On Friday’s episode of ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ nearly all six of the remaining Season 18 chefs managed to step up their game. Veteran Ariel Contreras-Fox and rookie Mia Castro, who both have stood out from the rest when it comes to challenges, handily won the first round and fully deserved their black jackets handed out by Gordon Ramsay.
Then rookie Motto and veteran Bret Hauser‘s quail dishes were good enough during the second challenge to earn jackets as well. That just left Season 16 runner-up Heather Williams, who has been considered for elimination twice, and rookie Kanae Houston, who has been safe from being cut, to go head to head with each other in a surf and turf battle. Kanae had made a few not-fatal errors in her first two dishes, including under-cooked green beans and “gloopy” cauliflower, but her proteins were spot on.
Heather, however,who had never dealt with duck or quail before, was not happy with the proteins that were to be the centerpieces of her dishes, and she was thrown off her game from the start. Her nerves got the best of her when red wine splattered all over her chef’s jacket. He compared her stained attire to her badly handled duck and gummy sweet potato puree –“a bit of a mess.” As for her quail breast attempt, it was ruined by being stuffed with pieces of lemon, which made it taste bitter.
Luckily, the final test was in Heather’s wheelhouse — namely, surf and turf. While Kanae chooses a pork chop and prawns with a soy marinade for her attempt at an Asian version of the dish, Heather goes full-on traditional with filet mignon and lobster tail. Her rival calls her out for being “plain Jane” with her dishes. In the Black Jacket Lounge, Ariel and Mia watch the action in the kitchen on a TV and are unimpressed that Heather tells Ramsay that she wanted to stay in her “comfort zone.”
Did it help that Heather powered through a bad burn on her hand and did a good job with a less challenging dish? Perhaps. She also perfectly cooked her meat and seafood. Ramsay did call Kanae’s more inventive dish “a strong effort.” But for some reason, he picked Heather to move on and said good-bye to Kanae.
Did he think Kanae at 25 was to young to fill the position of executive chef at his new restaurant at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, the prize that will be won by the ultimate winner of Season 18? Or did he believe Heather deserved a second chance after coming so close to being the champ of Season 16? Take the poll below and let us know what you think: