This week, Hell's Kitchen
will air part one of its two-part finale for this season. Thirteen chefs have already been eliminated, starting with stay-at-home dad Dominic
, through Craig
and his giant chef's hat, Bobby
(the “black Gordon Ramsay
”) and brassy Jen
. Last week, Corey
was most recent to be sent home, leaving Christina
to battle it out for the top spot.
Going into the finale, there is one big question to be answered. No, not will the winner be Christina or Petrozza, rather: how are they going to generate two hours of material out of this showdown?
has a tendency to land on the side of being slightly more farcical than, say, Top Chef
. Its rather broad approach is entertaining, for sure. One of the challenges, though, of making the chefs occasionally more clownish or cartoonish is it's hard generate quite the same level of suspense as you can have when the contestants are portrayed more as real people and developed into more well-rounded characters.
Most of the time on Hell's Kitchen, chefs' interviews are centered on the most sensationalistic comments. Usually it's some variation of trash-talking about another contestant, self-aggrandizing statements or talking about how frightened Chef Ramsay makes them.
While obviously the contestants said (or at least could be goaded into saying) all of those things, certainly they must have more to them as people and as chefs than these dramatic interview snippets allow us to really see.
Ergo, heading into part one of the finale, I have some ideas about what Christina and Petrozza are like, but wish we had been given a better-developed sense of their culinary styles and ambitions and personal histories in order to feel a greater investment in seeing how they perform in these final challenges.
This week's episode will have the two chefs visiting Ramsay's New York restaurant, and preparing their signature dishes for his executive chefs from around the world. Yikes. Based on recent episodes, I feel like Christina is heading into this with a stronger lead than Petrozza.
She's won the past three individual challenges, and came in second in the one before those. While she wasn't one of the best in the first episode's individual challenge, where the chefs also made a signature dish, she didn't have Petrozza's hen in pumpkin dish, either, which was singled out as being particularly offensive to Ramsay.
Of course, no one is going to just sail into the top spot, so Petrozza will of course be putting up a good fight. He's demonstrated good skills in the kitchen, and has had moments of wowing Ramsay. While his attention to detail has not always been as strong as Christina's, his years of experience might turn out to be the factor that gives him a steady hand despite the pressure of the final competition.
We won't learn the final result until the following episode, but tomorrow will set the stage as we move closer to learning who wins Hell's Kitchen.
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist