Welcome back to Hell’s Kitchen, which we should rename Hell’s Dinner Theatre as we dramatically review past episodes set to the tune of “Something Wicked this Way Comes”. I’m half expecting Voldemort to Avada Kevarda all of us through the television.
Finally Fox gets over itself and tells us that 15 new fools, er cheftestants are here to try to win a restaurant from the oh so lovely Gordon Ramsay. Yes, he looks like a cabbage in the face but he’s my cabbage nonetheless. He warns us that he’s going to work these guys harder than he has before and we are treated to several shots of the viciousness and overall ridiculousness we have to look forward to. There’s name calling, cursing, and back stabbing. In other words, it stays true to the reality show formula. Our voiceover guy really thinks he’s Vincent Price at this point and there’s fire, a man in a straw hat and overalls and many other confusing scenes – and that’s just the intro!
We flash to LAX where it is deceptively empty (does Fox have its own terminal?) and everyone appears to have gotten their luggage. Again I ask, does Fox have its own terminal?
We get through those two introductions and Voiceover Guy interrupts in a foreboding voice that Gordon has a surprise and we see prosthetics and makeup being applied to GR’s face. See? I told you: Dinner Theatre. The chefs board a shuttle from LAX and on walks GR disguised as a member of the Manson Family. Everyone looks afraid like they’re going to wind up in his freezer. He actually looks like a cross between Ozzy Osbourne and the face they created for Kevin Bacon in “Hollow Man.”
I guess it’s two intros per interruption because they arrive at Fox’s Lot… ooops I spilled the beans. I mean Hells’ Kitchen. I must take this time to properly inform the viewers the restaurant is on Fox’s lot not in an exclusive LA enclave and the “diners” are Fox employees. Sorry if I ruined the experience for anyone.
The Cheftestants are dully impressed by the set and are greeted by the ever patient Jean Phillipe. He does a ghastly Gordon impression and asks the cheftestants to give the impression a whirl. Fake Gordon looks befuddled and amused. He then steps forward and does his impression and they discover Fake Gordon is Real Gordon and instead of being afraid they treat him like an American Idol.
He wants to see if anyone can cook, specifically the Black Gordon Ramsay. They are instructed to cook their signature dish. They are given 45 minutes to complete their dishes and panic has set in. Gordon explains that signature dishes explain who they are and he’s excited.
1. Dish 1 belongs to Craig the Sous Chef. He says he wears his Chef hat because he’s short and it gives him some height. Gordon says in twenty one years of cooking he’s never seen a hat that size and inquires if there’s some small boy’s syndrome going on downstairs… tee hee!!! And we’re off… The dish is Jerk Seared Chilean Sea Bass over Rum Raisin Risotto. GR thinks it’s too sweet, Craig thinks the spiciness of the jerk will offset the sweet. GR says he’s not a jerk and that the dish is a pile of shit! He tells him if he comes to the kitchen with a ridiculous hat again he’s going to stick it in his ass sideways. Craig says he feels naked without his hat as he wears it every day and looks crestfallen that it has to be removed.
2. Our next dish belongs to a girl who looks like she left the Flavor of Love auditions to come to the Hell’s Kitchen auditions. Jen, who is 24 and a line chef says she is passionate about cooking and she doesn’t see any reason not to toot her own horn and she proceeds to do just that. She “Toot Toots” for the camera. This? Is going to be a looooong season. She is a Garnish cook and says she can carve Gordon’s face into a watermelon. I can too! Just cut a cabbage in half and put some spiky hair on it. Her dish is a Dungeness Crab and Corn Risotto with a Lobster Tail. Gordon takes it out of his mouth and she protests. He says the rice is raw. He says being a Garmangie confirms that she can’t cook because she’s in the raw side of the kitchen. She calls him a butthead and says he needs to read a book because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and who he’s talking to.
3. Next up is Private Chef Corey who is 25 and delivers a plate of wilted lettuce. Since her signature dish tells who she is, Gordon says she’s simple plain blond and boring
4. Sous Chef Jason’s dish is deemed as something that wouldn’t pass as “tinned”. For the Americans out there that’s Queen’s English for “canned.”
5. Shayna, a caterer, looks like her dish really did pass through Hell’s Kitchen because it’s charred beyond recognition (my words not Gordon’s; wow I could be an asshole Chef Judge too).
6. Matt, a 35 year old Sous Chef and self titled “True Culinarian,” has his dish uncovered. He believes he knows what Gordon is looking for. Upon first look it appears to be two baby food patties. He says that it’s exotic tartare. It is venison and diver scallops with caviar and white chocolate. He’s about to finish describing what’s in it but is interrupted… uh oh. Gordon believes he’s about to be punk’d. He asked him if he smokes. Matt thinks he means cigarettes, Gordon is like “No”. He proceeds to name the ingredient list as the other cheftestants looked amused: raw venison, raw quail egg, lime zest, olive oil, scallops, caviar, grated white chocolate. He takes a bite and goes oh capers as well. He looks ill and proceeds to throw up into a bin… trash can for the Americans. It is actual violent throwing up of the too many different liquors variety and they cut to commercial We return from commercial and Gordon is perfectly fine. Matt is confused at what was not liked about the dish. He’s the Aaron of the season.
7. A tomato-y concoction appears and its Dominic’s dish. A stay at home Dad. He’s not a professional chef. He says his kids’ tantrums would give Gordon a run for his money and once again I both breathe a sigh of relief that I’m not a parent yet and applaud those who’ve taken on the task. His dish is Chicken Cacciatore and Roasted Orzo and all Gordon has to say is that for a 45 minute time period he expected something more exciting. He unceremoniously sends him back in line.
8. The Receptionist prepares a Spicy Mussel Soup with the explanation that she’s a receptionist because she needs to raise her daughter. It’s deemed “not too bad” and he says she’s got a palate.
9. Next up is “The Big Pumpkin” and Gordon is confused. This belongs to Petrozza who’s a catering manager. He’s hidden a Cornish hen inside of a pumpkin and drenched potatoes in movie theatre butter. Gordon can’t figure out how to eat it and he’s told its presented tableside, so Gordon lets him serve it. His tableside presentation is no different than a kid smashing a pumpkin on a rock. Apparently it’s dry and bland. Gordon says he’d like to smash his face in a f*cking pumpkin and he’s dismissed. Petrozza thinks he achieved “memorable.”