After researching the recent listeria outbreak in Dole pre-packaged salads, I was amped to see more “food gone wrong” tonight on Hell’s Kitchen. Last week we lost Mark on the Blue Team, leaving 17 chefs in the kitchen to compete for the head chef position at BLT Steak. 

“This should be nothing more, nothing less of an eye opener,” Frank claims, saying that the Blue Team — frankly — should have more Franks around. The girls have a smoke break while the team picks on Vanessa, who had a pretty difficult first week. “I fell apart,” she says. “I could definitely use a hug from my Mom right now.” Manda, who is a Mom, tells her that she could be Vanessa’s in-game Mom and offers up a hug. Let’s see if the hug is powerful enough to make Vanessa better at prepping appetizers.

Distracted By Dumplings

Chef Ramsay meets with the chefs the next morning, and says that he brought two guests with him — palace guards Charlie and Phillip. “These guys are never distracted,” Ramsay explains. “Today you’ll be working with dumplings!”

Alan is Asian, so he’s psyched about the dumpling-related work ahead of him. Chef Ramsay does a test-run, saying that the most important error to avoid is overstuffing a dumpling with too much filling. The contestants have twenty minutes to create as many perfect dumpling as they can, and they’ll be working in teams. Sherkenna gets stuck with Vanessa, which she’s not overly thrilled about.

To practice focus, Chef Ramsay brings a marching band in the kitchen, and those two palace guards? Well, they’re also strippers. Wearing some tight UK flag undies, the men gyrate in front of the Red Team. “Wow, you guys are focused!” Ramsay exclaims.

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Frank almost loses his cool when a bikini-clad woman walks past the kitchen, and reacts by making panting noises like a helpless dog. Next up to distract the chefs are two sumo wrestlers, who decide to battle right in front of the chefs. Similar to the strippers, their outfits seem to not cover things that should be covered. 

Both teams seem proud of their work, and the Red Team seems to be in the lead with their dumpling baskets. Kevin and Chad are the first team to be judged, and they get 4 points based on 4 amazing dumpling trays. Frank and Hassan are next, and Ramsay is upset that their dumplings look more like pierogies. They don’t get any points.

“What the (bleep) is that?” Ramsay claims, after holding up Eddie and Joe’s dumplings. He demands to know who was in charge of making them, and Joe takes the blame. Eddie’s a little stronger with dumplings, so he earns one point for Team Blue.

“This isn’t origami,” Alan claims. His dumplings with Jared are beautifully pleated, and Gordon gives them seven points. All together, the men get twelve points.

Jackie and Dannie are up next, and also have a lot of strong dumpling contenders, giving the Red Team a six point start. Meese, Kristin, and Manda work together as a threesome, and show Ramsay some uncooked, terrible dumplings. Only two baskets make it through. “Not good enough,” Ramsay claims.

Sherkenna and Vanessa are up next, and Vanessa says Sherkenna did the first couple baskets. Vanessa’s pleating makes her baskets a little more impressive, which shocks the team, as they now have no excuse to gang up on her that morning. They only need two baskets to win at this point.

“Absolutely stunning,” Ramsay says about Ariel and Ashley’s batches. While they look beautiful, a lot of their dumplings contain holes. “I do not get it!” Ramsay claims. What’s with all those holes? That said, they win by one point. 

“Ladies, you are all in for an amazing trip!” Ramsay says, offering them a brief beach vacation with helicopter transportation. And even better, Ramsay is going too! 

Prep Work

The men, however, get to prep for tableside appetizers. They’ll be working with mushrooms, which sounds like a total nightmare.

Before their prep, the men have a chat and talk about how Frank truly disappointed them. (Good thing their kitchen only has one Frank, am I right?)

Let’s just say that I’ve never seen a mushroom as gross as the one in the Blue kitchen. “I haven’t seen as many mushrooms since my last Pink Floyd concert, man,” Joe jokes. 

Ramsay is toasting the girls to a job well done, and gets to know the ladies a little bit. “You feel like you’re dreaming when you’re that close to Gordon Ramsay,” Ashley claims. Sounds like someone has a crush.

