With only two more episodes after this week’s number 14, Hell’s Kitchen’s 18th round of contestants has proven to be some of the most talented.
A mixture of newcomers and former standouts who didn’t make it all the way to the end, this season has been very eventful. One by one, head chef and culinary drill sergeant Gordon Ramsay has weeded out the best of the best – but this week saw two shocking surprises as only four black jackets remained.
This episode started off with Mia feeling ticked – mainly because Hell’s Kitchen vet Bret put her up on the elimination chopping block. Bret was technically never eliminated from his own season. Forced to leave his first tenure in Hell’s Kitchen because of a bad back injury, he’s been determined to make the most of his second chance.
As midnight rolled around, it was normally when the chefs turned in. But Ramsay surprised them with a challenge, which involved making a midnight snack – with only 15 minutes to do it. The added challenge of doing it tableside and putting on a show with dinner made it even more complicated. But if Ramsay didn’t put the tried-and-tested black jackets to the ultimate test, we’d be disappointed.
Overall, it was Ariel who had the winning dish. She enjoyed a reward of horseback riding on Malibu beach followed by an appointment with a professional masseuse. Bret was the lucky one chosen to be her guest, leaving Mia and Motto to bar duty.
During the punishment, the narrator dropped a not-so-subtle hint, indicating one chef would choose to take themselves out of the competition – a few episodes from a chance at the finale and a job in Vegas. This night saw chefs take turns running the pass at dinner surface, complete with tests to ensure they’d maintain Ramsay’s standard of perfection.
From sabotaged tickets to mismade appetizers, there were plenty of traps set for the chefs. Mia caught an early mistake of monkfish in a Wellington rather than lobster. Bret had to take two tries on a risotto, the first being a mess after being started by one person and finished by another. Motto caught an early sabotage, and another with a little help from Ramsay.
But Motto was having a change of heart – while he cherished all he had learned in his return to Hell’s Kitchen, he believed his family and friends needed him back in Baton Rouge. He also had a desire to change the culinary scene there, meaning he couldn’t pursue the position in Vegas. Ramsay respected his wish, but also told him to keep in touch about potential future opportunities – rare honor only few contestants receive.
Ramsay pulled out one more surprise, announcing another person would be eliminated – we’d have our final two right there. Luckily for Ariel, she was chosen for a position in the finals. Either Bret or Mia will join her – two episodes left, and only room for one new chef at Ramsay’s Vegas restaurant.