Hell’s Kitchen has become boring

June 25, 2008

Hell’s Kitchen has become boring as the season comes to a close. Ramsey’s rants, chefs preparing the same menu for dinner services, and the dwindlinging variety of personalities, are making the remaining episodes quite tedious and anti-climatic. Now that there are only three left (Jenn left last week because she was slow and whined too much), Ramsey has brought in his own sous chefs to perform a haphazard job in the kitchen on purpose. Corey was sent home in the end because she could not imitate Chef Ramsey’s method of telling the chef’s how they are f***ing up the meat orders. I’m looking forward to the finale next week because Ramsey is bringing back former crazy chefs to help (or hurt) Christina and Petrozza. I predict Petrozza will win the job as Executive Chef. I think Christina is too young and unseasoned (pun intended) to run a restaurant. It will be fun to see if she can win Ramsey over: she’s already been on several “reward” dates with him for winning individual challenges. I will say that this week’s epsode had a funny moment: A voiceover of Corey saying that had to prove that she wasn’t a dumb blond as we see her disrobing down to her bra and panties before trying to get Louross to get into the hot tub with her!

PJ

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Christina wins Hell’s Kitchen

June 19, 2008

I really thought Petrozza had a chance until the two finalists had to work with former cast-chefs and prepare a dinner service. The less experienced Christina was not only more organized than Petrozza, but was able to negotiate her crew’s diverse personalities. For example–she asked Matt to make his award winning risotto. That kept Matt on task for awhile. The largest challenge for the finalists was getting the losing chefs to help them win, when most of them didn’t care. The funniest chef was Jenn, whose eyes were bulging out of her head with jealousy. She did try to help Petrozza, though, by trying to get him to organize a menu and dinner service plan. But Petrozza crashed and burned. I could tell it was all over when he was organizing asparagus pieces in “X” shapes around the plates while the entrees got cold. The turning point of the show was Ramsey talking quietly (for once) like a golf tournament announcer before Christina and Petrozza turned the handle to walk through the door to their future (gag). What a nightmare to not be able to open that door! In the end, Ramsey chose Christina because of her “potential.” I should have seen it coming when Christina started to refer to Ramsey as “Gordon.” I guess Ramsey thought he couldn’t mold Petrozza into executive chef material, and for that reason alone I am glad Petrozza will remain Petrozza and not a Ramsey clone.


Who names their dog Booger? {Groomer Has It}

June 19, 2008

Mario DiFante is a “Mobile Grooming Consultant” who is also the executive director of “Pet Fashion Week.” It was Mario who judged the Quick Sniff Mobile Grooming Challenge. Jorge, who was last weeks winner, picked Jonathan to be his partner. Actually, It would have been more fun to see how they got these vans messy in the first place than to watch the contestants clean them. The interiors were so nasty that Jonathan scoffed, “I do not go around cleaning up after people. It’s not my job.”

Jorge (about Jonathan): “It’s hard to fit yourself, and him, and his ego in a small place. I thought I would have to hose him down at some point.”

When time was up, Mario inspected the trucks literally with a white glove. I think Mario would have been more disgusted with the condition with Hell’s Kitchen. Kathleen and Artist won the challenge and received a mobile GPS as a reward.

At dinner that night, Kathleen and Jonathan made fun of groomers who put plastic flowers in their vans and according to Kathleen, “happily wear polyester.” Artist said he never wore a uniform and Jonathan said that wearing a black tank top isn’t appropriate if your dealing with certain types of people. Jonathan’s dress for success attitude didn’t impress Artist who said he would work at a Humane Society for free.

Watching Jonathan and Jorge navigate the streets of Los Angeles in a mobile Grooming truck was like watching Dumb and Dumber. Apparently Jonathan will hire his own driver in the future because he doesn’t drive, he grooms. Jorge’s comment was hilarious: “We are from New York. We don’t use maps, we just tell the cab driver where to go.” Jonathan and Jorge made all of their appointments on time (barely), and managed to put a hole in the roof of their truck in the process. But they figured they would be OK because they would not be judged on the condition of their vehicle.

At judging, Jonathan said, “There was a low hanging branch that did hit the top of the van.” Apparently Jonathan thought he was in Narnia where the tree branches have minds of their own.

Jonathan also trimmed a dog’s ears wrong. Interestingly, this was the same mistake that sent Jasper home, but this week Jonathan won–go figure. However, the judges determined that Kathleen’s made two fatal mistakes when grooming Eloise, the Coton de Tulear 1) Forgetting the Kwik Stop and 2) not letting the client know that the dog’s nails could bleed afterwards.

