Hell's Kitchen

Season 5 Episode 8

HK5: 9 Chefs Compete

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Mar 26, 2009 on FOX

Episode Recap

Coming off the previous episode's elimination, Carol reflects on her ongoing feud with Andrea. She feels that Andrea is out for Andrea-- it's gotten so bad that she would rather work with Lacey. Over on the Blue Team, the men tell Lacey that she needs to start absorbing things rather than questioning and arguing. They question her competency to run a million dollar restaurant.

That morning, Chef Ramsay serves the aspiring chefs tartare-- a favorite that he features in many of his restaurants around the world. He tells them that they're tasting tartare of beef and tartare of scallop, but he as actually replaced the beef with tuna and the scallops with sea bass. The chefs all compliment the tartares, without a single one recognizing the difference in ingredients. After revealing the deception, Chef Ramsay challenges the two teams to a blind taste test. In an interview segment, Carol expresses confidence, stating that it's the challenge she was looking forward to most. As the teams are uneven, LA sits out the challenge, stating that her taste is a little off because she's a smoker.

The challenge begins with Andrea going up against Ben. Both fail to identify filet mignon, but both get fried egg whites and beets correct. Ben then correctly identifies Romaine lettuce, putting the blue team one up. Robert and Giovanni go up next and fail to influence the score at all, as both stunningly fail to identify a single item correctly, out of turnip, pea tendrils, lobster and black truffles. The Blue Team is shocked, as they knew black truffles to be Robert's "favorite thing." In an interview, Robert excuses his poor performance by saying that he's not Helen Keller and he cooks using all his senses.

With two rounds completed, the blue team remains in the lead by one. In the next round, Carol gets three correct and Lacey only gets one out of mushroom, calf's liver, broccolini and sweet potato. This puts the Red Team one ahead. For the final round, Paula vs. Danny, Chef Ramsay changes the format. He provides them with a minestrone soup and has them take turns trying to identify any of the ten ingredients within it. Danny takes an early lead, but then falters, allowing Paula to claim the win. For emerging victorious, the Red Team is awarded a photo shoot with TV Guide magazine's Craig Tomashoff. For losing, the Blue Team is made to serve the Red Team lunch during the photo shoot and prep both kitchens for service, as Hell's Kitchen is opening that evening.

In an interview, Danny expresses frustration at once again having to do a double prep, declaring it to be a "hell day." As the Red Team enjoys their photo shoot, Lacey wallows in misery. She interviews that she really doesn't like anyone there and doesn't want to have to wait on them. The Red Team enjoys a party photograph and Ben is startled by the camera's flashbulb, thinking that he's being hit by lightning. The Blue Team moves on to the prep, but one chef isn't moving on, Lacey. She claims to be working on potatoes, but the rest of the team know that she's mainly just standing around. Ben interviews that she's "something else" and he wants to call her a cab to send her away. Back over at the photo shoot, Carol experiences a crisis of beauty, but Giovanni boosts her up, saying that she looks beautiful, even though she doesn't think she does. Back over in the kitchen, the Blue Team continues to struggle through both the double prep and Lacey's sluggishness and apathy.

As the time comes for the opening of Hell's Kitchen, LA describes her strategy as being that it's best to go in a little nervous. Carol feels that her team is two up because the Blue Team has Lacey. Hell's Kitchen opens, with a couple of V.I.P. guests there for dinner-- actors Eric McCormack and Robert Patrick. As service begins, Robert shows confidence in his ability to perform on his station for the evening, hot apps. Over in the red kitchen, however, Paula gets off to a bad start on that station by sending out a risotto described as "mush." It's very salty and inedible. Back over in the blue kitchen, Robert sends out an over spaghetti and ends up having Ben sent over to assist him. Back over in the red kitchen, Paula gives it another try and manages a perfect risotto. The Blue Team receives the first V.I.P. order of the night-- Eric McCormack. Danny steps up, sending out scallops and Wellingtons that receive praise from Chef Ramsay. In the red kitchen, Carol struggles on the meat station. Back in the blue kitchen, Lacey struggles even worse, having a complete breakdown. Both Ben and Danny try to help her and talk to her, not wanting the service to go down in flames. Chef Ramsay asks her what the matter is and she tells him that she simply can't cook meat-- she's way too confused. He sends her out of the kitchen, but gives her another chance, telling her to make an effort, wake up and get a grip.

In an interview, Ben says that as much as he wanted her to go down in flames, he tried to get her calmed down so that she could focus. Over in the red kitchen, Carol and Andrea struggle on meat and fish. The two don't communicate and Andrea is shot down for an undercooked John Dory. She blames it on Carol for never giving her a time. Despite the red kitchen's problems, their V.I.P., Robert Patrick, is enjoying his food. The same can't be said for the blue kitchen, as Eric McCormack and other customers are still waiting. Chef Ramsay shouts "V.V.I.P." at Lacey, but she continues to not perform, so Chef Ramsay has her take off her jacket and sends her on her way. In an interview, she admits that she didn't listen to her mom's advice, which was to not make enemies. Chef Ramsay urges the Blue Team to kick things into gear and, with Lacey gone, they do. It's more than two hours into dinner service, but the Blue Team finally starts sending out entrees and, in fact, manages to complete a full service. The same does not happen in the red kitchen. Carol has meat sent back and loses a chicken, claiming that somebody grabbed it. Ramsay loses hope for the Red Team and decides to shut them down. Following the service, Chef Ramsay compliments the Blue Team on their amazing teamwork and dubs them the obvious winners by a mile. He orders the Red Team to come to a consensus for two chefs they feel deserve to leave Hell's Kitchen.

Back up in the dorms, the members of the Red Team set to arguing. Carol admits that based on her performance, she should probably go home. LA feels that Andrea should be on the chopping block, but knows that Paula and Andrea are tight, so they would never nominate each other. When it comes time to present Chef Ramsay with their nominations, the Red Team is forced to admit that they haven't come to a consensus. Unimpressed, he tells them that he's in no mood to mess around and asks Paula who her nominations are. Paula nominates LA first for not having superb services and Carol second for having a few very bad services, including that evening's. He asks who the other chef under consideration was and is told that it was Andrea.

Chef Ramsay chastises them for failing as a team and has LA, Carol and Andrea all step forward. He asks Andrea to rate her performance. She gives herself a 6/10, blaming her problems on poor communication. She says that her first nominee was LA, as Carol at least has initiative. Carol says that she gets the job done and she just needs another chance. She says she'd send Andrea home because she had a bad service. Finally, LA states that she can "cook her ass off" and that the others are nominating her only because of her lack of communication and unwillingness to display emotion. Chef Ramsay eliminates LA. He tells the remaining chefs that he's looking for a leader and he wants them to show him that they're hungry. In this final words, he explains that he eliminated LA because she lacked leadership skills and creativity.