The teams on season 16 of Hell’s Kitchen are in a state of dismay. After a horrendous dinner service, Chef Gordon Ramsay had no choice but to eliminate one chef from each team, which ended up being Shaina and Matt.
With there only being eight left, the remaining chefs are on a mission to prove to Chef Ramsay why they deserve to earn a black jacket. Which of them will solidify their spot in the final part of the season? Let’s find out in these back-to-back episodes, titled “Aerial Maneuvers” and “Fusion Confusion.”
Taste it and Make It
As the eight remaining chefs enter Hell’s Kitchen to hear about the next challenge from Chef Ramsay, they immediately see two aerial performers doing tricks on silk ropes hanging from the ceiling. Chef Ramsay says he hopes they can mimic what they are doing. However, luckily for the chefs, he does not mean the acrobatic moves. Instead, he needs the chefs to trust each other like these two performers do.
For the challenge, each team will split up into two pairs. These pairs must recreate one of Chef Ramsay’s signature dishes. Of course, there is a twist to this challenge. One of the chefs in each pair will taste the dish and tell their partner all of the ingredients (protein, puree and greens) they think are present in the meal. The other chef in the pair will cook it based off of what their partner tells them. Whichever pair recreates the dish the closest to the original will win the challenge for their team.
The pairs for the Red Team are Kimberly (tasting) and Heidi (cooking) and Heather (tasting) and Andrew (cooking). The Blue Team’s are Paulie (tasting) and Devin (cooking) and Wendy (tasting) and Ryan (cooking). Each pair has different ideas as to what the dish is truly made of.
After 30 minutes, the chefs present their dishes to Chef Ramsay. He first reveals that the correct puree is actually persimmon, so every pair except for Andrew and Heather got it right. However, Andrew and Heather quickly redeem themselves, because they are the only pair to correctly guess that Swiss chard was the green.
It then all comes down to the protein. Chef Ramsay confirms that veal is the correct answer, making Wendy and Ryan come out on top, thanks to Wendy’s stellar palette.
The Blue Team wins the challenge!
Before he sends the teams off, Chef Ramsay has one more twist for the chefs. The upcoming dinner service will be closed to the public. Each team will cook for a party of 12, who are all contributors to the Stand Up to Cancer charity. Chef Ramsay urges them not to take this lightly. “Do not underestimate the importance of tonight’s dinner,” he says.
The Dinner Service
In this dinner service, each chef will be in charge of one course of the meal. Kimberly and Wendy will man the lobster risotto, Andrew and Devin are on the scallops, Heidi and Paulie are in charge of the salmon, and Heather and Ryan take on the New York strip.
The first course to be cooked is the risotto. For the Blue Team, Wendy is not confident in her ability to cook a solid dish, so she delegates the task to Ryan. However, the risotto is not cooked properly, which actually makes Wendy look bad.
Kimberly has trouble leading her team for the risotto as well. Chef Ramsay is floored by the excess of risotto they have prepared, so he makes them slim down the portions. In the end, both teams finish their appetizers strong.
With Andrew and his ego in charge of the scallops, the Red Team works together as a team and delivers them in no time. Devin has a bit of a hiccup in leading this course, since he has to deal with Paulie, who is already focused on cooking his salmon rather than the scallops. Devin gets him to refocus and gets his course out to the guests.
Heidi and Paulie take control of the salmon for their respective teams. Heidi isn’t speaking up nor is she delegating enough tasks to her team, while Paulie is doing great as the leader for his team. However, he does screw up by not telling Wendy to include the capers with her potatoes on the final dishes. Chef Ramsay places the blame on Wendy for this mistake, but all she can say is that the capers “walked away.” Chef Ramsay is at a loss for words with this response.
After the salmon dishes are delivered, it’s time for the New York strips. The Blue Team has to make up for the mass amount of time it took for them to deliver the salmon. They then encounter another issue when Devin slices his finger while cutting the steaks. The chefs aren’t having any of this. “Grow some balls, Devin,” Ryan responds.
Both teams finish the dinner service, but only one team can be named the winner. Chef Ramsay reveals that the loser made a number of “mental errors,” awarding the victory to the other team.
The Red Team wins the dinner service!
