When we last left our Hell’s Kitchen contestants, they’d rapidly undergone a change from a crew of majority egg-mangling celebrities to a vaguely passable restaurant team, delivering a dinner service under the ever watchful eye of Marco Pierre White. After diners scores were tallied, the red team emerged the winners for the evening, leaving our head chef to choose a member of the blue team to fight for their chance to stay on the show by participating in the Last Chance Cook Off.
After some moody pondering, Marco eventually selected Candice ‘Ironwoman & WAG’ Warner as the blue team’s weakest link, and now we are here! It’s Episode 2, so let’s find out what culinary adventures Marco Pierre White has planned for the contestants of Hell’s Kitchen — and more importantly, which dud will be joining Candice in the fight for their (reality television) lives!
We start the episode with the gang getting into cars and heading off to an undisclosed location. There’s excitement and nervousness, and some frankly rather dopey suggestions as to where their vehicles could be heading (“I would LOVE to be going to Luna Park” — what? Why would you be going to Luna Park on a cooking show?!).
In any case you can’t help but feel for everyone riding sharing with Pettifleur and David Oldfield, whose sassy banter is continuing on from their time collaborating on salmon in the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant. Sam Frost, stuck in the back behind them, sums the whole thing up perfectly.
“Sitting in the back seat, I honestly felt like I was reliving my parents divorce.”
Anyway, they eventually pull up at a farm, and they wander inside the barn where they find Marco busying himself by sharpening knives and looking judgemental.
He is described by Candice as looking “like Hannibal Lecter, waiting for his next meal” while Sam says she thinks of herself as “this naughty school kid, and he’s the Principal”. These are both stunning insights into the fantasy lives of these women.
Marco reveals he has brought them here to learn how to do some basic things in the kitchen — namely, crush garlic, chop onions and herbs, and slice off the fingernails of a chicken (and then truss it). After giving them a rundown on how to do everything, he then gets both teams to attempt to replicate his work in a set amount of time.
A metaphorical starting pistol fires, and both teams get cracking. We soon learn that Sam Frost is oddly competent at producing “consistently cut” mushroom portions, Debra Lawrance is possibly the most affirming and encouraging person who has ever lived and we all need her in our lives (“Oh you’re doing REALLY WELL! You’re getting better! My goodness me! Fantastic!”) and Jess Fox is a bleeder.
Indeed, the most horrifying moment of the show so far — and keep in mind we just watched a close up of a chicken’s toes being chopped off — was when Marco examined Jess’s finished onion pieces and asks “Is that a little bit of skin I see?” and she’s all, “Oh no, skin from my finger” and I deadset nearly threw up.
Praise be, it seems it was onion skin he was talking about. PHEW.
It turns out David Oldfield was annoyingly correct when he told Lincoln Lewis to use four lengths of string to truss a chicken (just like Marco did) instead of two, because two wouldn’t hold, so everyone on the blue team’s aversion to taking advice from David Oldfield ends up costing them victory.
As a reward, the blue team won’t have to do any prep in the kitchen before dinner service this evening, and this means the red team will have to do twice as much to punish them for serving up an untrussed chicken with a side of canoeist digits.
The blue team are stoked. No really, trust me.
Back at Hell’s Kitchen HQ, the red team begin the arduous task of prepping while the blue team get to enjoy the luxurious back of house lounge… where there is a big screen TV livestreaming their opposition toiling away on their behalf — and in the case of Pettifleur and David, also bickering.
PETTIFLEUR: You’re a wild angry man, you need to be caged.
DAVID: You’re a pain in the arse, you should be kept somewhere out of people’s way.
PETTIFLEUR: You should be… out of society.
DAVID: Let’s just stop talking except where it relates to the task!
Candice has been thinking about how Marco was so quick to put her in the Last Chance Cook Off yesterday, and she’s convinced he has a problem with her personally. Rather than just sucking it up and working harder, she thinks the best solution is to have a private conversation with him asking if his decision was based on him thinking she’s a “bit of a joke”.
I tell you what, based on what I know of professional kitchens around the world, there’s nothing hard core chefs enjoy more than taking time out of their busy days to have emotional heart to heart conversations with needy kitchen hands!
Marco is surprisingly nice about it (this would never be the case in Marco’s IRL kitchen, trust me, the man made Gordon Ramsay cry) and insists it’s not personal and she should try being more of a team player. Solved!
Time for dinner service.
Deciding that he wants to provoke a stressful situation that will hopefully force the teams to unite and work closely to keep things flowing, Marco suddenly exits the kitchen and brings his experienced sous chefs with him.
This nearly causes poor Issa to have a stress related breakdown as he attempts to handle managing the pass — but happily, the blue team — particularly Willie and Debra — quickly recognise he’s struggling and come together to support him and reassure him.
The red team doesn’t gel together quite so well, and a literal fire breaks out. Pettifleur loiters around her teammates as they plate up dishes and calls out stuff like, “standing behind to help if you need” which makes her the kitchen equivalent of a Wing Attack on the netball court.
Thankfully Marco + Co return to the kitchen and things return to relative normality.
Favourite moment: Marco impatiently screaming, “WHERE’S MY PUDDINGS? WHERE’S MY DESSERTS? BRING THEM! IT SHOULDN’T TAKE SO LONG!” which is essentially me around 9pm at every dinner party or restaurant date I’ve attended in the last 20 years.
The rest of dinner service plays out relatively smoothly, other than the fact the red team at some point misplaced a table’s ticket and this meant some diners didn’t end up getting their mains until everyone else was eating their desserts. Not a great look but they eventually get their food (and a high five to the hungry diner who, when she finally got her food, quipped, “Better late than never.. But never late is better”)
The scores from the diners are tallied, and at the end of a long night the blue team win for the second time today. Marco considers his options carefully and asks a few members of the red team if they think they deserve to be placed into the Last Chance Cook Off after their performance this evening.
Everyone takes responsibility for their particular failings tonight and agrees they’ve earned a place fighting for their right to continue on the show… except Pettifleur, who suggests that her old foe David should probably go because, “he’s not a team player”. Try the irony, it’s delicious!
After some contemplation Marco announces that the person battling it out with Candice at the Last Chance Cook Off will be… old Fingerchops McGinty, Jess Fox!
She takes the news fairly graciously it must be said.
See you soon for Episode 3 of Hell’s Kitchen where we’ll soon find out who will be joining Jess and Candice in the elimination cook off - and be the first to leave the show!
You can watch full episodes of Hell's Kitchen here
And Hell's Kitchen behind the scenes footage, recipes and bio [yahoo7.com.au/hellskitchen|here|popup=true]