Last night on Hell’s Kitchen’s Season Nine finale, the four finalists got a special surprise before the challenge. They got to spend some time with their immediate families. Paul got to visit with his brother, Elise got to visit with her husband and son, Tommy got to visit with his 19 year old girlfriend (who he couldn’t keep his hands off of) and his mother, and Will got to visit with his wife and mother.
Then came time for the challenge, and it was a difficult one: Taste it, then make it. Chef Ramsey put an already prepared dish in front of them without giving them any information about it. They had to figure out the main ingredient, garnish, spices, and preparation technique.
Elise went with halibut, Will and Tommy went with monk fish, while Paul went with cod. Three of the four wrapped their fish in prosciutto. Only Tommy incorrectly wrapped his in Serrano ham, insisting that prosciutto was too salty. And all four used mushrooms, kale and a cream sauce. The chef who came closest to Chef Ramsey’s original dish was Paul.
His reward was a day at Dodger Stadium with his brother. They got to go onto the field before the game and meet some of the players. The highlight of the day was meeting former New York Yankee legend and now LA Dodger manager Don Mattingly. Since Paul was from New York, he couldn’t have been happier.
The other three were stuck moving furniture and cleaning the dorms. And let me tell you, those chefs are a disgusting group of individuals. I will never yell at my kids again. OK, maybe I will, but they were they were disgusting. Everything Will pulled out from under a bed, Elise blamed on Jennifer, even though they were pulled out from different beds. This led me to believe that it was actually all hers. Will looked equally as dubious. And if you didn’t see them, believe me, some of those things were science experiments.
As Hell’s Kitchen was about to open, Chef Ramsey informed the four chefs that during this dinner service they would each have a chance at calling orders in from the pass to demonstrate their leadership abilities.
Paul was up first. His first challenge was sending back one of Tommy’s dishes that wasn’t cooked all the way through. Next up, Ramsey tested his quality control ability by putting shrimp in the cappellini instead of lobster. It got by him. He continued to have problems with Tommy, who would not, or could not tell him how long it would take to fire off a fish entrée. This caused Paul to go Gordon Ramsey apoplectic. He was jumping up and down, yelling at Tommy like, well, like Ramsey would. But Tommy just would not answer him. It would have driven any sane person mad.
Next up, Tommy. The other chefs gave him a pretty hard time and didn’t give him a great deal of support. His calls were erratic, uneven, and difficult to understand. At one point, maître’ de James-not-Jean-Philippe, tested his quality control by putting something on a ticket that wasn’t on the menu. Of course, it went right by him as he called it out to the kitchen. Will caught it immediately and called him on it.
Next on the pass was Elise, who would finally have to put her money where her big mouth is. She was certainly clear and concise calling out the orders. She had no problems sending back Tommy’s fish, which looked terrible. She missed a sauce that Ramsey put in front of her instead of another sauce, but that was her only misstep. As much as I hate to say it, because I really, really dislike her, she actually did the best of out of the four of them.
Will stepped up and started calling orders clearly and with authority. Chef Scott tried to trick him by bringing up the wrong meat and Will caught it right away. But then Elise really tried to screw him over by plating spinach that he just told her to recook. He started yelling at her and accused her of trying to sabotage him, and the wheels fell off the Will-mobile. They all pretty much stopped responding to him at that point. Whatever that crazy witch Elise tried to do to him, mission accomplished.
Back at the dorm, they were instructed to come up with reasons why they should stay. Standing in front of Gordon, he didn’t even give them a chance to speak. He told them that there is one person who he is now starting to understand, and he realizes that this person is just not ready to become the Head Chef.
Will told him that he was born to do this, and that’s why he should be in the finale. Paul told him he commanded respect in the last service, Elise told him that she was the epitome was what Hell’s kitchen was all about and everyone told her she couldn’t do it.
Will was the first person to go in to the finals. And Paul was the next person selected to go into the finals. So Elise is finally gone, gone, gone. And my wife Lynn can watch the show again since the there is no way Elise can win.
In part two, the two finalists, Paul and Will, each had to create their own menus for their dinner service. To calm their nerves a little, Chef Ramsey took them out to dinner, along with their families. Paul had his brother while Will had his wife and mother.
But the joke was on them because where they really went was to another kitchen where they had to create five dishes that could appear on the BLT menu, in front of a live audience. The judges were all part of various BLT restaurants around the country. It really looked like they put they’re all into this challenge and showed us things we’ve never seen them do before. They went back and forth, trading points until they were tied 2-2. Then the final decision came down to the president of BLT Steak. Both chefs put a different spin on a filet mignon that made my mouth water. Ultimately, he chose Will’s dish.
Upon returning to Hell’s Kitchen, they had to choose their team. Will chose Tommy, Natalie, Jennifer. Paul chose Elise, Elisabeth, and Jonathon. The last two to be selected were Krupa and Carrie. Will chose Krupa with the single purpose of leaving Carrie on Paul’s team with Elise. Really a great move on his part. As soon as they got in their rooms, Paul told Carrie and Elise that if they fight, he’s putting his foot up their asses.
Before dinner service began, Ramsey wanted to quality check each finalist’s menu. He was very happy with all of Will’s dishes. Not so much with Paul’s. He nixed one of his appetizers and told him that his crabmeat appetizer was bland and boring. Paul was not a happy camper. That’s what he gets for not taste testing the plates himself. The good news was that he still had time to fix it before dinner service started.
In Paul’s Kitchen, Elise screwed up his first ticket by cooking the shrimp wrong. Then Elisabeth messed up the scallops. They just could not get the appetizers out.
In Will’s kitchen, they were getting appetizers out with no problem, until Krupa slowed them down with, what else, but undercooked fish. I wonder if it’s occurred to anyone else but me that this show would go so much smoother if they eliminated all fish products. Rename it, “Hell’s Kitchen, Let’s Eat Meat”. How many times in a season can we hear Ramsey say, “It’s RAWWWRRR!!” “It’s undercooked!!” “It’s cold in the middle!!”
But then in Paul’s kitchen, Jonathon undercooked a whole tray of Beef Wellingtons, throwing my theory right out the window. They all had to go back into the oven a little longer, but he still took them out too soon and they were still undercooked. Paul took Jonathon off the meat station and put Elise on there to try to rescue them. Maybe they should try a season of nothing but desserts. “Hell’s Kitchen, Just Desserts”.
In Will’s kitchen, Krupa still could not send out properly cooked fish. She was definitely the anchor around their necks dragging them down in this one. I think he regretted picking her over Carrie at this point. Will finally took her off of the fish station and put her on dessert. He put Natalie on fish to try to salvage whatever she could.
As service came to an end, Paul did what he could to motivate his team. He appeared to do a great job keeping them going. Will kept his team going until the end. Both handled their teams like seasoned pros.
Ramsey took all of the comment cards from the patrons, and went back over the entire season for each of the two contestants before finally letting Paul be the one to walk through the door.
Surprised? Yeah, me too. (I was so sure that Will was going to win that I had originally typed Will in the preceding sentence – I had to erase it and type Paul). I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it because he appears to be a hell of a chef and he was pretty consistent the entire season. I’m surprised Will didn’t win because he just had that leadership vibe going the entire season.
But the best part of the entire season came at the very end, when they showed outtakes of Chef Ramsey joking and talking with the contestants at various times. The last thing they showed was at the party after Paul was announced as the winner. In a candid moment, he told Elise to just stop being such a bitch. Classic. What else can I possibly say after that?