Living in Season 11, Episode One of Hell's Kitchen

I'd like to say, "WooHoo, it is the start of the new Hell's Kitchen season," but after so many season of manic contestants, fighting interns and fifteen-bleeps-a-sentence conversations, I don't if I really feel all that excited and celebratory about it. And Ray told me this morning that the Greg-Chef, as I call him, is not on this show this season. He made the show for me to a large degree, for he looked a lot like my friend Greg, also a chef.

But we do watch it and I guess I will get into it (I hope so, but pessimistically, I'm not terribly confident; after so many seasons, many shows begin to molder and this will not be any different. It will have different challenges and such, but the [often bad] behaviour of the contestants vying for the position of head chef somewhere in Ramsey's vast empire and all the infighting and constant cursing gets old. It just does. Maybe if they left the cursing in it wouldn't be so bad, but all the high pitched beeping is annoying. At any rate, the strife of the people on the show is often completely and often beyond rude and unforgivable on someone's part. No one excepts that every contestant will get along with and like all the others, but if you don't just keep the relationship professional since teamwork is essential and then outside of that, ignore them and release any frustration through a jog or punching a punching bag or something that relaxes you. Anything else is just playing into their hands.

But here we go with the two hour premier of Hell's Kitchen. I will stay hopeful that this will be a new leaf...

The different contestants all were in LAX at the same time (how amazing) and got onto the Hell's Kitchen bus. But it doesn't leave the airport but takes them to a flight to Las Vegas. Immediately many of the women begin screaming and jumping up and down and I really, really hate screamers. I also hate women who constantly cry. Nothing is that bad. I cry when someone dies, but not much else moves me to tears.

On the way to the show, the contestants get on a bus and a heavyset black woman gripes about the older loudmouth Italian woman yelling out things and pointing while the bus gives them a tour. (I was thinking she should shut up, too.) The Italian woman then announces on the side interview bits that she is the way she is and will be a pain in the ass. That wasn't what she said, but it is close enough to the meaning.

So they get onto the stage and and each has to cook their signature dish for Chef Ramsey. Very often this is fairly brutal experience. The ones who in the sitting interview bits who brag about their dishes are almost always shot right down. The women's team went through a few dishes and the heavyset black woman (I haven't gotten their names yet) scored the first point. The guy who represented the men's team who came up with her had something corn dog things from salmon. Chef took a bite, then asked our favourite black woman to taste it. She ended up spitting it out - ouch.

One woman presented completely and utterly raw lamb. Chef Ramsey asked if her if she was trying to kill him. I'd agree - serving raw meat in general is considered unforgivable. It is a mystery how some of these people weasel onto the show. Some of them are so stupid, or so combative, or so outrageous that they have no business being on the telly at all.

Well, the women won, and got to stay in Caesar's Palace. Their suite had a woman laying on a padded table covered in Sushi. They had tables groaning under the weight of food and ice sculptures. They love it and one woman was grinning and saying how even the air smells fresh (it does but not from any other reason than desert air is wonderful - no moisture! They got to meet Celine Dion and see her in concert. Then they flew in to LAX and arrived at the Hell's Kitchen building before the men returned.

The men had to take an eight-and-a-half-hour school bus ride with no air conditioning through Death Valley. The men argued vehemently about not allowing them to lose again. They flooded off that bus after on of them, Sebastian, spent the looooong ride just chattering away the whole time.

Now, I am not a slender woman, although I've lost quite some weight and am not fat either. But there are several terribly overweight women on that team. The men appear to be more normal but I think there are one or two who are large. I suppose for some it may be reassuring to see a fat chef, but I would never say it is reassuring to see a fat anyone - it is a fact that they are shortening their lives severely by carrying so much extra weight. It kills me to see these mostly young people so overweight.

The women are trying to study the books they were left by Chef Ramsey and the older Italian woman, Gina, who is 49, I think, is playing with a hand puppet and pissing off the other women. Frankly I agreed with the other women. She is immature and stupid. She is a pain in the ass. And she seems to think that because she's older, the others will look up to her. Fat chance. I don't.

Gina woke up in some kind of distress and I am confounded as to what is wrong with her. She isn't focussed at all. The men on the other hand, are moving like a team. Huh...

When asked, Gina said, "I feel like I can't function. I feel like I can't continue." She requested a medic. The women all just whined about how they are screwed while Gina sat in a back room and was breathing as though having a panic attack. She was oblivious to the medic asking her questions. Then she went up stairs and put on cosmetics and held something cold to her forehead, and the women in the kitchen began to realise that they might be better off without her. (No argument from me.) She then went down when they were all done with prep. What a loser. Gina, you will be gone soon.

One hour into this and we are finally going to see them in action in the kitchen with the usual menu choices - the weird pasta which has an odd name (ah, risotto!), scallops, Wellington, etc.

Gina cooked perfect scallops. Wow.

The men appeared a bit lost. On the other hand, they do speak to each other.

Gina was told to do risotto and someone else the scallops and Gina refused to do it! She said she was cooking scallops and someone else would cook risotto. GIna got kicked out of the kitchen by Chef Ramsey and went upstairs and said to no one, "Those little bitches. They better watch out. There's gonna be war." Personally, she's got a screw loose.

Chef through out Sebastian for calling the chef Becky "Becky-Wecky". Yikes. I can see why the other guys aren't fond of them. However, they one that is out on the floor working on appetizers is happily throwing his teammates under the bus.

There is Danielle, who cannot remember the ticket in her head, so Chef had to show her where to look, Goodness, me, how could she have been a head chef anywhere? Scary. Another woman had to cut lamb and it took her a long bloody time to do it - I can't understand why it was such a struggle. Three more men got tossed from the kitchen. Sebastian returned and asked to return but was sent out with two others. And told Sebastian if he came back down, Chef would send him home.

Susan got thrown out then of the kitchen but I don't understand what her offense was. One guy set his station on fire. These are not the sharpest tools in the shed. Chef called out a ticket to Jeremy and he could not - could NOT - repeat it. I've never seen that before! It wasn't a complicated order. Then Jacqueline, 27, who sounds kinda... slow... had to rehydrate herself and got kicked out because she has had to get her water.

These guys are helpless. The only one who seems to have any hope at all is Zach. Hopefully that will not change. It looks as though Jeremy and Sebastian are going to sit on the hot seat to defend why they should stay. Jeremy comes across like a total nut. I find Sebastian to be incredibly immature, just like Gina, whom the women are stuck with now.

Sebastian's history. He's gone. What a relief.


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