Hell's Kitchen: Episode 3.9 Recap

Episode Overview: With only three chefs left, Ramsay decides to take a break from all the shouting and give the chefs a turn at the pass at Hell's Kitchen.   Is it any easier to be the one yelling than it is to be the one yelled at?  Not necessarily.   And no matter what, one of them is going home tonight.

The final three are ready to battle their way into the final two, but first, they have to deal with the fall-out from the service that took them from four to three. Rock Harper apologizes to Jen Yemola for his attitude during service.  Eeveryone is missing Julia Williams, the Waffle House short order cook who was the surprise of the season up until her elimination.


It's time for this week's reward challenge. Chef Gordon Ramsay has a special guest for the chefs: his mum. After warning Rock not to swear in front of his mother, Ramsay shows them his favorite childhood dish: macaroni and cheese. He shows the chefs his fine dining version of the comfort food. He then has each chef pick another American classic dish, which they will have one hour to refine into a fine-dining level entrée.

Bonnie Muirhead's dish is frank and beans. She is confused by this, never having eaten it, apparently, and thinking it's British, not American. Jen is happy to get fried chicken, and Rock ends up with spaghetti and meatballs.

After the dishes are prepared, the guest judges arrive. You may have guessed it: they are the three chefs' mothers. Jen nearly collapses in tears, and Rock and Bonnie are thrilled as well.

The moms will taste the dishes and decide who the winner is. Of course, there can be no signals from the chefs, and the moms sit with their backs to the chefs.

They all taste, and the decision is unanimous: Jen's refined fried chicken dish is their favorite. She wins the prize – a lunch for her and her mom with Ramsay and his mom. The other two have a few minutes to spend with their moms, but then must get to work making the living quarters sparkling clean.

At lunch with Ramsay, Jen gets some valuable tips from Ramsay. He stresses that she must be accurate in the next service. Meanwhile, Bonnie and Rock reluctantly clean up the living quarters. Bonnie more reluctantly than Rock; she stresses again she is more of a personal chef than nanny and so she doesn't do a lot of domestic activities. Nevertheless, despite their banter, Rock and Bonnie seem to get along pretty well.

For service though, camaraderie and fellow-feeling can go right out the window, because for this evening in Hell's Kitchen, each chef will take a turn expediting, or working the pass to ensure that food is timed correctly and up to par from a quality perspective.

Chef Ramsay gives each of them a quick primer in How to Holler Loud and Intimidate People. Bonnie, surprisingly, is an absolute natural. She does not stutter or miss a beat as she berates Ramsay during their role play. Both Rock and Jen don't do quite as well, but with a second attempt, they convince Ramsay they might have what it takes.

And they will need it, because Ramsay has stuck a couple of double agents in the kitchen. His sous chefs will be helping to cook, but will intentionally mess up a dish or two per chef in order to test their quality control.

Jen is first to be tested. While her assertiveness works fairly well, she misses out on the quality control aspect when she tries to send out a crab pasta dish missing crab. She later makes up for it by catching a poor risotto.

Rock does well with the quality control – he catches his bad dish – but he comes up short with timing and assertiveness. Bonnie is along the same lines; she also catches quality issues, but she is a little disorganized as a leader. Her role is made more challenging by Jen sending up inadequate food. Either Jen hasn't tasted it, or her palate is not as good as Bonnie was thinking.

After the service, Ramsay tells them all to head back to the quarters and come up with a rationale why they should go to the final two.

Back in Hell's Kitchen, Bonnie delivers her defense first. She talks about how much she has grown in the kitchen and keeps getting better. Jen's comments are similar, saying she's learned to be less mousy and more self-confident in the kitchen. Rock thinks he is growing as a person, not just a chef.

Ramsay mulls it over, and decides to send Jen home. No real reason given, although one can't help but wonder if her stealing-food-from-the-trash episode still looms in Ramsay's mind.  He probably cannot seriously consider her for a high-profile restaurant role for fear that customers might be turned off by the memory of her using pasta from the waste bin.

Bonnie's parents and Rock's wife are brought out to share in their making it to the final two. Although both look happy to see their loved ones, they both have a look of apprehension as they know the final of Hell's Kitchen will be intense.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Image courtesy of Fox)