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Hell's Kitchen, Aug. 11 – Hoo-Rah


This season is such a train wreck so far that you have to wonder what will happen tonight. This is the first time that I have found myself wondering if they cast the contestants for their cooking skills or ratings appeal. In the past we have always been blessed with one or two comic relief “cooks”, but I don’t remember so many still remaining this many shows in. Last night I was coming home from the beach; thanks to my DVR I can watch the show this morning. Unfortunately that means no wonderfully savory foodie snack for me, but a bowl of Special K and a coffee.

The show tonight starts with poor, arm-casted Dave trying to open a frozen pot pie in the wee hours of the a.m., as his teammates sit back and giggle. The thumb is one of those things that you don’t really think about until you can’t use it. I don’t see how he will stay in this competition without the use of it, maybe he could put a little hook at the end of his cast.

When the contestants go downstairs to hear what challenge Chef Ramsay has for them they are introduced to Mrs. Latasha James. Her husband is Staff Sergeant Otis James of the U.S.M.C. and has just finished a 13 month tour of duty. Too bad Joseph isn’t still around; he would like this challenge I think. Tomorrow’s service will be a welcome home party for Otis.

The challenge, to create stunning dishes. Each team will have to prepare one appetizer and two entrees for Chef Ramsay and Mrs. James to taste. There is a second part of this challenge as Robert, representing Blue, and Suzanne of Red are called up to Chef Ramsay’s office. They are going to be told the Sergeant’s likes and dislikes, and the teams will also be judged on how well they listen and communicate this information.

Staff Sergeant Otis James loves seafood, shrimp and baked potatoes. Robert confirms that he likes Southern cooking, so he is thinking soul food. They are also told he loves grilled lobster tails. Suzanne seems to be taking this as a personal challenge and wants to pick dishes she can do well. Chef Ramsay reminds them to carefully debrief their teams of the valuable information that has just been shared. Something deep inside of me is thinking this isn’t going to be good. The clock is set with 45 minutes.

The Blue team seems to really have bonded, as Kevin feels Robert is directing but not dictating. Everyone is on task in the blue kitchen. Robert needs to shine after last week. The Red kitchen is a different story. Suzanne never fills her team in on what he likes, just dictates orders. Tennille wants to add a sauce as it seems bland, but Suzanne tells her no sauces. I will assume she has never eaten southern style food, as they’re all about the sauce. Tennille even suggests a jambalaya sauce, but is denied, as Suzanne says she’s just not into that. I have said this in the past; cocky just never works well in reality television.

With only 5 minutes left on the clock, Suzanne finally asks her team what they think of the menu. For some reason she decides to do baked lobster instead of grilled, even though that was her specific question.

The appetizers are presented first. Ariel brings up Caesar Salad with Baked Prawns. Kevin serves a Spicy Bouillabaisse. The Red team receives one point. Kevin has to add “Give a woman a salad, and she is going to have to pick it 9 out of 10 times.” I liked Kevin, gosh darn it. But they’re not supposed to be preparing food for the Mrs. They’re supposed to be preparing it for her husband.

The first entrees are served by Andy and Amanda. Red presents a Bacon Wrapped Filet with Grilled Shrimp. May I just say that this Special K with Berries just is not cutting it right now? Andy felt their dish didn’t look good. Blue presents a trio, Four Cheese Macaroni, Stewed Collards and a Buttermilk Fried Catfish. “Hands Down” for the Blue team. Suzanne feels that Macaroni and Cheese is lame. He has been in Iraq for 13 months; I would think it should be all about the comfort food.

It comes down to the second entrée served by the team leaders. Suzanne brings Broiled Lobster Tail with Seafood Pasta and White Wine Sauce. Robert offers Bone-in New York Strip, Cajun Rubbed, with Twice Baked Potato Mash and a Grilled Lobster Tail. She remarks right away to Robert that grilled lobster tail is big for him. She goes with Blue. My guess is that it came down to the grilled vs. broiled.


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