Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 5)
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|Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 5)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||15|
|Original run||January 29, 2009– May 14, 2009|
(U.S. season 4)
Executive Chef Daniel Veltri won the series and was awarded a sous chef position under Stephen Kalt at Italian restaurant Fornelletto at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Danny also received $250,000 in prize money from the show .
- 1 Chef and staff members
- 2 Contestants
- 3 Contestant progress
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Epilogue
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Chef and staff members
- Chef – Gordon Ramsay
- Sous chefs – Scott Leibfried (Blue Team), Gloria Felix (Red Team)
- Maître d' – Jean-Philippe Susilovic
16 chefs competed in Season 5, and were initially separated into the Blue team and Red team by gender. The chefs were:
|Coi Burruss||22||Cafe Chef||Austin, Texas|
|Ji-Hyun "Ji" Cha||33||Private Caterer||Palisades Park, New Jersey|
|Colleen Cleek||41||Culinary Instructor||Papillion, Nebraska|
|Lacey D'Angelo||24||Corporate Buffet Cook||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Paula da Silva||28||Executive Sous Chef||Coconut Creek, Florida|
|Giovanni Filipponi||37||Executive Chef||Destin, Florida|
|Andrea Heinly||30||Line Cook||Reading, Pennsylvania|
|Robert Hesse||29||Sous Chef||Quogue, New York|
|William Wil Kocol||28||Quality Control Chef||Elgin, Illinois|
|Seth Levine||27||Private Party Chef||New York, New York|
|Alicia "LA" Limtiaco||22||Line Cook||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Jason "J" Maxwell||32||Food Court Chef||Clifton Park, New York|
|Charles "Charlie" McKay||24||Prep Chef||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Carol Scott||30||Sous Chef||Knoxville, Tennessee|
|Daniel "Danny" Veltri||23||Executive Chef||Edgewater, Florida|
|Benjamin "Ben" Walanka||26||Executive Sous Chef||Chicago, Illinois|
Credit Order:Carol, J, Colleen, Giovanni, Ji, Wil, Paula, Ben, Lacey, Danny, Coi, Charlie, Andrea, Seth, LA, Robert
Each week, the best member (as determined by Ramsay) from the losing team during the latest service period is asked to nominate two of their teammates for elimination; one of these two is meant to be sent home by Ramsay. On some weeks, there is a variation in the nomination process, depending on the losing team's (or even winning team's) performance.
- Contestant was nominated for elimination, but was not eliminated
- Contestants were eliminated
- Contestant was fired during service
- Contestant voluntarily left the competition
- The winner of Hell's Kitchen
- The runner-up of Hell's Kitchen
Each episode consists of a challenge with a reward, a service, nominations for elimination, and an elimination.
- Original airdate: January 29, 2009
- Episode recap: Hell's Kitchen – Episode 501, "16 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Signature Dishes: Compared to all of the previous seasons, where Chef Ramsay would find little praise in the contestants' signature dishes, a surprising number were acceptable this season with only some low marks for presentation, which raised Ramsay's expectations for a successful opening-night service. The women established themselves as the team to beat with high marks going to Carol, Ji, Andrea, Coi and Paula. Only three of the women failed to get positive remarks; LA's fish and chips were called "terrible" by Ramsay, and he was similarly unimpressed by Colleen's chicken enchiladas, during the tasting of which it was revealed that Colleen had no formal culinary training despite charging customers $300 for each 3–4 hour period of cooking instruction (this fact would be mocked many times during Ramsay's criticisms of Colleen as the season progressed). After further having her dish insulted, Colleen remarked, "I teach manners too, Chef," to which Ramsay curtly replied, "Okay, please, Miss Manners, fuck off back in line." However, Lacey would find her dish being named the worst on the women's team, as Ramsay spat out her chicken and blackberry dish and said that it made him feel like vomiting. Among the men, only Ben received high marks in both taste and presentation; Wil's dish was deemed delicious but presented poorly while Robert's bass was well-cooked but served with a sauce that Ramsay found disgusting. Ramsay's found the rest of the men's dishes to be exceptionally poor, with Danny's grilled banana dish in particular being singled out for heavy criticism. In addition, Seth inappropriately chuckled at Ramsay's comment that his honey-flavored ratatouille was the worst dish he had ever tasted, causing Ramsay to subsequently level a threat of Seth becoming the fastest exit in Hell's Kitchen history. He ended the challenge by instructing both sides to go to their dorms and come up with a team name.
