Hell’s Kitchen 2007, Episode 5

The fifth episode of Hell’s Kitchen was all about Melissa and how the mighty can fall. I still think she has a lot going for her, but man, the attitude. “Leader” and “bitch” are not synonyms.

The teams had a meaty challenge, starting with shopping for their own ingredients on a budget. This would be the annual “shopping episode,” then. I really don’t envy them, not so much the budget part; $100 isn’t that small for making three sample dishes. My fear would regard the relatively short time available for deciding what to make and getting all the ingredients that implies.

The women came in just right. Despite the appearance of careful buying on their part, the men were not even close; almost 40% over. You would think that putting so much back on the fly would ruin them when it came to the cooking, but not so.

The rest of the challenge was preparing three dishes for review by a couple whose wedding reception would be courtesy of Hell’s Kitchen. The men nailed two out of three, but the big highlight was the dead duck.

You could see it coming, too. Melissa took over, demonstrating she lacks what it takes to be in charge, which is as much what the winner needs as any familiarity with cooking. She insisted the duck, to all appearances finished, go back in the oven to stay warm. When it came to for presentation, Melissa didn’t even want to bring it out, earning Ramsay’s ire on top of his and her teammate’s embarrassment.

I should note that the one dish the girls won, the sea bass, was obviously Julia’s. Collard greens and bacon? Had to be her, and it looked and sounded great. Go Julia!

The girls decorate under direction of a wedding planner I dubbed “Jack,” as in the Jack from Will & Grace. The guys get pampered.

Cut to the service for the reception, which I assumed would go far worse than it did. Melissa now has trouble with potatoes, apparently unable to keep them from oxidizing. Jen to the rescue. She’s really grown on me and seems to be growing steadily in competence and confidence.

The men are “rewarded” with cooking the bride and groom’s order

, which goes slowly enough to gum up the works for the other kitchen. Oops. At least it turned out good.

The wedding planner is a riot.

The women are hands down the losing team, per Ramsay and anyone watching, though Julia and Jen were both good. Jen gets tapped again for selecting candidates for elimination. Could the choices be any more obvious?

Could it be any more obvious who should go? What a surprise, too.

Rock continued on his path of getting better and better, and being more bold and outgoing. He was clearly delighted in anticipation of Melissa’s demise, both because they tangled during the episode, and because he has to know she was his most obvious competition from the beginning.

Bonnie is the other nominee. Melissa gives a lame reason why she should stay, and Bonnie a better one.

But wait! We have to make up for Aaron’s unscheduled departure, keeping the number of episodes up, not to mention making sure one of the prime contenders doesn’t get eliminated when it might ruin the script. Melissa gets another chance… on the men’s team! Poor Rock. That ought to be interesting, if not in an “oh God, oh God, we’re all gonna die” sort of way.

I can’t wait to see the sparks fly with Melissa trying to boss the new team, and see to what degree the other women grab this chance to shine without her. I’m in luck! Since I was late posting this, in a mere matter of hours, I will be able to see what happens. Yay!

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