Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 1)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 1)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 11
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Original run May 30, 2005 (2005-05-30) – August 1, 2005 (2005-08-01)
Season chronology
List of Hell's Kitchen episodes

This article contains contestant information and episode summaries from Season 1 of the American competitive reality television series Hell's Kitchen. Season 1 aired starting on May 30, 2005 and concluded on August 1, 2005.

The show was taped in Los Angeles at KCOP, in a converted former television broadcast facility that previously hosted shows such as The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough in the late '70s to the mid '80s.

Contestants[edit]

The 12 contestants were initially divided into the Blue team and the Red team, but not based on gender as in all the following seasons. The contestants were:

Contestant Age Occupation Hometown
Andrew Bonito 24 Office Assistant Livingston, New Jersey
Jessica Cabo 26 Headhunter Huntington, New York
James "Jimmy" Casey 25 Purchasing Supervisor Williston Park, New York
Mary Ellen Daniels 27 Bartender Belmont, Massachusetts
Jeffery "Dewberry" Dewberry 33 Pastry Chef Stockbridge, Georgia
Jeff LaPoff 28 Finance Manager Orange, New Jersey
Wendy Liu 32 Account Manager Millburn, New Jersey
Christopher "Chris" North 35 Executive Chef Yorktown Heights, New York
Ralph Pagano 36 Professional Chef Livingston, New Jersey
Elsie Ramos 40 Mother of Six Maywood, New Jersey
Carolann Valentino 33 Server's Assistant Dallas, Texas
Michael Wray 27 Professional Chef Fort Collins, Colorado

Credit order: Carolann, Chris, Elsie, Ralph, Michael, Jimmy, Wendy, Jessica, Andrew, Mary Ellen, Dewberry, Jeff

Order of signature dishes: Andrew, Mary Ellen, Wendy, Jimmy, Ralph, Elsie, Dewberry, Chris, Jeff, Jessica, Michael, Carolann

Contestant progress[edit]

Each week, the best member from the losing team during the latest service period ("least bad" as determined by Ramsay) is asked to nominate two of their teammates for elimination; one of these two is sent home by Gordon Ramsay.

Original teams Switched teams Individual Finals
No. Chef 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110/11
1 Michael WIN WIN BoB WIN BoW BoB IN IN IN WINNER
2 Ralph WIN BoB BoW LOSE WIN NOM[n 1] BoW IN IN RUNNER-UP
3 Jessica WIN WIN LOSE BoW WIN BoW NOM NOM[n 1] OUT
4 Elsie BoW LOSE WIN BoB NOM WIN IN OUT[n 1]
5 Jimmy LOSE LOSE WIN WIN LOSE WIN OUT
6 Andrew WIN WIN NOM NOM WIN OUT
7 Chris LOSE BoW WIN WIN OUT
8 Mary Ellen WIN WIN LOSE OUT
9 Wendy WIN WIN OUT
10 Jeff LOSE NOM LEFT
11 Dewberry NOM OUT
12 Carolann OUT
Notes
  1. ^ a b c Chef was nominated by Ramsay


Episodes[edit]

Each episode consisted of a challenge with a reward, a service, nominations for elimination, and an elimination.

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Original air date
1 1 "12 Chefs Compete" May 30, 2005

Signature dishes: The first task for the chefs was to make Ramsay their signature dish. Ramsay was overall disappointed with his first brigade's signature dishes. Andrew's pasta dish was considered bland, Dewberry's baked spaghetti and Jimmy's stuffed chicken breast were both overcooked and Gordon was particularly disappointed with Jimmy's decision of serving the chicken breast with bitter carrot leaves. Michael's decision to leave the roe on his scallops did not fare any better with Gordon, which he found "disgusting". Mary Ellen did not start off well with her endive salad dish which Gordon found boring, Ralph's tuna with hot and cold noodles and Wendy's fried rice were generally unimpressive, Jessica's soft-shelled crabs were considered too hot and Chris, despite trying to impress Gordon with his status as an executive chef, could not execute his salmon dish, which was considered raw, with Gordon finding the fish being served on a wooden plank stupid. Gordon was only impressed by Elsie's and Carolann's dishes. Elsie's turkey tacos were deemed to be "not bad" in spite of terrible presentation, while Carolann had glowing remarks on her chicken Parmesan despite not having experience as a chef; Jeff was the only one of the men to get any comments that were even vaguely positive, as Ramsay liked the sauce in his dish (but felt the overall dish was ruined by overcooked steak and raw mushrooms). Ramsay then stated that there was very little promise. In fact, after witnessing the dishes, Gordon started to panic. His exact words were "How will I ever turn one of these people into a master chef, I'll never know."

