— Originally aired on Monday, 06/04/2007
Episode Rating: *** (3 stars out of 5)
Episode Overview: Hell's Kitchen returns for a third season with 12 new contestants and the fiery Gordon Ramsay at the helm.
* We're introduced to a diverse group of contestants.
* Aaron, the Asian Cowboy, breaks down and cries not once, but twice.
* The "best of the worst" makes some surprise elimination nominations.
The episode kicks off with a little "quiet time with Gordon Ramsay". He sits at a candle lit table, and looks longingly into the camera, proclaiming that he's a changed man this season, that there will be no yelling, no swearing, etc. This is not true, obviously, and he gives a wry "just kidding" before the show kicks off.
We have twelve new contestants and they are all vying for the head chef position at the restaurant at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas. I've never heard of the place, but it looks nice, so I won't judge. The contestants, like a team in a sports movie, is a rag tag bunch, a diverse cross-section of America. Kind of.
To meet the contestants, Gordon has them each cook their signature dish almost the minute they enter Hell's Kitchen for the first time. The results are underwhelming, at least to Gordon:
Vinnie, an outspoken knucklehead, makes some chorizo that Gordon isn't a fan of.
Joanna, a 22 year old sassy lady, makes chicken that Gordon calls "salty, salty, dry."
Rock, a 30 year old dude with wife and kids makes scallops with gnocchi. Gordon is pissed when he learns that the gnocchi was frozen.
Josh makes something that I've never seen before, and Ramsay thinks it's too salty.
Bonnie, the token young hot chick, makes a cheese course. What the hell is a cheese course? Gordon is unimpressed/
Eddie, who calls himself a "bulldog in a Chihuahua's body," because he suffers from a kidney disease and is only 5'2", impresses Gordon with his youthful looks but not his food.
Brad, a cooks scallops also, but they are undercooked.
Jenn, a plain-looking, vaguely Southern girl, almost faints for no reason. Her crepes contain too much alcohol (Schnapps) for Ramsay.
Melissa, the other hot chick, seems one to be reckoned with. She gets the most favorable reaction by far with her pepper crusted steak and asparagus.
Julia, who did not study the culinary arts in school and is a short order cook, cooks some chicken penne that has too much pepper.
Tiffany makes a seafood tostada that Gordon actually enjoys.
And, finally, is Aaron, the 48-year old Asian Cowboy. He cooks at a retirement home. Gordon is not a fan of his dish.
Teams this season are separated by genders; ladies are the red team, guys are the blue team. They will all be living together in dorms above Hell's Kitchen.
And, they are thrown right into the fire. They get up early on the second day and start preparing for a 7pm Hell's Kitchen opening. Each team must prepare a menu of 15 items.
Here is a look at the important events of the day ("important" is relative).
Brad takes the lead for the guys, working out the menu.
Julia, the short order cook, is basically frozen out by her teammates. No one trusts her with anything.
Aaron the cowboy needs constant help.
Joanna is very outspoken and takes the lead in preparation.
Bonnie has a very difficult time making risotto.
When Gordon calls everyone together right before the doors are about to be opened, Aaron the Cowboy begins crying. Why? I have no freaking idea. He's a 48 year old man, he shouldn't be crying. It's ridiculous.
The night starts, and both teams have a hard time getting out the appetizers. The red team still won't let Julia do anything.
Vinnie is messing the risotto up and laughs/talks back to Gordon, so he is banished to the dishwasher. Brad takes over and dominates the risotto.
Tiffany and Bonnie can't fry eggs. They finally let Julia take over the eggs.
Melissa has taken charge of the red team and she's doing a very good job, but is pissing people off in the process.
Aaron screws up the chicken, overcooking all the chicken the team had, and he quits, walks out of the kitchen and starts crying again. Really.
After the night is over, Gordon has to decide who won. He calls the girls "Hell's Bitches" and informs them that they have lost. He dubs Melissa "the best of the worst" and tells her to pick two nominees for elimination.
After deliberation, Melissa chooses Tiffany (a surprise, but shrewd on Melissa's part) and Joanna (ditto). Neither performed well, but both looked to have significant potential. It's clear Melissa would rather get rid of her competition than those who hurt the team.
Gordon eliminates Tiffany.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)