Winning was never a sure thing for Nona Sivley, a 29-year old sous chef from Georgia. The young mom came to Hell's Kitchen
to follow her dream even though it meant being away from her son for so long. She missed his birthday, his first steps but she says now that it was worth it.
As of last night, Nona has a new job -- as the head chef of the LA Market and spokesperson for Rosemount wine. It means a better life for her family, and for Nona, that was what the whole competition was about.
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Nona got off to a rocky start in Hell's Kitchen
. Though she knew she had skills, the stressful setting and the pressure of competing sometimes got the best of her. When challenged to come up with a signature salad for Bon Appetit magazine, Nona went with a whole quail on wilted greens. The judges said her dish looked like road kill. Not an auspicious start.
Nona did enjoy a good number of rewards, though, as her team captured one win after another in the early stages of the competition. She got to go to Las Vegas, shop in Beverly Hills, and go sailing on a lovely California day. But it seemed like her favorite reward was a trip to Knott's Berry Farm, a cowboy-themed amusement park famous for its wild roller coasters.
What really made Nona stand out from the crowd, was her childlike glee at everything from the crazy challenges to many of Gordon Ramsay's mocking remarks. Even when she was enduring a punishment, she always took it in stride and made the best of the moment. You certainly couldn't say that about her competition in the finale.
In the kitchen, Nona was a natural mother hen. This might have worked against her but instead, it earned her the respect needed to get her team fighting for her in the end. She was firm and she upheld the standards but she fixed problems like a teacher instead of a dictator. A skill that will come in handy in her new position. Add in the fact that she had the best palate of anyone else on the show and you can see why she came out on top.
It's an exciting new chapter in the life of this young chef and we wish her well!
That's it, folks. Another season of Hell's Kitchen
put to bed. Not the best year to be sure, but it did give us Sabrina and Raj, who will go down in the show's history as two of the most "interesting" contestants. Final thoughts from the fans?
Take a look back at season 8!Check out the finale recap!
(Image courtesy of FOX)