by Ian Froeb
Jeanette Kozlowski returns to review the new season of Hell's Kitchen, starring her favorite bad-boy chef, Gordon Ramsay.
8:01 p.m. Rosann left last week. What sorry soul will leave this week?
8:02 Corey says Matt might be better as a used car salesman. Ye-ouch. She's already striking him below the belt, and we aren't even three minutes in.
8:04 p.m. Gordon Ramsay points out a major problem: "We're still struggling with timing." The challenge today: Cook three items off the menu (scallops, tandoori and chicken) with one person in the kitchen at a time. Much like a relay race, each teammate rushes to prepare the dishes, six minutes per chef and 15 seconds for each chef to explain to the next chef what he or she accomplished.
The real reason your dish is too salty and the threat of flying filets after the jump...
8:09 p.m. Jen wants to take out the weakest link: Louross. This floors both him and Ramsay. The British chef says to Louross: "You move quite fast in the kitchen; I'm surprised you're out."
8:12 p.m. Let the relay madness begin! Jen and Corey carry the last leg. Team red forgets salad, gets poor marks for presentation and makes the sauce too thick. For team blue, Jen overcooks eggs, undercooks the scallops ("In my opinion, they were cooked perfectly," argues Jen) and forgets the sauce entirely. Wow, who would have guessed it's a tie after just two rounds?
8:15 p.m. The red team forgets a leek, and the blue team forgets another sauce. The winning team is ... COMMERCIAL BREAK.
8:19 p.m. The red team wins. Matt hoots and hollers. Ramsay's final evaluation: "I can't eat two dishes with no sauce." Jen responds with little remorse: "I felt like I did a great job, but I forgot the sauce. It's as simple as that. I'm not going to say I'm sorry." Jen's bold talk that once made her endearing now makes her look like an ass.
8:20 p.m. The red team cruises to the beach in a convertible as the blue team does maintenance all day. Petrozza, Bobby, Louross and Jen complain, but their "maintenance" duties are fairly light and consist of scrubbing the Hell's Kitchen sign outside and vacuuming the red carpet.
8:22 p.m. When Louross pretends like he has no head, Jen laughs: "I was more or less laughing at him then laughing with him." Not only is Jen sparring with LR, she has set out to make enemies with Bobby, too.
8:24 p.m. Time to crack a smile: A wetsuit-clad Ramsay nabs a dry Maitre'D Jean-Phillipe and tosses him right into the ocean. This was about the only unpredictable thing that happened in the first part of episode nine. The rest of the show = a very tired formula.
8:25 p.m. The next day, Ramsay decided the groups needed a change of pace. This, of course, means a change in menu. Each team creates a menu from scratch with an hour to pick three appetizers, three entrées and three desserts. Christina and Corey's bond stands out from everyone else. For two who were once neck-and-neck, the blonds seem to be having more luck working together.
8:26 p.m. All Louross can utter about Jen: "She won't listen, and her ideas suck." Her over-bossiness becomes undeniable during the menu creation. Basically she tells the guys their ideas are trash while hers are treasure.
8:32 p.m. Features on the red team's menu includes heirloom tomato soup with warm basil pesto and spicy jumbo prawns, mixed green salad with granny smith apple, freshly made pasta with shaved truffle, a flat iron pork chop, New York strip steak with sun-dried tomato compound butter and for dessert, a strawberry shortcake with a chocolate martini shooter on the side.
8:33 p.m. The blue team's menu consists of a salad of balsamic macerated strawberries, feta cheese and a toasted brioche and halibut wrapped with zucchini and squash. "That sounds ghastly," Ramsay gripes. He realizes that Jen created more than 70 percent of the menu and asks the team to change it. Team blue decides on crab and shrimp cocktail served in a martini glass, filet mignon, grilled salmon, a pineapple upside-down cake and chocolate soufflé.
8:34 p.m. Jen confronts Louross. "Jen can be a bitch, but Louross needs to open his mouth," Petrozza says.
8:35 p.m. Tonight's customers can choose between either menu. This will show Ramsay which menu can be deemed most popular. "I'm a little worried about Matt on appetizers," says Christina.
8:38 p.m. Ramsay catches Petrozza putting unwashed lettuce in an appetizer. The red team's pasta gets sent back because it's too salty. Ramsay blames the saltiness on Matt's sweat dripping into dishes. Matt ties a bandana to his head to act as a sweatband. What if the bandana falls off into the food?
8:40 p.m. Christina takes over on appetizers, and Louross' steak is returned raw. Ramsay gets down on his knees to scream at him. "If I see another filet mignon, I will throw it at someone's face," says a very frustrated Louross.
8:41 p.m. "Corey is a bitch; I got sick of her mouth," whines Matt. Corey boots him off his second station of the night. Louross' steak is no longer raw but his customers leave instead of waiting. Ramsay dramatically rips up the slip and throws it at Louross.
8:42 p.m. Do people really leave restaurants like that? Something tells me these people are hired or encouraged to act like jerks.
843 p.m. "Corey and I work great together as a team -- who knew!?" laughs Christina.
8:44 p.m. "I don't know who the hell Bobby thinks he is calling me hun or sweetie," rants Jen. While she's worried about being dissed, Ramsay tells her to turn off her stove.
8:48 p.m. Blue kitchen desserts aren't going out because of Jen. Jen is blaming everyone else, and it's getting a little old.
8:50 p.m. An even number of people chose blue and red menu, so there's no way to pick the most popular. Ramsay makes a strange reference while yelling at Matt to take off his bandana/sweatband. "It's not the Simpson's Homer," he yells. Huh? Did anyone else not get this?
8:53 p.m. The blue team loses, and Ramsay picks Petrozza as the best of the worst. Petrozza decides to put Louross ("He lacks the skills to compete at this level.") and Jen ("Jen feels that she has more to teach than she has to learn. I think she has more to learn then she has to teach.") on the chopping block.
8:55 p.m. Then Ramsay does something he's "never done before" ... he asks Petrozza to send someone home. "You should send Louross home," a stunned Petrozza says. "I completely agree with that," Ramsay says.
8:58 p.m. His voice booms, "I'm not done yet." He brings Matt and stands him next to Jen. "Jen, you might be able to manipulate your team, but you can't manipulate me. Both of you take off your jackets." He has Matt go back with men, and Jen go back to ladies.
Next week: How will Jen and Matt fare on their old teams? Also there's a mention of winning $250,000, and Rahman "Rock" Harper, last season's winner, returns to gloat.
[Sorry for the lack of photos. Fox has yet to update that page of the Hell's Kitchen Web site. - Ian]