In this Hell’s Kitchen episode (episode 14), Gordon Ramsay teaches the black jacket chefs about value. “Chefs become heroes when they are able to take an ingredient and turn it into something worth incredible value, right?” Then a wild white Alaskan salmon literally fell from the sky and onto the table. The first challenge was to turn white salmon into the most profitable dish… ever. Each contestant had 30 minutes.
Right from the start, Jennifer Normant was stuck in the planning stage and couldn’t decide for a while what to do. Paul Niedermann’s strategy was to make a simple dish to accent the fine piece of meat. As judges, Chef Ramsay brought in General Manager of Nobu L.A., Justin Wyborn, Co-owner and General Manager of Providence (a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars), Donato Poto, and Maître D’ of Mr. Chow, Chris Denton. Each judge was to tell how much they would price the dish and the contestant would win the average.
Will Lustberg presented a pan roasted wild Alaskan salmon, and a tomato and garlic soup. The judges thought it was a little too salty. They also thought Will did a good job not overwhelming the fish, earning Will a $28.67 dish.
Elise Wims made salmon with macaroni and cheese. The Judges’ first question was "why pair fish with pasta?" The judges were not able to notice the fish after tasting the pasta (the pasta being that over-powering, earning Elise a mear $24.33 for her dish.
Tommy Stevens cooked white Alaskan salmon, pan-roasted, in a light pomegranate sauce. The fish was a bit dry for the judges, and it looked better than it tasted. The dish earned a $25.33 price, which for Tommy was “a big kick in the nuts.”
Paul’s white salmon dish with romanesca was a very nice dish worth $29.67. Jennifer’s poached salmon with an oyster broth was very courageous, and Tommy showed a bit of a testicular fascination by saying it was a “balls-y” move. The judges thought it tasted better than it looked and gave it a $28.33.
Paul’s price for winning the challenge was to join Chef Ramsay on a tour of L.A. in a helicopter. Then they would eat lunch at the Water Grill, one of L.A.’s finest seafood restaurants. Paul then got to choose one companion. Paul said “I don’t wanna take Elise because I feel like I will be very tempted to push Elise out of the helicopter,” so he chose Tommy.
The punishment was to spruce up the bar, polish the stemware, arrange the bottles and set out the ice buckets. The dinner service was going to be Paul’s dish, so the punishment also included preparing the salmon. In the middle of the punishment Elise’s negativity came out when she commented, “Will and Jennifer were joking and laughing, and I’m thinking, am I the only one pissed that we have to do a punishment?”
In the meantime, Tommy was freaked out by the height of the helicopter. I guess nobody asked him if he was afraid of heights. At the end of the tour, Paul and Tommy got to drink champagne on a rooftop in the middle of L.A. with Chef Ramsay. During the punishment, Elise claimed to be scared of messing up the fish not to have to cut the salmon because she “don’t roll like that.” Pretty clever if you ask me. Will was totally pissed off that she was standing around not doing anything. During lunch, Paul was infatuated with the female Executive Chef of the Water Grill, Amanda. All he could come up with as a pick up line was, “do you wanna come fly in my helicopter?” Swing and a miss! Tommy’s people skills kicked in and Amanda actually asked him what he was doing later. Wow, nicely done! When they returned to Hell’s Kitchen, Elise was de-boning a salmon and Tommy made fun of her asking, “you alright? Looks like you got a bone to pick… heeeeyyy!” Props to Tommy, seemed like this was his episode.
During the dinner service, the first one to screw up was Tommy. His streak was over. Ramsay said the cappellini was raw and blamed it on Jennifer’s and Tommy’s lack of communication. When they finally did communicate, the cappellini was… perfect. Tough lesson to learn in the middle of a competition. Elise overcooked the fish and Chef Ramsay broke his own rule when he sent out only half the orders. Elise clearly showed she doesn’t know how to cook fish. When Elise said “it’s the skin, I got it” Ramsay’s response was, “congratulations… you just said what I’ve been saying for the past f@#*ing hour!” Which he followed with a very sarcastic clap. After one hour with Tommy’s, Elise’s, and Jennifer’s mistakes, the group got out half the appetizers and half the entrees. Paul and Will delivered an entire table of meat entrees without issues. Tommy tried helping Elise with the fish and she declined his help. So of course, she screwed up again. Ramsay kicked out the entire team off the kitchen. Then he asked Will and Paul to return to the kitchen… and they kicked ass!
Tommy confronted Ramsay for kicking him out the kitchen. Tommy said he deserved to have stayed in the kitchen. Ramsay told him to “f@#* off” before he “put your head in the oven and talk to you through the gas burners.” Appropriate intimidation from Chef Ramsay. Elise tried to plot with Will and Paul to not get nominated. All in vain because when asked by Ramsay, Paul chose Jennifer and “Elishia,” or something. Ramsay asked Paul to choose the weakest chef, putting him in an ugly, uncomfortable spot. Will, based on cooking, chose Jennifer. Paul then chose Jennifer too, and Tommy chose Elise. Ramsay told Jennifer to leave, telling her that she is a lady and cannot lead a team because she can’t fight. SO, rather than leave gracefully, Jennifer confronted Will and Paul for saying that Elise was a better chef. In a heartbreaking moment for me, Ramsay kicked Jennifer off the show. And so, with four chefs left, the stage is set for a two hour season finale that promises to be a cut-throat competition.