'Hell's Kitchen' Season 9, Episode 13 Recap - '5 Chefs Compete'
Last week, we saw Elizabeth get sent home and, somehow, we're down to just five and Elise is still here. Had I known we would have to deal with the hellspawn for this long, I probably would have stopped watching around...maybe episode two. But here we are. I'm just waiting for the day that she finally leaves. Will it be today?
The gang celebrates about their black jackets, but Jennifer has a feeling of impending doom. "I don't think having a black jacket is going to change Elise's attitude," she says. "I think it's going to make it worse."
The challenge today, the first individual challenge of the show, is all about presentation. The chefs have to literally run around the restaurant and claim the plate that has their desired dish on it, and everyone immediately dashes to the eggplant parmesean. But Elise--or as Ramsay calls her, "Little Miss Speedy Knickers"--gets there first.
Tommy's up first with his chicken and dumplings, and the panel of judges all find the presentation to be nearly perfect...he gets 44 out of 50. But the dumplings are a little tough and land him with only 30. Total of 74.
Paul's tune casserole doesn't do so well, as the judges say it looks like cat food, and is underwhelming in taste. He ends up with a score of only 60, which means he won't be winning today. Jennifer's lasagna does even worse with a score of only 52. Ouch.
Elise's eggplant parmesean passes with flying colors, and to be fair it does look pretty good. Her combined score is 86, meaning Will and his meatoaf will have to do very well. His score for the presentation is middling, at only 38, which means they'd better seriously love the taste...and they do. He gets a very convenient 49 out of 50, and scores an 87 total, beating Elise (thank god).
Will has to choose someone to go with him on his reward, and he does the honorable (and stupid) thing, and chooses Elise since she came in second. Yes, people, that means Will actually volunteered to spend the afternoon with Elise. So the two of them travel in a fancy Rolls Royce and eat at Spago, with a personal meeting with Wolfgang Puck, and other places around LA.
Later that night, Ramsay has a surprise for the five finalists: a team of former Hell's Kitchen finalists to go up against them in the red kitchen. The dream team of runners-up that Ramsay has put together consists of Ben, Tennille, Trev, Jillian, and the loudmouth Van, all from Hell's Kitchen 5 through 8.
The newly organized team puts their menu together with ease and little argument. But Elise, of course, makes as much of a problem out of making the menu as possible. Finally, Will, Paul and Tommy get a taste of what Jennifer and the rest of the red team has been dealing with all season: Elise making arguments out of nothing for the sake of more screen time. She's in rare form today, even more smug than ever. Once again, I find myself actually hoping that somebody punches her. Instead, Will just walks out the door and lets the other chefs figure out the menu.
Tommy is up to his usual antics, but Will is there to, as Elise puts it, "hold his hand...and his c**k." Elise needs some hand-holding of her own, though, as she keeps asking Paul for feedback on her filet.
The "returning" team is actually off to a pretty poor start, putting out some raw filet and rushing a couple of plates. But things start going poorly for the black team later on when Paul messes up his lobster and Elise gets on his case. She keeps trying to push things out before Paul is ready, but finally Paul steps up and puts her in her place.
Everything really comes down the wire as the teams are neck and neck in getting out their final tickets. But the winner is decided by how many diners say that they would return on their comment cards...which turns out to be the current chefs with 96% of their customers giving good feedback.
Of course, that makes no difference in the outcome: the team still has to nominate two people to go up. Will and Paul try to get Elise up there, which causes another s***storm. But Jennifer thinks she'll be the one to go home...so she decides to confess her love to Paul.
She pulls Paul aside and tells him that she thinks he's "adorable" and that she had a crush on him this whole time. Paul is flattered, but explains, "I'm from Boston and you're from New York, it would never work." Wow. That was awkward and painful to watch. Thanks Jen.
The nominees are Elise and Jennifer, and the really lovely thing here is that Elise has to announce her own nomination and call herself abrasive. The two chefs state their cases, and Ramsay totally psyches both Jennifer and Elise out, eventually sending them back in line. It turns out that their win did actually help them, giving them all a chance to fight another day...and for Elise to spend another day annoying the hell out of everyone.
Jennifer, meanwhile, is sufficiently embarassed about her little crush revelation.