In episode 8 of “Hell’s Kitchen” Season 18, we begin by taking a way-back machine to two weeks ago when the Blue Team gals and the Red Team guys had to re-create the five dishes in front of them. As noted by Gizzy Barton, this seems deceptively easy. But then, one by one, chefs on both teams leave until there is one man, Motto, and one woman, Ariel Contreras-Fox, left standing. Trevor McGrath’s chioppino, a fish stew, was missing a key ingredient – fish — while Ariel’s chicken piccata was perfect-o. The five chefs who left their kitchen had to cook “for their lives.” It came down to a duel between Atlanta chefs Gizzy and Scotley Innis. And Gizzy got the boot.
9:03 p.m. Trevor wished that “alpha male” Scotley had left: ”It’s a competition for cooking, not how big your huevos are.” Bret Hauser, who has shown a proclivity towards leering at a female chef or two in the past, refers to grilled shrimp as a profanity that starts with “s” and ends in “t” in front of a disgusted Mia Castro. She asks, “Do you have to be so grotesque?” “It’s a Northeast thing,” he replies. “It has nothing to do with being gross, sweetheart. I mean no disrespect by it.” Mia, duly incensed: “I’m NOT your sweetheart.” You go, girl!
9:06 p.m. The chefs race into the kitchen, as Ramsay says, “Top 10. This is big. Congratulations.” He notes that most chefs developed their love of cooking when they were young. He asks them to close their eyes. “You were excited to cook that first meal. Can you see it?” He tells them to open your eyes. They laugh as they gaze at a glammed-up teen Kanae Houston. “It was homecoming,” she explains, ”and the theme was Roaring ’20s.” One by one, they are all embarrassed by childhood photos. And, yes, there’s young Gordo, with hair that would qualify him for a Duran Duran cover band.
9:08 p.m. “Our next guest also fell in love with cooking at a young age,” Ramsay says. “She comes from a culinary family.” We know where this is going, given that her father is a well-known chef and restaurateur. It’s his 15-year-old daughter, Tilly. Scotley notes, “She looks a little cuter than Chef Ramsay.” We learn that the eatery will be closed to the public and a “Sweet 16” party will be held for his daughter. The chef-testants will make dishes for the event and the girl of honor will judge them. Hence, the title of this ep, “One Hell of a Party.”
9:12 p.m. The teams are tasked with making a tasting menu with two appetizers and three entrees, including a vegetarian option. Trevor says he is not looking forward to cooking for “these little millennial pains in the asses.” That’s the spirit, Trev, me boy.
9:13 p.m. Ramsay asks his daughter if there is anything she doesn’t want to see at her event. Yep. Daddy’s temper is off the menu. Also, no swearing. And to that, we say, “Fat chance.”
9:16 p.m. Roe DiLeo plates her scallop and pesto puree appetizer into the shape of a “T” for Tilly. Bret chooses to do baked ziti with a meat sauce. His reasoning? “Kids love pasta.” Papa then asks if the attendees will be all girls. Tilly: “You’ll have to wait and see.” Then, his little princess issues a command for a four-layer birthday cake — and that every guest should get their own personal one. Says Papa Bear: “OK, you just gave me an idea for a punishment, then.”
9:18 p.m. Time for Tilly to choose her aps. She passes on Roe’s dish since Daddy dearest thought ricotta and scallops was a strange combo. Motto made tuna “with birthday confetti and fireworks.” Tilly thinks it’s a go. Kanae went with an Asian twist on the kabob. Daddy dumps on it. “I don’t think of kabobs for 16-year-olds.”
9:20 p.m. Tilly disagrees, saying she didn’t have to think about this one. “That’s a definite yes!” The team scores are tied. Scotley’s scallops crudo is up next. Tilly gives it a thumb’s down.
9:22 p.m. Here come the entrees. The vegetarian offerings by Trev and Mia go head to head. He has a broccoli and bok choy marsala. She has a creamy mushroom fricassee with crispy tofu and rosemary foam. Seems that mushrooms are Tilly’s fave veggie. (Hmm, is it a vegetable? Or is it a fungus among us?) Either way, Mia for the win.
9:24 p.m. Jose DeJesus does a play on fish and chips. It makes the cut. Heather Williams delivers filet mignon and red onion jam. It’s a go. Bret’s baked ziti will determine the team outcome. And the answer is … “a bit heavy.” That means the ladies win with four dishes on the menu as Ariel presents her haystack of sweet potatoes over chicken. So says Tilly: “Very impressive.”
