Last time we were at Hell’s Kitchen HQ, Marco Pierre White had just informed Olympic canoeist Jess Fox that she had been the weakest link in the red team during dinner service and as such, she was his choice to join Candice Warner in the Last Chance Cook Off.
Tonight we’ll be finding out who the third and final celeb out of the group will be who takes them on in a culinary battle that will end in one disappointed famous person leaving the show. Ready? Let’s do this.
We open in the kitchen with Marco explaining to both teams that they’ve got three hours to prep and set up before the doors to the restaurant open and lunch service begins. He assigns everyone their jobs for the day, and the gang gets cracking.
David Oldfield has been given the task of cooking the beef dish, and he quickly begins dropping his bundle and pacing around the kitchen, trying to clarify every possible aspect of the cooking process with Jess Fox, and repeating the same basic questions over and over in an agitated manner. The guy just wants to do his best but c’mon mate, leave the poor woman alone.
Half an hour before service, Lincoln spots a potential disaster. There’s a leaky pipe behind the oven that Pettifleur is supposed to be using to cook the fish and that means using that oven is no longer an option.
Marco calls Pettifleur and her fish cooking equivalent from the blue team Willie Mason over for a quick chat where he informs them that for today’s service, they’re going to have to share an oven - and this will mean they’ll have to communicate closely and coordinate putting their fish in to be cooked at the same time.
Willie sums it up nicely: “That’s a big spanner in the works because Pettifleur… is a handful”.
With two minutes to go until service begins, David takes the opportunity to grill Lincoln Lewis about his new favourite topic - cooking beef. “Once you’ve got it in the pan, how long is it on the stove?” DIDN’T JESS ANSWER ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS AT LEAST A DOZEN TIMES?
Lunch begins and the orders start coming in, and Willie begins getting a little bit agitated that Pettifleur is faffing around and not prepping her John Dory so it will be ready to go straight into the oven the moment that Marco yells, “AWAY!”
Pettifleur’s dilly dallying is directly affecting Willie’s ability to deliver his part of service in a timely and efficient manner, and his annoyance is written clearly all over his face. As she finally brings her fish over to join his in the steam oven, he double checks with her that she’s salted them and they’re ready to go and she insists yes, it’s all fine…
… and then once the fish is cooking in the oven, Pettifleur saunters back over and casuallyremarks that, oh, in fact she forgot to salt the fish after all, and to the soundtrack of Willie crying out, “You can’t open the oven!”, Pettifleur pulls open the door.
Willie is furious. He has a little commonsense and knows that when cooking the fish, it’s essential that the oven stays consistently at 100 degrees during the entire 5 minutes the fish is in there, and Pettifleur’s recklessness resulted in the oven temperature dropping to 55 degrees and now the fish could be ruined.
While forgetting to actually salt the one dish you’ve been given the responsibility of prepping might leave most people feeling a bit embarrassed, Pettifleur’s ego is in no danger of deflating even the tiniest bit, especially after some Real Housewives fans in the restaurant notice she’s looking a little stressed.
They saunter over to the kitchen and bellow her name - and like a moth to a fame, erm, I mean, flame, Pettifleur abandons what she’s doing and floats over to where her little fanclub are standing. They try to offer her a glass of wine, much to Marco’s disgust (“Don’t be a fool - do you think it’s wise to give someone wine in a kitchen when they’re working?”) and Pettifleur’s unbridled delight.
Running over to a busy kitchen in the middle of service and calling over semi-famous kitchen hands to offer them wine while Marco Pierre White stands in front of you wielding a knife doesn’t strike me as the greatest display of intelligence, so I suppose it makes sense they’re Pettifleur stans.
The drama with the shared oven continues, with Willie palpably aggravated by Pettifleur being completely unconcerned that she is wreaking havoc on the blue team’s ability to get their fish dish out. She even has the nerve to later describe the situation thusly:
“Willie is really confused with time. I know he’s a great footballer, a legend, but you know, maths? Not his strongest.”
Marco acknowledges that yes, it’s not a great look that Willie is unable to successfully communicate with Pettifleur, however he also points out, “let’s be honest, Pettifleur is not easy to communicate with - she can’t communicate with herself”.
Nevertheless, he insists it is up to both of them to “sort it out”.
Other lunch service dramas include:
A diner sending back a dish saying it “tastes like battery acid” and Marco sending it right back out, with a message from the maitre d’ saying, “When was the last time you tasted battery acid?” - OOH BURN. David Oldfield short circuiting over making polenta. A punter demanding a lactose free dessert!
