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Season 3
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It Begins... Again - June 4

We begin with a few words from Mr. Gordon Ramsay...

"In the past, I've sometimes been known to lose my temper.  But this time around, things are gonna be a lot different.  The competing chefs will not make idiotic mistakes.  And most importantly, I will not scream.  I will not swear.

"Oh, come on.  Who am I trying to kid here?"

If you've seen this show before, you know the drill.  For those who haven't, basically, 12 chefs will go through Hell and back, working in a restaurant under Gordon Ramsay, a world class chef who will do everything he can to drill perfection into them.  Eventually, 1 will prevail, following in the footsteps of past winners Michael (who is now the Executive Chef of his own restaurant in Los Angeles, Tatou) and Heather (who became the Executive Chef of terra rosa, a restaurant at the Red Rock resort in Las Vegas).  Out of tens of thousands of entries sent in, 12 have been selected to undergo this grueling process.

The first impressions

The 12 aspiring chefs arrive, and are soon greeted by Jean Philippe (a.k.a. JP), the maitre d' of the restaurant.  He begins telling his life story to the group, but he doesn't get too far before he is cut off by Chef Ramsay, who is looming above everyone on a balcony.  Ramsay welcomes them to Hell's Kitchen, then sends them right into the kitchen to cook their signature dishes.  As is the norm here, this is their chance to make a good first impression with Ramsay.  Once everyone is done, Ramsay tells them that the dishes they just cooked tells him a lot about them.  Now, for the tasting...

Vinnie (29; a night club chef from Milltown, NJ) - Chorizo-encrusted Pink Snapper

Ramsay doesn't see the snapper at first, until he's told that it's at the bottom.  He wonders if one could really eat it all without burning their mouth.  Ramsay calls it a disappointment, but Vinnie disagrees.  Bad thing to say, Vinnie, especially at this moment.

Joanna (22; a chef's assistant from Detroit, MI) - Parmesan-crusted Chicken with a Whole Wheat Spaghetti

She also made a drink, a raspberry Bellini, but Ramsay just gives that back.  He says the chicken is "salty dry".

Rock (30; an executive chef from Spotsylvania, VA) - Pan-seared Scallops with a Potato Gnocchi

The gnocchi is frozen, since he didn't have time to properly make it.  Ramsay liked the idea of the dish, but hated the execution.  Rock knows that the frozen gnocchi was a big mistake.

Josh (26; a junior sous chef from Miami Beach, FL) - Foie Gras

Ramsay notes that it's raw.  Josh thought it was near perfect, but Ramsay says it's way too salty.  Considering he compares food to sex, Josh didn't do himself any favours there.

Bonnie (26; a nanny / personal chef from Los Angeles, CA) - "Contemporary Cheese Course"

Ramsay wants to work one way down the plate, but Bonnie says it goes the other way.  Um, okay.  Ramsay says it's different, and can tell that she's new at this.

Eddie (28; a grill cook from Atlanta, GA) - Parmesan-crusted Sea Scallops with a Vermouth Cream Sauce

Brad (25; a sous chef from Scottsdale, AZ) - Scallop Terrine with Prosciutto and a little bit of Vanilla Lemon Crème

It should be noted that Eddie was born with a kidney disease, which hindered his growth; he's 5'2".  Anyway, Brad gets to taste Eddie's dish, and he thinks it was cooked right.  Ramsay says that wasn't honest, and says it was raw.  Eddie gets to taste Brad's dish, and he says that though it was nice, the vanilla ruined it for him.  Ramsay seems to agree that comment, saying Eddie must have an amazing palate.

Jen (26; a pastry chef from Hazelton, PA) - Vanilla Crêpe with Caramelized Peaches

At first, she's feeling weak under the pressure after Ramsay's reaction to seeing her dish.  But she recovers, and after the tasting, Ramsay wonders how much alcohol was put in there.  Jen says she didn't put a lot in it, but Ramsay counters, saying he feels a bit drunk.

Melissa (29; a line cook from New York, NY) - Pepper-crusted Steak and Roasted Asparagus

She's hoping that Ramsay finds her dish to be at least decent, and he does!  He says the steak is cooked perfectly, and he's thankful Melissa came to Hell's Kitchen.

Julia (28; a short order cook from Atlanta, GA) - Chicken-fried Chicken Penne

Tiffany (27; a kitchen manager from Phoenix, AZ) - Seafood Tostada Stack

Ramsay and Tiffany both try Julia's dish, and Tiffany says it was very peppery.  Ramsay is disappointed, because all the pepper spoiled what would have been a good dish.  As for Tiffany's dish, Julia thinks it's good, and would order it in a restaurant.  Ramsay agrees, adding that the seafood was cooked perfectly.

Aaron (48; a retirement home chef from Palos Verdes, CA) - "Finger Food"

Ramsay says he never met an "Asian cowboy" before, noting Aaron's outfit.  As for the food, Ramsay thought some of it was nice, but there was too much on the plate.

