Culinary Showdown 6: 'Hell's Kitchen' vs. 'Top Chef'
Culinary Showdown 6: 'Hell's Kitchen' vs. 'Top Chef'
Last week's Hell's Kitchen 4 episode had the chefs taking on a Top Chef-style task where the chef's were allowed to get creative with a pizza. This week, the tables were turned as the Top Chef 4 cheftestants had the Mise en Place Relay Race. Rather than creative concepts, this challenge gave us the chance to see how well one of those chefs would do in some of the Hell's Kitchen type of competitions.

Of course, Tom Colicchio standing over you with a whistle is nowhere near as nerve-rattling as Gordom Ramsay standing over you with a quiver full of rage. That said, I think some of the Top Chef chefs showed that – as some have wondered – they might actually have the potential to do well in the more rough-and-tumble world of Hell's Kitchen.

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Lisa Fernandes showed that – while rattled – she could dismember an orange like nobody's business. Antonia Lofaso might not have been very speedy but her quality appeared to be up to snuff. This appeared to be the case for most of the chefs in the challenge: while some might not have been fast, the majority had the technical know-how to complete the task to the level that would be required for fine dining.

The challenge for the chefs on Hell's Kitchen is that the casting process does make room for chefs who might not have necessarily had fine dining cooking experience. While they might still have great palates, the fine dining world comes with a set of expectations around technique. Time and time again we see in the Hell's Kitchen kitchen that it is generally a failure of technique that raises Ramsay's ire.

But, of course, technique alone isn't enough. You must also have energy and hustle, and both chefs eliminated from the shows this week showed that without hustle, you're not going to impress your peers.

On both Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef, there were other chefs this week whose sins might have seemed greater. Rosann couldn't cook her meat properly, and Dale Talde had so much energy and hustle he nearly combusted his whole team.

But it was Shayna who was sent home from Hell's Kitchen for being slow, and Nikki who was eliminated from Top Chef for her lack of aggressiveness in leading the team. At this point in the competition on both shows, if you don't have the basic skillz, you're probably not going to last long, but if you don't have the drive, you might as well get packing now.

- Leslie Seaton,  BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Images courtesy of Fox and Bravo)

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