Oh, and an actual real drama - Saint Debra Lawrance sliced open her hand and had to be rushed to hospital!
Lunch service finally wraps, Marco actually PRAISES everyone for delivering the goods under pressure, and the feedback is full of praise (except from battery acid dude) and even panicked David gets a special shout out, with one diner claiming it was “the greatest beef I’ve ever had” which makes David feel very special, as he personally cut open the bag with the pre-made beef dish himself! .
Ever the team player, Pettifleur is visibly delighted that her old verbal sparring partner has received some excellent feedback from diners.
The scores are tallied up and they are pretty good - and pretty even! Once again, it comes down to half a point with a 7.5 beating out a 7… but this time, it’s in the blue team’s favour.
Marco decides that Pettifleur is the member of the red team who will be joining Candice and Jess in the Last Chance Cook Off, and Pettifleur begins mentally trying to recall the exact refund policy for the David Oldfield voodoo doll she bought off eBay.
So, we now have Pettifleur, Candice, and Jess vying to avoid being booted off Hell’s Kitchen. Everyone else is sent to the back of house room, while the three who are in contention to leave are gathered in the kitchen to find out what their challenge will be.
Marco asks them all how they’re feeling. Pettifleur responds with, “Crapping my pants” which utterly grosses Marco out (or as he primly puts it, “How vulgar.” INDEED.)
The challenge tonight is to replicate Marco’s chosen dish as close as possible, but without a recipe. This is the chosen dish.
It’s essentially figuring out the meat, the spice, and the vegetable, and whacking it all together. I know there’s some very intense dramatic music soundtracking this moment, but surely this is not that hard a challenge?
Well, for some. I suppose the moment that Candice selected cumin as her spice because it seemed to be the same colour as what she saw on the skewers, and also it’s the only spice she knows (not that she can pronounce it) is when I realised that, for some, this task is extremely hard core and difficult. Girl, hot tip, assess spices by flavour and smell!
Candice spends a lot of time trying to figure out which part of a spring onion you use in cooking, while Pettifleur tries to add some - and I quote - “Pettiflair” to the dish by adding red capsicum, despite the fact that the challenge is to replicate Marco’s dish exactly.
Everyone in the back of house lounge accurately sums up my feelings.
One withering look from Marco has Pettifleur suddenly reassess the addition of red capsicum and she ditches it. She does, however, cover her chicken in pepper because it’s something she likes, then decides to fry it in butter because she thinks she remembers Marco saying once that he loves the flavour butter gives.
All of them seem to be delaying the actual cooking of the chicken which worries me because being served undercooked chicken is a traumatic experience (I still have horrendous flashbacks from my pre-vegetarian days) but with five minutes to go, Pettifleur and Jess have their skewers on the pan… but Candice waits until there’s three minutes left on the clock to begin cooking her chicken. Oh, that’s not promising. But don’t worry, she has a great little trick up her sleeve!
Candice starts rubbing olive oil onto the chicken pieces by hand although she hopes “it’s not too little too late” and I am sitting here thinking, wait, that’s not a thing is it?!
Time is up, and Marco begins the tasting process. He starts with Jess’s dish - she chose chicken, with spring onion, and used curry powder as her spice. He sits there for a while slowly munching her skewer without releasing eye contact, because he is An Intense Person. He gives nothing away.
Pettifleur also uses chicken, with spring onion, and curry powder as her spice - however attempts to jazz it up by adding loads of pepper, frying it in butter, and adding basil (as “garnish”) don’t appear to have pleased Marco.
Candice hands over her dish to Marco (in the end she went with chicken, spring onion, and cumin) and after inspecting it, he pushes away her half-cooked meal, simply saying, “You know why".
It turns out two of the three cooks nailed the meat\vegetable\spice combination - it was chicken, spring onion, and madras curry powder - however Marco announces that only one person delivered him a dish that was cooked to “absolute perfection”... and it was Jess! Well done!
He then tells Pettifleur she overcooked her chicken and used butter instead of olive oil, but on the other hand, you know… Candice served up undercooked chicken.
Weighing it all up, Marco eventually decides that the first celebrity to leave Hell’s Kitchen is going to be... Candice.
Join us next time on Hell’s Kitchen when we discover how the blue team fares with one less member, and we also probably get to experience David and Pettifleur sniping at each other once more OH GOD MAKE IT STOP.