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'Hell's Kitchen': Go easy on the hot sauce

June 1, 2010 | 11:27 pm

It was a night to remember in "Hell's Kitchen." There was Halibut shrapnel. A chef who couldn't tell the difference between crab and lobster. Nearly half of the contestants failed miserably and were kicked upstairs to the barracks.

And the remaining "Hell's Kitchen" contestants managed to do the unthinkable: Complete a full-service dinner on their very first night. (In seasons past, that accomplishment didn't take place until after several miserable attempts, and eliminations that weeded out the losers from the contenders.)

Which just means "Hell's Kitchen" overlord chef Gordon Ramsay is just starting to turn up the heat on this bunch, who are all competing for a shot at what is arguably the best prize ever in "Hell's Kitchen" history: running the kitchen at Ramsay's flagship restaurant at the renowned Savoy Hotel in London..

And what a bunch it is:

The contestants include an Italian who doesn't know how to make pasta. A woman who burned Ramsay's lips by laying on the hot sauce when a few drops would have worked. A Hannibal Lecter wanna-be (he likes butchering animals). A guy who showed up with a fresh "Hell's Kitchen" logo tattooed across his abdomen. And another cheftestant who laughs like a hyena when things go wrong.

As usual, it was "boys versus girls." And dinner service was barely underway when -- as one of the hopefuls put it -- it was "man down, man down," as Ramsay picked off the weaker teammates one by one and dismissed them from the rest of the night's dinner service. Still determined to feed all of his guests and fulfill the promise made to the media, Ramsay had the two teams melt together into one and they banged out the rest of the meals.

Oh, you just know it's going to be a long season for these folks.

The single best moment, though, was the site gag: Ramsay putting the moves on a woman who turned out to be his wife.

--Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

Photo: This season's crop of contestants. Credit: Fox