Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 episode 2: Kitchen heat proves too hot for one chef

HELL’S KITCHEN: Contestant Alex in the season 21 premiere episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Sep. 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.
HELL’S KITCHEN: Contestant Alex in the season 21 premiere episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Sep. 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

As Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 episode 2 opens, the chefs are faced with their first challenge. While two chefs will earn a punishment pass, one chef will be giving up the chef’s coat and their dream of working for Gordon Ramsay will be over. Will experience reign over ambition? The answer might not be that simple.

Having the chefs make chicken wings after the signature dish might not seem like the most difficult challenge. On the surface, each of these chefs should be able to make a great chicken wing. From proper execution to creative flavor profiles, every chef should be prepared for this task.

Looking at the various chicken wings, the difference between top and bottom was abundantly clear. Even though Chef Christina and Chef Jason narrowed the field for Chef Ramsay, the common thread between those six dishes seemed to be creativity.

From layered flavors to innovative flavor pairings, those top choices were options that are not typically found on a menu. In some ways, the best overall chicken wing was from Alejandro. His twist on Mediterranean flavors with pomegranate was unique. With good execution, it was clearly a winner.

On the Blue Team, one chef seems to be emerging as a real threat. Alex once again proved that he is the master of flavor. His elevated Chinese inspired wings deserved top billing. It took that familiar flavor and presented it in a restaurant-forward way. He has a keen eye and is a smart restaurant chef.

As part of winning the Punishment Pass challenge, Alejandro and Alex both had to nominate the worst chicken wings. All four dishes had issues. O’Shay had undercooked chicken but that did not get his jacket taken away. He rejoined his team.

Ileana was about to go home, but she pleaded with Gordon Ramsay and he allowed her to stay. Whether it was Chef Ramsay’s softer side or planned all along, no one knows. Still, Ileana may not be a strong chef. Her time in Hell’s Kitchen might be limited.

Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 episode 2: First dinner service goes sideways

As the chefs learn the Hell’s Kitchen menu, it was clear that dinner service was not going to be smooth. Although it is important to fully understand the menu and the preparation, too many questions lead people to think that a chef does not have the knowledge or the confidence to be in this culinary competition.

From the beginning of dinner service, the Blue Team has a rocky start. Zeus served “scrambled” carbonara. This pasta appetizer should not have had such a difficult start. After three tries, the properly executed dish made it to the pass.

The Red Team seems to lack communication skills. From over talking to no talking, the cracks are starting to form on the Red Team. Only time will tell if the fractures are permanent.

For the Blue Team, the struggles continued. As entrees were called from the pass, the ticket times were not correct. Even with all the questions and notes during the prep, the chefs were faltering. Twenty minute entrée times are not acceptable in Hell’s Kitchen.

With raw food coming to the pass, Gordon Ramsay shuts down the Blue Team’s kitchen and sent them to the dorms. It appears that special guest Gene Simmons and his VIP table left hungry.

When the Blue Team decided on nominations, it was debatable whether execution or personality played a role in the choices. Although it seemed likely that Zeus and his pasta would earn a spot, it was Charlene and Billy nominated. It appears that the entrée station was going down on Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 episode 2.

In a twist, Zeus seems to self-nominate himself for elimination. He chooses to step down in between Charlene and Billy. While Chef Ramsay sends Charlene home for not being ready for this experience, Zeus is not going to be dismissed so easily. Anyone who doubts how much they want to be in Hell’s Kitchen will not have that problem for long. Chef Ramsay asked for his chef coat and Zeus was sent home.

Although it is just the second episode, personalities and front runners are starting to emerge. Will Billy be true to himself and find a way to bring the Blue Team to his side? Can the Red Team find a way to keep people communicating? The next episode is only going to bring more heat to the kitchen.