by Ian Froeb
Jeanette Kozlowski returns to review the new season of Hell's Kitchen, starring her favorite bad-boy chef, Gordon Ramsay.
8:10 p.m. If you missed the first 13 episodes of Hell's Kitchen, the ten-minute, week-by-week recap should've cleared everything up. After 13 eliminations, only Christina and Petrozza still stand.
8:11 p.m. Just like the other HK finales, the restaurant is split into two--one for Christina to fix up, and the other side is all Petrozza's. "This is a wonderful dream come true; I'm just blown away," says Petrozza.
Who needs a geography lesson? Learn the answer and more after the jump...
8:12 p.m. Christina says she's been working in restaurants since 1998, "so I've been looking at recipes, cooking them and changing them. This menu, hello, is easy." On the other hand, Petrozza seems more interested in chomping on some chips.
8:16 p.m. For the first time, the contestants have a say in dining room décor, though I remember this scenario from past finales. Does anyone else recall this?
8:18 p.m. While Christina goes for the "simple yet elegant" look, Petrozza heads toward a more decadent theme. "I like flowers...like lots of flowers," he says.
8:19 p.m. Christina's and Petrozza's differences become even more apparent when Jean-Phillipe brings out models wearing outfit selections for the wait staff. Christina hates all of it, especially the green chef's jacket, which Petrozza absolutely adores.
8:20 p.m. Again, Christina comes off as more experienced than Petrozza, or at the very least, way more focused. She reiterates her experience again: "I've seen a lot of frickin' food; I've worked at a lot of different restaurants."
8:22 p.m. Then Ramsay calls the finalists to his office and tells them he's been wondering if he picked the right ones. Wow. Talk about *wonderful* timing. Didn't he have 13 weeks to ponder this?
8:25 p.m. Ah, you think at this point the producers wouldn't be able to fool us. But they did! Ramsay tells Christina and Petrozza he did make the right decision and invites both to his New York restaurant.
8:26 p.m. Not only do the chefs fly on a private jet to the Big Apple, they are showered with compliments from Ramsay. "Petrozza, you are one of the bravest chefs I've ever met," he says. "Christina, everyone was intimidated by your intelligence as opposed to your cooking." He also brings up the fact that the smart blond won nine challenges -- the most any contestant on Hell's Kitchen, ever. "I thought it was ten," she jokes.
8:30 p.m. Standing in the middle of Times Square, Ramsay announces...what else? A commercial break.
8:33 p.m. Check out the third preview for Kitchen Nightmares below. This show appears so much more enticing than another season of stale Hell's Kitchen. Unfortunately they've gone for a "international" theme featuring Mexico, Italy and...Long Island? Uh, when did Long Island become a country?
8:35 p.m. OK, now it's time to get jealous. These folks get to go to Dubai! Wait, Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant in Dubai? Apparently so. And Christina doesn't know where Dubai is? Huh. Maybe her intelligence was all a huge stinking bluff.
8:36 p.m. So, we don't get to see Dubai? The self-proclaimed "challenge queen" and Petrozza face off when they are asked to prepare signature dishes for Ramsay's executive chef. Petrozza cooks up an "unbeatable" filet mignon with caramelized onion risotto.
8:37 p.m. Meanwhile, Christina believes she's gonna "wipe the floor with Petrozza." Is it me, or she becoming just a little too cocky? Sheesh. Her New York strip steak with sweet corn succotash does look mighty good. However, it's confusing she now says she only has three years of experience. (Earlier she says 1998, which would lead us to believe she's had ten.)
8:38 p.m. "Five of the best and most sought-after paletes in the world" will judge the dishes. The judges turn out to be Ramsay's executive chefs from all over.
8:39 p.m. Petrozza's strange veggie paint brush is panned, and Christina's meat is called bland. It's tied up, when the final executive chef steps up and says...
8:47 p.m. The risotto wins it for Petrozza! His reward: He gets to pick first from the former competitors as his staff, which means Christina will pick last. This means she'll probably get stuck with Jen. Yikes.
8:48 p.m. Somehow this perfectly logical series of events leads up to something quite nonsensical--an appearance by Whoopi Goldberg. Obviously Petrozza is a fan: "Oh ma gaad; oh ma gaaaad! Whoopi Goldberg...ahhhhhh," he exclaims.
8:49 p.m. Control freak Christina isn't happy with the white window treatment or strange stripes on the walls. Didn't she say stripes? Either way, it looks absolutely hideous, like something you'd see in menswear at Express. Or as Christina aptly puts it: "It's like 'bleh.'"
8:50 p.m. At least Petrozza is in high spirits. He says, "Christina is very upset...that's good for me!"
8:53 p.m. It's less than 24 hours, the doors will open, and Christina wants to paint over that nasty striped wallpaper with a chocolate brown. Um, does that really sound any better?
8:55 p.m. Bobby, Ben, Corey, Matt, Louross and Jen return. "I'm far superior to all the other competitors. My goal tonight is to make Chef Ramsay second-guess the fact that he got rid of me," Jen says. Wow. Jen is about as superior to them as a lampshade.
8:57 p.m. Petrozza picks: Bobby and Ben. Christina picks: Corey and Louross. Who will get Jen and Matt? Find out next week when the winner of season four is revealed.
- Jeanette Kozlowski