Hell’s Kitchen review S18E11: Devilish Desserts


In this Hell’s Kitchen review, personal grudges nearly sink both teams and a veteran just misses their chance at a black jacket.

Hell’s Kitchen has just sent home talented rookie Jose and the men’s team is not happy. Bret and Motto do not seem pleased to return to the dorms with Trev. Bret in particular is aggravated by Trev’s claim to be the most determined chef there and by Trev not taking responsibility for his errors. Clearly, this little three person team is in a two against one situation.

Having established that the men are in trouble, we move on to another elaborate set up for a challenge. The amount of energy Hell’s Kitchen puts into setting up these challenges borders on ridiculous. In this case, the chefs find the dining room transformed yet again. This time, there are cherry blossom trees, twinkle lights, benches, and basically an ice lake. Figure skating champions Karolina Calhoun and Collin Brubaker perform an ice dance. All this to tie the romance of ice dancing to the romance of desserts. Oh, and to make a Hell has frozen over joke.

Each chef will have sixty minutes to produce a dessert. Once done, they present one at a time to chocolatier Valerie Gordon. But first, the women have one extra person (four women to three men), so one dish will not be tasted. Immediately the women decide that Heather’s bread pudding will not go up. Comments include “clunky,” lack of presentation, and sweet on sweet. Heather is angry to be left out but the team has spoken.

I would dearly love to go out to eat with Valerie Gordon. She did not hold back in her critique of the dishes but at the same time seemed so nice. She was tough but fair.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Host/chef Gordon Ramsay and renowned pastry chef and chocolatier Valerie Gordon in the ÒDevilish DessertsÒ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Jan. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Kanae is up first with her deconstructed luxardo (special Italian cherries) tiramisu. It would seem that Valerie is not a fan of deconstruction and the presentation is deemed unfinished. Also, she feels the cherries read a little like cough syrup. Valerie gives the dish two points and Gordon gives it one.

Motto is next up with his campfire, s’more inspired, bread pudding. While Valerie recommends a bittersweet chocolate over the milk that he used, she gives it a three and Gordon gives it a four.

Mia is now embarrassed to introduce her deconstructed roasted apple and marscapone tart. She hadn’t planned on deconstructed, but her tart shell fell apart. Valerie finds the ginger too aggressive and the dish to be muddy so it gets four total points.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: Rookie Gizzy in the ÒDevilish DessertsÒ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Jan. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Bret brings forward his white chocolate and vanilla arancini to many eye rolls from the other chefs, who wonder if he can make anything not Italian. Even sous chef Christina teased him when she heard his dish, remarking it was too bad he couldn’t make spaghetti for the challenge. Unfortunately, Bret’s rice is basically raw and he earns a mere two points total.

Ariel nervously brings up her Thai lime and beet tart but she need not have feared. She gets the only other seven, rivaling Motto’s bread pudding.

Trev is up last. He is sure his dessert will be a hit. He presents avocado kisses which feature a bunch of super foods like goji berries and blueberries. Valerie takes a bite and then says, “I really dislike this dish. This is everything I dislike about healthful eating getting integrated into dessert. It’s incredibly soggy. It tastes like a bush. I want to forget this.” Trev earns two points and the women win the challenge.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Veteran Ariel, rookie Gizzy, rookie Kanae and veteran Heather in the ÒDevilish DessertsÒ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Jan. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

The women will enjoy a day out, having lunch with sous chef Jocky and then going on a shopping spree at Sur La Table. The men will stay behind for the dumbest punishment ever- hand crafting ice cubes. Tell me this isn’t a thing. They are given massive blocks of ice, hand saws, chisels and hammers and told to create perfect two inch by two inch ice cubes.

Trev ends up working on one ice block while Motto and Bret collaborate on another, so the division in the team is still alive and well. The women, who should be having a great time, suffer their own division.

Heather is still salty about having her dish removed from the competition. When the women joke that Valerie just wanted a whole (not deconstructed) dish, Heather remarks that hers was whole. When they mention that she seemed to like classical homemade dishes, Heather says, “kinda like my concept.” Once they get through lunch, she spends her shopping spree missing her son. She buys him a tiny apron and mommy and me spatulas. As sweet as that is, chefs who start to get emotional on the show tend to go home.

After the men finish their hand carved ice cubes and the women return with new kitchen supplies, dinner prep begins. Trev, seeing the writing on the wall that his team is against him, asks for a private word with Christina. It isn’t completely clear to me what he talks with her about, but it seems like he tells her that all he has ever wanted was to work for Ramsay. It sounds like he is basically making a pitch to try to get a job with Ramsay even if he gets kicked off the show, saying he is willing to start as a dishwasher.

Christina’s response is that he needs to show leadership and try to win the competition. Trev tells her the rest of the team won’t listen to him. Christina acknowledges that the team is fragmented and tells him to try his best, and if he doesn’t win, then they can worry about “pushing that door open,” presumably that door being working for Ramsay.

Having abandoned prep for the length of his private conversation, Trev returns to tell the team they are behind and everyone needs to pick up the pace. Probably not the best thing to say to your teammates who think you were tattling in the closet while they were working.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: Veteran Trevor in the ÒDevilish DessertsÒ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airing Friday, Jan. 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2018 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Prep is done and Hell’s Kitchen opens. Randall Park and Malcolm Smith, actor and Super Bowl MVP respectively, enjoy spots at the chef tables. Apps go out smoothly but entrees prove to be roadblocks for both teams.

On the men’s side, Trev is on meats, Bret is on fish, and Motto is on garnish. No one seems to be talking to each other. Trev brings up a wellington and it is raw, and it is all downhill from there. Next, Trev forgets to put a crust on the lamb while Bret serves up blackened fish, not as in Cajun seasoning but as in very dirty pan. They re-fire only to have the lamb served overcooked.

Ramsay takes them into the back for a stern talk about their lack of teamwork but it doesn’t help. For the chef table, Bret cooks the salmon order for the pregnant wife of Malcolm Smith, and the salmon is raw. Trev’s wellington for the same table is hacked up when he cuts it. Gordon brings them into the back again, but this time kicks them out.

The women did not have a perfect service. Heather presents overcooked NY strip steak and Kanae delivers raw salmon. The raw salmon is for their chef table (note to self- don’t order salmon at the HK chef table) so Ramsay gives up and cooks the salmon himself. All the same, the men have clearly lost this dinner service.

Motto did well so it comes down to Bret and Trev. Trev immediately launches into a complaint to Ramsay about the lack of communication on the team and the problems on the fish station. He also calls Bret a one trick pony for his reliance on Italian cuisine.

None of this sways Ramsay who eliminates Trev in this Hell’s Kitchen review. He tells Trev that he has been on a downward spiral. But he also warns Bret that he needs to step it up.

Now that the men are down to two and the women have four chefs, Gordon asks the women who will emerge as a leader and offer to go over to the men’s team to lead them? We don’t know yet who will move over, but Mia tells us she wants the position.

And with the elimination of Trev, we have just six chefs left with an even split of three veterans and three rookies. Next week, we finally get to black jackets, though only five will earn a black jacket.

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In this Hell’s Kitchen review, tonight’s theme of romance brought out the bluer side of Hell’s Kitchen and the best line of the night from Ariel. After guest judge Valerie dislikes Bret’s arancini, Ariel says, “Damn! Chef Valerie just annihilated Bret’s balls!”