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Cooking along with Gordon Ramsay

July 28, 2010 |  1:06 pm

Were my eyes deceiving me? Or did Joe Bastianich make Gordon Ramsay look like the cuddly one by comparison?

It was "Cook-along with Gordon Ramsay" Tuesday night on Fox as we were treated to back-to-back episodes of "Hell's Kitchen" and the new "MasterChef," a one-two punch that we'll have for a few more weeks until "Hell's Kitchen" wraps up. 

In "Hell's Kitchen," Ramsay took the lambs to slaughter -- and then spared them at the very last minute. Autumn (who ever thought she would have lasted this long?) and Benjamin were put on the chopping block, taken off, and then handed much-needed visits with family. The reprieve will not last long, however. Ramsay said two contestants will go home next. Does this mean we could end up with love birds in the finale? I will say this much: I am going to be sorely disappointed if Benjamin is the last person standing. While I am not sure I would give the restaurant reins to anyone in this crew, I think Benjamin would slowly poison whatever kitchen he is in. He is so disrespectful of everyone around him and cannot communicate with his "brigade," and that will not inspire loyalty of any kind. And finally -- does Holli's baby daddy know that they are, um, presumably broken up? Sure didn't seem like it.

Moving on to "MasterChef." Last week, during a media conference call, chef Graham Elliott compared the judging table for "MasterChef" with the original judges on "American Idol." He said that he was Paula, Ramsay was -- get this! -- Randy, and that Bastianich was Simon.

Now we know what Elliot was talking about.

Bastianich, a winemaker and restaurateur, was cold-eyed heavy during this first round of eliminations. Joe! How could you even question whether Tracy could cook beyond her mother's cookbook!?!? Personally, I was reaching for the Kleenex and wondering whether we could just declare her "MasterChef" and call it a day.

But there are lots of likable -- and local -- competitors to watch. There's the ultra-fluid Mike Kim, a server from Redondo Beach, can do. Ramsay called it correctly: He moves like a chef. And he apparently cooks like one. He immediately moves to the head of the class.

And Avis White. I already adore her. Or, maybe I just want to eat whatever it is she is cooking.

I am also looking forward to seeing what Faruq Jenkins, a bartender from Glendale, can do. (He and his wife, and son, totally won me over.) The judges made him work for that apron, though; You know that man will never, ever, ever forget to salt the mac-and-cheese.

I do have one complaint: Why in the world did they reward Dave Miller with an apron? Oh, I forgot. You gotta have someone to hate.... I am willing to giving him one more chance -- just one -- but so far he has totally rubbed me the wrong way.

And finally: I'll bet those funeral potatoes were plenty tasty.

So what did you think? Are you making room in the DVR for "MasterChef"? And is this too much Ramsay for one night? Or not enough?

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Mike Kim on "MasterChef." Photo credit: Fox