We’re down to the final four in Hell’s Kitchen and it’s been a long, badly-fought war. We lost Sabrina, aka Baby Spice and her feisty, kitten with a whip attitude. We lost Raj, the crazy kitchen ninja and Boris whose cooking was Bad-enough to get him sent home early. And then there was Antonia who collapsed on the first episode and has dropped off the radar.

Yes, it’s been a long season plagued with multiple double episodes, weeks of preemption and enough ruined scallops to make them an endangered species. But now it’s time to take a closer look at the final four to see who, if any of them, deserves to be the head chef at LA Market.

Jillian Flathers

Age: 28
Occupation: Sous Chef
Hometown: Pagosa Springs, CO
Favorite Moment in Hell’s Kitchen: “My favorite moment was after a busy dinner service Chef Ramsay called me and Sabrina out and said that we did a great job. I was so happy because I sort of felt like the rest of the team looked at us as the underdogs, and to get Chef’s approval in front of everyone made me super-excited.”

Favorite Challenge So Far
: “My favorite challenge thus far in Hell’s Kitchen has to be the sushi challenge. I had never touched sushi in my life, and yet could roll better sushi rolls than anyone on my team.”

Pros and Cons:
Jillian’s best asset is her positive attitude. She always bounces back and she’s not above getting help when she needs it and learning from those around her. On the downside, she’s too immature to run a staff. She does well with supervision and help, but she’s not strong enough to supervise others. I’d hire her to cook but not to lead at LA Market.

Trev McGrath

Age: 30
Occupation: Line Cook / Bartender
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Favorite Moment in Hell’s Kitchen:: “My favorite moment by far was when I was the last man standing in the kitchen. Everyone on my team had just gotten sent upstairs, and I was sure I was next to go, but sous chef Scott and I hit it hard and finished service by ourselves!”
Favorite Challenge So Far: “My favorite so far has definitely been the salad challenge. I was complimented by Sarah Tenaglia (Bon Appétit magazine) for the combinations of flavors she was sure wouldn’t work. Strawberries and pork? According to Chef Ramsay, it was a bold move – and one that worked!”

Pros and Cons: At the start of this competition it looked like Trev might be the one to beat. He had confidence and ability and his attitude was good. Somewhere along the way his confidence turned into an over-grown ego and his attitude went to the dark side with a sleazy edge. I can’t see Trev leading a crew in a kitchen. Ramsay may get away with screaming at the staff but in real life, Trev would be cooked and served along with the entrees if he pulled that kind of nonsense at LA Market. Too bad. He could have been a contender. 

Nona Sivley

Age: 29
Occupation: Sous Chef
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Favorite Moment in Hell’s Kitchen: “My favorite moment was probably also the scariest. It was when Chef Ramsay called me back in the kitchen after lineup. He told me I was the ‘jewel in the crown,’ and it was a turning point for me. I really felt that he believed in me and wanted me to do well.”

Favorite Challenge So Far: “My favorite challenge was the blind taste test. It was the breakthrough moment for me. I won it for my team, and it was such a great feeling!”

Pros and Cons: Nona is a real surprise. She came into this competition with some confidence issues and big smile. She seemed like a sweet girl and so I didn’t think she’d last more than a few weeks. But Nona has the ability to be a team player and that’s important when it comes to running a kitchen. She can cook and she learns from her mistakes and takes direction well. The only downside to Nona is that she doesn’t seem strong enough to lead. With her happy disposition and smiling face, I fear she’d be taken advantage of. I’d hire her in a minute to be an assistant chef, but not the head chef of LA Market.

Russell Kook II

Age: 29
Occupation: Sous Chef
Hometown: Madison, WI
Favorite Moment in Hell’s Kitchen: “My favorite moment was the prom dinner service because it was when I first came out of my shell. Chef Ramsay said I was the only chef with a voice; it was such a great moment of validation of my abilities as a chef and a leader.”
Favorite Challenge So Far: “My favorite competition so far has been the ‘shop for four proteins’ challenge. It was such a great experience because it allowed me to be creative and cost-effective at the same time. I knew I could make chicken better than anyone on the Red Team, and when I won, it gave me great satisfaction.”

Pros and Cons: Russell is the only one of this season’s contestants that I can see running LA Market. He was always a good chef with a good attitude, but these last few weeks we’ve seen him step up in ways that are important for a head chef. He not only took charge when the kitchen was falling apart, but he took the time to teach the other chefs how to handle their stations when he could have let them fail. He’s shown himself to be a leader and that’s just what Gordon Ramsay needs for the position. If anyone but Russell wins this thing, then there better be a loophole in the prize portion of the contract because none of the others could handle a job this big.

What do you think? Is Russell the only real candidate for the position? Or do you think one of the other three could swoop in for the win?

Cr: Mathieu Young/FOX   

Cynthia Boris

Writer, BuddyTV