|I am so excited to welcome everyone to Season 9 of Hell’s Kitchen! Hopefully I will be able to not only recap the show for you, but also bring a smile to your face. If you have been watching Masterchef you have been seeing a kinder, gentler Chef Ramsay, one who is interested in teaching the home cooks. Now it is time for the name calling, tough-as-nails, perfectionist Chef Ramsay that we all know and love.
I am hopeful that this episode will start as past seasons with the signature dish presentation. I give him credit every year for trying all those dishes, even if it means he will be seeing the inside of a trashcan up close and personal. I couldn’t do it. If you have never read my recaps, I write them a little different than most. I don’t watch the show ahead of time and then review it. I will literally play and pause throughout the show. Sometimes I might say something that is proved wrong in the next scene, but I think it is a better experience for my readers. I also don’t ever have to worry about spoiling anything because I don’t know the outcome until I get to the end of the show. Well, thanks for joining me for Season 9; I truly appreciate each of you.
Well, right after the crazy previews of the season, I start out disappointed. Jean Philippe is not back, even though last season they said he was only taking one season off. James is the Maître D’ on the Hell’s Kitchen tour bus to greet the contestants, sigh. One by one they will introduce the chefs to us. I’m thinking if you say something stupid in the diary pantry you get showcased.
Natalie, 23, from Kentucky, for instance, informs us there is little difference since she is a rock star in her own world; she is used to being treated like a rock star. Seriously, has she never watched this show before? Carrie, 31, who is a pantry chef, believes she is the hottest one there and admits to all that she has a crush on Chef Ramsay. She believes they will be as thick as thieves in no time. Okay, she has me rubbed the wrong way within seconds; I can only imagine what the others on the bus think of her.
Instead of heading to the Hell’s Kitchen facility, the bus stops at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The marquee reads “Live in Person, Hell’s Kitchen Chefs!” The Orpheum Theater is quite the landmark; in 1933 Judy Garland performed her vaudeville act there. More recently American Idol filmed in this theater. I’m glad Natalie will feel right at home, being a rock star and all.
Everyone is escorted off the bus and escorted to hair and makeup. They are then brought up onstage behind a curtain to loads of cheers and clapping from the other side of the curtain. The announcer welcomes them and the curtain raises, to an empty theater. They all look absolutely stunned, funny … because I figured it out. Come on people … this is Hell’s Kitchen. You are a peon until you prove yourself. Chef Ramsay is the sole audience member and repeats to them what I just wrote to you. Scary, I now think like Chef Ramsay; I don’t know if that is a good thing.
After putting them in their place, Chef Ramsay announces what the prize is for Season 9. The winning chef will receive a salary of $250,000 and be working in New York City. The winner will become the Head Chef at BLT Steak. He sends them off to Hell’s Kitchen to prepare their signature dishes in 45 minutes. The producers continue to slowly introduce the contestants to us.
Elise, 26, Pittsburgh, a line cook, lets us know she isn’t afraid to fight back; she appears to be rather aggressive. She was the contestant we saw rolling her eyes on the bus when Carrie spoke about her crush and her beauty. Monterray, 34, a line cook, informs us that with 250k on the line, he would elbow his own mother out of his way. Will, 31, a sous chef, isn’t worried, noting it’s the same bologna, just different bread. Brendan, 31, from Hoboken, NJ, is not worried either. He believes he has an aura about him, and when he walks into a room all eyes go to him and he is intimidating. Might not be his aura, might be a very ugly brown plaid shirt he is wearing that has people staring.
When time is called, everyone is informed that this will be their first team challenge. Red (ladies) will go against Blue (men) in a head to head signature dish challenge. Up first are Carrie and Will. Carrie prepares a Chicken Fried Rib Eye with Yukon mashed potatoes with sugar. I’m trying to get past breading and frying a piece of meat like ribeye only to deal with adding sugar to mashed potatoes. Carrie believes it is going to be an orgasm in your mouth, Chef Ramsay believes it is something to be spit out and tells her it is disgusting.
Onto Will, Chef Ramsay asks him what his heritage is, and Will replies Italian and Jewish. He goes on to say that while growing up his friends called him a pizza bagel. Will prepares a Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Gnudi. I must admit I had to look up the definition of Gnudi. It is Italian for “nude”, basically it is ricotta filling with a tiny bit of flour. One cooking site actually describes it as a pasta-less ravioli, how amazing does that sound! Chef Ramsay finds it delicious, and Blue is awarded their first point.