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Hell's Kitchen, Aug. 10 – Quality versus Quantity


Tonight is finally the season finale of this weak group of chefs. I am not sad it is over. Hell’s Kitchen will start a new season in September; hopefully it will be cast with a more competent group of people. First we have to get through tonight. It boils down to Jay and Holli, I would love to see Holli beat Jay. He would make some lame excuse for losing to a woman, I’m sure. However, last week Jay really was in his element leading the pass, Holli was not even close in strength. I always try to see in the coming attractions whose door handle looks like it is opening a door; the DVR allows me to continually rewind. Last year I was able to pick correctly; I think I know which door opens we will just have to see.

The show starts off with Chef Ramsay sending the final two back upstairs. Holli right away points out to Jay that they are all alone. Jay thought his biggest competition was Ben; he is confident he can beat Holli.

The next morning Jay and Holli start the day finalizing their menus with their sous chefs. Jay believes he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and has been planning since day one. Holli on the other hand never thought she would make it that far and does not have a set plan. At the end of the day both contestants have their menus planned out and taste-tested. Sous Chef Andi informs them to go upstairs and change for a surprise. They are instructed to dress nice and wait for the limo upstairs.

Holli and Jay both decide to wear jeans. Jay believes there will be an “oh, by the way” from Chef Ramsay. He wants to be prepared for it. They meet Chef Ramsay at the beautiful hotel his London restaurant is in. They are both waiting for the other shoe to fall; they know to expect the unexpected. He takes them up to the roof and they are met with 100’s of fans waiting for them.

The final two are told that this is their last challenge. They are given an hour to prepare 5 dishes. Chef Ramsay brings 5 of his executive chefs from England to judge the dishes. They have specific courses their dishes must follow. First is an amuse bouche. An amuse bouche is a small one bite taste of something specific to what the chef feels like making. It is not an appetizer in that you can’t choose what you want. It could almost be looked at as a gift from the kitchen to start off your dining experience. They also must prepare a cold appetizer, a hot appetizer, a fish entrée and a meat entrée, all within the hour window.

The first of Chef Ramsay’s European executive chefs to judge is James Durrant. He is the head chef at Maze. Maze is located in London and is a casual fine dining restaurant featuring a French Asian cuisine. He will be judging the Amuse Bouche. Holli makes a virgin bloody Mary with tomato consume and Worcestershire foam. He likes it. Jay makes a crystal clear shot of tomato water with jicama and bell pepper. James thinks it is very refreshing. The first point is awarded to Jay.

The cold appetizer course is judged by Diego Cardoso, head chef at Murano. Murano is also located in London. It is Italian fine dining. Holli does 4 different caviars with a beet glace and a fennel salad. He thinks it is fantastic and very refreshing. Jay serves a grilled lamb loin over a Greek salad. Holli is awarded the second point.

The hot appetizer round will be judged by Clare Smyth. She is the executive chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. This is Chef Ramsay’s flagship restaurant located in the Chelsea area of London. She is the only chef in the UK to hold the accolade of three Michelin stars. Holli makes a perfectly balanced foie gras; Jay prepares bacon-wrapped scallops. Holli is awarded the next point also.

The next judge is Steve Allen, head chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s. Also in London, this art deco designed restaurant features seasonal European dishes. He will be judging the fish course. Holli is ahead 2 to 1. If she wins this course she will win the challenge. Holli makes a five spice tuna. Chef Allen thinks it is nice and spicy, but you can still taste the tuna. Jay cooks up an arctic char. Steve thinks the flavors are nice. He thinks that they are both great dishes, but if you are talking the Savoy in London, he believes Jay’s is better. I have to wonder if the chefs are really being honest in their judging. It always seems to come down to the last course.

The final course is the meat entrée. It will be judged by Stuart Gillies, the patron chef of the Savoy Grill. This is a bit confusing to me, as his title suggests that he is the head honcho over at the Savoy. I thought the prize of this season was to head up the Savoy. Obviously that is not the case, as this would be their boss. Holli makes a seared filet with bleu cheese. He can tell she is a passionate cook and thinks the meat is delicious. Chef Ramsay tells her to stop flirting with the judges. Jay makes a grilled Colby strip; he is told it is delicious. Chef Gillies tells Chef Ramsay that he would honestly put both of those dishes up on the Savoy menu. Jay wins the point, and the challenge.

Jay tells the diary cam that he is one step closer to winning and feels like he can relax. You would think, judging from the way he is acting, that it was a slam dunk. They leave the challenge and head back to the kitchen. Anyone that has watched this show in the past knows that they will bring back six people to help them run service. Some will be strong, some won’t. Enter the chefs. Siobhan, Fran, Nilka, Jason, Ben and Autumn enter the kitchen. How do you even begin to pick from that mess?


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