Bonnie_hellskitchen_240Does anybody want to put forward an  acceptable scenario in which Bonnie wins on next week’s finale of Hell’s Kitchen?

I’m sure there’s a plausible answer.

Perhaps Chef Ramsay decides to put extra weight on which contestant does the best job of decorating their side of the restaurant and Bonnie’s half is all chic and modern and Rock’s half is decked in deer trophies and faux leather? Maybe it’s too close to call right to the very end and Chef Ramsay decides to have them go palate-a-palate, letting Bonnie show off her vaunted tastebuds? Conceivably after picking departed contestants to be their staff, Rock manages to get stuck with Aaron and Josh and can’t overcome that handicap?

Otherwise, the finale seems like a bit of a mismatch.

Jen_hellskitchen_s3_240On Monday (July 30) night’s episode, Chef Ramsay narrowed the field to two, basing his choice — from what I gather — on not wanting to ever see Jen cry with happiness ever again. Yes, Jen showed leadership and cooking ability at various times, but I’m not sorry to say good-bye to her lantern-jawed pout.

Truthfully, Chef Ramsay’s last elimination appeared to be based on which of the contestants did the best Chef Ramsay impressions when they were asked to be assertive and authoritative. Rock looked stern and threatening. Bonnie, really an actress-in-waiting, spit out foul language that did Ramsay proud. And Jen? She made her Jen Face and "sounded like a drunk country-western singer." In order to make Jen come alive in their training exercise, Chef Ramsay had to concoct some horrible scenario involving putting her golden retriever in the microwave. No, I didn’t get it either.

Plus, Jen was the only one of the top three to blow Chef Ramsay’s Quality Control Test. Chef asked sous chefs Scott and Mary Ann to botch a part of their service to test the players when they were working the pass. Bonnie caught that the pigeon wasn’t crispy enough. Rock caught that the monkfish didn’t have ham. But Jen? She was ready to send her spaghetti-with-crab out without crab. Perish the thought.

Elimination aside, it wasn’t a bad episode for Jen overall. She won the first challenge, the old "do homemade favorites with a gourmet twist" task that Top Chef does far better. With that victory she not only got lunch with her mum, Chef and Chef’s Mum, but she also got $1000 to play with at a fancy kitchen supply store, which seemed to make her happy ("Whoa! Holy cake pans!" "Copper pots!").

Meanwhile, I still don’t understand how Bonnie made it to the final. Is her palate really that superb?

Other thoughts on this week’s episode:

  • With her note-perfect Ramsay impression and solid final service, Bonnie salvaged what could have been a spectacularly annoying episode. Her incredulity over drawing franks & beans for the home cooking challenge was so irksome ("That’s not an American classic. It’s a British classic.") that even Jen told her to get over it, while her behavior with Rock during their dorm cleaning punishment was just a bit childlike ("Rock?" "What?" "Rock?" "What?!?" "Rock, I’m hungry").
  • Favorite sight gag of the episode: That all of the constestants’ mothers looked like they were exiles for 1970s sitcoms, like they walked in off the set of The Jeffersons or Maude.
  • Favorite line of the episode: When Rock asked "Does anybody have the thyme?" and everybody told him there were three minutes left. That was just funny.
  • Second favorite line[s] of the episode: After the field was cut to two, Bonnie’s parents and Rock’s wife appeared. Her first words to her guests ("I don’t think I’m gonna be a teacher anymore, Dad.") were very different from his ("You think they’ll give me a conjugal?").

    So who are you rooting for next week? Who do you think will win?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg