It started off just swell, with Andrew the Farmer reminding us he raises and butchers his own animals. He also likes to eat them raw, as he showed us last week when he served Chef Ramsay steak tartare. Ramsay thought it was disgusting however, so we're not sure if Andrew's cooking skills are up to par. Seriously, is being able to grow your own meat mean you can make it edible too? I like to raise goldfish, but I'm not going to serve them to anyone.
And so we begin with the obligatory recap/rehash of last week's episode, which leaves us dying for more, which I think is the point. This time around I even managed to get everyone's names. This isn't a high priority for understanding the show, but nice nonetheless.
We start off with everyone sound asleep, and then a loud alarm goes off at 5 am. This is so we can feel their pain as they stumble to their feet and downstairs for their first test. So sad for them. But why does everyone look so surprised?
Have any of these people ever seen this show before? This is a recurring question. It's as if they've wandered off the street into an experimental prescreening of a cartoon and were expecting to be given prizes just for showing up.
Ramsay has decided, since he appears to have a group of dunderheads on his hands, to start with the basics, and teams of two are formed in order to prepare eggs in four ways. Eggs, people. What kind of chef can't make eggs? Unfortunately, these people aren't chefs, and some of them, indeed, can't make eggs.
And Siobhan is set to the task alone, since there's an uneven number of people (so claims Ramsay, but I think he just wants to test her).
These are not complicated egg preparations. Scrambled, soft boiled, poached, fried (also known as sunnyside up), and not a mention of a sabayon anywhere.
The first red team, also known as the women, pass their egg tests. But the first blue team? Salvatore made a hash of the scrambled eggs (not literally, but hash, as in, mess), and mumbles something incoherent as some sort of an excuse. Their soft boiled egg attempt is also a disaster.
Siobhan's up next. Earlier we saw Autumn preparing eggs for Siobhan, so it's not all Siobhan's work, and when Ramsay asks her how long to cook a soft boiled egg she says that she just knows because she makes them all the time. But Ramsay wants an answer! Turns out she doesn't know, and she must admit that she didn't cook her own eggs, except for the poached, which she did two of, one for her, and one for another team.
Basic rule of working for Ramsay: Follow direction. He really hates it when people don't do what he says. Sure, he's a bit of a control freak, but he gets to make the rules, what with it being his show and all. So he gets a chance to rant and rave, and everyone is sufficiently cowed. Siobhan's one poached egg passes, but her second poached egg, when it comes around from the other team, doesn't. Consistency, Siobhan, consistency.
The next blue team can't pass their scrambled egg test either. What is so hard about scrambled eggs? You mix them up, put them in a pan, stir them around, and voila! Maybe Hollywood (or wherever this taping is) has weird atmospheric issues going on that prevent the successful cooking of eggs.
This goes on until everyone has presented their eggs, with some bad, some good, some with no salt, and the tension mounts! Who will have the most points? Who will get the reward, and who will fail? And then it's down to one egg, one last soft boiled egg, and everyone is holding their collective breath, just waiting . . . and it's a win for the blue team!
It's an egg, people, an egg.
But for the blue team it means a ride in a helicopter, and for the red team it means cleaning a giant tuna that takes all of them to carry in to the kitchen. I buy my tuna in the little cans and it works just fine for me, but I guess chefs have to have it fresh.
Andrew the Farmer delivers a memorable line in the helicopter, one which I must repeat here for your amusement: "I've seen Los Angeles like I've never seen Los Angeles, and I've never seen Los Angeles."
Meanwhile, as the men lunch on a rooftop with champagne and engage in witty banter on the level of, "How many women have you had sex with?" the women argue over how to clean a fish. There's some sort of disagreement about whether the skin comes off or not, but, since it doesn't rise to the level of fisticuffs, we become bored and move on quickly.
Later we see Siobhan in the kitchen asking about the consistency of mashed potatoes. She doesn't want to get them wrong, so she needs advice.
Really? So far we've dealt with eggs and mashed potatoes, and it's been an uphill battle all the way?
Before dinner service Ramsay asks Salvatore to list the desserts, and Salvatore is speechless. He doesn't have a clue. I gather knowing what's on the menu is an important thing to know for a chef, so Ramsay sends him upstairs to study the menu some more.
Does it seem like I'm picking on Siobhan and Salvatore today? I can't help it. I just like saying Siobhan because it's not pronounced like it's spelled, and Salvatore? He's just asking for it.
During dinner prep we see Autumn salting a pot of water, and I'm thinking, "Whoa! That's a lot of salt." Ramsay stops by to taste the water (I assume he saw the film footage too) and then has everyone taste it. They all make the appropriate gagging noises. Autumn asks, "Did someone else season it too?" Really? That's the best excuse she's got?
Tonight's plan is to serve tuna tartare tableside, so one member of each team heads into the dining room with their little cart of raw fish.
Salvatore is brought back to list the desserts for Ramsay, but embarrasses himself by first stumbling, then missing the last one, which is Italian. We're starting to doubt Salvatore.
Autumn helps Siobhan with her risotto, which is a big mistake as we've all realized Autumn has a seasoning disorder.
Fran stumbles around the dining room with her tuna tartare, unable to find the right table, though she does have a map with directions.
Mikey can't make risotto. RISOTTO. Here's a recurring theme. Anyone who goes on this show should have made risotto a million times before taping begins, unless they've never seen the show before. It's like me, an accountant, sitting for the CPA and not studying first. And yet they've seen, if they've been paying attention, the importance of getting the risotto right. And yet... the risotto takes forever (43 minutes, which in hungry diner time is forever) and is then sent back for being undercooked.
Ramsay yells and slams things because people don't talk to him. I think they're just hoping to avoid the brunt of his annoyance, though it could be they've been struck dumb now that the enormity of their mistake (signing on for this show) has occurred to them.
Surprisingly, Salvatore's first Wellington is actually, according to Ramsay, cooked perfectly. Just when we were getting ready to consign Salvatore to the dustbin of history.
Then we have the requisite disappointments. Temper tantrums! More throwing!
JP announces missing chicken. Where has the chicken gone? It's still in the kitchen, raw. Salmon is crispy on the bottom. Overcooked, undercooked, the food is in every stage of disaster.
Andrew, on garnishes, has taken to verbalizing his wishes to his charges, the garnishes. Apparently garnishes respond to verbal commands. Who knew? Maybe it's a farmer thing. His face is bright red, and I'm worried the poor guy is going to explode. Can a person be that red? Andrew can't make mashed potatoes. And then, he DISAGREES with Ramsay! "That's not true," he says to Ramsay, when Ramsay dares to tell him that adding soggy potatoes to thick potatoes won't work. Suddenly Andrew's the expert. So, of course, Ramsay calls him a joke to the industry where the audience/customers can overhear and appear shocked. I picture large cue cards up saying, "Look shocked!"
Andrew has been ejected from the kitchen, which usually means the rejected one will stomp off upstairs, there to think about his mistakes and ponder a new career. But not Andrew -- he walks out of Hell's kitchen -- all the way out. He quits in the middle of dinner service, he doesn't just escape to come back later, he leaves, even though JP tries to talk to him and stop him.
Seriously? Has he ever seen the show? Did he think he would be spared the harassment? Did he really think that he would be the one favored chef who would not get yelled at? Not get humiliated?
Ramsay proceeds to tell everyone everything they did wrong. The list is extensive, and no team wins.
The women vote for Autumn to leave, since she's bossy, has a seasoning disorder, and isn't a team player.
The men vote for Jason. Surprisingly. We thought it'd be Salvatore! Maybe that was just wishful thinking.
Autumn defends herself, and Ramsay asks everyone if Autumn is the worst cook on the team. They say, no, shamefaced, and he asks, "Who is it?" while they all stand and look as if they're sworn to secrecy. Everyone knows you keep the worst cook around on the team, because you can always get rid of her later and meanwhile, she makes everyone else look good. Basic reality show strategy.
Jamie is called up after someone blurts out her name, in a fit of "time to save myself."
Mikey is then called up to stand next to Jason, and Ramsay fires him. Now he's got that Hell's Kitchen tattoo to live with, as a constant reminder that he didn't make it past the second dinner service.
Next week: Jason threatens to break things, and the women attack each other. We're promised much excitement and mayhem, along with the requisite yelling and screaming, and will Salvatore walk off the show also?
One can only hope.