'Hell's Kitchen' Season 5 Finale Live Thoughts: The Winner is Announced!
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Tonight: A final dinner service will decide is Paula Dasilva or Danny Veltri will become the next chef to win the chance of a lifetime--to run a Gordon Ramsay kitchen in the Borgata resort in Atlantic City!

Who's it going to be?

Well, we've already seen the Hell's Kitchen Finale: Part One, when Paula and Danny created their menus and designed their sides of the restaurants. Danny won the first challenge, giving him first pick for his brigade of former contestants. And now the teams stand:

With Danny: Giovanni, Ben and Carol
With Paula: Andrea, LA, and Lacey

TONIGHT: Stay with me as we see the final dinner service, and someone wins the crown from former Hell's Kitchen winner (and BuddyTV blogger) Christina Machamer!

The way it stands now, Paula has one distinct advantage over Danny: experience.

And Danny has one even BIGGER advantage: No Lacey on his team!

Team bonding begins as construction finishes in the dining rooms. The teams look over the menus, and Carol reveals even though she's on Danny's team, she wants Paula to win. Ben is rooting for the underdog, which is Danny.

I love seeing Danny tell his team "I'm the F*CKING chef!" You take charge, buddy!

Paula's bonding time consists of psyching up... or out... Lacey. And I'm so HAPPY we get another Lacey-SUCKS montage. How many times can one person say, "OMG, I HATE YOU GUYS!!!" in a matter of days? It's a dream come true that she's back for the finale. I was missing her whiney drama. It really makes things interesting. And hilarious.

The teams begin prepping, and Danny seems more confident than Paula, although she's always been a silent threat. She's probably way nervous about Lacey, though. LA is concerned that Lacey might walk out (it's happened before)...

And it's a really good thing that Paula made what she thought was a simple menu, considering Lacey will be helping cook it. Lacey's on the brulee station, and she's already curdled them before service even started. OF COURSE.

Does anyone think it's pretty unfair that Paula is going to be judged based on Lacey's stupid mistakes, when the girl has already been kicked out of Hell's Kitchen? Well, I guess nothing is really fair in Hell's Kitchen... but it's not Paula's fault the HK casting directors are nuts!

So it's two hours before dinner service, and the creme brulees are ruined. Lacey has to start over. A fitting punishment, but I'm not sure I would give her ANY responsibility if I were Paula.

Bentensity is going balls to the wall for Danny. There's nothing new there. Both teams are in a scramble to get their ducks (I mean dishes) in a row for Ramsay, who will sample.

Ramsay samples Paula's dishes first:

Pasta with eggplant basil puree: delicious
Halibut pancetta: be careful it's not undercooked
Banana creme brulee: bad texture, overcooked

Then Danny's menu:

Arugula duck salad: duck is undercooked
Filet with twice baked potato: He says its phallic!
Poached pear with a lemon marscapone mousse: undercooked

Ramsay says he sees very few differences in the menus, and it's basically a tie at this point.

Ramsay then checks out the dining rooms, and Paula's looks WAY BETTER. It's sunny, warm, and lovely. Danny's is more rich and stark, but it's also nice.


Paula's upscale bistro, "Sunergy," versus Danny's seafood restaurant, "The Velvet Hammer." Ben notices that Danny's restaurant name sounds like a porno.

As service looms, Lacey worries she will screw up... yeah, you probably will.

Dinner service begins, and Danny's blue team starts off with good communication, but Paula's red team is misfiring a bit. They're too silent and flat, says Ramsay. Paula is scrambling around trying to help instead of running the pass.

Lacey is slowing up Paula's team with a salad, and Andrea overcooks her first scallop. Lacey turns it over, hoping Paula won't see. SABOTAGE or STUPIDITY? You decide. Maybe both. As it gets refired, Lacey blames Andrea for the burnt scallop.

The voiceover keeps reminding us that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT SERVICE of their LIVES! I love how intense all of this is. I'm getting chills!

Lucky for Paula, Carol is getting backed up on appetizers on Danny's team, and Danny is getting too frustrated with her to lead. Ramsay collects both D and P and tells them they both need to get a grip on STANDARDS.

Danny and Carol have never worked together before, and it's not going well. She thinks he's too impatient, and he thinks she sucks.

Meanwhile, Paula's waiting on Andrea for her first halibut entree, and it's the first time Andrea has ever cooked halibut. When Andrea puts up a burnt one, Ramsay worries again that it's going to be too dry. I'm getting deja vu watching Andrea dig and dig and dig her hole... this was her problem all along.

 Danny, on the other side, is waiting on Ben, and they finally get the first entrees out. Paula struggles as Andrea puts out three overcooked halibut. But everything seems to even out: Giovanni is below standards, too: Ramsay and Danny are both appalled by his salty sauce on the monkfish.

Oh, by the way: Where's Robert? I miss him! I'm guessing his health kept him from returning for the finale, and that's unfortunate, because maybe that would have kept one of these screw-ups from hurting Paula or Danny's chances! Plus Robert was just all around awesome.

Anyway, Gio's sauce is putting D's kitchen at a standstill. Everything goes cold as Gio refires the monkfish with a better sauce. Bad news bears.

Paula's trying to push out her entrees, but Lacey is... being Lacey over at garnish. She's entirely missed a ticket, and she's so behind. Why did Paula put Lacey as garnish? It's so important! This is hard to watch. Lacey calls Paula's menu too "complicated." Andrea hits the nail on the head: Lacey doesn't own anything, be it her behavior or her station. Poor Paula.

Danny's team is working together now to get out the entrees. It's do or die, and Danny is really showing great leadership at the pass. Paula too is doing well with what she has (Lacey) and now that she's comfortable, her voice gets louder and more confident, and things seem to be on rhythm. It's a real race to the finish to see who will close service first.

It's push, push, push to the end, and I have to say, dinner service footage was a bit dull: is that because there were very few mistakes? I guess so! I blink, and service is over. Danny finishes first, but that's not the key. The key will be customer scrutinization on the comment cards.

The teams clear down, and Ramsay congratulates both teams as the diners fill out their cards. I have NO IDEA who is going to win... and I'm actually unsure who I want to win! I love Paula and Danny both, but I'm leaning towards Paula... maybe it's a gender affinity.

The teams line up for Ramsay's final assessment. 

Ramsay thanks the returning chefs and says it's the best final two services he's ever seen.


The winner of Hell's Kitchen 5 is...


-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image courtesy of FOX