Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: August 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hell’s Kitchen Season 9, Episode 12 Recap: “6 chefs compete.”

6 chefs compete on Hell's Kitchen episode 12
On this Hell’s Kitchen, episode 12, Gordon Ramsay decides to teach each team about timing. For the team challenge, each team had to make 3 dishes. One chef made a 30 minute entrée, another chef made a 20 minute entrée, and one chef made a 10 min entrée. All dishes were to be completed and at the pass at the same time.

The blue team decided that Tommy Stevens would get the 30 minute dish, Paul Niedermann the 20 minute dish, and Will Lustberg the 10 minute dish.

Jennifer Normant took 30 minute dish, Elizabeth Bianchi was given the 20 minute dish, and Elise Wims took the 10 minute dish.

As Jennifer started cooking, Elise and Elizabeth bothered Jennifer about what ingredients they could use. Rather than focusing on winning as a team, the Red Team was still working individually. Meanwhile, in the Blue Team, the men focused on Tommy’s cooking and helped by keeping Tommy focused.

Towards the end of the challenge, Jennifer’s lamb was raw and she started panicking. Elise criticized that Jennifer can’t finish a dish in 30 minutes. Tommy was on time and made quail egg on top of lamb. Ramsay was surprised at the decision, but thought it “worked quite well.” When the time came to judge, Jennifer pointed out that her lamb was raw, but Ramsay said that it was pink and that the “sauce is delicious.” Moreover, he said “I love the dish, good job.” Red won the point for the 30 minute dish.

Chef Paul Niedermann
Paul made a pan roasted sea bass that had a great sear, was a little watery, but “it’s got finesse.” Paul gloated by saying “I’m the biggest of all the f@#*ing deals.” Elizabeth made Monk fish with couscous and couldn’t decide whether it was French or Mediterranean. Point to Blue Team.

Will made lemon-seared Santa Barbara prawns. The garlic in the vegetables was too overpowering. Elise made spicy calamari with a tomato pepper sauce. The Calamari were undercooked and the point went to the Blue Team. I’m not sure if it was for losing the challenge for the Red Team, for undercooking the prawns, or for being criticized by Ramsay (although she should be used to it by now), but Elise cried.

As a reward, the Blue Team, a team full of men, got to go to Ted Baker Boutique, Chef Ramsay’s favorite. The dinner service for this episode was to host a unique, exclusive black tie charity event. Since there would be only two tables of twelve, the teams would have to make a six course meal.

As a punishment, the Red Team had to set up both kitchens and bring 2 banquet tables to reorganize the dining hall. Chef Ramsay left the room with a “stop crying, bounce back Elise!” Jennifer, a self-proclaimed shopaholic, was very jealous of the men. Celebrating, Paul spilled some champagne on Will whose only remark was “I need new clothes now”

The girls had a hard time bringing one table in. Jennifer complained that you just pick it up! The girls couldn’t even work together to prepare the dining hall. Tommy brought back a handkerchief as a present “for the next time I beat you in a challenge, so you can cry on it.” Elise was not amused.

Each chef was in charge of two courses. Elizabeth got pissed at Elise’s insult while splitting up the tasks. Elise, referring to Elizabeth, said “she can’t help.” Elizabeth pointed out that attacking is what Elise does best.

This dinner service was very special, not just because it would decide which five chefs deserve the black jacket, but the charity event raised a combined $3 million dollars for the American Cancer Society and the American Humane Society.

Tommy messed up and made a sloppy salad to slow down the Blue Team. Paul rose to the challenge of his course, but Elizabeth struggled to stay calm. So Jennifer and Elise had to take care of Elizabeth’s first course. “Where’s the voice? Where’s the leadership? You have one more course left, own it!” (Ramsay gives Elizabeth a pep talk). Elise’s strong leadership made an excellent risotto, and it was on time. Tommy’s risotto was late and he cooked it in three pans. Tommy said “they’re dead on, I tasted each one.” Ramsay complained “you got 3 different tastes there!” With a big assist from Will, the risotto went out.

Throughout Jennifer’s course, Elise was standing not doing much, while Elizabeth did things half-assed. Ramsay complained that there were 3 pieces of lobster on one dish, 4 on the other, and 5 on the other. He threw a spoon on the ground and the guests were embarrassed for the Red Team as they got yelled at, which made the guests very uncomfortable. Jennifer accused the girls of sabotage. Will’s great leadership made his course on time and very well cooked.

