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Hell’s Kitchen – Finally!

“It’s Vyvyan from The Young Ones versus Crystal from Dynasty” runs the promo, which also promises two teams, no Marco, 72 customers… who will win? The decision is not actually up to Marco, despite the misleading ads. British viewers will decide.

Recap, and this week it takes us back to the first episode with Marco glowering, gripping a knife, and telling his new batch of celebs that the restaurant doors would open in an hour. “If we fail, he fails, so we’d better not fail,” says Bruce. They should have realised that the “if we fail, he fails” equation would really mean that Marco wouldn’t let them fail.

Marco interviews that the celebs looked like rabbits in the headlights during the first service. And then we get another clip fest of Marco ranting: “I’m waiting, I’m waiting!” “I want my crab! I want my crab!” As much as I love Marco, this is filler that we’ve seen over and over. I have a feeling that we’ll get approximately ten minutes of new footage tonight.

“I never complain in restaurants because I believe that chefs spit in the food… which we have, actually.” Ade’s comment  completes a montage of crabby customers.

Next up is the Jody package. “Fucking wanker”, “tosser” and “cock”, to quote Ade and Anthea. The Jody reminiscing leads us into a “best of” sackings – Jody, Grant and then Anthea. We’re 15 minutes in and I might as well be reading my own recaps or watching the recordings. I do get to see the Bruce departure for the first time, however, so that’s good. I wonder whether he quit just before the public vote started because he wasn’t sure that he’d have much support against Ade, Linda and Danielle. Not that his “my wife needs me” reason wasn’t enough *snort*.

We are finally back in the “present”. Ade and Linda are opening Marco’s last missive. They read it in unison. Marco’s cooking breakfast! And Ade’s daughters are joining them! They all “blub”. And then Linda’s “friend Gary” turns up. More blubbing.

After breakfast, Marco gives Ade and Linda their last “mission” – “their toughest task yet”. Marco is having a guest for lunch and it’s Raymond Blanc. Our celebs have an hour to turn out a starter and main each. Ade suffers a bit of prep fright, then decides on pheasants eggs and Linda sticks with her old favourite, the crab. Ade, fortunately, has a plan B for when his pheasants eggs won’t crack: the “huntsman’s breakfast” from the earlier egg challenge. Raymond thinks a poached goose egg might have been better than the boiled one.  Linda’s crab dish is noted for its “simplicity”, but M. Blanc doesn’t explain if that means he likes it or not.

Claudia’s in the dining room canvassing the level of support for our two finalists – so far three for Linda and one for Ade.

Back to the lunch for Raymond. Both Linda and Ade seem to be getting frustrated. Ade’s happy with the meat and vegies, but feels that the sauce ruined the plate. Raymond agrees, and suggests that the sauce should have been on the side. Still, he loves the lamb. Linda’s hoping her main course makes up for her starter and Raymond seems to like her salmon.  So, who wins?  Raymond liked Ade’s starter best, but loved Linda’s main, which makes Linda the overall winner of this challenge. Precedent says that the challenge winner loses the war – will this be true tonight? We’ve only got 20 minutes left to find out.  Ade’s confused by the verdict – he thinks Linda’s starter was superior, but that his main course was the best. “Perverse,” he muses.

Now, the bombshell! Marco’s not going to be in the restaurant tonight. As compensation, each celeb is allowed to choose two of their former colleagues to help them achieve service. Ade generously allows Linda to choose Bruce, and then he takes Danielle and Niomi. Linda completes her team with Anthea. It seems that Linda definitely has the stronger team, on paper. Her team gets the red bandanas and Ade’s team is yellow.

Linda’s team gets off to a good start, although it does seem like Anthea is in charge, not that Linda minds. Anthea notes that not only has Linda never worked the pass, she’s always been right up the back. Lucky Anthea’s there to run the whole thing! “Anthea was a take charge woman – that’s why I chose her!” says Linda.

Ade’s also looking at a different style of leadership: “dictatorial consensus. I decided how it was to be done and then we all agreed.”

Reds are falling behind, and Linda’s having trouble understanding Bruce’s accent. Still, there’s not quite the level of madness the previews suggested. Ade does a bit of hand-burning in honour of Marco and Danielle appears to be calmly marshalling orders. Anthea and Bruce are working hard – Linda acknowledges that she was “lucky” to be with them. Ade realises that he’s about to send out a lump of raw lamb, so pulls Marco’s stunt of halving it and bunging it on the grill. Claudia pulls him out for an interview and asks what else he’s learned from Marco: “to be very, very tired”. We get Ade highlights.

Linda obviously didn’t learn Marco’s meat trick, as one of her customers is pretty much having to slaughter the lamb himself. He returns the dish to the pass and Anthea and Linda prepare a new one for him. Ade’s team finishes! Yay – they’re done first! Except that a customer brings an “overcooked, cold” dish back, so another one must be prepared. That’s a bit of an anti-climax. I’m not sure how “Britain” is going to be able to choose a winner, since we haven’t seen much of our two finalists in this service. Now it’s time for Linda’s highlights. She reiterates that she’s going to have “Ade withdrawal” and Claudia asks what her favourite English word is. After some consideration, she chooses “wanker”. Judging by the reaction she gets from the diners, she could well win just from that.

Teams are now lined up in the kitchen for Marco’s final address. He says that he underestimated Ade and that he’s very proud of Ade’s achievement tonight. He acknowledges that Linda worked hard as usual and that she’s a “very graceful lady”. Ade notes that his team enjoyed the evening and “had fun”.

Nick comes in for the final diners’ verdict. I shall have Nick withdrawal. Linda and her team get lots of compliments. Ade also gets compliments, including (for the veal) “once in every life time/comes a dish like this”, but nobody seems to respond to the reference.

Marco delivers the final marks: Linda 7/10, Ade 9/10. So, that’s it then! Ade wins!

Ah, but wait. We must wait for the phone verdict…

“The vote was incredibly close.” Ade mouths the cliché as Claudia says it.

LINDA!!! Confetti, squeals, and… is that Jordan?

The Food channel promises double Hell’s Kitchen from next week, but it’s the US version, so no substitute at all.

1 comment

1 Lisalicious { 11.10.09 at 9:51 pm }

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