We lost two chefs during last week’s episode of “Hell’s Kitchen.” I felt like Chris Mendonca, who took himself out of the game for mental health reasons, when he woefully asked Mia Castro, “Is it possible to have a good service?” This season, not really. Yes, the all-male Blue Team got their act together. But Red Team veterans Heather Williams and T Gregoire were more interested in blame games than serving their hungry patrons. Not that the so-called celebs at Hell’s Kitchen would want to chow down on their pitiful filets. Our recent poll tied to Episode 6 had 62 percent of respondents saying T had to go, but Heather was no great shakes, either. How did Friday’s episode, “Last Chef Standing,” play out? Scroll down for our minute-by-minute recap of “Hells Kitchen” Season 18, Episode 7.
9:02 p.m. We learn Heather previously was never nominated for elimination before, not even as a runner-up in Season 16. Well, you have just been served. Act accordingly. On the all-male team, veteran Trevor McGrath gets rare praise from rookie Scotley Innis for his smooth meat station performance. Trevor smiles and says, “It was actually good to work a station for you guys. The old man knows what he’s doing,” before laughing nervously.
9:04 p.m. Scotley, vaping away, giveth but then taketh away: “Sometimes you start talking so much — yo, shut the (bleep) up, man.” Motto and Jose DeJesus actually start imitating Trev calling out orders. It’s like a gender-switch, food-oriented remake of “Mean Girls.” Trevor, in private, tries to brush off their mockery: “This has been my entire life, I get teased or picked on, just like the last time I was in ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ When you are getting picked on, it’s because they are afraid of you or they’re intimidated. That just means I’m playing the game the right way.” Time, alas, will tell.
9:05 p.m. The chefs are up and at ’em early as Gordon Ramsay poses a question: “ If I asked you what the key element is to a kitchen running smoothly, what would you say?” Of course, Mia jumps right in and suggests, “Time management.” Heather says, “Communication.” Scotley? “Consistency.” Ramsay says they are good answers but nobody said, ‘Teamwork. “If you have it, that’s when your kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine.” And, well, here comes what is presumedly a well-oiled race car doing obnoxious wheelies in a parking lot. A pit stop breaks out in a fit of tire changing.
9:07 p.m. After that lame sequel to “Cars,” things get cooking. There are five AMAZING dishes before the chefs, we are told: spaghetti and meat balls, veal scaloppini picatta, crispy fried chicken, shrimp and grits and cioppino, a seafood stew. We learn each team will have 40 minutes to re-create these five incredible dishes. “Be aware what every member of your brigade is doing,” they are told. Since the Blue Team has one extra chef, Gizzy Barton happily steps aside. Maybe too happily.
9:08 p.m. The chefs split up the dishes. Roe DiLeo goes for the pasta. Motto gets a chance at redemption after failing on his signature dish of shrimp and grits in an earlier episode. Trevor steps up and takes the cioppino.
9:09 p.m. With the food divvied up, Ramsay suddenly announces that one chef from each kitchen must vamoose. That means the others must pick up the slack. Roe goes because she is basically finished. Bret hits the road and leaves his veal behind. Then, one by one, they exit until both Motto and Ariel Contreras-Fox are the “Last Chef Standing” – which just happens to be the name of this episode.
9:12 p.m. All the chefs get to rush back in to finish off their dishes. The ladies put their food on the counter while the gents are still scrambling. Bret Hauser dawdles over pouring his veal sauce.
9:15 p.m. Ramsay first judges Motto and Heather’s shrimp and grits. She gets dinged for “anemic” grits. The chef that he refers to as the “Man from Baton Rouge” gets an “extraordinary.” Good for Motto and a point for red. Kanae Houston and Jose go head to head with equally yummy fried chicken. Both teams earn a point. Veal is up. Bret’s lacks color and is chewy. Ariel’s is delicious. Point for blue. Scotley’s spaghetti earns some amore from Gordo and Roe gets a “Wow!” They both get a point. Then comes the cioppinos. Ramsay looks at the Blue Team’s and asks who plated it. Trevor takes credit. Ramsay inquires, “All of it?” He declares it the dish of the day – until he reveals it is missing a key ingredient, namely fish that was left in a pan. Scotley is ticked at Trev: “Don’t act like the boss if you’re not the boss, man.”
9:19 p.m. Trevor has a flashback to Season 8, when he similarly left out a “stunning puree” because he “spaced out.” At least we get to see him with hair. Obviously, the women are the champs and are back on their game. Their reward: A day of go-kart racing. Again, with the speedy vehicles. Ramsay asks if the men have any tips before the women go? Scotley says, “Crash.” Roe retorts: “Damn, crash like you guys did today?” Good one.
