 tables have been added to the dining room, meaning more customers to serve.  Plus, the sous-chefs will be helping out with the cooking this time around.  Early on, we get a bad sign, as Virginia has burnt 2 of the salmon, and she lets the others know, before throwing it in the bin.  Ramsay wants to see it for himself, though, and he asks her to get it out of the bin so he can see it.  Upon seeing it, he tells her not to just throw it away without care next time.  A little later, Ramsay is wondering where the chicken is, and Heather says she's getting it, mentioning that it just needed 30 seconds.  Ramsay tells her that she should have mentioned it beforehand.  But after she gets the chicken up there, Ramsay notes that it was burnt.  Oops.

It's not a good start, but that's not going to stop Ramsay from carrying out his plan of letting the chefs take turns at the hot plate.  So, with that, Keith gets the first shot.  He starts off alright, but then, we hear Ramsay whispering to Scott to overcook the spaghetti!  The idea with that is that one important aspect of expediting is quality control, meaning you have to be able to spot problems with dishes.  And this is basically a test to see if Keith can spot the spaghetti being overcooked.  Scott brings it up to the pass, and Keith checks it.  And sure enough, he spots it, bringing it back to Scott.  So, with that test passed, Keith continues.  However, Ramsay hasn't seen any leadership qualities from Keith yet, and he lets him know about it.  He wants Keith to run the brigade, not the other way around.

Then, Keith calls out an order (1 bass and 1 salmon), and gets responses from Heather and the sous-chefs, but not Virginia.  But he doesn't do anything about it.  Ramsay lets him know, and he asks Virginia what he called out.  But she says that all she can remember is the salmon, and she lost track of things.  So, Ramsay tells Keith to repeat the order, and he does so.  But after asking for a time, Virginia stumbles for a moment, before saying 3 minutes.  Ramsay tells Keith that he should be telling them what the time should be, and so, Keith says it needs to be 2 minutes.  Heather could tell that Keith was having trouble controlling the pass, and found herself trying to take some control.  And it shows, as even though Keith is supposed to be running things, it's Heather that has taken some control.  Eventually, Ramsay takes over again, and tells Virginia to get moving, before sending Keith back onto his station.

At 8:06PM, only 25 of the 124 customers have gotten appetizers and entrées.  And now, it's Heather's turn to lead the kitchen at the hot plate.  She starts by moving quickly; maybe a bit too quickly, as she is getting a bit hectic.  Ramsay tells her to slow down and breathe, because she's getting out of control.  A little later, though, Ramsay is wondering where a risotto is.  Turns out that Keith didn't make enough.  Even though it's Heather's turn at the pass, Ramsay still handles this one himself, and tells him about it.  This leads to a brief argument between Ramsay and Keith, which ends with Ramsay telling Keith his attitude stinks.  That is, until Keith says a few words that are bleeped out.  Ramsay yells at him some more about his attitude, saying he's tempted to kick him out right then and there.  Things are definitely not looking good for the last guy in the competition.

At that point, Ramsay lets Heather step back in, and she asks for a time on the risotto.  Keith stalls for a moment, then says 7 minutes, but Heather asks for 6.  So, it looks like things are back under control.  A good time for Ramsay to call Mary Ann into the other kitchen for a moment, and tell her to make the mashed potatoes for a table lumpy.  This will be Heather's quality control test.  Mary Ann brings up the potatoes, and Heather checks it.  She yells back to Mary Ann to watch for chunks in it, then... has it served?  Whoops.  Ramsay calls the dishes back before they get too far, and tells Heather about her mistake.  In a confessional, Heather says she saw the lumps, but she second-guessed herself.  If she gets through to the finals, she can't make that mistake again.  With that, Heather is sent back to her section.

At 9:03PM, over half of the 124 customers have now been served.  And now, it's Virginia's chance to show what she can do at the pass.  She calls out the order, but Heather says she needs it repeated.  Virginia seems to not believe that, but after a moment, she does repeat it.  So far, Ramsay seems to like what he's seeing from Virginia, so this is a good time for her quality control test.  This time, Ramsay quietly asks Scott to replace the salmon with Chilean bass, to see if she'll notice.  Scott brings up the fish, and Virginia checks it.  And... she spots it!  Virginia asks Scott where the salmon is, mentioning that she got bass instead!  It's been a good run for her at the pass, and she's hoping to finish her turn strong.  And indeed, she does.  Looks like that advice given to her the previous day really paid off!

So, with Ramsay back in control of the hot plate, things are continuing to run smoothly.  At 10:25PM, he's hoping that the chefs will finish this service strong, and asks them to come together as a team.  But we get communication problems between Heather and Virginia, as Heather gave a time, but Virginia apparently didn't hear it.  After that, though, there are no further problems, and for another consecutive dinner service, all the customers get their food. 

