This week… in Hell’s Kitchen:
Picking up where we left off last week, there is some unfinished business to be taken care of. Where there are now three, there must be two. When the Unveiling of the Finalists is done, the one Left Behind, by Just A Fraction Of A Point, is… Dana. Sad Dana is very sad, but at least she gets to keep her Black Jacket as she leaves Hell’s Kitchen for the last time (supposedly.)
Kelly Christina now face a long night ahead, filled with champagne and menu planning and more champagne. They have to come up with a menu consisting of four appetizers, four entrees, and three desserts, so they get right to drinking work. The next morning, they are totally hungover ready to get back to work, but Chef has other plans. As befits the elevation of the winner to The One Percent, the Hell’s Kitchen private jet is waiting on the runway to transport them to Vegas!Baby!, where their sous chefs (and their Final Challenge, natch) await them. But first, a surprise! Chef calls Justin and Kelly Christina into his office, and presents them with their very own chef’s jackets! Which look just like his!
On the plane, each finalist reflects on his/her journey, giving the producers a chance to replay some of the Reality TV DRAMAZ from throughout the season. We also find out Christina’s secret for success: she put her heart on every plate she served. Which I hope is a metaphor and not a literal statement of fact, since (1) she is vying for a job in a steakhouse, and (b) ewwwww, cannibalism.
Upon their arrival in the City of Sin, the finalists are whisked away by limo to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, where they partake in some Very Important Business: a relaxing poolside massage. (Why am I reminded of Kobe-ushi (神戸牛) being prepared for the slaughter?) When the sous chefs arrive, Justin and
Kelly Christina cinch up their spa robes, and get down to some menu-planning business. After this task is done, Chef has MOAR SURPRISEZ in store: VIP tickets to the Penn & Teller show! And, Justin’s and Christina’s families appear, as if by magic! And then, what is (but shouldn’t be, really) the BIGGEST SURPRISE OF ALL! Penn & Teller pull a Chef Ramsay out of their box, and he proceeds to announce that the Final Challenge will be held, right here – and right now!
The deer-in-headlights expression on Justin’s face is priceless. Seriously, did he even bother to watch this show before applying to be on it?
The Final Challenge will go down as follows: the contestants will prepare five dishes, each representing one course: salad, seafood appetizer, rib-eye, filet, and fish entree. Each dish will be judged by a Very Famous Chef and Esteemed Judge. At the end of the fourth round, the score will be tied 2-2, and a Really Really Famous Chef will then judge the Final Dish. (OK, this last wasn’t actually said by Chef, but it will happen. Don’t Doubt Me on this, people.) The winner will have a Supreme Advantage moving forward to the
Last Supper Final Service.
The finalists meet their sous chefs in the kitchen, and cooking commences. Justin goes for the gusto, and chooses elaborate flavor profiles for his dishes; while Christina opts to follow the KISS principle, and goes for dishes that are “closer to her heart”. Bits of which will probably be on every plate she serves.
Cooking done, the dishes are presented:
- Salad: Chef François Payard says that Christina’s salad is too vinegary. Point: Justin.
- Seafood appetizer: Chef Michel Richard hates cilantro. Advantage: Justin.
- Fish entree: Chef Julian Serrano finds Justin’s sole meuniere a bit over-cooked. Point: Christina.
- Rib-eye: Chef Stuart Gillies samples the rib-eye dishes from each contestant, then makes his decision -
— Ed T. (@etee) September 5, 2012
- Filet: Chef and Culinary god Wolfgang Puck emerges to judge the final course. Maybe he prefers gorgonzola mashed potatoes over butter-poached lobster – or maybe he likes a little taste of human heart with his filet? Either way, it is Point (and W): Christina!
Christina Wins! Christina Wins! U!S!A! U!S!A!
Now that the Final Challenge is out of the way, both Justin and
Kelly Christina are rarin’ to get back to LA and prepare for what lies ahead. But, as they arrive at the airport… Another! Surprise! awaits them! The door to the Hell’s Kitchen private jet opens, and Chef introduces – recently 86‘d DONKEHs! Oh look – it’s Prancer! And Dancer! And Donner! And Blitzen! Dana, and Patrick, and Kimmie, and Robyn! With Barbie, and Brian, and Royce, and Clemenza’s Ego!
Kelly Christina must now choose their kitchen help teams, and since Christina won the Final Challenge, she gets to choose first! She picks BFF Dana and Justin chooses Barbie; Christina opts for Patrick, and Justin selects Brian; Christina taps Kimmie (on the shoulder), and Justin calls on Royce. Christina now has a Very Difficult and Important Choice to make: DRAMA, or EGO? After much agonizing and deliberation (but mostly agonizing), she names Robyn as the last member of her team, which means that Justin is stuck with Clemenza’s Ego. And with that, everyone piles into the jet, and it takes them back to LA, where preparations for the Last Supper Final Service continue, as Team Christina begins to freak out get nervous about her complex and challenging menu, while Justin runs head-on into Clemenza’s Ego.
Next week promises to be a real train wreck, with Reality TV DRAMAZ in both kitchens. Will Dana turn BFF Christina’s culinary dreams into a Kitchen Nightmare? Will Clemenza’s Ego even make it to the
Last Supper Final Service, or will he actually walk out? How many train wrecks will we see? Will either team complete the Last Supper Final Service? Who will Chef have to put up with for the next year turn the doorknob, and take the prize? Tune in and find out, next time… in Hell’s Kitchen.
The Hell’s Kitchen Season Finale will air at 7PM Central Time on Monday, September 10, on FOX.