- Service: Lacey repeatedly complained about the difficulty of prepping her station, then retreated to have a smoke outside on the patio. She eventually came back and resumed her work. On the men's side, Seth proved to be unpopular, especially with Giovanni, for his inattentiveness and lack of productivity. Five minutes before service, Chef Ramsay gathered the teams to select team names and volunteers to be waiters. The initial name for the women's team, "Team Saffron," was ultimately vetoed and changed to Spice Racks, while Ramsay approved of the men's team name, Blues Brothers. Carol and Giovanni, much to their chagrin, were chosen as servers, while Ramsay ordered Charlie to go upstairs and trim his overlong goatee for sanitary reasons. Coi argued with Lacey for not having her station prepped to the point that Ramsay had to intervene seconds before service, which itself was hampered by a 20-minute power outage partway through the appetizers. Once power was restored, the men began to release entrees. Colleen, however, cooked too much wasted spaghetti, tried to start a fresh dish in a soiled pan, and accidentally put sugar in a risotto after mistaking it for salt; Ramsay called it the worst risotto he had ever tasted in his cooking career. Meanwhile, Ramsay scolded Robert for yelling over him while he called out a ticket, then ordered Robert to read the ticket himself. Robert and Ben also had trouble cooking spaghetti, and Danny got an earful after backtalking Ramsay out of frustration stemming from his overcooked scallops. Seth had trouble getting the meat out, provoking Ramsay to repeatedly call him "Forrest" (as in Forrest Gump), while Wil struggled throughout on garnish, forcing the assistance of nearly all his teammates. In the dining room, Carol excelled as a server, but Giovanni was the opposite as he forgot several customers' orders. Dinner service was cut short after guests began walking out, with only the men serving any entrees.
- Winner: None, as the service never went beyond the initial entrees. The men were declared the losers after 90% of customers rated Giovanni's service below average, and Carol 88% above average.
- Nominees for elimination: Wil and Seth. Wil nominated himself, while the others nominated Seth despite his argument that Giovanni should have been chosen because of his poor service.
- Elimination: Wil was eliminated. Despite all the other men wanting Seth gone (J even interjecting during the nominations to tell Ramsay this), Ramsay was still impressed by his desire to continue in the competition, and felt that Wil's decision to nominate himself proved that he had no self-belief and no desire to carry on in the show.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: I found it quite strange that Wil didn't even have the will to succeed. He clearly did not belong in Hell's Kitchen.
- Original airdate: February 5, 2009
- Episode recap: Hell's Kitchen – Episode 502, "15 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Preliminaries: The contestants were awakened early in the morning by a marching band, and were greeted outside by Chef Ramsay and two piles of garbage bags containing the discarded food from last night's service. Unlike the previous season, when the waste was then sorted, Ramsay ordered the contestants to fish scallops out of two large crates and carry them to the kitchen, leading to the day's team challenge of cleanly shucking as many scallops as they could in fifteen minutes. Andrea was told by Ramsay to sit out in order to even out both teams. The women went first and first up for them was Carol where all eight of her scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Paula where only one of her ten scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Coi where six of her scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Colleen who had five of her six scallops accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was L.A. where all eight her scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Ji who had four of her scallops accepted by Chef Ramsay. Last up was Lacey who had three of her six scallops accepted by Chef Ramsay. The women successfully schuck a total of 35 scallops. It was the men's turn and first up for them was Ben where only three of his eleven scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Danny where nine of his eleven scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Giovanni who had thirteen of his fifteen scallops accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Robert who had five of his scallops accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Charlie where only two of his scallops were accepted by Chef Ramsay. Next up was Seth who had three of his scallops accepted by Chef Ramsay tying the score at 35-35. Last up was J. His first five scallops were rejected but his sixth - and last - passed, eking out a 36-35 victory for the men.
- Award / Punishment: The men flew in a helicopter to Catalina Island, but Robert was forced to take a ferry due to his weight. While on a submarine ride, Seth demonstrated a level of knowledge of Gordon's personal life to the point that the guys jokingly believed that Seth was stalking him. When Robert finally arrived, with the long trip causing him to miss out on the day's events, it was time for the group to head back. Meanwhile, the women spent the day prepping a raw bar for the night's service. After the challenge, a dejected Lacey had retreated to her bunk in tears after being called out by Ramsay for her substandard performance (even though Paula was actually the worst for the women, having produced only one acceptable scallop out of ten); Ji attempted to talk Lacey out of her funk, but to no avail. Following an argument between Lacey and Carol over Lacey's histrionics, Lacey claimed illness and remained in bed, not showing up in the kitchen until six hours into the punishment.
- Service: Only thirty minutes before the start of service, Ji suffered an ankle injury that left her participation in doubt, but after receiving treatment she announced to Chef Ramsay that she would be taking part in the service. Robert and Paula were assigned as raw bar servers; Robert's amiability impressed Jean-Phillippe and the customers. Carol and Charlie both produced poor risottos, but Ben was able to bail Charlie out with his replacement. Charlie was soon in hot water again after he and Seth forgot to include lobster in the lobster spaghetti. Danny impressed Ramsay with his lamb, but Ramsay snapped at Giovanni for delivering an undercooked salmon to the pass. Colleen was horrid on the fish station, as she first burned three orders of scallops (forcing Lacey to jump in on Ramsay's orders and show Colleen how to properly cook them, similar to Ben previously assisting Charlie), then she later burned the outside of a piece of salmon and simultaneously left the inside raw, while also forgetting a John Dory on the same ticket. This led Ramsay to furiously question her credentials as a culinary instructor, and when she burned yet two more orders of salmon, Ramsay threw her out of the kitchen, demoting her to the raw bar and bringing in Paula to take her place. To make things interesting near the end, Ramsay gathered both teams and declared that whoever first completed service was the winner. Both sides were neck-and-neck until Carol stalled the women on a dish that everyone else was ready for, allowing the men to emerge victorious. Despite this setback, both teams would successfully finish the service.
- Winner: The men as they were the first to complete dinner service.
- Nominees for elimination: Colleen and Lacey. In a deleted scene included on the DVD release, the others attempted to persuade Carol to nominate herself in place of Colleen despite the latter's dreadful performance, in turn hoping to ensure Lacey's elimination (despite regarding Colleen as their worst cook, the women preferred her personality over Lacey's), but Carol refused on the grounds that it could result in her being axed for costing her team the win.
- Elimination: After Colleen and Lacey had pled their cases for staying, and before Ramsay could make a decision, Ji - who had admirably completed the dinner service in spite of her injury, which restricted her to a wheelchair afterward - announced to Ramsay that she wished to withdraw from the competition, fearing her physical state would be a hindrance to the women's success (she had lamented this earlier to her teammates right after the end of service). Andrea declared to Ramsay that a hobbled Ji was still far more effective than Colleen or Lacey, but Ramsay honored Ji's request and allowed her to leave, thus reluctantly sparing Colleen and Lacey from elimination. He then lauded Ji personally for her effort and her "phenomenal" performance, while allowing her to keep her jacket as a token of her bravery. After she bid a tearful goodbye to her teammates, and as she was wheeled by Andrea out of Hell's Kitchen, the men all rose and gave Ji a farewell standing ovation for her gritty performance. Ramsay then called on the remaining contestants to draw from Ji's perseverance, which, he said, demonstrated "courage at its best." As shown in the beginning of episode three, the women were irked that Lacey survived another day, and pressed her to prove as to why she should remain in the competition.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Ji showed great courage. Unfortunately, her injury got in the way of her dream. She had a chance to win this, but sadly we will never, ever know. (Unlike Vanessa Gunnell from season 4, Ji got her picture burned instead of the full coat hook and burning picture sequence despite withdrawing from the competition due to an injury.)
- Notes: Ji became the first contestant in the show's history to keep her jacket upon her departure. In future seasons, being allowed to keep their jacket is a reward traditionally given to the contestant finishing in third place overall, with Ariel Contreras-Fox of Season 6, Jillian Flathers of Season 8, Elise Wims of Season 9, Dana Cohen of Season 10 and Jon Scallion of Season 11 all afforded this honor.
- Original airdate: February 19, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 503, 14 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Preliminaries: Both teams were awakened at six the next morning by the ringing of cowbells from sous chefs Scott and Gloria, and were taken on a field trip to a meat processing plant, where Scott showed the contestants how the meat was butchered and what parts of the cattle produced specific cuts. Back at the kitchen, the team challenge was to correctly label several cuts of meat, then attach the signs identifying the cuts to the proper locations on color-coded cow statues. The men won the meat-labeling challenge first after only two tries, then J and Colleen got their teams off to good starts with five correct cuts out of eight on their respective statues, but then Seth (one out of eight) and Lacey (two) caused major setbacks for their sides, effectively forcing both teams to start over. Ben eventually labeled all of the cuts correctly, giving the men their second consecutive challenge victory. (Paula had the distinction of successfully completing both parts of the challenge for the women, but had been beaten to the task by the men both times.)
- Award / Punishment: The men flew to Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, California, where they enjoyed a wine tasting followed by a steak dinner. The women stayed behind to butcher two large sides of beef after hauling both into the kitchen. Their lunch, presented by Scott and consisting entirely of offal, led Lacey to vomit and therefore cause a chain reaction of LA and Andrea upchucking while the others plugged their ears. Andrea, clearly traumatized by the repulsive meal and her having vomited multiple times as a result, desperately made the women promise to bond together and try harder to avoid future punishments.
- Service: Hell's Kitchen opened for its first-ever "steakhouse" service, split into two two-hour seatings with one team cooking and the other serving, and vice versa. Robert was determined to have a good service, as it had coincided with what was to be his wedding day. During the first seating, Giovanni sent out undercooked entrees and Ben, misinterpreting a command from Ramsay, prepared six orders of dessert before the appetizers. Charlie struggled to keep up on the fish station and was oblivious to his cooking cloth catching fire, which Scott had to put out. When Giovanni ran low on filets, Seth was ordered by Ramsay to cut more, but he then overbutchered a tenderloin and wasted a great deal of meat in the process, then tried (unsuccessfully) to hide the scraps from Ramsay. During the second seating, the red team got off to a slow start with Coi and Colleen losing track of the appetizers, but entrees ran smoothly as Andrea, showing no ill effects from yesterday's punishment, had all her steaks approved by Ramsay. Ben, Seth and Giovanni nonetheless returned some of the steaks to the kitchen, but Ramsay confirmed that they were all cooked correctly to order and accused the men of deliberately writing incorrect tickets in attempt to sabotage the women (the men in turn had felt the women intentionally took far too long in submitting their orders during the first service). In the end, the red team's problems on appetizers caught up with them despite Andrea's strong performance, and they fell just short of completing service.
- Winner: Though Charlie and Lacey were named the worst servers on customer comment cards (Lacey wrote several tickets incorrectly and forgot to hand one in altogether; Charlie was clumsy - including spilling a container of bacon bits onto a table - and could not remember which tables he had taken orders for), Ramsay declared the red team victorious, as they were only three tables away from completing service, whereas the blue team served barely half of their entrees.
- Nominees for elimination: Seth and Charlie, despite consideration for Giovanni due to his poor effort, given he was the executive chef of a steakhouse. While the nominations were being read out by J, Seth attempted to imply that J was not being truthful in nominating him, but he was overruled by Ramsay.
- Elimination: Despite Seth's horrendous butchering of the filet, Charlie was eliminated due to his lack of progress over three services.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Charlie is a prep chef, but I'm looking for a head chef. He seemed like a nice guy, but you know where nice guys finish.
- Original airdate: February 26, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 504, 13 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Challenge: Both teams cooked a special breakfast service for a group of 100 young football players and cheerleaders. Colleen became distracted by the cheerleaders, forcing Ramsay to order her back on her station, while Coi burned several pancakes. The men had an early lead but squandered it after Seth stumbled on scrambled eggs that he claimed were inspired by one of Ramsay's recipes. This gave the women their first challenge victory of the season. Ben and Danny later got into a heated argument in the dorms after Danny had boasted that he was the strongest cook on the men's team. Ben vehemently disagreed, replying to Danny, "You couldn't cook my cock."
- Award / Punishment: The women went "camping" for the day at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, while the men faced the arduous task of cleaning up both the dining room and both kitchens, then prepping both sides for that night's service. The men failed to finish the red kitchen's prep by the start of service, mostly due to Danny and Robert plotting to get Ben out.
- Service: The red team was missing their tomato butter sauce, which was supposed to have been made during the men's prep; on that account, Chef Ramsay suspected sabotage, and his suspicions were only furthered when the sauce that Ben gave them was far too salty, leading to Danny (properly) preparing a new batch. Giovanni lagged on boiling the water for spaghetti, and a Caesar salad prepared by J included the butt from a head of lettuce. Seth undercooked some scallops, didn't pay attention when Ramsay called out a ticket, then was caught by Ramsay wiping a pan with a soiled cloth that he had just previously used to wipe his face. Ben cut the lamb chops too thinly, while Danny wouldn't reply to Ramsay on the garnish station. In the red kitchen, Coi pre-made pasta instead of cooking it to order, prepared two underdone lobster spaghettis that were short on lobster, then dropped one of the pans containing the replacements. Colleen conflicted with LA on the meat station, and cooked one order of beef Wellingtons too many. Overall, barely any meals left the kitchens and almost every appetizer and entree that did was returned. Ramsay finally had enough and ordered the shutdown of both kitchens midway through the service, then sent the teams upstairs to decide which two members from each side should be up for elimination. All this was done in full view of the shocked customers instead of during the standard post-service wrap-up.
- Winner: None.
- Nominees for elimination: On the blue team, Ben was chosen on the grounds of his earlier fight with Danny and his poor performance on the meat station, along Seth for his multiple errors; Danny and J were also briefly considered due to poor communication and the lettuce butt respectively, but the men quickly came to a consensus on Seth and Ben. The red team initially appeared to decide on Colleen, for yet another shaky service, along with Coi, who nominated herself for her multiple mistakes on the appetizers. However, Carol told the other women they were making a mistake, and that Lacey should be nominated with Colleen for being the weakest overall. Despite Lacey trying to protest that she hadn't made any mistakes (which Andrea had earlier acknowledged) and that Coi had nominated herself, the other women quickly came around to Carol's viewpoint. Ramsay was shocked that Lacey was up instead of Coi, but accepted the nominations.
- Elimination: Though Ramsay first made special mention of the lettuce butt incident as "how reputations get destroyed in minutes," Seth was eliminated due to his lack of progress and continued glaring mistakes. Ben was addressed first, but sent back in line.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Seth showed that he had all the passion in the world, but the bottom line is he's a crap cook.
- Team Change: Lacey was transferred over to the men's team, as the men were now two members down, and also because most of the women made it clear that they were not willing to continue working with her.
- Original airdate: March 5, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 505, 12 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Challenge: Both teams visited an Asian supermarket, where they purchased the ingredients needed for Asian-fusion dishes with limits of only 25 minutes to shop and $100. The mandatory ingredients consisted of one type of seafood, poultry, and meat, and both teams had an hour to prepare the dishes. Each dish was judged by Chef Ramsay and Epicurious editor-in-chief Tanya Steel. First up was the poultry. The red team's poultry dish, presented by Carol was a pomegranate synonym glazed chicken breast. Tanya wanted to know why Carol chose pomegranate to which Carol replied she loved pomegranate it's a nice fruity. After tasting the dish Chef Ramsay said the presentation looked slightly boring and Tanya said it was a little bit dry but said she liked the flavours which Chef Ramsay replied yes.The blue team's poultry dish, presented by Robert was a traditional pad thai but the chicken was prepared like a barbecue chicken on a Sunday afternoon. After tasting it, Tanya said this was kind of a compliment of southern and Asian for him while Chef Ramsay said the seasoning was nice. Tanya gave the blue team a point which Chef Ramsay agreed. The red team did a tuna tempura very simple. They did the vegetables all congee styles and they made a naioli After tasting it, Chef Ramsay said the temperature in the tuna was extraordinary while Tanya said this was just perfectly cooked while Chef Ramsay said it really is perfectly cooked.The blue team had a pan seared scallop. The sauce was actually a sea urchin and caviar boblanc which Chef Ramsay said was very dangerous to combine caviar and sea urchin which Tanya replied yes. After tasting it, Chef Ramsay said it was slightly salty which Tanya replied yes. Chef Ramsay then said it was a little bit mushy. Tanya chose the tuna while Chef Ramsay also chose the tuna. The red team had a kobe beef sashimi brushed with a Korean style sauce. Tanya said to Andrea when you say Korean sauce, what's in there? Andrea replied soy sauce, some sugar while Tanya said and a lot of red pepper flakes. Both found it hot. Chef Ramsay said that was clumsy seasoning and a shame because the beef was delicious while Tanya said I think the beef really saves this dish. For the blue team, J said they had a beef but sulked and asked Giovanni what was it. Giovanni said it was a beef pizzaiola. After cutting it, Chef Ramsay said there was crunchy bits of rice granolas in his teeth, way undercooked and loved the idea however there was no excuse for undercooked rice. In a tough decision, Tanya went for the red team's dish meaning the red team won the challenge 2-1.
- Award / Punishment: The winning dishes were featured on the Epicurious website. In addition, the women spent the day sumo wrestling in oversized sumo suits (which included Ramsay taking down Jean-Phillippe to everyone's amusement), and later imbibing on sake. The blue team made fortune cookies and folded origami for that night's service. Lacey, having drawn the ire of her new teammates almost immediately at the outset as she had previously done with the red team, got back in their good graces when she successfully assisted the men with the origami.
- Service: In addition to the regular customers, the night's patrons included a group of sumo wrestlers, all of whom ordered one of everything on the menu, presenting an extra challenge to both kitchens. The teams enjoyed a strong start on appetizers fueled by Giovanni and LA's risottos, while Lacey emerged as a leader on the blue team, but the meat station was a wreck on both sides: J undercooked his beef Wellingtons because the oven fan was on low, then sent raw chicken to the pass and forgot an order of lamb on a later ticket, while Ramsay discovered a stash of discarded burnt entrees hidden underneath Andrea's station, then Andrea became overwhelmed and stalled the red kitchen's progress. Robert wasted a lot of food while prepping his dishes, and angered Ramsay further by not responding when Ramsay repeatedly addressed him as "Bobby," for which Robert mooned the confessional-room camera during an interview while telling Ramsay to "kiss my ass." The final straw was when Steel returned Colleen's pear dessert because both the pear and the pastry were raw. With service a lost cause and Ramsay refusing any more returned dishes from Jean-Phillippe, the kitchen was closed. In a private meeting after the service, Robert explained that he did not respond to "Bobby" because that was the name of his abusive father and that it bought back painful memories from his childhood. Ramsay replied that he would respect Robert's wishes, adding that it would not have happened had he known about it beforehand.
- Winner: None. Giovanni and LA were selected as the Best of the Worst for their teams and were tasked with choosing a person for elimination.
- Nominees for elimination: Giovanni nominated J; LA chose Andrea. Ramsay appeared to disagree with Giovanni's decision, heavily implying that he thought Robert should have been chosen instead, but he accepted the two nominees.
- Elimination: Neither J nor Andrea were eliminated; Ramsay ordered them back in line, then told Robert to wake up. Instead, Colleen was axed on the grounds that, after five shaky dinner services, Ramsay could no longer tolerate her constant mistakes, but as she surrendered her jacket, he praised her tenacity and fight, and told the remaining contestants to follow that example.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: There was no place in the kitchen I could put Colleen where she wasn't a disaster. It's time for her to go back to where she belongs: teaching, because she certainly can't cook.
- Original airdate: March 12, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 506, 11 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Challenge: Hell's Kitchen would be hosting a bar mitzvah for the first time, about which Ben, being of Jewish heritage, was particularly enthusiastic. For the team challenge the chefs had to create gourmet versions of chicken soup, brisket and burgers, the favorite foods of Max Reuben, the young guest of honor. On the red team, Carol, in charge of preparing the burger, proved abrasive with her teammates after ignoring their suggestions on how to cook her dish, such as not using blue cheese because of its pungent flavor. Giovanni won the soup challenge over Andrea, while LA won with the brisket over Ben. Max liked both Robert's and Carol's burgers, but chose Robert's only because he didn't like blue cheese, giving a 2-1 win to the blue team.
- Award / Punishment: The men were treated to a day at a spa, while the women had to set up the dining room, complete with a basketball court and dance floor, while the flamboyant emcee Francisco (from the wedding reception in Season 3 and the Sweet 16 birthday party in Season 4) was brought back for a third go-round in Hell's Kitchen, much to Jean-Phillippe's disdain. Carol and Andrea sniped at each other throughout the punishment.
- Service: Andrea started off roughly on appetizers when she didn't have enough mushrooms in her risotto, but soon got back on track. The women were then summoned to the dining room for the second part of their punishment, which was carrying Max on a chair during the celebration dance, before returning to the kitchen. Max's entrees (four burgers) were to be served first before any other tables on Ramsay's orders, but Coi first forgot to bring the raw patties into the kitchen, then struggled in cooking them. LA insisted on taking them to the pass anyway even though they were not up to temperature; Ramsay rejected them all but the second batch made it out. Coi's problems on the meat station continued as her first brisket servings were also undersized. In the blue kitchen, Lacey had trouble heating up the briskets, J forgot to present a salad with no dressing, and Ramsay also had issues with Danny serving food on dirty plates. In the dining room, Francisco was carrying a cake for Max but dropped it when he bumped into Jean-Phillippe. At the end, both teams completed service and Ramsay presented Max with a special surprise: the Harlem Globetrotters. During cleanup, the hostilities between Carol and Andrea continued, as Carol said that she had wanted to punch Andrea in the throat; she insisted she made the remark in jest when Andrea called her out on it during deliberation on the patio.
- Winner: The blue team, for their higher level of consistency during service. Andrea was chosen as Best of the Worst, much to the disgust of her team.
- Nominees for elimination: The rest of the women got together and agreed that Andrea should not have been best of the worst and, if nominated by Andrea, they would tell Ramsay that Andrea was the weakest on the team. Ramsay became irritated at Andrea's hesitance in choosing the nominees, before she finally named LA and Coi. As according to plan, they, along with Carol, declared Andrea as the worst, but Paula named Coi instead.
- Elimination: Coi was eliminated due to her mistakes on the meat station, particularly the burgers.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: When this competition began, I thought Coi was gonna be a really strong chef. But tonight she was exposed when she couldn't even cook a bloody burger.
- Original airdate: March 19, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 507, 10 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Team change: Before the start of the challenge, Chef Ramsay transferred Giovanni to the red team.
- Challenge: After tasting six different salmon tapas from one of Ramsay's restaurants, the chefs had 20 minutes to make their own with leftovers from the previous service, with the teams going head-to-head. Paula and Danny go head-to-head with their red meat-based dishes, both of them earning a point for their teams. Lacey and LA, despite having unique dishes, did not sit well with Ramsay resulting in neither of them earning a point for their team. Robert managed to put together a portion that was slightly too large for tapas, but otherwise delicious, while Carol mistook balsamic vinegarette for soy sauce, resulting in Robert receiving the point. Andrea, meanwhile, managed to even out the score for both teams for her ravioli dish over J's way-too-simple dish. In the final round, the results were very close, with both Ben and Giovanni turning out excellent dishes, but Ramsay ultimately declared the red team the winners (while also telling Ben not to get too upset as his dish was brilliant). After the challenge, Giovanni urged his new teammates to put their differences aside and work together in the name of having a successful service.