Teams: After the challenge, the chefs were divided into the Red Team (Chris, Elsie, Jimmy, Carolann, Jeff, and Dewberry) and the Blue Team (Ralph, Mary Ellen, Jessica, Michael, Wendy, and Andrew).

Service: Ramsay chose Jeff and Ralph to be waiters for their teams in this service. Both teams struggle as Ramsay throws away most of the food. On the Blue Team, Andrew gets confrontational with Ramsay on a dessert while Michael runs out of lobster. Wendy also ran out of potatoes. On the Red Team, Dewberry Elsie had an overcooked risotto which stuck to the plate, but she rebounded with a delightful one. Chris overcooked a piece of salmon, and then Chef Ramsay smashed it on his chef's whites. Jimmy also served up a mangled lamb chop (which was also smashed in to his jacket), and then burned himself when he was getting more meat of the oven. Dewberry got called "an overgrown muppet" by Ramsay because he stood and didn't do any cooking for an hour. Carolann gets yelled at for standing at the dessert station instead of helping. The blue team serves some entrees, but Ramsay shuts the kitchen down.

Losing team: Ramsay says there is "no winner", and declares the Red Team the loser since the Blue Team served some entrees. Elsie is deemed the best of the worst, meaning that she is the best cook of the losing team, and therefore isn't at risk of elimination. For the only time in the show's history, Ramsay gave Elsie a specific time limit (30 minutes) within which to decide on her nominations.

Nominees for elimination: Elsie nominates Carolann, because of her lack of experience, and Dewberry, despite her promise to him, because he had trouble, and she didn't think he had the passion to be in Hell's Kitchen. Ramsay noted that Jimmy and Jeff both dodged bullets. (As a waiter during service, nobody liked Jeff. Ramsay also thought Jimmy was the weakest cook in the Red Kitchen that night.)

Eliminated: Ramsay eliminated Carolann, because she wasn't experienced enough to work in the kitchen and did not help the others in her team until Ramsay directly told her to (ironically, the sole dessert which she served was actually liked by the customers). Ramsay said "I told you 'Never, ever, turn your back on the team.' Tonight you did just that. Didn't show any interest in the team until I told you. This whole competition is about teams. Take your jacket off, now; Hell's Kitchen no longer needs you." [1]

Ramsay's comment: "Some can handle it, some can't. I'm not interested in the ones that can't."
2 2 "11 Chefs Compete" June 6, 2005

At around 5:50AM the following morning. The remaining chefs were woken up by Scott and Mary Ann. They lined up in the kitchen in front of Chef Ramsay at 5:55. However Chris took seven minutes longer to get himself ready before finally coming into the kitchen much to Ramsay's chagrin.

Team challenge: Cleaning squid. The team that could clean and prep the most squid received a dinner with Ramsay. Since the Blue Team had one more member, Michael was forced to sit out. In the Red team, Jimmy, Elsie, and Jeff had each one squid accepted by Chef Ramsay. Ramsay was pleased with both of Dewberry's squids. Chris prepped four squids but only one met Ramsay's standards, bringing the Red team's total to 6. On the blue team Ralph and Mary Ellen had both of their squids accepted by Chef Ramsay. Jessica added another squid to the bunch. Wendy and Andrew's squids were not counted due to holes in the skin on both, and the Blue team's total of 5 prepped squid that met the Chef's standards meant that the Red Team won by one squid.

Reward/Punishment: The Red Team got dinner with Ramsay, while the Blue Team had to prep all the remaining squid for the next service. That night, Jeff moaned on the floor in pain due to kidney stones, which he has suffered from in the past.

Service: For losing the challenge, the Blue Team had to go through service without air conditioning. Both kitchens got off to a good start, but Jeff had lots of trouble on the garnish, and Wendy in the blue kitchen needed Ralph's help to get her starters out. Jeff had trouble because his kidney stone pain came back. Andrew and Mary Ellen bickered over control of the meat station, which slowed them down until sous chef Scott told Andrew to back off, after which Mary Ellen was able to get most of their entrées out. In the red kitchen, Chris helped Elsie cook fish which got more main courses out. After making several mistakes with the Wellingtons, Dewberry nearly walked off the line. However, as he was leaving, he saw Elsie, in shock at his announcement. He then went back to his station because he felt guilty of abandoning his team. After a while, one red table, after waiting 3 hours for Wellingtons, phoned for pizza. This leads to a confrontation between Jean-Phillipe and a customer, which nearly turns into a fight.

Losing team: Ramsay once again was disappointed with the service, and once again, he deemed the Red Team as the losing team. He said Chris was the best of the worst for being a good leader and turning his act around.

Nominees for elimination: Chris nominated Jeff because "He lets his own head get in the way", and Dewberry because "He gets so upset about things".

Elimination: Ramsay eliminated Dewberry, for being a poor performer and for abandoning his team. In Chef Ramsay's exact words, "Dewberry, you're going home for one simple reason: you're a coward, and you turned your back on the team after you screwed them. Take off your jacket, and get out of Hell's Kitchen." After leaving, Dewberry admitted that while he was disappointed to have left, he had no excuse for trying to walk out.[2]

Ramsay's comment: "I'm looking for someone who can weather the storm, inspire individuals, stand as a great leader. That, clearly, is not Dewberry."
3 3 "10 Chefs Compete" June 13, 2005

Jeff's Stones: After just avoiding going home for the second time, Jeff passed his kidney stone. In Fox Reality's Reality Revealed, Jessica was still skeptical, and Jimmy said that he wanted to see it because you don't realize something as the size of a mustard seed can put you in so much pain.

Team change: Since the Blue Team had 2 more members, Michael was transferred to the Red Team in order to even out the number of contestants on each team.

Team challenge: Ramsay asked the teams to cook him a five-course meal of original dishes. The catch was that they only had 10 minutes of shopping time at a local supermarket, and only $100 per team to spend at the market. Ramsay liked 3 dishes from each team, and deemed that the Red Team's dishes went together better, making them the winners.

Reward/Punishment: The Red Team enjoy dinner with Ramsay at a local pub, while the Blue Team had to clean the dorms. Jeff had a major argument with his team-mates prior to the service, with the other Red Team members becoming frustrated at his lack of contribution to the prep session, and Jeff telling them that they shouldn't expect him to work as hard since he had never cooked on the line before (despite the fact that Jimmy and Elsie also lacked any such experience prior to coming on the show).

Service: Two food critics attended the restaurant this service, sampling food from each team, and Ramsay warned the chefs to treat every dish like a critic's. Jeff had trouble getting lobster spaghetti out and got into a fight with Sous Chef Maryann, while Wendy delayed the Blue Team because she kept filling her pan with cold water, thinking it would boil faster than hot water. Some of the Red Team's starters impressed the critics, while Andrew's and Wendy's starters were a mess, one of them causing a customer to throw up. Despite Andrew talking back, Ralph was able to get the Blue Team together. Meanwhile, Jeff continually made mistakes and talked back to Chef Ramsay, eventually calling him an "asshole" under his breath. Maryann heard this, however, and made him repeat in front of Chef Ramsay; Jeff did so out loud, and then he angrily threw off his chef's jacket and walked out of Hell's Kitchen for good, saying he'd had enough. After Jeff's departure, Michael led the Red Team to catch up, while Wendy and Andrew slowed down the momentum Ralph gained for the Blue Team, allowing the Red Team to serve more entrees. Ramsay was once again disappointed, and shut down what he described as the worst service of his career.

Quit: After leaving the kitchen, Jeff quit the show due to an injury, eliminating himself from the game. (A chef wouldn't quit the competition in mid-service again until Season 7, when contestant Andrew Forester walked out, also after arguing with Chef Ramsay.) In the credits for this episode on the Hell's Kitchen Season 1 DVD that Jeff quit due to illness. News reports claim that Jeff's ankle was sprained during a scuffle with Ramsay.[3]

Losing Team: Once again saying there is no winner, Ramsay relied on the critic's comments to determine a loser. They like the Red Team's food better, and combined with their ability to catch up after losing Jeff, declared the Blue Team the loser, with their leader Ralph the best of the worst.

Nominees for elimination: Ralph nominated Andrew, because of his confrontational attitude, and Wendy, due to her many mistakes.

Eliminated: Wendy, because of her constant mistakes in all three services and lack of basic culinary knowledge, which Ramsay said made her "painful" to work with.[4]

Ramsay's comment: "The third night of Hell's Kitchen was shocking, really bad. I'm hoping we step up a gear, we raise our game and we start coming together, as a preparation. Jeff well, I had to laugh at the end when he called me an asshole. I've been called far worse than that. Wendy well, you know it's about time I put you out of your misery."
4 4 "8 Chefs Compete" June 20, 2005

Team challenge: Ramsay passed the two teams to Jean-Phillipe, his maitre d', for a 30 minute lesson in how to properly set a dining table. The teams then had to replicate a sample table containing 96 items within a 5 minute time period. The Red Team made four mistakes, while the Blue Team made only one.

Reward/Punishment: The Blue Team enjoyed massages in the dorms, while the Red Team had to clean all of the restaurant's silverware.

Service: Ramsay taught the teams how to make frog legs and pigeon, which was added to the menu. Since they lost the challenge, the Red Team has to set all 100 tables in the dining room. Ramsay says that he won't close until one team serves all their tables, and that would be the winning team. Both teams start strong, but despite Andrew's struggles, the Blue Team, with Jimmy slowing the Red Team down with his garnishes and Jessica's strong performance, takes an early lead. Mary Ellen, though, slows the Blue Team down when her risottos returned and despite recovering quite quick, she forgot one more dish that was on order, meaning that she had to start the whole table over again, which brings them to a halt. On the Red Team, Elsie's excellent performance on the meat station allowed the Red Team to serve all their tables first, prompting Ramsay to close.

Winning Team: Keeping his promise, Ramsay declared the Red Team the winners, and congratulated them on being the first winning team. He declared Jessica the best of the worst for her strong performance.

Nominees for elimination: Jessica nominated Andrew for his confrontational attitude and Mary Ellen for slowing down the team.

Eliminated: Mary Ellen for being the main reason for the Blue Team's loss, as well as her inconsistency as the chef had said.[5] Ramsay added that he thought Andrew had more potential than Mary Ellen, but warned him that "time is not your friend right now."

Ramsay's comment: "Mary Ellen has left Hell's Kitchen because of her inconsistency. What the rest of the team should understand, is that it is very crucial, to get better and more consistent. That didn't happen with Mary Ellen."
5 5 "7 Chefs Compete" June 27, 2005

In this episode, the show's introduction (showing Ramsay's history) was abridged by about 40 seconds.

Menu Change: To shake things up, Ramsay threw out the entire previous menu and created a new menu featuring pasta dishes.

Team challenge: As Ramsay changed the menu to feature pasta, the two teams had 20 minutes to turn raw dough into as much spaghetti as possible, judged by suitability for serving in the restaurant and total weight. Since the red team had one more person, Chris had to sit out. The Blue team made 2.41 pounds of acceptable noodles, while the Red Team made 2.45 pounds.

Reward/Punishment: The Red Team won wine and cheese on a gondola ride, while the Blue Team had to make all the remaining pasta for the service.

Service: The service was divided into 2 services, each team would cook in one and wait on tables in the other. Since the Red Team won, they got to choose the order and chose to cook first. The Red Team has a subpar service, Jimmy, Elsie, and Chris all struggling to prepare quality food. After they switched and the second service began, Michael came up with a plan to urge the customers to order lasanga, slowing down the Blue Team. Jimmy had problems on both sides of the service, serving food on dirty bowls and sweating profusely. The plan worked, but the dishes they managed to complete were satisfactory. However, the Blue Team took too long and Ramsay closed up.

