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Hell's Kitchen 11

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HK11, Ep. 11

The ToBeContinued was resolved with Barret being eliminated. That was no loss to the Blue team. The challenge used as a Guest Judge Jennifer Garcia, senior writer for People magazine, who is doing an article on the highest scoring chef on the winning team. Teams sent one chef into a booth with high-velocity air blown through it and lots of yellow strips with protein and white strips with sides on them. Their mission was to get as many strips as possible for their teammates to select from in creating one entrée each. They then had 45 minutes to cook a visually stunning meal. Ramsay and Garcia each could award up to 50 points for a dish. 3 dishes from each team were selected by the team to be scored.  Michael’s quail and Ray’s lobster did not make the cut for the Blue team while Nedra’s and Susan’s dishes did not for the Red team. The results were:

Cyndi - fennel-crusted sea bass with honey sherry vinaigrette 90
Ja’Nel - basil-marinated grilled prawns, finished with black garlic vinaigrette 89
Mary - grilled flank steak, lightly dusted with wasabi and lemongrass 90
Total Red 269

Jon - duck confit and pan-seared breast 92
Zach - steak with roasted red pepper coulis with garlic and shallots 83
Anthony - pan-seared halibut, crusted with coriander and pink peppercorn 82
Total Blue 257

So Red won its 8th of 9 challenges. Despite the fact that Anthony had the highest score, the honor of the article was going to a tie-breaker decided by Jennifer Garcia.  Mary was selected.

The Red team went off for a photo shoot with Star Watch magazine. The Blue team was left to clean both dorms until Jon and Zach were sent off on tricycles to bring and serve champagne to the Red team. The Red team also won Vitamix blenders.

After the return of all, Ramsay had a surprise announcement, that there would be a dinner honoring returning U.S. army veterans and their significant others. The Red team and the blue team were to coordinate this dinner service so that each of 5 courses went out together (you know that’s not going to happen because the chefs are just not that skilled).  Here were the courses:

Butter Poached Spot Prawns
Ja’Nel - OK
Jon - OK

Lobster Linguine (Zach had half portions of pasta, with one returned
Nedra - used cold water, requiring a lot more time to cook the linguine
Ray – did not trust his teammates to plate properly so he tried to do it all himself

Lobster, Red Sauce and Mushroom Risotto (Zach had cold lobster)

Loup de Mer
Cyndi - OK
Anthony - OK

New York Strip Steak
Susan - Susan was late finishing this dish
Zach – not seasoned properly and had to be redone

Ramsay stated that both teams lost and had to nominate one weakest member. The Red team considered Susan and Nedra, but nominated Nedra. The Blue team considered Zach and Ray, but nominated Ray. Ramsay insisted that Zach join the line. Ray was Ramsay’s choice to go because “Ray's age wasn't the issue. It was his cooking. And I wasn't getting any younger waiting for him to improve.”

HK11, Ep. 12

Ramsay announced that the teams would create their own menus of 4 appetizers, 4 entrees and 2 desserts. They had 5.5 hours to create those dishes to a state acceptable to Ramsay. The Blue team did fine with this set of dishes:
Appetizers – calamari, “fire and ice” (halibut and ?)
Beef Filet with butter sauce

The Red team had difficulty with their initial dishes and had to fix them to Ramsay’s satisfaction in just 20 minutes before Hell’s Kitchen opened, but they succeeded. Their dishes were:
Appetizers – shrimp and chicken gumbo, Grilled Peaches and Salad
Branzini (European sea bass)

Dinner service started with each diner choosing from either the Red menu or the blue menu. Susan on Garnish had trouble with pan-grilled potatoes. Michael had raw halibut and on redoing it he did not start over with one and it became dry.  He was sent to the bar for a 5 minute timeout as a result. Zach had perfect pork, but later had raw in the center pork. Zach had the responsibility for the sauce that accompanied his filets, but failed to check whether it was heated (Michael had failed to do that on one).

The Red team finished first and won. The Blue team never recovered from mistakes by Zach and Michael. Red was sent off with a charge to select one member to move to lead the Blue team. All 5 wanted to go, so they drew lots and Cyndi was chosen.

Ramsay demanded that the Blue team select their one weakest member. They tried but were evenly split between Michel and Zach. Ramsay broke the tie by eliminating Michael. He asked the Red team who they nominated, but really did not give them the opportunity to tell him. This episode ended with another ToBeContinued. These are unnecessary and getting tiresome. Just finish the episode already, Ramsay!

