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'Hell's Kitchen,' 'MasterChef' recap: Tears, jeers and a monkey

June 06, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • 'MasterChef' judges Joe Bastianich, Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot address the season 3 competitors.
'MasterChef' judges Joe Bastianich, Gordon Ramsay and Graham…

Ah, the "MasterChef" leg pull. That's the fake-out kitchen maneuver perfected by judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich.

It was meticulously served up when Joel, wearing his U.S. Army camouflage, came before the judges with his hearty, homey Jamaican chicken and rice and peas. His cordial demeanor crumbled when Ramsay pressed him on his ultimate goals. A restaurant. Named after his son. Who drowned five years ago when Joel was in military school. Trembling, holding back tears, Joel went on to give the judges, and America, a tiny glimpse of a soldier's life.

"I've been shot at. Trucks blew up. And I am still here. I just don't know why. So this has to be the reason."

Bastianich, who must have the heart of a raisin, said no. Seriously? Graham Cracker Teddy Bear gave him a yes. Which meant it was up to Gordon.

"I'm sorry," Gordon said. [Wait for it....]

"You're not going back to Miami. You're staying. Pick up this apron!"

ELATION!

Back with the other competitors, Joel's smile shone bright. "My son, I am sure, is looking and smiling and saying, 'Go Dad.'" I'm not sure Joel will make it beyond next week. That chicken breast conversation was ... weird. Was he pulling Ramsay's leg, or did he really think Ramsay was asking him about women's breasts in Jamaica?

Nonetheless. I say Joel gets some kind of extra special "MasterChef" medal on behalf of a grateful nation. And as much as I claim to hate the "MasterChef" leg pull ... I also kinda love it. You?

Random observation before we get to the crazy on "Hell's Kitchen." Do we really need peeing horses and monkeys in the food prep area? OK, here we go. Can someone please explain why it's so hard to make a scallop? Or mashed potatoes? Or to properly plate a dish after Gordon has explained precisely what he wants? Similar-sized scallops, flat side turned in, lightly dressed micro greens. And seafood that is somewhere between raw and charred to a crisp.

Why is this so hard? What are we not seeing? Do they tie the competitors arms and legs together and then edit that part out? Or maybe the problem is just Barbie and Royce.

Just like the leg pulling is in full swing on "MasterChef," so is the finger pointing on "Hell's Kitchen." The women are turning on Barbie. The men are turning on Royce. (Mostly for his cooking, and partly because he talks about himself in the third person?)

This week, the men's shoddy performance earned them a scallop smoothie they were forced to drink as punishment. I just gagged typing that. Seeing the women dominating the early challenges is weird because ... well, because it never happens in "Hell's Kitchen." It's almost as weird as a monkey and a horse in the kitchen.

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