But let’s remember the “Hell” part of Hell’s Kitchen — it’s happening in the Blue Kitchen. The guys have to accept a delivery of like, a billion ears of corn that they have to shuck. Jared seems a little too into being a leader during the shucking, which the guys (especially Frank) aren’t fond of. Frank, in protest, starts throwing corn like a child. 

Frank calls Jared a bitch, and the team quickly tries to diffuse a possible fight. “I am not your friend,” Frank claims.

The girls get back from their trip, and they’re ready to impress Chef Ramsay once again. “The boys? They’re sending someone home tonight,” Jackie says.

Opening The Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen officially opens, and the dining room quickly fills with guests. Manda and Hassan will be serving a corn fritter dish tableside tonight. 

Joe starts his evening by immediately dropping a lambchop on the floor, which he quickly apologizes for. Jackie and Ashley are on appetizers over in the Red Kitchen, and they make their first mistake by forgetting to turn the stove on. “That bitch managed to find the one spot with no fire,” Jackie claims after Ashley’s goof.

Joe freezes once again, forgetting the order immediately after Ramsay called it. “Chef, can you please repeat the appetizers?” he asks, and Ramsay refuses — he has better things to do. Ramsay gets frustrated quickly after, since it seems like nobody is listening to him tonight. 

“I’m making a mental note in my head to not go up there and ask him something stupid,” Joe claims. Finally, he gets his act together and delivers on appetizers. The Blue Team quickly starts working on their entrees.

An Unexpected Guest

All of a sudden, the kitchen gets a few uninvited guests — Famous rapper The Game comes in with his entourage without a reservation. Ramsay makes sure they get a table, since I mean — come on, it’s The Game.

When Ramsay explains the situation to the kitchen, he says that “Hip hop Grammy nominated artist The Game is here,” which seems a little rehearsed, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, The Game is almost served raw fish since it was brought out too quickly. Impressed with having an actual star in his kitchen for once, Ramsay decides to cook the dish himself with no hesitation.

Sherkenna is unfamiliar with a dish she has to cook, Arctic char, which rubs Meese the wrong way. Sherkenna claims she’s not burning it, even though she kinda-sorta is.

“Red Team, I am done,” Ramsay says while losing patience. I mean, come on guys. The Game is in the house tonight. Maybe if things go well tonight, The Game will ask Ramsay to help him with his next album. (After Ramsay’s reaction, I like to think that this is Ramsay’s true dream.)

Chef Ramsay is a little upset that the Arctic char has to be re-fired. Sherkenna is open with admitting that she literally has no clue how to cook it. Dannie takes over for her, which she seems pretty grateful for.

Both kitchens are working on their final entrees. And while they both finish up the dinner service, Ramsay thinks that the Red Team was somewhat of a disaster near the end. They’ll have to name three nominees that’ll be up for elimination.

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Who’ll Be Nominated?

“It completely sucks to be on a losing team,” Dannie claims. She talks first, and thinks that Ashley was somewhat of a mess — after all, she didn’t even turn the stove on.

Ashley thinks that Sherkenna’s Arctic char disaster was way worse. “I’m not the only person that messed up tonight,” Sherkenna claims, admitting that she was open with stating that she was unfamiliar with the fish.

The Elimination

Ramsay asks Ashley who the nominees are, and she says the first nominee is Meese — she wasn’t communicating well, and was bad on the fish. Ariel is another target, since she knowingly sent out bad fish. Sherkenna is the third nominee, based on her lack of Arctic char knowledge. So truly, fish screwed over everyone tonight. Sherkenna is hoping that her heart and passion will help her continue forward in the competition. Meese claims that she tried to help Sherkenna with her dish, and wasn’t responsible for bringing out raw fish.

Ariel is immediately sent back to the line, and Ramsay removes Sherkenna from the competition. “When we get stuck in the weeds, we need to bounce back. You got stuck, and you didn’t come back,” Ramsay poetically states. 

“Tonight, I just hit a bump in the road,” Sherkenna says. For the most part, she has a pretty decent attitude about everything that went down. 

Hell’s Kitchen airs on Fridays at 9pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Karen Belz

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV