This week on Hell’s Kitchen, it all comes down to the wire. Who of the four remaining chefs, Elise, Will, Paul and Tommy will scoop up the grand prize of the head chef position at BLT Steak in New York City? After the obligatory “surprise” visit by their family meant to give the cartoonish contestants somewhat more recognizable character traits, it was on. What hijinks did Gordon Ramsay concoct this time?

Fish and baseball

The last challenge of the season was the much dreaded “taste it, now make it” challenge in which the contestants have to taste one of Chef Ramsay’s dishes, figure out the ingredients and recreate the dish as best as they can. For the uninformed at home, the dish looked like some kind of white fish wrapped in some kind of ham with some kind of greens. Well, the fish was subject to some debate among the contestants.

Both Will and Tommy determined it to be monkfish, while Elise took it to be halibut and Paul chose Cod. With Tommy out from the get go because he used Serrano ham instead of prosciutto who would win it? It was Paul, the only one to guess that it was Cod. So while Paul was sent to the Dodger’s game as a reward the rest of the bunch had to move some furniture in Hell’s Kitchen in anticipation of the big finale.

Hot Plate and Hot Heads

The traditional contestants-run-the-hotplate game kicked off entertainingly this time with Paul having to go first and finding himself in front of Tommy on the fish station who would. not. talk. at. all. How long for the seabass? No answer. Which prompted Paul to pretty much jump up and down like a chimp while yelling incoherently.

Also: he didn’t spot that Chef Scott gave him shrimp instead of lobster. As Elise observed: “that’s not leadership.” Tommy himself was more of a wacky klutz who couldn’t articulate properly, Elise suddenly discovered her standards and generally showed rather superior leadership and Will somehow managed to turn his brigade against him in no time. As Chef Ramsay put it: “Everybody had their ups and downs.

Two Chefs Remain

Tommy had the more downs and was eliminated by Chef Ramsay right away. And after begging to not be eliminated Elise was eliminated as well because apparently Paul “commands the kitchen better and won’t back down no matter what.” So be it. “Your biggest service is yet to come!” Chef Ramsay ominously announces to Will and Paul.

Grinning and Bearing?

So first, the two remaining chefs have to cook a three-course menu for executive chefs and bosses of BLT Steak. As always in Hell’s Kitchen, contestants that seemed to be incapable morons last week suddenly turn out to be decent chefs – unless everyone just grinned and beard it. But from early on, Will positioned himself to be the favorite of the night winning the challenge and impressing Chef Ramsay more with the menu he created for the dinner service. When Gordon critiques a few things about Paul’s menu he suddenly tears up and confesses that he promised his mom before she died that he would win Hell’s Kitchen. I’m sure that’s exactly what she wanted to hear at that moment.

And the Winner is…

Even at dinner service, Paul seems to go under quick. Fish “is mush!” as Chef Ramsay yells, steaks are raw and his brigade seems just generally clueless. Will, on the other hand, has to deal with some setbacks from his brigade but seems more composed and competent where Paul is simply desperate. But through smart editing and general reality TV narrative logic, Will soon joins Paul in his struggle to get his kitchen under control.

And in an unexpected upset Will won the competition, screaming and jumping like a child, sure that his mother wouldn’t have wanted anything else for him than to win a trashy reality TV show. Congratulations to him and might his career flourish and prosper.

What did you think? Happy/upset about Paul’s win? How did you feel about the entire season? What was your favorite Ramsay-ism?

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV