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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Twists and Turns on Hell’s Kitchen; Rock is in top 3

Out of all the episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, last night was the closest Spotsylvania resident Rock Harper came to getting kicked off the reality cooking show.

And his tears are proof of that statement.

The episode probably had the most surprises of any so far.

Yes, Rock cried. That was one surprise.

Why did he cry on live television? No doubt, stress had a role in it, even though Rock  told me for the first article that he doesn’t get stressed in the kitchen. Maybe not in Washington, but Hell’s Kitchen is a whole new world.

It’s fair to say Rock lost it again. He allowed Bonnie and Jen to get the best of him. The result was the chopping block and it was Chef Ramsay who saved Rock from heading back to good ol’ Spotsylvania.

Here’s a recap:

Last night was the FINAL 5.

For the challenge, the contestants had to cook for high school seniors. This was an unspectacular challenge. Julia, the Waffle House line cook, won the challenge by making some kind of grilled chicken sandwich.

Julia got to pick one other contestant to go with her to the GREEN VALLEY RANCH Resort and Spa in Vegas. This is the restaurant the winner will run after the show. The place is huge and even has a “Booty cleansing station,” as Julia explained. Don’t ask. The place was certainly opulent.

Meanwhile, the losers had to vacuum the entire restaurant and iron the linens.

The biggest shock of the night happened during cooking service. For the first time, Chef Ramsay combined the Blue and Red teams.

Josh got booted before service even ended. Chef Ramsay just couldn’t tolerate his errors anymore. Josh was, once again, flustered and couldn’t do anything right. Even when told, he continued to make the same errors that one wouldn’t expect from a finalist.

“I would have given my right arm to stay in service and keep going,” Josh said. “It appears its over.”

Jen and Rock fought during most of the service. It was vicious name-calling. And Jen and Bonnie were egging him on. Chef Ramsay noticed it and it irritated him. Rock said some things he regretted and it led to his breakdown. Hey, now we know the guy is human. Before this, his service was spotless and error free.

Service ended and Chef Ramsay congratulated Bonnie for having her best service. Lil’ Bonnie did great and she got to choose the two contestants for the chopping block.

The strategy began immediately, with Jen pulling Bonnie aside.

“He has a mean temper, dude,” Jen tells Bonnie. “He does not know how to control his temper.”

“You can tell he is bullying you,” Bonnie said.

That discussion influenced Bonnie enough to put Rock and Julia on the chopping block.

“I don’t like the way Jen approached me,” Rock said. “I let some stupid stuff get in there and it took me off. I am disappointed in myself. Oh man, I can’t believe I am crying.”
The producers of the show really made you think Rock was getting the boot. Julia won the challenge and wasn’t too bad with service, although she did have trouble with the garnish station.
Chef Ramsay said it was his toughest choice yet. And with that said, he asked Julia for her jacket and off she went.

However, there was one last twist: Chef Ramsay offered to pay for her to go to culinary school.

“You have an exceptional amount of talent,” Ramsay told her, in a rare touch of kindness. “I want you to come back here and win it hands down. There is something amazing about you. I am very proud of you.”

At the end of the show, Rock regained composure and confidence.

“This is rock’s restaurant to lose,” he said.

I love how he talks about himself in the third person.


I predict Bonnie will see the exit door next Monday. It will be a sad day for me. I may have to call in Tuesday to recover.