You know it's a tough dinner service when chef Gordon Ramsay is the one yelling, "Get me out of here!" But another chef -- Andrew, a.k.a. Hannibal Lecter for his love of butchering animals and eating them raw -- crumpled under the pressure and walked out the door, marking only the second time in seven seasons that a cheftestant couldn't take the heat and quit. Not even Jean-Philippe could persuade Andrew to stay by reminding him how many people would like to be in Andrew's shoes competing for the grand prize: a shot to help run the kitchen at Ramsay's restaurant at the Savoy in London. Andrew had the perfect comeback: He took off his cooking clogs and said, "Here, take my shoes" and kept on going.
But before we get to that: We started with a brilliant new challenge, the egg challenge. Ramsay said he was so disappointed in the first night's dinner service that it was time to get back to basics. So he paired teams up and asked them to cook four eggs in four different ways -- poached, sunny side up, scrambled and soft cooked -- in five minutes. Yes, you read that right: Four eggs, four ways, in five minutes.
Because of the uneven numbers, Siobhan was ordered to cook alone. Pitying her, Autumn offered to help, which seemed nice, but it turned out to be a big mistake. Instead of seizing the opportunity to impress Ramsay -- even if she served up four egg dishes that managed to be overcooked or undercooked, it would have been impressive -- she didn't even try. When she admitted that she had help from the others, Ramsay (duh) hit the roof, and Siobhan lost it. Let's start calling her Cry-Baby from now on.
The women lost the egg challenge and, as punishment, had to clean, gut and filet a tuna that looked bigger than some of them, while the men were rewarded with a helicopter ride high above L.A. and a meal with Ramsay.
By the time dinner service rolled around, the chefs were falling apart again. Oversalted water. Undercooked chicken. An overcooked salmon that Ramsay slammed with his fist, sending it flying. ("I think I have salmon in my ear," Jamie said afterward.) Salvatore was temporarily banned from the kitchen because he failed to remember the desserts for the night. It was so bad that Ramsay refused to name a winning team.
There was some backstabbing attempted at the elimination: The women chose to put bossy Autumn on the chopping block, while the men nominated Jason. Ramsay forced the teams to defend those picks and they couldn't -- neither had proved to be the worst cook in the place. Ramsay made his own choice: Spiky-haired Mikey, who had been a disaster, serving up raw halibut one night and raw risotto the next.
So, does Mikey regret that impressive "Hell's Kitchen" torso tattoo that he ordered up before joining the cast? He said he regrets nothing. "I accept my fate."
He could consider it a badge of honor. Or the sting left behind by Ramsay's branding iron.
-- Rene Lynch
Photo: Chef Ramsay and Salvatore. Credit: Fox.