Hell’s Kitchen episode review S18E13: An Episode of Firsts


On this  Hell’s Kitchen episode review, the black jackets cook in one kitchen for the first time. Can they function as a team? Who will stumble just enough to be sent home?

This Hell’s Kitchen episode review opens with emotions running high, just after everyone has earned their black jacket. Heather is angry about her poor reception from the other chefs. Mia offers to hug her in congratulations and Heather’s reaction (privately, in confessional) is “bite me.” Meanwhile, Bret is overcome with pride at his achievement. He tells Ariel that, at age twenty, he faced thirty years of prison. He compares that to his life now with the woman he loves, his daughter, and a black jacket.

The next morning, Jocky arrives with breakfast for the team. Most of the chefs simply tuck in and enjoy, but Ariel and Mia make careful note of everything they are served. After everyone else leaves the table, they stay behind and compare notes about ingredients.

They were wise to do so because, when they all move down to the blue kitchen, Ramsay tells them they will face the infamous, “taste it, now make it challenge.” Bret admits he was just eating without a thought, but luckily, Ramsay provides a sample plate so they can all look at it and taste it one more time. They have thirty minutes to recreate two eggs benedicts.

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Motto makes the mistake of choosing to go right to cooking without taking another look at the sample plate. The other four chefs use Canadian bacon for one benedict and prosciutto for the other. Motto uses prosciutto for both. The next point of disagreement is the flavoring for the hollandaise. Ariel and Heather use paprika. Bret uses chives. Mia chooses shallots and espelette pepper powder. Motto uses red wine vinegar and shallots. Most (other than Bret, it seems) are going for the red color in Ramsay’s sauce.

Time is called and Motto is up first. When asked to describe his dish, he calls it “eggs benedict not as good as yours, chef.” I love Motto. Heather’s dish is a mess with broken hollandaise, a broken egg, and from my perspective, overcooked poached eggs that do not ooze. Bret has a broken hollandaise, too.

Right away, the broken hollandaise knocks out Heather and Bret. Motto is next out for his incorrect choice to use prosciutto as his only protein. That just leaves Ariel and Mia and it comes down to hollandaise seasoning. In the end, they both win as the hollandaise needed shallots (Mia) and paprika (Ariel) so they each got one correct ingredient.

Ariel, Mia, Christina, and Jocky all go out for indoor skydiving as their reward. Heather, Motto, and Bret stay behind and clean the dorms. Interestingly, the punishment seems to be more of a bonding experience than the reward. During punishment, the chefs bolster each other’s self-esteem. Heather also dishes out gossip on what she feels are the weaknesses of her former teammates, especially Mia. She tells Bret that Mia is great in challenges and terrible on the line. Meanwhile, during their reward, Mia and Ariel eye each other over the lunch table and both privately decide they respect but will crush the other in competition. Ariel feels she has mentored Mia up until this point but the mentoring phase is over.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: Veteran Ariel Fox in the ÒAn Episode of FirstsÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airingÊFriday, Jan. 25Ê(9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Rewards and punishments behind them, the chefs begin dinner service for the first time as one team. The first ticket is called and Heather, on fish, immediately asks Motto for help. Mia is shocked that she wants help so early. Ariel, who is making the risotto, needs to coordinate with Heather, but Heather does not respond to Ariel’s time calls. Ariel asks for three minutes on her risotto. Motto, still helping on the fish station, walks up scallops right after she asks for three minutes. So now the table has scallops sitting and getting cold while Ariel tries to finish the table’s risotto.

Ramsay tells Heather to run her own station, so she has Motto leave and takes over. They get through appetizers and move on to entrees.

Motto is supposedly working on the meat station with Bret, but Bret has basically pushed him off to work alone. For the first entrée, Bret and Mia communicate about steak and garnish but basically ignore Heather on fish. The steak goes up rare and gets sent back. Ramsay demands that Bret communicate better and let Motto help on the station.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: L-R: Veteran Bret Hauser and host/chef Gordon Ramsay in the ÒAn Episode of FirstsÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airingÊFriday, Jan. 25Ê(9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Motto stays on meat until Heather has a salmon order where the fish skin sticks to the pan. This leads to a refire, and Motto is right back on fish to help out. This time, he seems to take over the station and stay there for the remainder of the night. He asks for the orders they have for his new station so he can figure out what to cook and gets different answers from Heather, Mia and Bret. What is most disturbing to me is Heather not being able to tell him the orders for her own station, even after she goes to the pass to look at the tickets.

Ramsay steps in to give Motto a correct list of fish orders and Motto is able to send up perfectly cooked fish. From there, they are able to complete dinner service, but they of course still must nominate two people to go home.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: Rookie Chris Motto in the ÒAn Episode of FirstsÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airingÊFriday, Jan. 25Ê(9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

I am shocked when Mia nominates Motto to go home. As far as I could see, he was the MVP tonight, helping to get two stations back on track. Most people nominate Heather for her lack of communication and her supposed inability to handle the fish station. Most people also nominate Mia. Though she got every garnish up on time and well-cooked, the complaint seems to be that she doesn’t always communicate and often looks flustered. Bret has clearly taken Heather’s warning about Mia on the line to heart, and he has decided she can’t handle service. Mia points out that her facial expression doesn’t matter. What matters is that she got all her garnishes up on time and without anything coming back.

HELLÕS KITCHEN: Rookie Gizzy Barton in the ÒAn Episode of FirstsÓ episode of HELLÕS KITCHEN airingÊFriday, Jan. 25Ê(9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX Broadcasting. CR: FOX

Ramsay, as usual, asks the chefs to defend themselves. He then asks the other chefs who should go home. Bret selects Mia but Motto and Ariel select Heather. Ramsay agrees with the majority and Heather goes home. She tells us that missing her son broke her and killed her confidence and drive to win. Ramsay tells us, “too many times, Heather blamed her mistakes on having a bad day. I’m not looking for apologies. I’m looking for an executive chef.”

Whenever a contestant tells us that they lost their drive due to missing family, I always wonder if they aren’t sequestered until the end of the show. If you are going to be locked up in a hotel room and can’t go home until the show ends anyway, you might as well fight your hardest right until the end. In any case, hopefully Heather got to see her little boy sooner rather than later, and she is an executive chef at home so she hasn’t lost too much.

And just like that, we are down to our final four- an even split between rookies and veterans. It seems likely that it will come down to a Mia versus Ariel showdown, but Bret and Motto are strong contenders and can’t be discounted.

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We’ll end on my favorite line, courtesy of Motto, “You have to be on your toes in Hell’s Kitchen, man. I have twelve toes, and that’s not enough to keep me up around here all the time.”