Hell’s Kitchen recap S18E9: What Happens in Vegas


On this Hell’s Kitchen recap, personalities clash, leading to the most dramatic service we have seen in a while.

As the episode opens, we see the men delighting in the potential for dissension in the women’s team. In the elimination, Mia blamed Kanae for the troubles on her station and the men are sure this will dissolve the women’s team. Ironically, it’s the men who suffer from infighting, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Back in the dorm, Mia tries to explain herself to Kanae, but Ariel and Heather put a stop to it immediately. They know from experience that personal issues between chefs can ruin dinner service. The key to surviving Hell’s Kitchen is to work as a team to smash dinner service and avoid elimination.

Christine calls everyone out front for the intro to today’s challenge. Outside, we see a Chinese dance troupe with dragons, drummers, smoke, confetti, and streamers. Once they leave, there is quite a mess of confetti and streamers which I am sure will be part of the punishment today.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Host/chef Gordon Ramsay and contestants in the ÒWhat Happens In VegasÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Dec. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Ramsay explains the challenge. There are five take-out boxes, each labelled with a protein- black cod, duck breast, pork tenderloin, chicken breast, spot prawns. Ramsay asks Jose who on the women’s team he would like to challenge. Jose selects Kanae, and Kanae then gets to pick their protein- prawns. They each collect a prawn take-out box.

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The rest of the head-to-heads are Mia and Trev with pork, Motto and Ariel with duck, Heather and Bret with cod. The men have one more cook than the women so Scotley gets chicken, and then the women must select someone to cook a second dish to go against Scotley. My first thought is to select the prawns since they are quick to cook, and that is exactly what they do. Kanae will cook a prawn dish and a chicken dish. Her team offers to help her and I am immediately worried that the issue between her and Mia will resurface in the challenge.

In their take-out boxes, they find fortune cookies with eight ingredients listed that they need to use in their dish.

Immediately, Trev and Scotley begin sniping at each other. Trev clearly just rubs Scotley the wrong way as this is a long-standing problem. Trev likes to issue orders to the rest of the team, which Scotley can’t stand, and Scotley likes to tease Trev, calling him things like “baby girl.”

Meanwhile, the concern I had for the women is unfounded. Kanae is allergic to nuts so she can’t taste her cashew sauce, but Ariel helps her out, and then the team helps her to plate. There is no sign of the earlier disagreement.

The guest judge is Shirley Chung, a former Top Chef contestant who nearly won the competition. While the chefs have cooked with Chinese ingredients, she picks apart their presentation for not being Chinese, everything from plate choice to size of the ingredients.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Host/chef Gordon Ramsay and renowned chef Shirley Chung in the ÒWhat Happens In VegasÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Dec. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

The pork dishes are up first with Mia earning a point against Trev. In the cod battle, Bret wins against Heather. The chicken battle goes to Scotley, so the men are up by one. In the duck face-off, Ariel wins, tying the game up so that everything rests on the final dish (as is the usual on HK).

It all comes down to the prawn dishes and Kanae wins the challenge for the women. Their reward is to fly in a private jet to Las Vegas, home of the restaurant they are all competing for, and they will stay in a luxury villa at Nobu Hotel. The men, meanwhile, will not be cleaning up confetti as I expected. Instead, they must cut out hundreds of fortunes from large sheets and then bake the cookies to go with them.

The men work for hours on their fortune cookies and Scotley and Trev continue to chafe each other. Trev is trying to keep spirits up but Scotley is very bitter about missing the chance to go to Vegas. It was hard to tell how much was editing and how much was real, but Scotley appears to take a number of breaks to smoke, make himself eggs, eat burgers, etc while the rest of the men toil away. At least, this is Trev’s perception.

At last the men are done and it is time to prep for dinner service. Trev is telling everyone how to organize their stations and Scotley snipes at him. Trev offers a sarcastic reply and they continue until Bret steps in and tells them to can it. That kind of negativity can tank the dinner service. In contrast, the women are clearly feeling good and basically challenge the men to a dance off.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Veteran Heather Williams and rookie Kanae Houston in the ÒWhat Happens In VegasÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Dec. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Tonight’s guests will include performers from Beacher’s Madhouse, which you should really look up. It’s a ten top (a table of 10), so half will be served by the red kitchen and half by blue. Surely nothing can go wrong there.

As dinner service starts, Kanae accidentally drops two scallops on the floor. Other than that, the women have a stellar service. Their communication is on point, and their cooking is perfection. In fact, twice Ramsay uses the women’s plates as examples for the men, who have an awful service.

First, Trev serves scallops with no color on one side. Jose, who is also on the station, takes over. I’m not clear what happens next as his scallops look to have good color, but I do see Trev dump two pan’s worth of scallops into one pan to take it to the pass, which seems to annoy Ramsay. Trev then insists on being back on scallops, and they finally serve an acceptable plate.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Host/chef Gordon Ramsay and Veteran Trevor McGrathin the ÒWhat Happens In VegasÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Dec. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Meanwhile, the women have served their half of the VIP table.

Back in the kitchen, Trev burns a salmon order for the VIP table. Jose insists on trying and can not for the life of him cook the salmon properly. One order breaks up and another order is raw. Scotley is doing no better as he can’t cut his wellingtons correctly. When he cuts them, he tears the pastry which then falls off and ruins the presentation. After more ragged and undercooked wellingtons and yet more raw salmon, Ramsay gets fed up and kicks the men out.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: Rookie Scotley Innis in the ÒWhat Happens In VegasÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Dec. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

The women have already finished their tables and take over for the men. They actually cover two-thirds of the men’s tables, per Ramsay, so the men were clearly struggling.

At elimination, Ramsay asks Jose what is going on with the team. He tells Ramsay there is a bad vibe and Ramsay demands more detail. This starts a shouting match between Scotley and Trev as all their gripes against each other erupt. When they finally wind down, Jose says, “Uh, that’s the bad vibe that you see right there, chef.” Yeah, I think he figured that out himself. Bret tells Ramsay that Scotley and Trev have been nominated for elimination, in part for the attitudes he just saw on display, and then they also throw Jose into the mix for the issues on the fish station.

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In the end, his problems with the beef wellingtons proves to be too much and Scotley is eliminated. Sadly, he spends his final words bad-mouthing Trev. He predicts the men’s team will fall apart, which ironically echoes what the men predicted for the women at the beginning of the episode. I wish Scotley had been able to put aside his annoyance with Trev. Yes, he had issues on the meat station but I wonder how much of Ramsay’s decision was based on the shouting match that he witnessed.

Tonight’s best line goes to Trev who is defending himself against Scotley saying he is always going around with his clipboard, more a reference to him trying to direct the team than anything else. Trev, in all seriousness, says, “clipboard, my ass! It’s a notebook.”