For Elizabeth’s second course, her chicken was ready too early and she gave the lame excuse that she “wanted to let them rest.” Ramsay cleared the plates from the Red Team’s table to serve the chicken early. Elizabeth’s anxiety got the best of her and she started losing it, no longer communicating.

Elise had Jennifer work on the sides and Elizabeth warm up the sauces, taking care of her own wellingtons during her course. Even though Tommy gave no directions when asked for them, he did a good job and Ramsay said he redeemed himself. Elise’s mashed potatoes were missing salt and Elise accused Jennifer of trying to sabotage her.

When Jennifer told Elise to cook the apples through, Elise didn’t. Jennifer declared war.

At the end of the service, the Blue Team earned the coveted Black Jacket. Even Tommy. When defending herself Jennifer once again told Elise to “shut up for five seconds,” something that is now becoming a trend in the competition. Elizabeth almost started crying begging for her place. Jennifer said she wanted the competition from the three chefs, who now owned the Black Jacket, to become a great chef. Elise claimed that her leadership skills merited the black jacket. Ramsay told Jennifer to take off her jacket and then said “this has been your worst service yet, yes?” To which, in tears, she said “yes chef… chef I can do it, I’m telling you.” And Ramsay believed her, giving her the black jacket. Elizabeth started crying and begging, but Ramsay said she wasn’t ready to lead. Elise is in “a downward spiral” but he Ramsay saw “something in her.” What could that be? Drama?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hell’s Kitchen Season 9, Episode 11 Recap: “7 chefs compete.”

Hell's Kitchen episode (episode 10) starts off with the continuation of Gordon Ramsay's shocking announcement of asking Elise to take her jacket off, telling everyone else to take their jackets off as well and announcing that “as from right now, Hell’s Kitchen is… closed.”
Criticizing the cast, Chef Ramsay told them they had to “get inspired.” To do so, he flew every contestant first class to BLT Steak in New York City. They got a tasting tour of New York starting off with Italian, then Chinese (the key to Peking duck is to inflate the duck – cool scene), French, Greek, Mexican, Jamaican, Indian, (at this point Will, looking in serious pain, lamented “I can’t do anymore”) and ending the tour at BLT Steak. The contestants were shown around the grandiose locale and everyone wanted to win.
Team challenge… “How creative can you all be with ethnic cuisine.” Chef Ramsay hoped they picked up some tips from their trip to New York and Elise said what the whole group was thinking, “I wasn’t paying attention.” For the contestants to find out the meal he/she had to prepare, each individual had a turn at a slot machine that spun the ingredients and dropped a coin with the style of cuisine. Natalie was first and she got Jamaican. Jennifer wanted Greek, didn’t want salmon, but spun salmon as the first ingredient, and luckily got Greek. Paul got Italian and he was glad to come from an “Italian background, thank God.” Elizabeth was not happy to get Mexican. Tommy wanted Mexican, but was unlucky enough to get Indian. Elise, without experience in Chinese cuisine, got Chinese. Paul, French.
Chef Gordon Ramsay announced a new way to pick the winner… King of the Hill. The person with the best dish wins the challenge for their team. Tommy was first, with his Indian plate. Ramsay hoped for Tommy that “it tastes more Indian than it looks.” He approved of the use of spices. Elizabeth’s Mexican dish beat Tommy’s, making her a self-proclaimed “Queen of the Hill.” Natalie’s ridiculously spicy Jamaican dish could not beat the current Queen. Paul’s French filet dethroned the Queen. Elise’s first attempt at Chinese food earned her the throne. Will’s prosciutto wrapped scallops knocked Elise off her place. The last person to present their dish was, once again, Jennifer. Her pan-seared salmon with feta cheese reigned supreme over the competition as Jennifer once again won the challenge for her the Red Team.
The Red Team’s reward was to go to the beach for a surprise. As punishment, the Blue Team once again got to prep both kitchens for the dinner service. Will was understandably pissed. At Venice Beach, the Red Team won… Zorbing? “What the heck is Zorbing?” asked Elise. She volunteered to go first and LOVED it! Elizabeth literally cried with excitement. As in, tears were falling down her face.
The Dinner Service
In the hopes of getting a “wow” dinner service in, Natalie got Chef Ramsay’s disappointed “wow wow wow wow wow” for cooking only one side of the scallops, leaving them raw. Elizabeth on the Red Team was having problems with the scallops as well. Ramsay made Elise help her. Tommy consistently forgot to place the onion rings on a towel, leaving them looking like, as Ramsay tenderly called it “worms.”
Elizabeth ruined the sea bass by over-cooking it and making it dry. She then had a panic attack, seriously affecting her performance. Elise tried to blame Tommy for her own mistake and, surprisingly, Tommy stood up for himself and revealed Elise as a liar. Elizabeth lost all self-esteem and Ramsay, who had already pulled her aside, kicked her while she was down and called her a “pathetic little wimp.” Ramsay kicked Elise and Elizabeth out of the kitchen and Jennifer was brilliant at taking on the challenge of working alone with Ramsay. She did it calmly as well. I was very impressed.
Ramsay asked both teams to choose someone. The Blue Team chose Natalie for not being able to cook fish and the Red Team chose Elise for not admitting her own mistakes and blaming everyone else for them. Ramsay chose Natalie. She was devastated and could not hold her tears back. Ramsay urged Natalie, “Do Not stop cooking.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hell’s Kitchen Season 9 Episode 10 Recap: “8 chefs compete.”