After a vicious deliberation, the Blue Team nominates Paulie and Wendy. Paulie is livid that his teammates would choose him, but they aren’t backing down. However, even though the Blue Team wants him gone, Chef Ramsay still hasn’t seen enough talent from Wendy, forcing him to send her packing.
Chef Ramsay eliminates Wendy
Wheel of Fusion
There’s more Hell’s Kitchen where that came from! The seven chefs enter the dining room for the next challenge and are greeted by Hawaiian dancers and musicians. Chef Ramsay says that in this challenge, each chef will compete against a chef from the opposing team. They will have to cook a fusion of foods from two different countries. To decide which countries’ foods they will be cooking, they will have to spin the Wheel of Fusion.
Some of these fusions will be a challenge. Devin and Kimberly will cook Chinese and French, Paulie and Andrew get Mexican and Indian, and Ryan, Heather and Heidi, who chooses to join this battle since the Red Team has more chefs than Blue, will create a Japanese and French fusion. Heidi hopes that she can finally prove to Chef Ramsay that she is a stronger chef than Ryan.
After the 45 minutes are up, Chef Ramsay and special guest Chef Roy Yamaguchi, taste the fusions to decide which is the best in each battle. The first one is Paulie and Andrew’s Mexican and Indian fusion. Both chefs completely flop, so neither of them receive a point.
Next up are Ryan’s, Heather’s and Heidi’s Japanese and French fusions. Heidi doesn’t quite accomplish her goal, because Ryan takes the win and scores the first point for the Blue Team.
Chef Yamaguchi isn’t holding back in any of his criticisms, so the chefs in the final battle — Devin and Kimberly — are petrified. Each of them deliver overcooked dishes, but Kimberly’s sauce in her dish award her the point.
Since the teams are tied one-to-one, Chef Yamaguchi must choose between Ryan’s and Kimberly’s dish as to which is the best. It is a no-brainer that Ryan’s is better, pushing her team to victory.
The Blue Team wins the challenge!
The Dinner Service
The teams kick things off with risottos and kale salads for the appetizers. Ryan quickly makes a huge mistake. She thinks she delivers all of the appetizers she needed, so she tosses out a risotto, which she thought was just an extra. Chef Ramsay needs this tossed one to be served, so he sends her back to replace it.
The Red Team thinks they are off to a strong start, thanks to Andrew’s leadership, but one of the guests in their dining room actually finds a hair in her salad. Regardless of whose hair this was, the team must regroup and come back from this unacceptable mistake.
As both teams then move on to their entrees, time becomes even more of an issue for the Blue Team. Paulie finishes his sea bass on time, but Devin’s veal, on the other hand, is taking forever. Paulie’s original entree ends up getting ruined, because they were cooking too long as he waited for Devin’s to be done. Then, Devin’s veal ends up being raw, so he must start from scratch.
Paulie attempts to throw Devin under the bus for this blunder, but Chef Ramsay doesn’t want to hear any of it. He tells Paulie (or “f**k face” as Chef Ramsay refers to him) to shut up and start being a team player. Ryan is livid that her teammates have zero communication between each other.
The problems don’t end there for the Blue Team. As the three chefs on the team continue to cook, Devin can’t seem to remember any of the orders that Chef Ramsay gives them. Paulie makes things even worse by not having enough sea bass for the diners. He, yet again, blames Devin for having to throw out his original sea bass, since Devin took too long with his veal. This team may end up finishing the service, but it is clear that they are the losers again.
The Red Team wins the dinner service!
During their deliberation, the chefs on the Blue Team must decide which one of them should be the nominee. They tell Chef Ramsay that it is Devin, but Devin thinks it should have been Ryan. In the end, Chef Ramsay thinks that one Blue Team’s chef’s performances just haven’t been up to par the entire season.
Chef Ramsay eliminates Devin
With only six chefs remaining, Ryan, Paulie, Heather, Andrew, Heidi and Kimberly are closer than ever to receiving a black jacket for themselves. Now, the chefs can only rely on themselves for this grueling final stretch of the season.
What did you think of the episodes? Were you at surprised by all of the Blue Team’s blunders? Did Devin deserve to go home, or should it have been Paulie or Ryan instead? Be sure to let us know all of your thoughts in the comments section and in the poll below.
Hell’s Kitchen season 16 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)