Hell’s Kitchen Left Me Cold

I’ll admit it. I am a fan of most things Ramsey. But too many strange things happened in Hell’s Kitchen this year and it’s left me feeling cold.

If you dig cooking competitions on TV, you should watch Bravo’s Top Chef, where cooking skills are a necessity and it’s not about finding the best entertainer. The contestants’ cooking skills are tested under tough circumstances, and if they don’t know their food…well, their time on the show is short and they’re told to pack their knives and go home. The contestants are often thrown together to work in teams, and the trick is to be a team player and to capture the spotlight. Never underestimate the ego of a chef.

There are three other similar shows: The Next Iron Chef, The Next Food Network Star, and Hell’s Kitchen. Michael Symon was chosen from eight contestants to be the next Iron Chef and the challenges were brutal. It’s not a regular show on the FoodTV Network for good reason: only few hold the title of Iron Chef. The competition is fierce and the reward is culinary immortality. Okay, so that’s a little extreme, but you get my point. I was hoping Chef Symon would win for his mad skills, but I also think he’s kinda hot. And well, hot does count for something.

In the Next Food Network Star, not only are culinary skills challenged, but also teaching skills and stage presence. You must have that certain *something* that finds its way through the camera lens and out to the viewer. And the reward is your own show on the Food Network. You don’t get a restaurant, but you do rub shoulders with some of the best in the game.

And then there’s Hell’s Kitchen. And at the center of it all is the enigmatic Gordon Ramsey. There’s no doubt the man knows his way around the kitchen, but it’s difficult for anyone else to be in there with him. There’s only room for Ramsey’s ego. As difficult as it is to be around him, I’d work in his kitchen any day. He can yell at me for hours and in the end I’d walk away with culinary skills and restaurant knowledge to rival the best. So on the show you fill a kitchen with a bunch of colorful, over-eager wannabe restaurateurs battling against each other to be the senior chef at one of Ramsey’s new restaurants. And then, if that’s not enough, you toss in one giant cup of Ramsey and stir. The winner of each challenge is not always clear, and often, it simply comes down to the whim of Ramsey. Frustrating…but it is his show and his restaurant.

This seasons’ competitors were not fun to watch. Highly annoying is more like it. Their culinary skills were weak and they didn’t play well with others. I was waiting for a hero to emerge, but alas, there was none. If he wants us to watch next season, he’s gonna have to pick better contestants or the show will continue to lose credibility.

Was I Right or Was I Right?

I’m just sayin’. David Archuleta is cute in a Mouseketeer kinda way. But the kid is not ready for prime time. I will admit if the competition was based on *only* the performances Tuesday, little David stepped up to the mic and even managed to growl in one song. He sang his heart out and he wanted it badly.

I wanted Syesha Mercado to be in the final two, and I was very disappointed when she was eliminated. Her performance tonight, with Seal, was pretty hot. And speaking of hot, somebody’s been feeding Seal and he’s looking all grown up. Heidi’s a very lucky woman.

Now Mr. Cook, *sigh*, he’s is a triple threat. He’s got a great voice, he knows how to work the mic and stage, and he’s got that “something” that all great performers have.

Back on March 12th, I picked Cook to win, and he just kept getting better and better each week. I would have liked to see him pick different songs for the final performance, but he still sang like a rock star.

Tonight, David Cook sang Sharp Dressed Man with ZZ Top, and played his Les Paul guitar, and he was fantastic. The guy *is* a rock star AND now he’s the 2008 American Idol champion.

Hey Chris, I wish you could have been here to share the finale, but Paris is quite the excuse.

American Idol "Night"

American Idol

Tuesdays they sing and we vote. But Wednesday night is the live “elimination” show, and, if you ask me, it’s a perfect excuse for getting together with friends. We’re now in our third season of AI “night.” I have a standing invitation for dinner at 6:00pm with Mark & Chris LaMoreaux. Chris likes to say she can’t cook, but after three seasons, I beg to differ. I look forward to AI “night” just so I can spend time with Mr. L and Chris. Well, there’s the wine, too. And the laughter. And the lovely candle burning in the bathroom.

About an hour before the show starts, Mary Gressard (Chris’s sister) and her daughter Maggie join us. Mary’s husband, Dave, has made an appearance a couple of times, but he doesn’t appreciate the AI thing, and Chris has banned him from commenting. So we warm up by watching the Tuesday night performances (previously recorded to DVR) and then chase it with the live show.

It’s a long night. Just before the contestant is eliminated, Chris starts getting a bit squirrelly. She begins getting ready for bed. The perfect hostess, last week she offered us Citrucel. What’s that thing Mom always says about sharing?

So we’re down to eight. I’m still voting for David Cook. The guy is a natural. And hey, it’s not too late to get your Idol on.

Vincent D’Onofrio on SNL

What a nice little surprise. In the opening sketch of Saturday Night Live, Vincent D’Onofrio made a guest appearance. He just keeps getting better with age.

All I want to know is…where is Detective Robert Goren? I miss him. We could use some new episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent – of the D’Onofrio flavor. Goren’s life was difficult last season. As if he’s not quirky enough, we found out his Dad is a serial killer, his Mom died, and he’s coming apart at the seams. Come back, Goren. Maybe he needs a girlfriend. Oooh! Pick me.

A couple of years ago I did a Netflix-themed queue and watched all-things-D’Onofrio. He’s got a huge catalog of work. Loved him in The Whole Wide World. *sigh*

Michael McDonald On Leno

It’s late and I’m a happy girl. Michael McDonald just sang You Don’t Know Me on the Tonight Show. The man has an incredible voice and his version of the song was totally sweet. Before his version, the Ray Charles version was my favorite.

The song is off of his newly released album Soul Speak .

Mmmmm. He could sing the words off a cereal box and I’d be a happy girl. Good grief…the man is handsome. How old is he? One second while I google it – he was born in 1952…so that makes him 56? Not bad, Michael.

Gotta go download the album off iTunes. :)

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