If you watch Hell’s Kitchen, you already know that Christina Machamer overcame exceptional odds to win of the fourth season of the notorious show, becoming the executive sous chef at at the London West Hollywood Hotel. Check in each week as Christina “dishes up” her insights on Hell’s Kitchen‘s fifth season, her notorious new boss, and life after reality TV stardom.

By Christina Machamer

As we near the halfway point of Season 5, I think back to my first impressions of this year’s contestants and wonder, “WHAT THE HELL IS LACEY STILL DOING ON THIS SHOW!?” 

She is a lethargic complainer who lacks any competence whatsoever. Worse than our suffering of Lacey each week is the reputation she has gained.  How will that girl ever have a career in this industry when each week she appears to get worse? Maybe for the patrons that’s a good thing.  Robert said that she should be a chef at a  psycho ward so that she could get some free help.  I think that is more than she deserves.  So, now that this is off my chest, I can get back to the “real” contestants, and how they compare to my first impressions.

I think, (well, hope mostly) that the final four will come down to Robert, Paula, Danny, and Giovanni.  I know I was thrown in the beginning with “Gio’s” inability to explain polenta to a guest, and then there was a slight hang-up with cooking steaks, however on the red team he was able to unite, communicate, and lead.  I think this bodes well for his future success.  Plus, half of the victors in Hell’s Kitchen have carried the title of “Executive Chef.”  I am prime example of how little your title equates to your success on this show, but maybe I was an exception to the rule.

Which brings me to the second “Executive Chef,” Danny.  For some reason I like Danny.  In the beginning I worried for his fate after his fight with Chef Ramsay.  I think I might have said that few last long enough to argue with the Chef twice.  Since this outburst, Danny has put forth a solid presence in challenges, as well as during service.  The only negative thought I have for the Floridian is how does one become an executive chef at the age of 23?  That seems awfully young to me.  Many people thought I was too young, as the title of “student” doesn’t necessarily imply a 27-year-old who had been cooking since she was five… but that is another digression.

Paula is my boyfriend’s favorite chef-testant this season, and from episode one he has predicted that she would win.  Of course, I thought I knew better, but he did have solid reasons for choosing her over the others.  We viewers have really never heard anything negative about Paula during service.  To the contrary, she handled herself well on the meat station (arguably the most difficult position), she is the strongest person overall in challenges, and has never been a target for elimination.  There is no reason why Paula won’t make it to the finals and beyond… then again, this show is all about expecting the unexpected.

My final pick for the top four is also my favorite, Robert.  From the first episode when he offered to trade places with Wil, I fell in love with Robert.  Robert’s confessions are hil-ar-ious!  He works hard, cares for others, and all in all make this show interesting to watch amongst all of the incompetence. Go, Robert, go!

Andrea and Carol should spend less time arguing and more time checking their mise en place.  The whole feud thing was done last season.  Sure, Corey and I hated each other in the beginning, but even though I wanted her out of Hell’s Kitchen, we still were able to work together.  That is called being professional.  I may not have liked her but that does not matter to the customers—the product matters.  Carol and Andrea should get over themselves and their petty disagreements.  I don’t think either will win, so their grievances don’t really matter, anyway.  I do wish Carol would take off that silly hair piece whilst working in the kitchen, but I guess that as well falls under the realm of professionalism.

I really thought LA would go far this season, but now her time is running short.  She has had a mostly decent performance, but has not really shined in any way.  Mediocrity will only get you half way through the season. 

I had decent impressions of Ben in the beginning, but after the rise of “angry ben,” I have realized that this Executive Sous Chef is just “all sizzle and no steak.”  He always talks about his abilities and then fails to produce.  In addition, he talked Lacey OUT of quitting twice, which tells me he’s not very bright.  Sometimes less is more.

Last is J, who didn’t even make it to eliminations.  He was sacked in the middle of service, and for good reason.  At first, I had favorable opinions of J.  He wasn’t really featured in the first few episodes, which often means good things.  Then he started to crumble.  ”But J doesn’t fail, J will focus and J will come back, ‘cause J is doing this for J’s son and J’s wife, and J always talks big game about J in the third person.” 

So what do we have to look forward to next week?  The elimination of Lacey!  Although most of my first impressions were wrong, I am hoping this premonition finds truth.  So as I begrudgingly wait for one (particular) chef’s dream to be squashed, eat well and be well.

After graduating at the top of her class from The Culinary Institute of America and putting in decades of work in some of the country’s top kitchens, Christina Machamer’s hard work has been rewarded with a Hell’s Kitchen triumph. Now settled into her new West Hollywood digs, she and her partner Cory Lemieux venture into the artisan spice trade with their online company bcbcblends.com. Look for Christina, as she travels the country, seeking out food shows, farmer’s markets, and a possible location for her next culinary adventure.

Read more by Christina:
Hell’s Kitchen Insider: A Bar Mitzvah To Remember
Hell’s Kitchen Insider: V-C-I-T-O-R-Y?
Hell’s Kitchen Insider: The Pressure Cooker
Hell’s Kitchen Insider: Another One Gigabytes the Dust!
Hell’s Kitchen Insider: Chef Ramsay Loves a Fighter
Hell’s Kitchen Insider: First Impression

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.