American

HK 14: 15 Chefs do Family Night

This week’s Hell’s Kitchen felt really long, but not in a bad way– just like, a lot of things went on.  The chefs played Never-Have-I-Ever, there was a big football game (of sorts) and another individual cooking challenge, and then a dinner service.  Let’s get to that football game, shall we?

Chef Ramsay talked about football as an American classic.  (Coming from Gordon Ramsay, I find this hilarious; he played professional football… the kind we would call soccer.)  The challenge for the chefs is to recreate and elevate some American classic comfort foods– mac & cheese, burgers, pizza, and spaghetti.  Footballs are launched in the air with different ingredients on them and the chefs must gather the ingredients they want.  They work in pairs to gather ingredients, as its two chefs on each team to a dish, except for Randy on Blue who works alone.

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When they get around to actually creating their dishes, Chef Ramsay will only taste one.  Red and Blue go head to head and are scored by guest judges Suzanne Goin and David Burke.

  • Bret wins the pizza point for Blue.
  • Meghan gets Red on the board with her burger.
  • Joshua takes mac & cheese for Blue.
  • Sarah wins the spaghetti point for Red.
  • As a tie-breaker, they pick the best dish overall: Sarah’s spaghetti.  Red wins!

Red goes sailing in Long Beach for the day while Blue preps a large shipment of onions as punishment.  Bret is literally so mad that when Gordon’s announcing the reward, he stops saying, there’s only so much pain Bret can take.

Dinner Service is family night and both sides have quite a few bumps.  Sarah starts out with a mistake on scallops that she easily fixes.  Brendan makes 1.2 risottos instead of 2, and when Bret goes to fix it, he pours the old one into the fresh one.  Um, have you ever seen this show before?  That’s a sin in Hell’s Kitchen.

The meat station is where both teams struggle.  Bret must just not know his temps, as a severely overcooked New York strip and some bad salmon force the Blue team to eat their mistakes.  Marino brings them wine, too.  It’s got to be so embarrassing for them.  Red actually fairs worse with Monique and Mieka on meat.  Undercooked Wellington from Monique and raw New York strip from Mieka plague the girls’ team.  When Mieka puts up a steak that’s cooked to death, Ramsay kicks them out of the kitchen.  Blue manages to finish service.

It’s obvious that Monique and Mieka are the weakest chefs on the Red Team and that they both deserved to be up for elimination.  For some reason, (because apparently no one who’s on this show has seen this show,) the girls decide to strategize by putting someone up so they can get rid of Monique: Sarah, arguably the strongest chef in the competition so far.

This, of course, backfires and Monique spills the whole plan to Chef Ramsay.  There’s a moment of shock and horror when he calls Sarah’s name instead of Monique’s, but then sends her back in line and swiftly eliminates Mieka.  That’s what you get, girls.

Mieka deserved to go home tonight, but don’t worry, Monique shouldn’t be around for long.

Thoughts?!

 

MasterChef Junior: Family Favorites

This week’s MasterChef Junior started out with a Mystery Box Challenge that wasn’t so much of a mystery.  Thanks to a floating banana from the sky, the home cooks are not surprised to find bunches of bananas under their boxes.  Bananas are one of my absolute favorite foods, so I love this challenge!

Gordon, Joe, and Graham taste Jenna’s, Nathan’s, and Ryan Kate’s.

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Nathan wins!  How could he not with those mouth-watering macarons?!  He wins an advantage in the elimination challenge, which Gordon’s youngest daughter, Matilda Ramsay, comes out to announce.

Twelve-year-old Tilly explains that the one dish the Ramsay kids always request their father make is salmon en croûte with hollandaise sauce, baby potatoes, and minted peas.  The kids will basically taste it/make it (for those of you who watch Hell’s Kitchen) but with a little help from Matilda, who lists the ingredients for the dish which they also find on their stations.

Though Tilly sports a British accent, she pronounces basil like an American, much to her father's chagrin.  Gordon teases her about this, but she's adamant it's bay-zil.

Though Tilly sports a British accent, she pronounces basil like an American, much to her father’s chagrin. Gordon teases her about this, but she’s adamant it’s bay-zil.

Nathan doesn’t have to cook, instead he gets to eat a salmon en croûte prepared by Gordon Ramsay himself.

The kids try to replicate Gordon’s dish, with varying degrees of success:

Gordon's dish is in the center.  How did the kids do?!

Gordon’s dish is in the center. How did the kids do?!

Jenna | salmon perfect, pastry cooked beautifully, even the hollandaise  came together!
Andrew | just nailed it, overall excellent!
Kayla | way too much pastry, and it’s raw, very little salmon.
Ayla | the sauce is spicy, but the salmon, the hero, is perfect!
Ryan Kate | overcooked her salmon
Riley | pastry is raw, potatoes need more color, hollandaise is broken.
Jimmy | visually, near perfect, and the taste aligns!

The top two are Jimmy and Andrew, whose the real winner.  On the bottom, we have Kayla, Riley, and Ryan Kate.

Ryan Kate is eliminated, and I literally gasp out loud.  Riley is also eliminated.  I’m really shocked at these results, as I thought Ryan Kate had been a strong contender and Kayla was looking a bit weak lately.  Let’s hope she can make a come back!  It’s just Jenna and Kayla hanging in there for the girls, now.

I’ll miss Ryan Kate, who cooks with such maturity.  I’ll miss Riley, with statements like he “made a lot of nice friends.”  It goes without saying that they are both very talented!

Six left means the competition is really getting down to the wire!  Can’t wait to see what these kids do next!

Hell’s Kitchen Recap: 17 Chefs Compete

Last week’s Hell’s Kitchen started with Chef Ramsay highlighting how much the chefs have wasted in their three terrible dinner services.  Under a silver dome, he reveals a Wellington equivalent in pennies.  Coins scatter everywhere to make a literal point about the cost of food waste.  To show just how much the chefs wasted in the previous dinner service, pennies literally rain from the sky.  200,000 pennies litter the dining room.  Point made?

Gordon Ramsay obscured by 200,000 pennies.

Gordon Ramsay obscured by 200,000 pennies.

Chef Ramsay then demonstrates how to make lobster ravioli.  For the challenge, the Red Team and Blue Team will pair off and compete to make 10 lobster ravioli dishes– perfect dishes, obviously.  Since there are more members of the Blue Team, they have a team of three: Demarco, Gabriel, and Mike… the three weak links.  The men organize faster and get 6 on the board quickly.  Then, they come to a bit of a stand still.  The women take longer to organize.  The team of Jessica and Melanie are the first to put up a plate, but they’ve used to wrong size plate and must re-plate.  Once dishes start coming out of the Red kitchen, they catch up easily!  Blue starts producing again and the teams come to 9 to 9.  Demarco, Gabriel, and Mike, finally put up their first dish… but they pasta is far too thick and not cooked properly.  Jessica and Melanie get their last plate up, and the Red Team wins!

As a reward, the Red Team heads to a Beverly Hills mansion for the day to relax poolside.  As punishment, the Blue Team must pick up all 200,000 pennies.  And prep both kitchens for dinner service.  Ouch!

Dinner service is steak night in Hell’s Kitchen!  Melanie, my early favorite, claims to be the master of the grill.  This immediately makes me nervous, but you hate to see someone over-promise and under-deliver.  However, her claims prove accurate!  She kills those steaks and the women have a super successful dinner service.  For the first time, they are able to complete dinner service!

The men do not have as much success.  Chef Ramsay sends the women into the Blue kitchen to finish their service too.  Instead of taking the help, the men scream at the women to get off their stations!  Rams sets them straight, and the Red brigade finishes service for both kitchens!

Clearly, the Red Team was the night’s winner.

Nominees for elimination from the Blue Team are: Mike & Demarco (yup, again)

Mike is eliminated.  Rams recites a little limerick upon his exit.  Though Mike is definitely dead weight off the backs of the Blue Team, I don’t think Demarco is long for this competition either.

Let’s hope the Red Team can keep up the momentum for tonight’s service!

Hey, did anyone notice Ramsay’s pronunciation of fillet has changed?  He used to say fill-lit, and now it’s fill-ay.  His emphasis is the same, and I suppose, still British, but he’s settled into a more American pronunciation of the word.  Weird!  I may be a little to in-tune to Gordon Ramsay…

Dinner at Highland Kitchen

This winter has been a rough one.  I hadn’t really seen any of my friends since my birthday last month… we’ve all been hibernating a little.  Last Friday, we finally got out of our apartments for a good meal.  My friend Sarah chose Highland Kitchen in Somerville.  The cuisine, described as “Seasonal American Comfort Food,” was absolutely perfect for the rainy night.

We had a party of four, and we were all starving after our work days.  We heard the wait could be pretty intense, so we got there early, around 6:30.  We got seated immediately!  Within 15 minutes of being seated, the restaurant was packed and we were glad we got there when we did.

Everything that came out of the kitchen looked so, so good.  The cocktail menu was pretty overwhelming.  The winner was the elderflower margarita that Chelsea ordered, which was perfectly sweet and tangy!

We went ahead and ordered the buffalo fried brussel sprouts for an appetizer.  Man, these were delicious!  I’m a big fan of buffalo anything.  I make buffalo cauliflower at home fairly often, and would like to try to replicate a version of this sometime.

I ordered the pan roasted chicken which came with an herb gravy, sweet potato hash, and broccolini.  The chicken was super moist and cut like butter.  The sweet potato hash was the perfect side.

Sarah, the resident vegetarian, ordered a veggie burger and was over the moon about it.  She said it tasted like meat and thought it could be the best veggie burger she’s ever eaten.  Kelsey ordered the gumbo, which I had the opportunity to sample– its spiciness was perfect!

clockwise: ambiance @ Highland Kitchen, elderflower margarita, buffalo brussel sprouts, & my delicious pan roasted chicken!

clockwise: ambiance @ Highland Kitchen, elderflower margarita, buffalo brussel sprouts, & my delicious pan roasted chicken!

Finally, after reading rave reviews about the banana bread pudding, we decided to order it for dessert to share.  I usually only eat chocolate desserts, but I’m a huge fan of bananas foster and that’s exactly what this tasted like!

my favorite part of the meal-- dessert!

my favorite part of the meal– dessert!

This bread pudding was super light and airy, drenched in warm caramel and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Chelsea confessed she doesn’t even like bananas but loved the dessert.  The wait staff was nice and let us stay and chat without pressuring us to move on.  We all left extremely full and extremely happy!

I’d love to go back to Highland Kitchen– there’s a lot more on the menu I want to try!  I definitely suggest checking this place out!

My friends and I are looking forward to nicer weather so we can get out to more new spots.  We typically need them to be vegetarian-friendly– suggestions always appreciated!

{photos via iphone5 // all opinions are my own}