This week's Hell's Kitchen episode (episode 10) just seems spicier than the last. Gordon Ramsay actually seems justified in blasting a chef and Tommy still seems as confused as ever... Here's the recap for Hell’s Kitchen Episode 10 - hope you enjoy:
After hearing Chef Gordon Ramsay’s judgment from the previous episode, Jennifer started the episode by warning Carrie and Elise to get their act together for the sake of the Red Team.
For the team challenge, Chef Ramsay announced a “blind taste test” that excited everyone. Each contestant was eager to prove their skill and refined taste by identifying 4 items by taste alone. They all thought their taste buds would be flawless. After all, Ramsay believes that a great chef has a great palate. The team with the most correct answers wins.
1st round: Tommy v. Carrie: they were given anchovies and Tommy thought it was sardines and while Carrie thought it was salmon.
                                           -Item: carrots. Tommy said radish, Carrie said carrots.
                                           -Item: egg yolk. Tommy said potato and Carrie said hard-boiled egg.
                                           -Item: mango. Tommy said mango and Carrie said strawberry.
2nd: Will and Elizabeth:   - Item: Cauliflower. Will said broccoli and Elizabeth said broccoli.
                                          - Item: lobster. Will said mushrooms and Elizabeth said cod.
                                          - Item: pumpkin. Will said sweet potato puree and Elizabeth said butternut squash puree.
                                          - Item: mushy peas. Will said mushy peas and (after much hesitation) Elizabeth said spinach.                                     
3rd: Paul and Jennifer:    - Item: chicken. Paul said turkey and Jennifer said turkey.
                                          - Item: asparagus. Paul said asparagus and Jennifer said celery.
                                          - Item: pecans. Paul said walnuts and Jennifer said walnuts.
                                          - Item: cheddar cheese. Paul said parmesan and Jennifer said cheddar cheese.
4th: Natalie v. Elise:         
                                        - Item: filet mignon. Natalie said turkey and Elise said Beef (filet).
                                        - Item: brussels sprouts. Natalie said parsnip and Elise said water chestnuts.
                                          - Item: coconut. Natalie said fresh coconut and Elise said coconut. With teams tied at 4, and one item to go, it all comes down to...   
      - Item: sour cream. Natalie said crème fraiche and Elise said sour cream.
As a reward, the Red Team went to Hollywood Hills to eat a gourmet lunch. They would go to Hollywood Hills on horseback. Carrie was in her element, while Elise had never seen a horse in real life. They got a great view, and got to drink champagne overseeing all of LA.
As a punishment, Ramsay had “a massive 200lbs grape delivery,” which he wanted “sorted, washed and then carefully de-seeded and peeled… by hand Tommy,” to which Tommy coolly responded “You got it”. At the thought of peeling grapes, Natalie comments “yai grapes”. The dinner service was “Steakhouse and Homemade Jam.”  While peeling grapes, Will was willing to shoot himself “just for a change of pace.” Natalie threw a playful tantrum and threw some grapes on the ground, stomping them like an angry two year old. That certainly made the situation more bearable.
The Red Team got so drunk, that Carrie and Elise actually walked back onto the set arm in arm like a couple of best friends. However, when they got to their room, the war was back on! Carrie accused Elise of being drunk and Elise went off, called Carrie an alcoholic “carrying your bottle of wine with a straw in it.” Carrie retaliated with a heartfelt “shut the f#*k up!”
