Catching Up With Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen Final 4

These were the final 4 remaining on this season’s Hell’s Kitchen until last Monday’s elimination of Julia (far right) whittled things down to 3. The final contestants, left to right, are Bonnie, 26, a nanny and personal chef from Los Angeles, Rock, 30, an executive chef from Virginia, and Jen, 26, a pastry chef from Pennsylvania. The recent path to this point has had its usual twists and turns amid plenty of shouting and insults from Chef Gordon Ramsay.

2 episodes ago, with the dictatorial Melissa finally gone, we actually saw some interesting cooking and teamwork between the men and the women. In a leftover showdown, Julia, Waffle House cook, put together what looked like tasty fish and chips, but it didn’t pass muster in the world of high cuisine known as Hell’s Kitchen. However, those skills would be used productively later in the show. Each group was forced to put together a menu, and, after it was discovered Julia was overruled by Bonnie and Jen in putting the women’s menu together, Julia’s ideas of steak and shrimp were addded in. The steak proved to be the most popular item of the night. The women’s team, in red, put together a successful night, but the men, in blue, melt down when Josh’s difficulties in successfully cooking lamb holds everything up. Ultimately, Brad is eliminated by Chef Ramsay after enduring the insult that he is not a leader but only a cook.

Episode 3.8 from this past Monday was one of the most interesting, and entertaining, of the season. All 5 remaining chefs were combined into one team with brand new black trimmed uniforms instead of red and blue. Their first challenge involved trying to gain favor from high school students with individual recipes and cooking skills. It didn’t take a genius in knowing what high school students might like to realize Rock’s meatloaf or Josh’s salmon may not be a favorite with teenagers. Julia hit a bullseye with a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich accompanied by onion rings. Her prize is a trip to Las Vegas to check out the Green Valley Ranch, future home of this year’s Hell’s Kitchen winner, and she picks Jen to tag along. There they meet last season’s winner Heather who is working as a senior chef not executive chef as the show seemed to offer.

Back to the main event of the show and all 5 contestants work together to serve the entire restaurant for the evening. In the midst of various problems in the kitchen, Josh is kicked out by Chef Ramsay well before the service is even complete. This sets up another elimination at the end of the show. Julia is eliminated instead of Bonnie and Ramsay announces he is so impressed with Julia that he will pay for her to attend culinary school. I couldn’t help but imagine that this outcome may be even better for her long-term career than a victory at Hell’s Kitchen.