Tonight is the final four, again. I completely disagree that last weeks’ service was so smooth no one deserved to go home, but I am not Chef Ramsay. Tonight two people will be sent packing in a double elimination. The producers always love to try and fool us with their promos; I am hoping that is the case. It looks like Nona is kicked out of the kitchen. If Trev and Jillian are the final two, I am going to throw the entire sock drawer at the TV.
A new day, a new challenge for the remaining four contestants; you could assume they will all be motivated after seeing their families the night before. That could backfire, though, and make you distracted. The chefs go back into the dining room to listen to Chef Ramsay tell them what the next challenge is. To their surprise, he tells them tonight there is another service and two people will be eliminated.
Chef Ramsay continues on explaining the challenge. He tells them it is one of the most sophisticated challenges yet on Hell’s Kitchen. They will each be tasked with making a stunning dish combining two different cuisines, also known as fusion. Nona whispers under her breathe “sweet.” Jillian is visibly shaken, telling the diary cam she only knows how to cook American food.
Behind Chef Ramsay there are tables draped with sheets. As the sheets are removed we see that there are various countries, and their foods, under each sheet. The list of countries are: India, Greece, Spain, Thailand, China, Italy, France, and Mexico. Chef Ramsay is standing in front of a table with a dome server on it. Under the dome are the flags of the represented countries. One at a time they will pull the “flag poles” of the small flags revealing which two countries they will have. Chef Ramsay calls Nona first; you can tell that she is very excited about this challenge.
Nona’s first flag is Greece; she is very excited. Her second flag is Italy. Trev remarks that her combination is easy. Jillian pulls Thailand and Spain. Russell really wants to pull France. He gets his wish, along with India. Trev pulls China and Mexico. They are given 45 minutes to create one dish. When Chef Ramsay starts the clock they all run to the tables representing their flags for key dish ingredients. They can pull as many ingredients as they want from their tables. Chef Ramsay needs to be able to recognize the ingredients though.
Russell, Trev and Nona are back in the kitchen starting to cook at the 5 minute mark. Jillian is still shopping around her table trying to figure out what the ingredients are on her Thailand table. It is funny to watch Jillian start to cook. She is not sure what the ingredients are and is deciding how to use them from their smell.
Nona is trying to equally incorporate both countries in her mussel dish. Russell seems to have forgotten about India in his duck breast and foie gras dish. Chef Ramsay points that out to him. Jillian is worried her beans won’t cook in time and starts making rice with only 9 minutes remaining. Trev seems to be going for the “burn Chef Ramsay’s tongue so he can’t taste anything” dish. He is adding anything spicy and hot from peppers to sauces. He is wrong to assume that Mexican food needs to be overly spicy to represent the country. One of his pans lights up; I’m assuming he is cooking with some kind of liquor. Chef Ramsay brings him over the extinguisher.
When time is up, Chef Ramsay announces there are visiting judges. The first is Philip DuBose. He is the Executive Chef of Asia de Cuba. Helene An, the Executive Chef of Crustacean, is known as the “Mother of Fusion”. The last judge is Lee Hefter, the Executive Chef of Spago.
Chef Ramsay chooses Trev to present first. Russell tells the diary cam that if Trev got Mexico and Texas he couldn’t make a flavor combination to save his life. Having lived many years in the Southwest, that comment is rather amusing as many of the border state dishes are naturally fused with Mexico already. Trev is confident there is going to be a flavor explosion for them. Unfortunately the judges all found it bland. The meat had no marinade, flavor or balance. Well bland is better than burning your mouth, which is what the producers hinted at.