Steak Night Dinner Service
For the dinner service, Hell’s Kitchen had a full house. To accommodate everyone, they had a “double seating” for which one team cooked the meal and one team served it. When it was all done, the teams switched for the second seating. The Red Team chose to go first to know what to expect. The dishes for the dinner service were rib eye, a New York strip, and a Hamachi appetizer. The Blue Team was first in the kitchen and had “90 minutes to serve the entire kitchen”. Tommy was in charge of the appetizers and struggled to get the orders out. Elise, in the meantime, struggled to get the orders in. Ramsay yelled at her for writing 1 Hamachi, 1 shrimp cocktail, 1 shrimp cocktail, 1 Hamachi” instead of 2 cocktail shrimp… and said “f#*k off will you Elise?” Tommy was failing to push the appetizers out quickly and everyone started yelling at him for not answering “yes chef.” Ramsay called the Blue Team on it and let them know that they were letting him sink and not helping him.
Natalie overcooked the New York strip and couldn’t identify it as overcooked. Instead, she called it “normal.” When attempting to cook another New York strip, Natalie almost burned down the house with a huge flame and tried to put it out by blowing on it. Seriously? Ramsay lost it and started begging Natalie to (yelling) “stoooop!”
The Blue Team did not manage to produce any entrees and Ramsay was forced to close the kitchen. Paul was infuriated and Elise thought the Red Team had a strong chance to win. Tommy was painful as a waiter and had to be told twice what the patrons wanted. Not only that, he forgot to take the menus after taking the order. Ramsay was literally banging his head on the counter with Tommy on that one.   Ramsay claimed Tommy wrote like a nine year old and wrote the same thing tice, just like Elise. When it was their turn in the kitchen, the Red Team was successfully working as a team and were communicating properly. They all made the appetizers together.
As much as Elise wanted to win the dinner service, she undercooked the bass. She only noticed when Ramsay sighed “raw bass.” Jennifer had to yell at Carrie to get her to move quickly. Carrie ended up burning the mash potatoes. Ramsay slammed the pot with the mashed potatoes, scaring the entire Red Team. A move that was rather unnecessary, even for him. Jennifer commented on her individual interview that Carrie was to blame for every dinner service. The Red Team also ran out of time as Chef Ramsay exclaimed “shut it down!”
Ramsay was livid! “Customers left hungry, they didn’t get fed!” He went on to make it very clear that this was the worst performance he had ever seen “at this stage in the competition.” Ramsay pointed out the Elise has “a bright future in the industry… as a customer.” His reason is that Elise is an individual player. Elise complained that she has been trying to work as a team throughout the entire competition, and Jennifer yelled at her to “shut up for five f@*k#ng seconds,” and let her know that Elise doesn’t “shut up and listen to what we have to say.” Ramsay then declares that “tonight the winner is… none of you.” He made both teams choose one person to kick out.
The Red team had no problem choosing Elise and Carrie. In the meantime, as Will said, “this is the hardest one that we’ve had to do yet.” The Red Team ended up choosing Carrie in an attempt “to break up the drama”. The Blue Team chose Tommy for his lack of communication.
After saying that Tommy “didn’t have a future in Hell’s Kitchen”, Ramsay chose Carrie.
And then he surprised everyone by announcing that he decided “Elise, take your jacket off.” The episode ended with Jennifer cracking a smile.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hell’s Kitchen Season 9 - Episode 9 Recap: “9 Chefs Compete”

