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What I Watched Last Night

Each week, we home viewers of Fox-TV's Hell's Kitchen learn two lessons about being a successful chef, even though few of us would probably want to become one because there are easier jobs in the world, like rebuilding transmissions: 1) You've got to have teamwork in the kitchen, and 2) when it comes to developing and actually delivering a menu, there's no place for snobbery.

Naturally, the cheftestants on this program spend a lot of time ignoring all that each week, and last night wasn't any different. Which again made Kitchen the only worthwhile Monday night program.

Sure, there was Wife Swap with Normal Wasteful Suburban Motocross Wife vs. Weirdo Tree Worshipping Environmentalist Wife, but every episode of Swap became predictable so long ago that it's not even worth sticking around for the conflict. Sure as shit, by the end of the show everyone will have learned lessons from each other, families end up closer because everyone spends more time with each other, and blahblahblahblahblah. Call me when someone ends up in a shallow grave.

On Kitchen, nobody figured out that "fancy" and "creative" are two different adjectives, so it took both teams forever to come up with a menu for last night's restaurant diners. Nobody also figured out that if you're going to create dishes containing rabbit and other unusual game, it's extremely helpful if someone actually knows how to cook the critters in the first place. The only one with a menu-planning brain in her head is scrappy waffle house short-order cook Julia, who suggests a nice New York Strip steak and shrimp dish. She's shot down by snobby cheftestant teammates Bonnie and Jen, who sniff that lowly line cooks don't have anywhere near the sophistication it takes to plan a real meal in a real kitchen.

Yeah, this is the same upper-crust sophistication that led Bonnie to last night's weekly Dumb Blonde Moment, where she tried to fry something without turning on the flame. "I have a great mind for this," she said. "But actually cooking it - big problem." This is exactly why women like this are typically not encouraged to breastfeed newborn children. Because, you know, it hurts when you boil the nipples.

Anyway, Chef Gordon Ramsay apparently knows what every waffle house line cook knows: When your menu is awash in frou-frou, never underestimate the power of a good fucking steak. So he forces Julia's selection onto the menu, where it becomes the most popular item among the program's diners - and the most perfectly prepared, too. Since Julia didn't say it, I will: Neener-neener-neener, snotty little bitches.

Meanwhile, the descriptive term "rustic" started leaking into the cheftestant vernacular, which puzzled me. "Rustic" makes me think of log cabins and the over-the-top hillbilly folk on the "Howdy From The Ozarks" postcards we'd see on our family trips to Arkansas during the 1970s. So until someone fills me in, I'm just going to figure that anything rustic tastes like Abe Lincoln's socks fried in fatback.

In the end, Chef Ramsay told cheftestant Brad to piss off for good, and - in one of the show's more spirited moments - gave a bit of fatherly advice to cheftestant Josh after summoning him from across the kitchen.

Ramsay to Josh: "Lemme tell you something in your ear."
Josh leans his ear to Ramsay's face.
Ramsay, bellowing: "YOU CAN'T COOK!!!"

And finally, in an unusual turn of events, risotto did not make a single appearance anywhere.

*

Catch up on Scott Buckner's obsession with Hell's Kitchen and what else he watches the rest of the week, in our What I Watched Last Night archives.



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Posted on July 17, 2007


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