Overall, Ramsay says he's very disappointed, and he needs them to really up their game.  He then announces the prize awaiting the winner this season; the winner will become the Head Chef of a multimillion-dollar restaurant at the Green Valley Ranch resort in Las Vegas, with a salary of $250,000 plus a share in the profits!  Sounds like a prize worth going through Hell and back for!  Then, Ramsay says the teams will be men vs. women, just like last year...

Blue: Vinnie, Rock, Josh, Eddie, Brad, Aaron

Red: Joanna, Bonnie, Jen, Melissa, Julia, Tiffany

The group then meets Mary Ann and Scott, Ramsay's sous chefs.  After telling the 12 to listen to those two, Ramsay informs them that Hell's Kitchen is opening the next day, so they'd better get a good night's sleep, because they'll need it.  With that, the group heads up to the dorms, located just upstairs.  Once again, the dorms look really nice!  There, each team gathers in a separate area, to talk about what they plan to do the next day.  Of course, it's pretty much trash-talking.

Are they ready?

The next day, everyone is up bright and early, getting into their chef's jackets, and head right down to begin the prep for their first dinner service.  We then hear that each team has 15 menu items to deal with, using over 300 ingredients.  And as usual, every dish must meet Ramsay's high standards, or else they'll have to be redone.  Brad appears to be taking a leadership role in the blue kitchen, while in the red kitchen, Julia seems to be ignored when she's asking to help with... well, anything.  Really, she's the only one on the red team talking.  This prompts Mary Ann to advise the red team to communicate with each other.  Meanwhile, Aaron is falling behind in his prep, to the point that he's asking for help with ice cream.  Luckily, he does get help from his team.  On the other side, Joanna and Bonnie get into an argument on how to prepare a risotto.  Melissa is rightfully concerned that the red team won't be in unison like they should be.

At 6:57PM, 3 minutes before the restaurant opens its doors, Ramsay gathers the teams together for a few words.  He asks how Julia is feeling, and she says that she feels there's no communication going on in the red kitchen.  Tiffany says otherwise.  We'll find out for sure soon enough.  As for Aaron...  He's already crying.  No, I'm not kidding.  He's already cracking up, and this is all making Ramsay nervous.  He's not even sure if they should bother opening the doors tonight!  With customers already lined up outside, this is not looking good at all.  Ramsay tells Aaron to stop crying, and get it together.  Aaron does manage to calm down, thankfully.  With that, Ramsay tells them that he wants to see some strength and some form of bond from everyone.  After making sure they're ready, it's time to get going!

So much bickering, not enough serving

It's 7PM, which means that Hell's Kitchen is once again open for business!  Customers file in and begin ordering, and the teams seem ready to handle whatever is about to come their way.  The red team gets the first order, and they respond positively.  But just like that, Bonnie and Joanna are arguing about the risotto's preparation again!  That's not a good sign.  Oh, but that's not all.  Ramsay tells Tiffany to throw out an order of quail eggs that she prepared, saying they feel like "silicone implants".  Julia is hoping to help with the next attempt at the eggs, but Tiffany says no.  Meanwhile, in the blue kitchen, Vinnie has some spaghetti ready, but Ramsay says it's overcooked, and it's like glue.  So, Vinnie has to restart that dish.  In the red kitchen, eggs are still needed for the scallop dish, but Tiffany is still screwing them up!  Julia, who has been relegated to cutting up apples, still wants to help, but Ramsay asks Bonnie to help instead.  But she couldn't seem to get it together, as she is also screwing up!  This isn't looking good at all, but those who haven't seen the show before need not worry too much; this kind of start is normal for this show.

At 8:02PM, nothing has been served.  And of course, the customers are wondering what's going on.  Either they haven't seen the show before, or they thought this group would have a much better start than those in the first 2 seasons.  If I was to be a customer at a grand reopening of Hell's Kitchen, I'd be fully expecting to get used to the complimentary bread.  Nothing against whatever group that would be there, but I've seen this show enough times to expect this kind of thing.

Anyway, Vinnie is trying to get a risotto done, but he needs some vegetable stock.  Problem is, he's told that they ran out.  Already?  Wow.  So, he resorts to putting water in the risotto.  Ramsay doesn't like this, so he takes Vinnie off that section and puts Brad in.  Vinnie is now relegated to washing the dishes.  Meanwhile, Tiffany is once again struggling with the eggs.  Julia again asks if she can help, but is again turned down.  This leads to some bickering between Tiffany and Julia.  And afterwards, Ramsay sees that Julia is crying!  Oh, geez.  First Aaron, now Julia.  And it's only the first episode!  Julia explains that she just wants to help.  So what does Ramsay do?  He pulls Julia aside and hears her side of the story, then decides to gather the whole team around.  Ramsay decides to pull Tiffany off of appetizers, then puts Melissa on that section, and asking Julia to cook the eggs.  He then tells them to stop arguing and concentrate on their cooking!  We'll see soon enough if this helps things...

