The Hell’s Kitchen episode that aired at 9 p.m. April 22, 2016 on FOX began with three chefs, but one contender was eliminated by the end of show, leaving only two chefs to compete for the chef position at BLT Steak in the Bally’s hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Kristin Barone, a 27-year-old line cook from Chicago, Ariel Malone, a 26-year-old country club chef from New Jersey and Ashley Nickell, a 27-year-old chef, who worked in her father’s Orlando restaurant, began the competition in this episode with a steak preparation task.
The steaks arrived in an armored truck inside three briefcases. The first briefcase that was opened contained $250,000, the yearly salary for the job at BLT Steak. Each of the chefs had to choose a number between 2 and four. The numbers corresponded with the briefcases that contained the steaks.
The ladies each had 40 minutes to prepare the steaks and accompanying sides.
Ariel had the New York strip, Ashley had the filet, and Kristin had a ribeye. Celebrity Chef Ari Rosenson, the Executive Chef of CUT by Wolfgang Puck in Beverly Hills was the judge for this part of the competition. All of the chefs began preparing their steaks simultaneously.
Ariel decided to go all out with the sides for her New York strip. She ended up with roasted pepper, basted corn with butter and grilled pineapple on the steak and a cipollini onion vinaigrette on spaghetti squash and fennel.
Chef Ari said that Ariel’s steak had good flavor and seasoning and Chef Ramsay said the temperature of the protein was spot-on.
Ashley had peppers added as a side to her steak, but Chef Ari said they were under cooked.
When it came to Kristin’s steak, Chef Ari said it was caramelized on both sides with flavor through and through. He also complimented her on her potatoes.
Chef Ari chose Kristin as the winner for the steak preparation competition. She earned a dinner at CUT with Chef Ramsay. Chef Ramsay drove her to the restaurant in Beverly Hills, but when they arrived, the real surprise was that her parents were waiting for her there.
During the dinner service, all three of the Hell’s Kitchen competitors had a chance to lead the kitchen. Two of the chefs working in the kitchen and Chef Ramsay himself, had planned sabotages to throw them off track.
By the end of the evening, Ariel, Kristin, and Ashley had made mistakes or were fooled by some of the tricks the sabotaging sous chefs Christina Wilson and Aaron Mitrano staged for them.
Ariel failed her first quality test. Her risotto was sabotaged, it was not made with squash, but instead was made with carrots, and she didn’t notice; she was able to regain her composure quickly and finished strong when she took the lead in the kitchen.
Kristin was next in the pass, she had to identify that there was a problem with the beef Wellington. Then, there was a problem with the snapper that Ashley prepared. Another snapper needed to be cooked in its place, but when Chef Ramsay tried to communicate with Ashley, she wouldn’t even respond.
Kristin’s attention to detail was tested. She was given an improperly written ticket. Capellini was on the ticket, but Capellini was not being served that night. Before she knew it, Kristin announced the error and tried to correct her mistake by telling the staff to ignore it. Chef Ramsay advised her to study the orders first before she announces them to the others.
“Capellini went off the menu six weeks ago,” Chef Ramsay told her.”
“Sabotages are the worst,” Kristin said. “It’s like being on Super Mario Brothers. You are just jumping over icicles.”
Kristin was able to tell when Sous Chef Christina made the risotto with with carrots instead of squash.
When Ashley took over the kitchen, the rice was undercooked.
“Everybody on the hot plate has made mistakes,” Chef Ramsay told her. “You’re down. You’re not you, and you’re quiet, and you’re just unresponsive. What’s the matter? Ashley, I want to see how you bounce back.”
Ashley was not confident in the kitchen, which prompted the pep talk from Chef Ramsay.
“… talk to me. I know how hard it is, but if you don’t communicate with me, how can I help you? Don’t give up.”
Ashley said that she wasn’t going to go down without a fight. She then noticed that the risotto needed more salt, and she needed more truffle oil, more chives and more cheese on the fries. “Good catch,” Chef Ramsay said.
Chef Ramsay tested her by replacing the black bean puree for the scallops with black garlic puree. Ashley caught the error, and Chef Ramsay was impressed. But then, Chef Christina replaced the arctic char with salmon and the error slipped by Ashley. She stayed in control, however.
All of the items were served for dinner and the ladies went back to their rooms to talk about who should be sent home. Ashley’s lack of leadership was brought up.
When they next saw Chef Ramsay, the Hell’s Kitchen competitors had to tell him why they thought they should be able to go into the finale and which woman should not be invited to compete. Ashley said that Ariel didn’t belong in the finale. She told Chef Ramsay that Ariel’s personality may clash with other people.
Ariel said Ashley didn’t belong, because she overthinks a lot of things and she doubts herself sometimes, “and she doesn’t have the drive to be a head chef.” Kristin also said that she believed that Ashley didn’t belong in the finale, because “Ashley wears her heart on her sleeve and it can be a sign of weakness. Ashley is a huge overthinker, and I find overthinking can spread like a disease [when] trying to lead a team.”
Chef Ramsay told the three women that he was going to announce who would be battling in the finale. He called Kristin’s name first.
“Ashley, Ariel this is one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had. The person who will be joining Kristin in the finale is…”
Ariel was selected to compete with Kristin for the BLT Steak Chef position. In next week’s episode, the two will compete on Hell’s Kitchen for the coveted job.