My favorite this season and by far the most effective chef has been Ja'Nel. However, previews for next week's episode create the impression that she will be in deep trouble.

I think Zach it now totally dead weight. He has gone off the deep end on ego without any reason for doing so and it will catch up to him soon.

I have been unimpressed by Cyndi but she will almost certainly last beyond when Zach departs.

I have no idea how the dilemma of which Red team chef will go to the Blue team will be resolved. I think one possible resolution is to forget the idea entirely and just keep the teams as they are now. Jon and Anthony are pretty strong chefs and can carry a team even with Zach weighing it down.

Zach isn't going to last much longer, at least I don't see it happening. I think the Red Team will begin to be whittled down now and I don't know who will go to the Blue Team if anyone.

Ja'Nel impresses me too. I've been snookered before by the previews so maybe she's not the one in trouble. (HEH!)

HK11, Ep. 13

This episode opened with Ramsay giving the Red Team 2 minutes to decide who would go to the Blue team. With it being obvious that Zach would be retained that scared away all but Nedra, who was sent to Blue  She was her usual loud and overbearing self but none of other remaining Blue team members were going to go out of their way for her.

The Challenge was International Cuisine and Dana Bowen, Executive Editor of “Every Day at Rachael Ray” magazine was the Guest Judge. This was head-to-head competition between 4 sets one red and one Blue team members. A wheel was spun to determine which cuisine for each pair and each one had select proteins and 5 special ingredients that they must use in 45 minutes cooking time.

Here are those countries, non-protein ingredients, the pairings, the completed dishes and the scores:

INDIA – chickpeas, basmati rice and lentils
Mary- 0 lamb, but used no rice
Jon- 1tandoori chicken

JAPAN - soy sauce, bok choy and daikon radish
Susan- 1 miso dachi
Zach- 0 pan-seared chicken
including the non-Japanese protein chicken

GREECE – Kalamata olives, yogurt and grape leaves
Cyndi- 1 stuffed chicken roulade
Anthony- 0 seared lamb 

THAI – lemongrass, coconut milk and jasmine rice
Ja’Nel- 1 calamari
Nedra- 0 steamed halibut

You might think that Zach was joking when he stated “Japanese food is like Chinese food, and the only reason I know that is because my one Korean friend told me so,” but he wasn’t. He really meant it and that spelled doom for him.

The Red team won 3-1. Their reward was $500 each for a shopping spree, lunch in a private room at Mr. Chow’s and a set of All-Clad cookware each. The punishment was unloading wine cases, cleaning all stemware, slicing 40 pounds each of limes and lemons and prepping both kitchens. Nedra was surly and defiant and unhelpful.

It was time for dinner service and Nedra’s station was not ready to go. She blamed her Blue team colleagues for this, but it was her own incompetence. Blue could not accomplish anything on appetizers with Nedra primarily responsible for starting off with scallops too salted.  Jon’s undercooked scallops were also a factor. The entire Blue team had made a mess, demonstrated disarray and demonstrated disorganization. Ramsay shut the Blue kitchen.

Susan made 4 portions of risotto when 2 were requested. Ja’Nel asked Susan to give her time to finish cooking the scallops, which Susan ignored; Ja’Nel then made a mistake by cooking scallops only on one side. Susan recovered and Ja’Nel recovered and Red finished appetizers and started entrees. A complex order with lots of different dishes was destroyed when Ja’Nel brought up raw halibut to the pass for their one and only VIP guest, so Ramsay used that excuse to go ballistic and close down the Red kitchen. The usual “nominate your weakest team member for elimination” was done in addition to the judgment that “tonight’s dinner service was the worst ever in the history of Hell’s Kitchen.”

There was no debate on the Blue team: their choice was Nedra, who totally deserved it. She had totally alienated her new colleagues and had no support for staying. The debate on the Red team was between Ja’Nel’s poor performance that night vs. Susan being significantly less skilled. It would be Nedra vs. Susan. That was no contest and Nedra was eliminated by Ramsay. Ramsay used this colorful metaphor to explain her demise: “Nedra wore a red jacket and a blue jacket, but after tonight's performance, I knew that she wouldn't be wearing a black jacket.”


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