Expecting to be going home again

After the customers have left, Ramsay tells the 3 chefs that he has seen what leadership qualities they have, and lets them know that a good leader makes tough decisions each day.  So, with that, they'll each have to nominate one person whom they think should leave tonight.  He wants them to not only consider who was the weakest in the kitchen, but also at the hot plate.  He then sends them back to the dorms to think about it.

There, Virginia asks the others if they'll nominate her, and Keith says she'll probably be sent home anyway.  After he heads to another room, Virginia says she won't be surprised if she does, but Heather mentions Keith's attitude during that service.  Heather feels that while Virginia is still weaker in the kitchen, Keith was quiet at the pass, and she did notice the attitude problem he had that night.  She brings this up with Keith in one of the bedrooms, and he says not to **** around.  Apparently, he's not feeling worried about being eliminated.  Oh, boy...  Anyway, Virginia is packing her bags, ready to be sent home this time, and asks Keith if he's nominating her.  But Keith denies it, claiming that Heather's yelling wasn't making sense.  Apparently, Virginia didn't exactly notice that.  Hmm...

Frustration over elimination

The chefs are lined up in the dining room, ready to find out who will not make it to the finals.  Ramsay asks for Keith's nomination, and Keith chooses... Virginia, because of not being too good in the kitchen, and he says he was confused when she was expediting.  Moving on, Virginia chooses... Keith, because she didn't see much leadership or passion for food from him.  I guess that means Heather is safe, and therefore, moving on to the finals, but for her nomination, she chooses... Virginia, because even though Keith could have been louder at the hot plate, she says she didn't the demand for respect from her.  So, with that, Keith and Virginia steps forward.

One more chance to plead their case, this time to see who will join Heather in the finals.  Keith, who is on the block for the 1st time, says he wants this, it would be a dream come true, and he won't let him down.  Virginia, who is on the block for the 6th time (in 9 episodes; that has to be some sort of record or something), says she can still be taught new tricks, and she's ready, willing, and able.  Ramsay then says that this is the toughest decision he has had to make.  We then get flashbacks; we see Keith spotting the overcooked spaghetti, then Keith being yelled at because of his attitude, then Virginia being confused, then Virginia handling herself at the hot plate.  At that point, Ramsay finally announces that the person leaving Hell's Kitchen this time is... Keith.  Ramsay explains that he feels Keith isn't ready to be a leader, and that's why he's being sent packing.

However, after handing over his chef's jacket, Keith doesn't appear to be finished yet.  He questions whether Virginia is a better leader than him, and says that he has been doing a lot of leading this whole time.  Ramsay reiterates his reasoning, but Keith fires back by saying that he thinks Ramsay has, er, something (whatever he really said was bleeped out) for Virginia!  Heather appears shocked that he said that, but Virginia's expression remains unchanged.  Ramsay asks him why he had to be so rude, and Keith says Ramsay has been rude to him all the time.  All he gets from that is, "So?"  This was definitely not a good way for Keith to go.

After Keith finally leaves, Ramsay addresses Heather and Virginia, proclaiming them to be this season's finalists.  He then tells them that this is when things will get really exciting, and to enjoy this, because one of them will be running a restaurant in Las Vegas.  He then sends them back to the dorms to get some rest.  As the ladies head back, they jump up and down, obviously excited.  When they arrive, they see a bottle of champagne waiting for them, along with a pair of glasses.  Heather then reads aloud a message to both of them, telling them to "enjoy the bubbles".  So, they do.  But not for too long, as soon after, there's a knock on the door, and someone enters.  But who?  We'll have to wait and find out...

So, it all comes down to this.  Virginia, who has been creative, takes on Heather, who has been passionate, in the finals.  This is going to be quite interesting.  I picked Heather as a favorite to win it after the first 2 episodes aired on June 12, and I still think she'll be the favorite to win it here.  She hasn't been on the chopping block, and she has proven to be an all-around strong chef, both in the kitchen and at the hot plate.  But you can't underestimate Virginia; though she hasn't had that many good dinner services, and she's been on the verge of elimination 6 times, she has proven herself in other areas, especially in the challenges.  And her time at the hot plate this week really helped to solidify her spot in the finals.  It's 2 women going head-to-head, as Heather was hoping to see at the start of this whole thing, and it could really go either way!

In the season finale, a group of their former competitors will return, and they'll have demands to be met.  Plus, the finalists will face the media in a press conference, before they begin to create their own restaurants to go head-to-head.  Then, they'll face off at the hot plate, in one last dinner service.  All that, and we'll find out who will become Executive Chef of a restaurant at the Hard Rock resort in Las Vegas next week!

 

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