Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 11 recap: Schmear off the plate

HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Chef/host Gordon Ramsay and contestants in the "Sink or Swim” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, March 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC.
HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Chef/host Gordon Ramsay and contestants in the "Sink or Swim” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, March 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

While the black jackets haven’t arrived, Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 11 had one chef learning a very valuable lesson. Racking up many battle wins doesn’t mean that you eventually win the war. When that fire gets hot in Hell’s Kitchen, leaders step up to the pass.

Luckily this week’s first challenge kept the food waste off the restaurant floor.  The “Spells Kitchen” offered some interesting insight both into the chefs’ creativity as well as their desire to win the competition. Even though Marc’s big ego has left the building, it was curious that the chefs choose to build their dishes instead of sabotaging the other team.

As the chef solved the word scrambles, each ingredient was added to create a dish. With the proteins set, these accompanying ingredients could make a great dish or could sink a chef before the cooking began.

The interesting part of this challenge was that the chefs decided to build their dishes versus sabotage the other team. Even though Niki decided to put pineapple on the Blue Team’s halibut, there could have been other combinations that would be far worst.

Hell’s Kitchen becomes a game show?

Looking at all the potential ingredient combinations, the options were many. Would you put avocado and parsnip together? Maybe the chefs appreciate that it is more important to prove their own worth versus destroying one another.

Hell's Kitchen Season 19 episode 11
HELL’S KITCHEN: L-R: Chef/host Gordon Ramsay with contestants Mary Lou and Cody in the “Sink or Swim” episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, March 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

While the Cody had the opportunity to transform pineapple on the halibut, he was able to successfully make that ingredient shine. Sometimes the most unlikely food combinations can work when the chefs are thoughtful.

Even though Hell’s Kitchen is often about executing the perfect Gordon Ramsay dish, the reality is that these chefs need to show some type of culinary creativity. The most successful chefs from Hell’s Kitchen have brought that spark to the line. From a great palate to cooking nuance, there is a difference between a cook and a chef.

Although there was not a traditional Hell’s Kitchen dinner service in this episode, the chefs had to serve a special charity event. As each chef lead a course in their respective kitchens, it was more than just ensuring a perfect plate was sent to the table. It was a test of leadership.

At this special event, no one was thrown out of the kitchen, cutting commentary was minimal and service was completed. Still, a few mistakes were slightly confusing.

As the Red Team started service, Niki missed two plates of food for service. While the Red Team seems to have a good rapport, it is baffling that she was short two plates. But, the Red Team was able to recover and finish the course.


The Blue Team took a different approach to the dinner. It almost seemed like every chef stood alone. While Declan cooked all the scallops was baffling, Amber could not let go of her control over some cooking aspects was disconcerting. Overall, the reality was that the Blue Team seemed disjointed.

Even though there were few glaring errors, Jordan’s steak course had too many under-cooked steaks. While she asserted that her team plated in error, she was in charge of the food leaving the kitchen.

As the dinner ended, both teams had to present a chef for elimination. The Blue Team’s choice was obvious. Amber is odd woman out. It wasn’t that her dishes were horrible or that there were big mistakes. The reality is that the guys believe that she doesn’t trust them.


For the Red Team, they picked Jordan. Although there is a case for Niki’s missed plates, Jordan has struggled more often than not in Hell’s Kitchen. At this point in the competition, there is no place to hide.

Since the challenge was to lead your course with conviction, the decision for Gordon Ramsay seemed obvious. It was Jordan’s time to go home.

Like his parting words to Jordan, Gordon Ramsay needs a general not a soldier. While Jordan has been a good soldier, he has enough soldiers in his kitchen brigade. Even though she had racked up battle wins, the war was lost.

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Which chefs will separate themselves from the competition? In Hell’s Kitchen, it is every chef for herself.