Tomorrow night, Hell’s Kitchen Season 8 will come to a close with either Nona or Russell taking home the big prize. Before we get there, we thought we’d take a look back at how we got here.

It all began on September 22, when 16 chefs arrived, most of them inappropriately dressed, for their first taste of Hell’s Kitchen.

Dumb and Dumber

Right at the start, we had our eyes on two contestants, Sabrina and Raj. Unfortunately, they stood out for all the wrong reasons. Sabrina had to cook her signature dish while she teetered around the kitchen in high heels and pants that looked like they were vacuum sealed to her thighs. In one of her first confessionals, she expressed her displeasure at being treated like a ditz.

“If I were a male. If I were older. If I were fatter. . . those people get more respect.”

But if being an older, heavier male was all it took to win this thing, then Raj would have had it in the bag, but no. Raj, a 49-year-old personal chef from Queens, NY stole every moment in front of the camera with his ridiculous antics. It began with his disgusting looking seafood pancake signature dish. Then, when it came time to relax in the dorms, Raj stunned his teammates with an unexpected display of martial arts.

“I start drinking and I start doing karate. It’s a bad habit,” said Raj and we agree. Drinking and side kicks do not mix.

In the third episode, Raj put himself in charge of clean-up. That is, he decided to clean up all the food Ramsay had rejected by eating it. His defense for munching on the job? “It’s really tasty!” With the amount of food that goes into the garbage in Hell’s Kitchen, it’s nice to know that at least a small portion didn’t go to waste.

We Hardly Knew Ya

Hell’s Kitchen lost two chefs on the first night out and it’s not likely that you’ll remember the name of one of them. The one you might remember is Antonia because she got carted away in an ambulance. The incident happened during prep. She was doing an on-camera confessional (if you can believe the editing) and left suddenly complaining of a severe headache. She made it as far as the hallway where she promptly collapsed. When medics arrived, she said that she had a migraine and those can be killer, but it looked like more when she was shown trembling and gasping for breath. She was taken to the hospital and that was the last we ever saw of her.

Even though they were down one, Ramsay still sent another chef home at then end of service. It was Lisa LaFranca, a corporate food director from South Carolina. If you’d like to get to know her better, you can check her out on Facebook.

You Don’t Look a Day Over 99!

This season, Hell’s Kitchen celebrated its 100th birthday. It was a not-so-big bash with a blimp and four former winners, Roc, Danny, Holli and Christina, who got to watch the show from the chef’s tables. The only other celebs in the house were two supporting actors from Glee. Not exactly the guest list you’d expect for Gordon Ramsay’s 100th. Except for the cake and the blimp, it was pretty much business as usual, you know, badly cooked food, starving diners and lots of cursing. Happy anniversary!

Wednesday Night Fights

This season of Hell’s Kitchen was self-described as the most combative ever and it may be true. It does seem like the level of venom reached an all new high and it’s incredible that it never came to blows. It also feels like the most “bleeped” season with an unprecedented number of curse words being spewed in every episode.

One of the biggest blowouts was the fight between Sabrina and Melissa. Tired of being put up for elimination (after only four episodes), Sabrina went wild and Melissa shot back, “Calm down your little ghetto attitude.” That resulted in Sabrina getting in her face and hand cramps for the tech pushing the bleep button. Seriously? These people expect to run a kitchen? I get standing up for yourself, but this year’s Hell’s Kitchen contestants pushed it too far.

It’s Raawww!

The one thing that stands out most in Hell’s Kitchen Season 8, is Gordon Ramsay’s battle cry of, “It’s Raawww!” Thanks to incompetent chefs, Ramsay was given an opportunity to shout this line at least once per service. Usually, it’s accompanied by the throwing of the food, but in the second episode, he slammed his hand down on the raw salmon sending bits flying in all directions. Clean up on aisle four! And five! And six!

It’s been a strange season, that’s for sure. With the double episodes and missing weeks, the crazy contestants and incompetence, it’s a wonder that Ramsay was able to find two chefs worthy of the finale. But he did and they’re getting ready to do battle. Nona vs Russell. The underdog vs. the top dog. Which one will win?

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Cynthia Boris

Writer, BuddyTV