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5 Chefs Compete, Part 1 of 3 - Recap

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After Zach leaves, the house is left with four girls and Jon. He gets an uncomfortable earful of feminine talk before going to bed and quickly realizes that he’s the lone dude.

Before the challenge, Chef Ramsay teases the chefs by showing them video of their families. All five chefs cry and talk about how much they miss their loved ones. After the teaser Chef Ramsay announces that it’s challenge time. He raises a curtain, and reveals their families. The contestants share an emotional rush to their families and get some much needed rest in hell’s kitchen. After an undisclosed amount of time to relax, Chef Ramsay calls everyone up to the line so they can talk about what is next. Ramsay changes his mind on the black jackets again, and hands out all five black jackets right there in front of the families.



The real challenge in the episode is based on pressure cookers. Each chef picks a pressure cooker with a cheap cut of meat assigned to it. They have forty-five minutes to make the best dish they can using their cut of meat.

Cyndi’s protein is pork roast.

Jon’s protein is a lamb leg. During the prep time he gets a bad spot in the kitchen, positioned right next to a steamer. The area that the steamer is releasing pressure is right below his face, and above his cutting board. It takes a little bit of time complaining and getting his face steamed before he gets moved and really begins being able to cook. He follows those issues up by burning his lamb to the bottom of his steamer.

Susan’s protein is pork belly. They count six times that she opens the lid of her pressure cooker.

Ja’nel’s protein is goat ribs.

Mary’s protein is short ribs.

The judges for the challenge are, Chef Nancy Silverton and Leslie Bargar Suter. Two decorated culinary greats along with Chef Ramsay himself. They pass their judgments in the form of stars on a one to five scale. With three judges the highest possible score is fifteen and the lowest being one.

Susan presents her pork belly with a fennel and leek slaw and crispy pork belly skin on top. The judges agree that it tastes okay but the execution was off. The pork fat was not cooked enough, and the slaw was, as Leslie Bargar Suter put it, “a little clunky”. Susan’s dish earned three stars across the board, totaling nine.

Jon presents his rustic french presentation of lamb leg with rutabaga and potato. All three chefs recognize that his lamb didn’t get to cook long enough. He earns ten stars and takes the lead.

Cyndi presents her pork roast with an acorn squash puree and a fig compote. All three judges give her credit for flavor and potential but are underwhelmed by the presentation. She earns seven stars for the dish, failing to take the lead from Jon.

Ja’nel presents her goat ribs with crispy okra and smashed sweet potato to the judges. All three judges are happy with the dish and she earns only praise from them. She takes the lead away from Jon with the near perfect score of fourteen.

Lastly, Mary presents her beef bourguignon, impressing the judges with her homemade pasta. All three judges praise her all around for the dish. After a tense moment Mary succeeds in earning the perfect score of fifteen to edge out Ja’nel.



Mary’s reward is to spend the rest of the afternoon with her family. She gets to take her mother and her brother to Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant WP24.

The punishment for losing is community service landscaping, followed by sorting the dumpsters for recycling day.

The community service is supervised by Jim Hardy, Director of Operations, for an organization called TreePeople. Jon and Ja’nel make it through the first part of the punishment easily. They team up and keep their spirits high while they make the best of shoveling mulch. Cyndi and Susan leave something to be desired while they fail to finish their assignment, digging out a hill side.

There is much more whining when the recycling begins, especially after Ja’nel confuses a bunch of maggots for rice.

After everyone has showered, Chef Ramsay calls all five chefs back downstairs. He begins announcing the next challenge by telling the contestants that the most difficult challenge of their careers is coming up. The cliff hanger for the episode is Ramsay beginning to announce their opponents for the next service.


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Warning: Hell's Kitchen season 11 episode 17 guide may contain spoilers
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