Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 8 recap: Better to be lucky or good?

HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Contestant Lauren and chef/host Gordon Ramsay in the "Crapping Out in Hell” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Feb. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC.
HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Contestant Lauren and chef/host Gordon Ramsay in the "Crapping Out in Hell” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Feb. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

In Hell’s Kitchen, the chefs must always handle the dinner service pressure. But, is cooking for Gordon Ramsay really a careful balancing act or is there a little bit of luck that seasons the competition? In this episode, one chef found the roll of the dice did not have lady luck on her side.

Throughout Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas, the show has used challenges to highlight popular Las Vegas restaurants and attractions. This week, Absinthe, a show at Caesars Palace was the feature. While the green fairy portion of the show might not be quite appropriate for television, the balancing act was a good metaphor for cooking in the pressure filled Hell’s Kitchen.

For the first challenge, each team rolled a lettered dice. Each letter would be an ingredient in a dish. The six ingredients would be transformed into a dish. While everyone on the team had the same ingredients, no one had a similar dish.

The biggest takeaway from this challenge was that the chefs struggled with naming ingredients with a particular letter. Whether it was pressure, lack of knowledge or just a brain blank, it was shocking that chefs were often stumped with letter choices.

From Lauren choose rice for “r” to Mary Lou picking monk fish for “m,” the Red Team was all over the place. While the final group of ingredients made for a good Asian flavor inspired dish, they seemed to be scattered. It was almost as if the Red Team was the student unprepared for the test.


The Blue Team did slightly better, but they were a little all over the place, too. While the chefs responded more quickly, the ingredients might not have been a strong combination.

As Gordon Ramsay tasted all the dishes, it seemed that the Red Team had a strong lead. While the same chefs seemed to struggle, a few continued to shine. Niki brings the bold flavors, especially with Asian inspired dishes. She had the top Red Team dish.

The Blue Team had some big mis-steps and some huge wins. After a very slow start with Amber and Marc, the remaining chefs surged ahead. Cody earned top billing with this play on a schnitzel, an unusual choice for a pork dish.

In the end, Cody’s schnitzel beat Niki’s rice cracker. The Blue Team got the reward, including a dinner at Nobu. While the Red Team had to prep enough mushrooms to fill the back of a truck. There was no fun in that kitchen prep scenario.

Which chefs have to cook for their lives to earn their spot in Hell’s Kitchen?

Instead of a traditional Hell’s Kitchen dinner service, Cody and Niki, as the top dishes in the first challenge, are tasked with picking two chefs from their team to cook for their lives. Their choices were not necessarily favoritism, or was it?

Niki picked Jordan and Lauren for the Red Team. Although Lauren was unhappy with that choice, those two chefs have had struggles in the kitchen. If Niki had picked Mary Lou or Kori, it would have been clear that she was playing a game. As Gordon said before, he is not interested in playing games.


Cody made a similar play. It was obvious that he would choose Amber. Although she has had some high points, she has struggled as well. Joining her was Marc. While Marc’s attitude as tempered some, he can be difficult in the kitchen.

As each chef creates a filet mignon dish, the differences in each chef’s culinary point of view are clear. For example, Marc had a brown sugar coriander rub. While that sugar based rub was unique, it needed to be balanced. Without enough salt, it was a little sweet.

Hell's Kitchen Season 19 episode 8
HELL’S KITCHEN: Contestant Marc in the “Crapping Out in Hell” episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Feb. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

The biggest take away from this cook for your life challenge was that the Blue Team was stronger with cooking the filet mignon. Both Amber and Marc had well-cooked beef, where Lauren and Jordan struggled.

At this point in the competition, Lauren and Jordan should not make mistakes like a rare filet mignon. More importantly, Jordan should have known that a filet mignon should never be served sliced. These mistakes should not be happening at his point in the competition.


Given that the Lauren and Jordan had bigger mistakes, they were the final two up for elimination. Unfortunately, one bad night in Hell’s Kitchen can get a chef sent home.

Even though Jordan committed the steak sin of slicing the filet mignon, Lauren’s rare beef was a bigger issue. Two more minutes on the fire would have save her.


As Lauren left, Gordon Ramsay made an interesting comment. He seemed to notice that Lauren did not fit into the pack. If she was the top dog, she might have saved herself. At this point in her culinary career, flawless lawless needed a little more polish on her crown.

At this point in Hell’s Kitchen, the chefs cannot afford to make simple mistakes. Although a chef can cry in the walk-in, those tears better not fall in the risotto. The pressure is reaching the boiling point and only some chefs will be able to keep the lid on it.

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Do you think that Lauren should have been sent home? Have some chefs proven that they are worthy of the title?