Hell's Kitchen Episode 9 Contestants
On this week’s 9th episode of Hell’s Kitchen, the competition sweetens up and Chef Gordon Ramsay gives a well-deserved boot to a sloppy chef.

For the team challenge of this episode of Hell’s Kitchen, each member of the Red Team and the Blue Team was asked to create a “sexy, delicious dessert” (a romantic dessert). As judges, Ramsay brought in dessert experts WayLynn Lucas (Chef/Owner of “(fōnuts)”) and Jordan Kahn (Chef/Owner Red Medicine). Each judge could give a minimum of 1 star and a maximum of 3 stars. Since the Red Team had 5 members (Carrie, Elise, Elizabeth, Jamie, and Jennifer), while the Blue Team only had 4 (Natalie, Paul, Tommy, and Will), Ramsay asked the Red Team to choose one dessert NOT to be judged.

After a quick, but contended argument, Jennifer managed to keep her dessert in the competition. The decision was then to choose between Carrie and Elise. We all know how much drama these two bring to the show, which means that the confrontation that ensued was mostly expected. Elise’s dessert was the one chosen to be kept out. At the end of the competition, the score was 8 points for the Red Team and 13 points for the Blue Team with Jennifer as the LAST dessert to be presented. Jennifer needed a perfect score (of 6 stars) to win the competition for the Red Team. After tasting the fine dessert presented by Jennifer, Jordan Kahn said it was the “best one we’ve had so far.” She received 3 stars from each judge and won the competition for the Red Team. Phew! Good thing Jennifer’s fought for her dessert!

As a reward, the Red Team got to go to Vegas, stay in a villa at Caesar’s Palace, with 5 rooms, and butlers to serve them! Holly Madison (one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends on The Girls Next Door) stopped by unexpectedly with presents. The presents were signed copies of her book and a coupon for the Red Team (and a guest of each member) to go back to Vegas for 3 days and 2 nights. As a punishment, the Blue Team had to decorate Hell’s Kitchen for a romantic date night. The Blue Team also had to prep the raw bar for the menu. None of the contestants appreciated the task of preparing the raw bar.

The dinner service was a “date night” for a variety of couples. Some of these couples were married for years, while some were on their first, blind date (awkward).

While prepping the dinner service:

Ramsay finds a hair in Jamie's dish… Disgusting!
Jamie missed a hair on a dish. The hair was black, hinting that it probably belonged to her. When confronted about it, Jamie stood there open-mouthed, without a legitimate excuse. Jamie then started sulking and Ramsay, rightfully so, called her on it. She was causing a scene, much like a five-year-old who doesn’t get cookies at the supermarket!

Tommy, as usual, was characteristically distracted and seasoned the scallops too early.  Ramsay scolded Tommy for dehydrating the scallops by seasoning them too early (the seasoning sucks up the water from the scallops). Then, as if one mistake per episode wasn’t enough, he cooked the sea bass too early, while the guests were still on their appetizers! “Uh… I just got ahead of myself.” Ramsay told him to “piss off” for a breath of fresh air. Unsurprisingly, unfocused Tommy stopped to speak to the dining guests on his way out. At least he has people-skills, right? When Tommy returned to the kitchen, Ramsay was working on Tommy’s food. Tommy did not want to interrupt Chef Ramsay, which angered the latter who told the former to yell if he had to work on his food. Tommy gladly yelled at Ramsay, but who wouldn’t?

Carrie burned the sea bass and was kicked out of the kitchen by Ramsay. Carrie also threw a tantrum worthy of a five-year-old, refused to leave the kitchen, and yelled at Chef Ramsay to give her another chance. She cried and said “it hurt deep,” for her it was the hardest thing to do, “to walk out of those doors.” She defended to the end of the show that she had not noticed the fish was burnt. Pride is a terrible thing. It’s hard for someone to help you out if you’re yelling at them.

Paul served raw chicken and was kicked out. He couldn’t believe himself since not serving raw chicken is pretty much cooking 101.

Ramsay scolds Elise for adding lobster to a vegetarian dish
Elise cooked vegetarian capelleni… with lobster. The dish was called “vegetarian lobster capellini.” I guess I can see where she got confused, but when she overcooked oysters for appetizers, she was done.

By the end of the service, it was clear that the Red Team had lost. The team was asked to choose two members to get kicked off the show, and they picked Carrie and Elise for constantly fighting with each other. Jennifer, the level-headed team leader for the night, was tired of the drama that destroyed the Red Team’s dynamics. When deciding who to kick off the show, Ramsay said “both of you…

…both of you back in line.” He then chose to send Jamie home because she was “going downhill” and because “I can’t go further with you, I’m getting no response.” Chef Ramsay was right, at this point in the season it has become painfully clear that Jamie was regressing rather than progressing. Nobody wants to see a chef’s dander on their dinner plate.

With only 8 chefs left, I can’t wait to see who’s sent home on next week’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen (Episode 8)!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Chef Season 9 Taking Texas!

San Antonio, TX to host Top Chef Season 9
The official word from Bravo is that Top Chef Season 9 is taking place in Texas! But the even juicier scoop is that two smokin’ hot celebrity chefs will be joining the Top Chef judges table!

Regular Top Chef judges chef Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and the lovable Padma Lakshmi will be joined by none other than Food Network star Chef Emeril Lagasse and Chef Hugh Acheson! Acheson is best known for his run on Top Chef Masters Season 3:

Celebrity Chefs Hugh Acheson & Emeril Lagasse
Needless to say, these two will definitely add some fire to an already spicy dish! And let's hope for steak! Lots and lots of steak...

Can’t wait for Top Chef Season 9 to arrive!