For sixteen season, Chef Gordon Ramsay has presented the country with undeniably just-can’t-take-my-eyes-away reality television. Despite the drama and shocking sound-bytes heard the world over, inspiring stories have been shared and lives have been changed for the better. Now, once again, he enters our homes with some familiar faces and allows us to see the behind-the-scenes of how to mold a head chef. The doors have been opened. The knives have been sharpened. The hairspray has been set. Chef Gordon Ramsay is back and the stakes are high in this all-star season of Hell’s Kitchen.
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We open with the all-stars making their way to the Hell’s Kitchen lounge in Las Vegas via the VIP entrance. One by one they gather and reminisce of their initial experiences in the kitchen. Milly has apparently graduated from being an eight to a ten. Ashley is so excited to see season-mate Jared that she leaps into his arms and wraps her legs around him. Soon enough, though, the side glances and fake smiles surface. Barbie is soon put off by both Dana and Robyn’s arrival, Jennifer rolls her eyes at Elise and Josh is anything but thrilled to see Nick. Doesn’t look like one glass of complimentary champagne will be enough for this reunion.
Kicking Things Off with a Bang
Just outside the newly renovated Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, Chef Ramsay stands before a crowd of people. One by one he introduces the all-stars. First, the women that make up the Red Team and then the men of the Blue Team soon follow. Ramsay also introduces his sous chefs, former Hell’s Kitchen winner Christina and Executive Development Director for the Ramsay team, Chef James “Jocky” Petrie. These chefs and all-stars have come together in the name of the biggest prize ever in the show’s history. From here, the group heads inside, leaving the crowd behind in order to get to work.
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Challenge: Use the ingredients provided by Chef Ramsay to create a signature dish and face off with an opponent from the opposite team with the same ingredients.
As seen before on the show, Chef Ramsay will ask each contestant to present their signature dish where he will taste and give his review, awarding points to their respective teams. Well, surprise, surprise! There looks to be a twist. The all-stars ingredients for their dishes have been swapped. The clock starts and they scatter to the kitchens. Robyn is seen obviously scatter-brained over her salmon dish, though. Hopefully, this won’t come back to bite her.
The dish presentations are sprinkled with some insight into longstanding feuds. Dana reveals that she and Robyn conspired to push Barbie out of season 10 because … well she doesn’t give a reason. Everyone has a “clean slate,” as Dana claims. We’ll see how squeaky clean that slate is after the challenge results.
Dishes – Red Score vs. Blue Score
- Duck – Ashley 4 vs. Jared 4
- Chicken Breast – Barbie 3 vs. Ben 2
- Lamb – Jennifer 3 vs. Giovanni 3
- Scallops – Michelle 4 vs. Nick 3
- Porkchop – Amanda 3 vs. Milly 4
- Fillet – Dana 4 vs. Josh 2
- Lobster – Elise 5 vs. Van 5
- Salmon – Robyn 1 vs. Benjamin 5
The Results: The Blue Team wins!
The men will enjoy an outing on the Las Vegas strip at the Skyslide and dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant. The women, unfortunately, have to clean up after the opening party, sweeping up confetti and taking down the risers. Fortunately for viewers, the Red Team retreats back to the lounge for some banter before doing their chores. Robyn introduces everyone to her tiger’s eye. It’s a stone connected to a string which swings back and forth over her hand, responding to questions you ask it and then points out the good or bad juju. This is the perfect segway into our first spark of tension in the season. Remember that ill-fated salmon from the challenge? “You didn’t ask it about that salmon, though,” Elise has called her out on her inability to hold her own in the kitchen so early on. The claws are out and it’s all thanks to a failed salmon dish that lost them the first all-star challenge.
Blink and You Might Miss Him
The winning Blue Team sit with Chef Ramsay at CUT, one of Wolfgang Puck’s three restaurants for dinner, as they joke about making a stop at Hard Bodies, a popular attraction with male dancers. Suddenly, out walks the highly acclaimed chef himself, Chef Wolfgang Puck. He hand-delivers delicious looking dishes before Ramsay bows out and returns to work.
A First Time Incentive
The next morning, Chef Ramsay calls for both teams to join him at the bar. (Hell’s Kitchen has a bar?) This season they do and it’s the setting for the next challenge.
Challenge: Create an item for Hell’s Kitchen’s first ever bar menu. Winner wins dinner service immunity.
The all-stars are shocked. Chef Ramsay is offering immunity in the night’s dinner service, meaning one person will not be able to be voted into the bottom and possibly leave the competition! This is definitely shaping up to be a season like none other.
During the next epsiode on Hell’s Kitchen, the first dinner service welcomes American Idol winner Jordin Sparks as tempers flare. Ramsay smashes a perfectly ruined piece of salmon with his bare fist, Robyn and Elise look to be in an ongoing shouting match and Ben requires medical help.
Looking forward to the new season? Not impressed with what you’ve seen so far? Let us know and keep watching Hell’s Kitchen Fridays at 7/8c on FOX. Want more news? Like the Hell’s Kitchen Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of FOX)