Winning Team: Although they left 42 tables without food, the Blue Team's food overall had better quality and they served better, so Ramsay declared the Blue Team the winners. Michael (who, for the only time this season, was on the losing team in a service) was deemed the best of the worst.

Nominees for elimination: As the most experienced chefs, Chris and Michael made a pact to nominate Jimmy and Elsie. Michael did nominate Elsie, but because he became friends with Jimmy and that Chris was a threat, Michael nominated Chris instead.

Eliminated: Chris, as Ramsay explained that someone who boasts about their skills needs to step up and meet that expectation or else be eliminated.[6] "When someone constantly tells me how good they are and constantly self promotes, but doesn't deliver the goods, that pisses me off." This message would later turn out to be one of the most important aspects Ramsay will look for in any chef in future seasons. (Scott from Season 7 is the example.)

Ramsay's comment: "When you come into the kitchen and announce that you are an executive chef, you expect a little bit more than what I got from Chris. If he's been telling the world that he has that amount of knowledge, then he should have been 10 times better."
6 6 "6 Chefs Compete" July 11, 2005

The intro was changed again, taking out the entire part about Ramsay's past, and moving the recap of the previous episode to the very beginning, instead of after the sequence where all the contestants are introduced.

Team challenge: Team members were blindfolded and earmuffed and then asked to identify various foods on taste alone. Each participant had to identify 4 different food items. The Red Team won, correctly identifying four items, while the Blue Team only got one. Elsie set a record, 3, which went unbeaten until Season 10.

Reward/Punishment: The Red Team went wine tasting at LA's finest restaurants with Ramsay, while the Blue Team has to clean all the restaurant's pots and pans.

Menu Change: Always one to shake things up, Ramsay threw out the entire menu yet again, and asked each team to create menus of their own. The two teams were going to compete head-to-head, with diners choosing to eat from the Red menu or the Blue menu. The Red Team came to a consensus on their menu, while the Blue Team's menu was mostly made up of dishes suggested by Ralph.

Service: Unlike previous services, each customer will be able to pick from the Red or Blue Menu this service. Ramsay says that he will chose a winner based on the number of people that ordered from their menu, along with quality of the food. Since they lost the challenge, the Blue Team has to enter a combination to get to their store room. Andrew tries putting tape on the door to keep it open, only to get caught by Sous Chef Scott and reprimanded. Scott then told the team that as an additional punishment for Andrew's actions, they would now only be permitted to remove one thing from the storeroom at a time. The Blue Team gets 11 more orders, and Jimmy slows down the Red Team, but Michael and Elsie are able to get their orders served, while the Blue Team struggles as a whole, especially Ralph and Andrew. When Ramsay notices Ralph waving to two girls in the restaurant, he decides that he has had enough and shuts Hell's Kitchen down. While cleaning up, Michael insulted Jimmy kickstarting an argument between the two and almost breaking their freindship.

Winning Team: Neither team served all their tables, but the Red Team were deemed the winners, since they served more tables overall (despite getting fewer orders) and their feedback across all courses was decent; by comparison the Blue Team's starters were well-liked by the customers, but the feedback for the entrées was awful, with nearly a third of them being returned to the kitchen. Jessica is deemed the best of the worst, despite her sub-par performance, since Ralph and Andrew were much worse.

Nominees for elimination: Jessica nominated Andrew because of her respect for Ralph, but Ramsay called out Ralph as well.

Eliminated: Andrew, due to his confrontational attitude and many mistakes. On Fox Reality's Reality Revealed, Andrew said that he and Ralph were bickering and having an argument that lasted for twenty minutes until Chef Ramsay finally said, "You know, for the first day I met you Andrew, you're not the kind of big-headed arrogant little quack like you are. Now you are telling me that Ralph manipulated your dish to becoming the poached halibut. Andrew, give me your jacket."[7]

Ramsay's comment: "Andrew's gone tonight because he's out of his depth, and I discovered a fake. He can't cook."
7 7 "5 Chefs Compete" July 11, 2005

Ramsay assigned the remaining five contestants to a single kitchen team, wearing black, where each contestant was now going to compete as an individual.

Challenge: Ramsay demonstrated how to make tableside fruit flambe. Based on Ramsay's opinion of presentation and taste, Jimmy and Elsie placed 1st and 2nd respectively.

Reward/Punishment: Jimmy received a helicopter trip over L.A. and was allowed to bring someone along; he chose Michael. The other 3 people must clean the dining room.

Before Service: Ramsay announced that one of them will be serving tableside caesar salad and fruit flambe. Being the winner of the fruit flambe challenge, Jimmy needs to nominate one person to be responsible for that. He nominated Elsie as she was runner up in the challenge. Afterwards, Ramsay gave Sous Chefs Scott and Mary Ann the night off.

Service: During service, things were going well until the lights goes out but moments later, the lights come back on. Meat orders starts to pile in and Jessica misplaces her filets mignon, which Michael finds; the show implies that Michael may have hid them himself, but this is never confirmed. Jimmy accidentally threw away a complete lobster dish, struggled on risotto, and for the first time during his stay, Jimmy stood up to Chef Ramsay. Ramsay requested Ralph work alongside him at the hotplate. Based on performance in the kitchen, Ramsay selected Ralph as the day's best.

Nominees for elimination: Although Elsie had asked Ralph to send her home, Ralph decided to nominate Jessica and Jimmy. Based on Jimmy's poor performance and an in-kitchen confrontation during the service period between Ramsay and Jimmy, Ramsay eliminated Jimmy, and noted that he should be proud of how far he had come.[8]

Ramsay's comment: "This is when we really start to find out who can handle the heat, and who can't. Clearly tonight, Jimmy couldn't."
8 8 "4 Chefs Compete" July 18, 2005

Challenge: Ramsay gave the final four contestants fifteen minutes each to create an original dish from a tray of fifteen different leftovers from the previous evening's service. Among the ingredients were macaroni, parsnips, chicken, beef, raspberries, and a lemon. Elsie made chicken soup. Ralph made a side dish of grilled chicken wings. Jessica made beef stew and a raspberry dessert. Michael made a pasta dish with chicken. Elsie won the challenge as Ramsay said that she used the most ingredients as well as having a hearty, tasty soup that he would order in a restaurant.

Reward: As a reward, Elsie accompanied Ramsay to a taping of Good Day Live, where they demonstrated how to make risotto.

Service: The next service period did not have any twists. Elsie was asked to assign the team members to various tasks on the line. During the service, Ramsay reassigned the team twice as he felt that there was inadequate communication between the team members. This lack of communication may not have been accidental; Michael, Ralph, and Jessica had previously agreed not to help Elsie if she asked for advice. After seeing enough agony from Jessica and Elise, along side two tables walking out, Ramsay shut the kitchen down.

Eliminated: At the end of service, Ramsay did not select a leader to nominate somebody; he nominated Elsie and Jessica as the weakest performers that night. Both women gave their statements (notably, Ramsay asked Elsie if she had the support of the team in which Elsie replied that she had despite her rivals deciding to not help her). Ramsay then eliminated Elsie, but noted warmly that he was very proud of her for getting this far, without any prior restaurant experience.[9]
9 9 "3 Chefs Compete" July 25, 2005

Having been woken up at 4 AM unexpectedly, the three remaining contestants are told that they have to bake bread for the night's service. Jessica, who had had a lot to drink that night, went back to bed. Michael and Ralph did the majority of the work.

Challenge: On very little sleep, the three finalists were then asked to create a soufflé. Ralph's was the winner, followed by Michael's, then Jessica's.

Reward: As a reward, Ralph got to choose which dish he would be creating that night: beef, chicken, or tuna. Ralph chose beef, Michael tuna, and Jessica was left with chicken.

Service: Unbeknownst to the contestants, members of their families were seated in the restaurant for the service. They had a chance to try each of the specialty dishes and select their favorite, not knowing who had made each one. Despite Jessica's struggling with the desserts, the service was a success as for the first time, no dishes were returned by the customers and a fully booked dining room left the restaurant happy and full. (Ramsay "I am a very proud man.")

When the time came to choose one contestant to leave, their family members appeared. Ramsay tells them to vote for each's favorite dish. Michael's tuna got the most votes, followed by Ralph's filet mignon. Jessica's chicken only got one vote.

Eliminated: With only one vote for her dish, Jessica was chosen. However, Ramsay told Jessica that "deep down inside, you know you weren't as good as Michael and Ralph," and asked her to leave. He told her that she'd entered through the front door, and she'd earned the right to exit through the front door.[10] Jessica becomes the first contestant in Hell's Kitchen to be eliminated immediately after service without Ramsay asking the teams to deliberate on nominees. This doesn't happen until Tennille Middleton in the thirteenth episode of season six.
10/11 10/11 "2 Chefs Compete/Finale" August 1, 2005

Michael and Ralph are informed that Hell's Kitchen is going to be split in two for the final service, with each contestant decorating their own restaurant, choosing the service uniforms, and creating the menu.

Challenge: The two finalists cooked their signature dishes and put them on the street asking random people to taste the dishes and say which one is better. Michael won with a 12 to 6 score. Ralph said that Michael won because his food was built for the street while his was built to be in a restaurant.

Service #1: The two finalists had practice before the Main dinner service by cooking for the workers and there were some problems. Michael's main problem is that he was very quiet. Ralph's main problem was he missed a crab in the crab risotto that Michael sent. Ironically Ralph thanked Michael after that.

Restaurant Designing: The two finalists were able to renovate Hell's Kitchen however they liked. Michael went with an LA-modern style theme named Lola Pop (named for his wife, Lola), while Ralph decided to go with more of a New York style Steakhouse he called Frank & Lulu's (named for dogs owned by himself and a friend).

Reward: Six of the previously eliminated contestants returned to help Michael and Ralph compete in the big challenge. Since Michael won he had the first pick and he said he was going to "fuck" Ralph and picked Jessica, while Ralph decided to favor his former Blue team colleagues over the chefs who had previously been on the Red team. Michael's team consisted of Jessica, Jimmy, and Elsie. Ralph's Team consisted of Andrew, Wendy, and Dewberry, who Michael said would be a handicap for Ralph.

Service: Before service, Andrew accidentally cut his finger and was rushed to the hospital, but quickly returned after receiving stitches, stating that he cannot stand missing service. Michael started off too quiet while Ralph started strong, although he often left his position at the pass to help his brigade on their stations. Jessica, clearly unhappy that she is not on Ralph's team, refuse to accept Michael's authority as head chef, which leads to an argument with Elsie. Two dishes from Michael's dining room returned, one from Elsie's starter, which had a bit of plastic in it, and another from Jimmy's steak, which was a bit under-cooked. On Ralph's team, his brigade could barely keep up with Ralph's demands. Dewberry became overheated and nearly fainted, but was convinced to rejoin in the kitchen. Both kitchens finished strongly on deserts, which Ralph's team rallying behind him and Michael having finally asserted his position.

Ultimate Decision: After the service, Ramsay praised both Michael and Ralph, saying that all of the customers loved their food and atmosphere, but one thing helped him make his decision: the number of customers who would return. While one scored 90% on this question, the other scored 94%. Ramsay declared Michael the winner. Ramsay then made Michael an offer: the original prize of his own restaurant, or an invitation to join Ramsay in London to work and learn alongside him at one of his restaurants (This was the only time in which a winner or a chef of Hell's Kitchen impressed Chef Ramsay so much that he gave an offer to work alongside him). Michael accepted the offer to work in London.[11]

Winner: Michael was the first winner of Hell's Kitchen as he got 94% of Michael's customers said they would return to his restaurant as opposed to 90% of Ralph's.

Ramsay's comment: "Ralph was great tonight but Michael deserved to win because his creativity and standards are simply on a higher level."

Epilogue[edit]

Michael was the Executive Head Chef at The Standard in Los Angeles, California. His original plan was go to the UK to learn under Ramsay, but as a newlywed, and with he and his wife wanting to start a family, he decided it was the wrong time to move. He made an appearance in the third season finale where he, along with other cooks, judged Rock's and Bonnie's dishes.

Ralph had a protege, Royce Wagner, competing in Season 10 of Hell's Kitchen. Chef Ramsay even called Ralph in order to get his student motivated and had by far his best performance after the phone call. Unfortunately Royce did not come close to meeting the same level of success as his mentor and came in at 10th place.

References[edit]