9:27 p.m. The Blue Team’s reward is a day spent in a Malibu mansion with a drive-by from an artisan ice cream truck.
9:30 p.m. Then comes the punishment. The men will be responsible for giving every guest their own personal four-layer birthday cake while ice-cream-aholic Mia is in sundae heaven on the beach.
9:34 p.m. The guys are toiling over lots of pink batter and crepe paper for decorations that Bret especially finds confounding to make. Scotley joins him, and suddenly Bret claims he doesn’t feel good and is sweating profusely while his heart is pounding. He reminds us he left the show before because of back problems. Medics are called and they want to take him to the hospital. And you thought “Survivor” was physically brutal this season.
9:36 p.m. Bret decides to stay. Now both teams are back at work preparing for Tilly’s party. Ramsay says the dining room looks “incredible” with crepe paper and a big gummi bear and poodle statues. What does the chef want? “At the end of service, I want to be happy.” Um, has that even happened yet this season? Tilly and her friends arrive to sample the girl of honor’s favorite dishes from the challenge. Kanae and Mia handle the tuna orders. Already, Pop is getting cranky and gets bleeped over his reaction to the tuna that looks like “a dog chew” and tells Kanae to stop “hacking it.”
9:38 p.m. Heather, who is handling the garnish station, says she is now doing all the tuna, too. Scotley is cooking kabobs and risotto. Ramsay samples it and declares it “really nice.” Meanwhile, Kanae gets her act together and we are told that “appetizers are flying out to party-goers.”
9:40 p.m. Ramsay then calls out several entrée orders to the Blue Team. Roe is at the meat station and says she feels comfortable there. Well, not for long when unevenly cooked slabs of beef are walked back to her. Motto is doing fine at his fish station, Jose’s meat is declared perfect while entrees are delivered at a steady pace.
9:42 p.m. As for the Red Team ladies, Roe is trying to get her mojo going with the New York strip steak while Ariel is handling the halibut. Tilly thinks her Dad is smiling, but no, he is simply summoning the right “bleeping” words to share with the women as they head to the pantry. Roe knows her fate is on the line and she finally gets it right.
9:44 p.m. Ramsay, however, finds something else to fret about – the burnt bits in Bret’s sweet potato fries. Sous chef Jocky tells Mia that her fish lacks batter and, when Ramsay checks it, the inside is not fully cooked. He yells at the women to touch it and says it is “ice cold.”
9:47 p.m. Scotley starts griping about too much garlic in the spinach and Trevor is duly embarrassed by his side dish. Meanwhile, the women in blue are about get the riot act read to them by He Who Must Be Bleeped after Ariel mistakenly hands the chef an underdone halibut for Tilly’s table. Ramsay tells them to leave.
9:50 p.m. Adding insult to injury, Ramsay recruits the Red Team’s rookie guys Motto, Scotley and Jose to pick up their slack and finally deliver the Blue Team entrees.
9:52 p.m. The Blue Team definitely have the blues as tears are shed as the chefs discuss where their service went wrong and initially decide that Roe and Mia should be the ones facing possible dismissal. But Roe says Ariel and Mia were both responsible for the fish while she was the only one handling the meat. Ariel stands up for herself and tells Roe, “When you learn to cook a medium-rare steak, you ‘bleeping’ call me.”
9:56 p.m. Roe, who has been sliding downhill for a while in my opinion, gets called out in front of Ramsay by Heather. Mia, who has been probably one of the more consistent players, is the other chef who is facing elimination because of her mishandling of the fish. Mia, however, stands up for herself and calls out Kanae for not having the tempura batter prepared for the station – a charge she denies.
9:58 p.m. Ramsay does a fake-out by first calling out rookie Mia, but then tells her to step back. Good, because I still think she has the right stuff to go all the way. He then calmly summons veteran Roe, explaining that he put her on the meat station to redeem herself. And she failed. “You are not ready to be my executive chef at Hell’s Kitchen.” And off comes the jacket. His summary of Roe’s performance this season: “Last time she was here, Roe was a tour de force at the meat station. But tonight, her performance left me as cold as a raw New York strip.”
Next week: Tension is on the menu as Scotley and Trevor feud flares up again.