In a conference call with the media on Thursday afternoon, just hours before Part One of the Hell’s Kitchen Season Finale aired on FOX, Gordon Ramsay ran down the differences between his two remaining competitors, Paula Dasilva, the 28-year-old executive sous chef from Coconut Creek, Florida, and Danny Veltri, the 23-year-old executive chef from Edgewater, Florida.
Both are solid chefs who hail from the Sunshine State, but the similarities, according to Ramsay, may end there.
“Paula is very strong-minded; she has a focus of a long-distance swimmer,” said the sharp-tongued host, who is on his fifth season of the cook-off reality program. “You know, she’s durable; her mind is set, she is incredibly creative, and more importantly, she has this really nice, sort of charming influence about her, a very sort of demure sort of attractive personality, because it’s just so controlled.”
And her competition, the youngest chef this season on Hell’s Kitchen?
“Danny is a young, ambitious, very tenacious young guy. When you have an individual like that that is just keen to get it right he learns by his mistakes. I think the bold, exciting move about Danny in terms of what he stands for is he didn’t hold back, he’s happy to make mistakes, but more importantly, the only way you progress in this industry is by making mistakes and learning. He doesn’t take it in a defensive manner.”
Where they may differ in their strengths, Ramsay was confident that Danny and Paula are the perfect set to compete head-to-head for his grand prize, an executive chef position at the Borgota Resort in Atlantic City.
“These two individuals, I told them both straight, as far as I’m concerned, the best two we’ve had,” Ramsay said, adding that both are “equally good enough to have won any other season, hands down, individually.”
In the Part One of the Hell’s Kitchen Finale, Danny and Paula were each tasked with imagining and creating their dream restaurant, from the menu down to the decor and name. So who has the upperhand in this final contest of creativity? Again, it’s a toss-up:
Regarding Paula: “When she’s in the kitchen and she is on fire, you know, she cooks brilliantly. Highly creative, and a woman that definitely knows what she wants, and not scared to be bold.”
On the other hand, Danny has “that level of vibrance with someone so young,” said Ramsay. “It’s hard to become that disciplined in your 30s. If you start like that with your 20s and you have that kind of attitude with that pure focusness, then the sky is the limit.” Veltri is, “a very quick learner, so he’s got it all to gain.”
Ramsay couldn’t hint at which of the final Floridians will end up taking home his cash prize and career-making job at the Borgata, partly because it’s such a tough call.
“There’s only one that has the edge, but it’s very, very tough to separate them.”
Be sure to tune in Thursday, May 14 at 9 PM on FOX to watch the final dinner service of the season, when Danny and Paula will each team up with a brigade of past contestants to fulfill the most important dinner service of their lives.
“Right now, they must be absolutely petrified,” said the master chef, who will ultimately decide the winner. “They have to make this one count, because there’s no rehearsal.”
Next Thursday at 9 PM EST: Join me when I livethought the Hell’s Kitchen finale, and we finally see who can stand the heat in Hell’s Kitchen! (After which I will be taking questions for the final two chefs for our exit interviews… feel free to submit any questions for Paula and Danny now in the comments section or via our BuddyTV Twitter!)
And don’t forget: Hell’s Kitchen Fantasy TV is in its last leg! Make your final choice now for a chance to be at the top of the leaderboard!
-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image courtesy of FOX