Kathleen bowed out gracefully; she was smart enough to know not to say anything bad about Artist, who is quickly becoming the show’s unsung hero.

Honestly, I have to admit what bothered me the most about this episode was that General Hospital actress Kelly Monaco named her French Bulldog “Booger.” Who names a dog Booger? Kelly looks too young to remember Curtis Armstrong’s character of Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, so what’s up with that name? It was funny, however, to see Karen “Doc” Halligan ask with a straight face, “Was this Booger’s first grooming?” But it would have been even funnier if they groomed Pink’s dog whose name is “F**cker.”

I’m still rooting for Artist to take the title!

PJ

Photos: Narnia’s Creepy Trees, Coton de Tulear, French Bulldog, and Curtis Armstrong, the original “Booger” in Revenge of the Nerds (1984).


Chef Bobby sent home for lack of Beef Skills {Hell’s Kitchen}

June 16, 2008

Communication was key in Hell’s Kitchen last week, and it was Bobby who ultimately failed. The fact that Bobby “cremated” rather than cooked the Beef Wellington, according to Chef Ramsey, didn’t help him either. The final four chefs had an individual “cooking school” challenge–teaching a non-cooking, scantily clad housewives how to prepare homemade pasta with fresh lobster and sauce. Christina came out on top with Corey, a close second. Chrisitina, a Culinary School student, probably had an advantage here. Petrozza and Bobby were too distracted by their students’ large melons to focus on the tasks at hand, and Jen struggled with letting her student prepare the meal without interference.

Neither Jenn nor Corey were happy for Christina (surprise). Jenn said, “I just wanted to booty-bounce her across the room.” Again, cleaning Hell’s Kitchen was the punishment. Hell’s Kitchen is gross, and this week we got to see the black crusty bits in the fryer and the ice cream scoop stuck in chocolate. The chef’s made it through dinner service and Chef Ramsey targeted Bobby to harass, but Jenn also felt the heat. For once I felt that Jenn didn’t deserve the wrath of Ramsey, but she made the mistake of sticking up for herself–a big no-no because to Ramsey, sticking up for oneself means questioning King Gordon.

Both Christina and Corey would have liked to have seen Jen go home, but at least Jen can cook a decent Beef Wellington.

PJ


Stephanie wins Top Chef after lackluster finale {Top Chef Chicago}

June 12, 2008

Stephanie wins Top Chef Chicago and becomes the first female Top Chef, but aside from her victory, the rest of the show was BORING! I decided to post this in fancy “Vivaldi” style font because it suits the high brow foodie audience for which the finale was intended. I could not appreciate Stephanie’s daring pecan and olive ingredients that so impressed the judges. The producers keep forgetting that those of us at home can’t taste the food.. I could appreciate, however, that Lisa’s soup caused the renowned guest chefs to “slurp” and ask for seconds. Like I have said before, Lisa did her homework before arriving in Puerto Rico and performed better than she ever did in Chicago. She was uncharacteristically at ease during the finale due to the fact that there wasn’t anyone around to argue with her. If you have ever watched Hell’s Kitchen, you can easily imagine Chef Gordon Ramsey eating Lisa alive (and probably throw up afterwards). Richard’s tanks of exotic gasses didn’t set him apart from the others. As I watched him pour liquid nitrogen into his bacon flavored ice cream, I thought isn’t that the stuff doctor’s use to freeze warts off of people? (ick) I believe Richard’s downfall was that he thought he could pull it all together on the second day, but surprise—no sous chefs! They bring back the old format for the finale: 2 finalists cooking head to head with the help of former cast mates. Otherwise,Top Chef should move over to the FOOD network. I hope to see more of Stephanie! Maybe she will write a cookbook or get her own television show. She is a heck of a lot less annoying that Rachael Ray!

PJ


“You wanna see scary?” Matt leaves Hell’s Kitchen

June 4, 2008

As I expected, Matt left Hell’s Kitchen this week. Ramsey made it clear that Matty was just a “fraction” worse than Corey and Christina . Matt and Christina had traded “shut ups” the entire day after losing the individual challenge. It was a close call between Christina and Matt and for a minute it looked like Ramsey was leaning towards sending Christina home, telling her that she needs more experience. But Christina stood her ground, stating that she is only getting better each week of the competition. Matt’s exit was memorable; there were flashbacks of his victories (the best Risotto in Hell’s Kitchen) and defeats (making Ramsey throw-up during the first episode) and then Ramsey waxed poetic with the following limerick:

There once was a boy named Matt,

whose kitchen performance fell flat.

He was far from neat.

He was miserable on meat.

So I kicked him out

and that’s that.

The other chefs offered their opinions about Matt this as well :

Christina : Matty, you’re driving me f***ing up the wall, bro. You’ve got to close that mouth sometime.

Bobby: Matt is like Full Metal Jacket. I’m worried about Matt.

Petrozza: I am relieved Matt’s gone. You know what? I’ll be relieved when Matt’s in a different state. Make sure you lock the door behind that guy.

The chef’s became one team (Black) instead of two (just like Survivor when the tribes merge). Ramsey paraded out two big bald guys dressed in Blues Brothers get-ups and carrying a quarter of a million dollars in cash in tow suitcases to get the chefs motivated to win. Jen won the first individual challenge (a Top Chef Quickfire) with her thinly sliced rib-eye. However, this challenge proved that this group had culinary skills. Jen chose Corey to accompany her to Vegas to have dinner with Chef Rock, last season’s winner. The rest of the group had to bring in the restaurants deliveries. Christina took charge which annoyed Matt. By the time, Jen and Corey returned, Matt had a migraine. The chefs still couldn’t communicate, so it was business as usual during dinner service: Cory burned her hand, blew oil on his face, Chef Ramsey yelled,”Raw Meat!” and made everyone come over and feel the difference between raw and overcooked meat. Then Ramsey threw a steak across the kitchen (yummy). Jen made an excellent batch of Risotto and then over-salted the next batch. Christina and Bobby seemed to share a brain when each of them cooked a combination of meat, chicken, or fish in the same skillet. Petrozza reminds me of Pigpen of the Peanuts characters. Ramsey said, “You work like a pig, yet you produce such amazing food.” It looks like the chefs won’t get a chance to team, start uniting as a team,” according to Ramsey, because next week they will be running a “cooking school” for scantily dressed models.

PJ


Chef Spike could not revive his frozen scallops {Top Chef}

May 30, 2008

The Quickfire Challenge this week was a vegetarian’s nightmare. The chefs had to show their “butchery skills” at Allen Brother’s meat plant and cut seven chops with a “frenched bone” from an American raised long-boned rib-eye, USDA Dry Aged Prime Rib rack in 20 minutes. After returning to the Top Chef Kitchen, each of the five remaining chefs had to cook a tomahawk chop in thirty minutes. Spike, a grandson of two butchers, soared through both parts of this challenge, and as a reward he was able to have first pick of ingredients from Rick Tramonto’s kitchen in Rick Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood restaurant. For the elimination challenge, each chef had to create an original appetizer and entree. Chef Tom Collicico took on the role of “Expediter” for the dinner service. Tom’s quiet demeanor was quite a switch from Chef Ramsey’s famous freak-outs in Hell’s Kitchen. Previous Top Chef winners Harold Dieterle (Season One), Ilan Hall (Season Two), and Hung Hynh (Season Three) were invited as the judges’ VIP guests. (I must say that Ilan looked a little out of place wearing a brown tee-shirt)

Stephanie won the challenge with her Sweetbreads with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts appetizer (she was proud that she could make sweetbreads taste like Chicken McNuggets) and her Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms & Apple Sauce entree . Richard’s Hamachi with Crispy Sweatbreads, Radish, Avocado & Yuzu appetizer was the favorite dish of the evening, and Lisa’s Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes was the best side dish. Chef Tom thought that Antonio’s entree tasted best out of all the steak dishes.

Lisa and Spike wound up as the bottom two, Lisa was at the bottom for the fifth time. I think Padma saved her because she thought Lisa had “an amazing pallet.” The frozen scallops turned out to be Spike’s downfall. Spike tried for a long time to drain the water out of them with paper towels, but he still could not turn them into fresh scallops. Moreover, at the Judge’s Table Spike told Rick that he shouldn’t have had scallops in his walk-in that “weren’t high quality.” (Ouch) Rick rebounded with, “I’ll take that shot, bro. I had frozen scallops in my cooler, but you got to take the shot that you used them.” On the positive side, working in Rick’s hot kitchen made Spike remove his signature silly hat. I really hope he tossed it into the wood burning oven. Next week the four remaining chefs head off to Puerto Rico. Will there be an all women final three?

PJ


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