Over in the blue kitchen, the blue team is now on a roll, having served 29 of the 50 appetizers, thanks to Brad.  One customer in particular is enjoying his risotto.  And Vinnie is doing the best he can, washing the dishes.  Aaron has some chicken ready, but some of it appears to be burnt.  So yeah, that has to be redone.  Aaron is feeling useless, having done nothing right yet.  And Ramsay tells him to wipe the snot from his nose before going any further.  Chicken and snot.  Ewww.  Back in the red kitchen, Julia is doing very well with the eggs, and Melissa is taking charge of things.  Thanks to this, 17 appetizers have been served from them.  But still, not all is well in that kitchen; Joanna is still bickering about how something is supposed to be done, this time with Melissa.  Personally, I'm starting to think that Joanna is making Season 2's Sara look good!  And again, Ramsay has to tell them to stop arguing.

On the blue side, Aaron is feeling a lot of pressure.  So much so, that he decides to walk out of the kitchen!  Ramsay heads to the back and sees him crying (again).  Aaron tries to explain quickly that he doesn't really want to quit, but Ramsay tells him to breathe and relax.  In the meantime, Josh is trying to fill in for Aaron on the meat station.  Unfortunately, he finds himself telling Ramsay that all the chicken they had is overcooked.  Ouch.  Back in the red kitchen, they see JP returning a bunch of dishes to them.  Knowing that those need to be redone, Joanna tries to take charge of the spaghetti.  In the blue kitchen, Scott is yelling about how they can possibly be out of food if they haven't served any.  And we see customers leaving, fed up with not getting any food.  Oh, boy.  There's a fire in Eddie's pan, and Brad tells him he'll have to throw out whatever's in there.  And there's some more arguing amongst the red team.  All of this prompts Ramsay to say those 3 words...  "Shut it down."  With that, the service is over early.

Who deserved to lose?

With all of the customers gone, the teams are gathered in the red kitchen for the results.  Ramsay starts by saying that this was embarrassing.  He mentions that the ladies were arguing way too much, and he mentions to Vinnie how they went 60 minutes without appetizers.  Vinnie says that he didn't know what Ramsay wanted, and he wasn't shown what was needed, before asking what Ramsay wanted him to do!  Wow.  Even Joanna was amazed that he said that!  Of course, Ramsay calls him a "two-faced, lazy little ****er".  Rock, in an aside, says he wanted Vinnie to just shut up.  I agree.  As for Aaron, he says he's feeling a lot better now.  That's easy to say now that the service is over.  Now, Ramsay has to pick a losing team, since it's obvious that there were no winners this time.  So, he declares that the losing team is... the red team.  He then says that Melissa was the best of the worst, because things started to happen when she got on the appetizers.  So, it's up to her to nominate two teammates for elimination.  She'll have some time to think about that, as Ramsay sends everyone back to the dorms. 

Once they're in the dorms, a few ladies get a chance to talk to Melissa one-on-one.  Julia mentions that everyone knows she hadn't worked in a kitchen like this before, and can't believe how little communication there was tonight (not counting the arguing).  She also felt that everyone in there was out for themselves.  Joanna gets the next chance to speak to Melissa, and she says that only a few of her dishes were sent back, and they need to remove weaker people.  And by that, she means Julia.  Then, Tiffany speaks to Melissa, and she knows the service sucked.  Tiffany says she doesn't want to go home, and Melissa says she won't be.  And Tiffany also suggests nominating Julia.  Geez, all this picking on Julia, just because she's inexperienced...

Incompetence or bickering: which one goes?

With the blue team sitting comfortably at a nearby table, looking on, the red team gathers before Ramsay to find out who will be the first one sent packing.  After confirming that she has made her decision, Melissa is asked for her first nomination.  She chooses Joanna, due to her "method of communication" (in other words, her bickering).  Then, when asked for her second nomination, Melissa chooses... Tiffany, despite having told her earlier that she's not going home.  Maybe she figured Joanna is leaving regardless of who she puts up against her.  Anyway, Melissa's reason for choosing Tiffany is because of how long it took to get appetizers served.

With that, Joanna and Tiffany step forward, and are asked to plead their cases as to why they should stay.  Tiffany says that she could have done better than how she did tonight, and that she's capable of more.  Joanna says that she helped her team as much as possible, showing excellent teamwork.  Huh?  That's not what I saw.  I saw more arguing from Joanna, and very little (if any) teamwork.  But Joanna does also mention how nothing was coming out when Tiffany was on the appetizer station.  Now, for Ramsay's decision.  He says it's not an easy one, as we see flashbacks of Joanna's bickering and Tiffany's bad eggs.  He then says that leaving Hell's Kitchen tonight is...  Tiffany.  I guess the whole egg debacle was what did it.  She is asked to take off her jacket and give it to him, before leaving.  Ramsay then tells the others that one of them will run a restaurant, but if they're not going to work for it, they won't get it.  And if they thought this was rough, they haven't seen anything yet.  With that, he sends them back to the dorms.

I gotta say that this looks to be one heck of a ride for the remaining 11 contestants.  The start of this was pretty much what I expected, but it's just the beginning, and the preview at the start of this episode seems to indicate that plenty of unexpected things will happen.  As for who I think will win, I'd peg Brad and Melissa as early favorites from their respective teams.  But it is early, and anything can happen between now and the finale.

Next week, things get fishy, the men have a problem keeping their team together, things get worse during the service, and one chef makes a disastrous mistake that leaves Ramsay without a choice.


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