9:23 p.m. It is delivery day at “Hell’s Kitchen.” That means the Red Team has some prep work to do. Ariel and Kanae both get a “good job” from the boss man as they leave while bushels and bushels of corn on the cob await the guys. And those cobs aren’t going to shuck themselves. Plus, there are peas still in the pod. Trev is told to bring the fish-less coippino over. He is timed by Scotley on how long it takes him to put the seafood in the stew – 1.16 seconds. The corn and peas are in a truck filled with hay. Scotley is bitter, proclaiming, “This is all on Trevor.” I digress, but wasn’t it a teamwork challenge? Did anyone have his back and see the fish left behind?
9:25 p.m. Poor Trev. He is allergic to something in the bushels and he starts breaking out. Scotley snarks, “Someone is cutting a break, I guess.” He then suggests, “ Stop acting like a baby girl.”
9:34 p.m. Trevor, to his credit , gets medical treatment and keeps his cool as Scotley continues to rag on him and call him “baby girl.” Finally, Trev says aloud, “Haters are going to hate” and steps away.
9:36 p.m. The Blue Team start flying around an indoor track in their go-karts. They come home with dinner service looming. The women need to show that last week’s trainwreck was a fluke. Roe, probably the most grounded of the chefs, notes that Gizzy was the first one to say she would sit out. “I think she still gets in her own head and that comfortableness in the kitchen comes from experience.” She gives her a pep talk and tells her to forget it is a competition. Good advice.
9:40 p.m. Ramsay beckons the teams. There are piles of fresh produce, fish and meat a-plenty. The dining room has been turned into a farmer’s market, filled with hand-picked ingredients. “Let your imagination run wild,” he suggests. Then Gordo announces, “Tonight, I’m trimming the fat,” as he makes helpful scissor motions with his fingers. “Not all of you will be competing in this challenge tonight.” The chefs who stayed in the kitchen in the earlier challenge and stood their ground are safe. That means Ariel, Trevor, Kanae, Mia and Motto. The first three chefs who were willing to leave their kitchen – Roe, Gizzy and Heather for the Blue Team and Bret, Jose and Scotley for the Red Team– will be cooking for their lives.
9:42 p.m. The six each have 45 minutes to shop and make a “spectacular entrée.”
9:45 p.m. The other chefs who are not cooking discuss who might be on the way out. Mia is torn between Gizzy and Heather. Trevor thinks it is either Scotley or Bret.
9:47 p.m. Roe’s presents swordfish roasted in a kefir-lime butte and served with a raspberry, crabapple and pomegranate sauce. “Delicious,” Ramsay says. But her dish will have to compete with next person’s offering. Bret delivers frutti de mare: clams, mussels, grilled shrimp and pomadoro sauce. Based on the complexity of his dish, Bret is safe. He starts doing push-ups to celebrate. Heather is next. She delivers coconut curry, poached lobster tail and claw. She moves on. Gizzy is next. She went clean and rustic with her sea bass although she left some scales on the fish. Ramsay: “It’s you on a plate and it is delicious.” Roe, however, moves ahead while Scotley’s plate looks like a mess. Jose’s pan-seared salmon and chorizo hash is good but needs a bit more acidity. He goes back in line.
9: 55 p.m. It’s Jose vs. Gizzy. Jose moves on. Ramsay calls his salmon his best dish so far. It comes down to Gizzy and Scotley’s dry-cured ahi tuna with red lentils. The sear on his tuna is dubbed beautiful. “Step back in line.” Ramsay ruminates about why Scotley would serve lentils under his tuna with so much fresh produce to choose from. He brings up the fact that Scotley replaced Gizzy in her job. “How ironic is this? I have a battle of Atlanta on my hands.”
9:58 p.m. “Congratulations goes to … Scotley.” He and Gizzy hug. Ramsay celebrates Gizzy a bit and expresses regret. “You came in like a firecracker and something happened. You lost it. When I see young chefs lose confidence that tells me they are not ready to be my executive chef.” Gizzy admits, “I held my own self back.” Ramsay, as always, gets the last word: “I had such high hopes for Gizzy since Day One. But if she doesn’t truly believe in herself, I can’t believe in her either.”
Coming up next week: Chef Ramsay’s daughter, Tilly, will have the menu for her 16th birthday celebration planned by the chefs.