- Award / Punishment: The red team visited Hollywood Park for a day of watching horse racing. The blue team prepped both kitchens for that night's service, then unloaded and cleaned small tapas plates. Lacey complained about the amount of work and, feeling disrespected by the men, walked out of the kitchen and threatened to quit, but was eventually talked back inside by Ben.
- Service: J overcooked both teams' rice during the prep, rendering it inedible for the service and forcing Ramsay to take the risotto off the menu for the night. He then sent raw and burned salmon entrees to the pass, and forgot to provide the sauce when he eventually did manage an acceptable serving, forcing Ramsay to pull him aside and issue him a warning behind closed doors. Ben once again struggled on the meat station, and Ramsay threatened Ben with ejection after catching him about to cook beef Wellingtons on a dirty pan. In the red kitchen, Andrea and Carol were forced to eat an undercooked pasta appetizer that had been sent back, while LA became unresponsive for part of the service and cooked too many John Dory at once, all while taking offense to Ramsay calling her a "silly cow." Nevertheless, both teams completed service, with the red team finishing well in advance thanks to Giovanni's leadership and Paula's strong performance on meat, in particular earning high praise from Ramsay for a Wellington that he deemed the best-ever prepared in Hell's Kitchen. Carol and Andrea continued their feud right after the service, with Paula and Giovanni quickly tiring of the bickering.
- J Gets Fired: The third strike for J, after the risotto and salmon debacles, was when he brought severely overcooked scallops to the pass. Ramsay, at the end of his rope, fired him from Hell's Kitchen altogether, demanding that he remove his jacket and leave. As he is packing his bags, J could be seen removing his jacket; though it is not unknown if he got a coat-hanging and picture-burning sequence.
- Winner: The red team, for their overall consistency and having completed service first.
- Nominees for elimination: The men nominated Lacey, while Lacey nominated Robert following a heated exchange on the patio. Robert went into a lengthy dialogue about her walking out during prep and that he would not accept quitters in his restaurant, then Danny voiced his opinion of Lacey's negative behavior. Ramsay then asked Ben to step forward, singling him out for nominating Lacey when he felt he should have instead nominated himself, after which Ben admitted that he had been the weakest performer of the night.
- Elimination: None. Despite expressing a desire to have Ben's jacket, Ramsay gave him and Lacey one more chance since J's blunders had buried the blue kitchen from the outset of service.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: I kept Ben and Lacey because J put the kitchen in such a hole that they never stood a chance. They're very lucky that I sent J packing.
- Original airdate: March 26, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 508, 9 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Challenge: After tricking the chefs with beef and scallop tartares that were actually made with tuna and sea bass, Ramsay issued the team challenge of a blind taste test, before which LA surprised Ramsay and her teammates by promptly volunteering to sit out in order to even the sides. Ben topped Andrea 3-2, Robert and Giovanni both had zero correct answers, then the red team rebounded with Carol topping Lacey 3-1. Paula and Danny, again going head-to-head in a challenge, were ordered to identify ingredients in Ramsay's minestrone soup recipe, and with the score tied 7-7, Paula earned the red team a one-point victory.
- Award / Punishment: The red team was treated to a TV Guide photoshoot inside the restaurant, while the blue team had to prep both kitchens for the night's service in addition to preparing lunch and hors d'oeuvres for the red team. During the shoot, Ben accidentally spilled champagne onto the red team members after a flashbulb had startled him.
- Service: Actors in attendance include Eric McCormack sitting in the blue dining table and Robert Patrick in the red table. Paula made a rare mistake by bringing a poor risotto to the pass, but redeemed herself with the replacement. Robert (with some help from Ben) energetically pumped out appetizers, during which he ended up splitting his pants. However, the blue team was affected by a hapless Lacey panicking on the meat section, which led to Ramsay pulling her aside to get her head back in the game. When the blue entrees for Eric McCormack's table were stalled altogether afterward and Lacey then produced overly thin lamb chops, Ramsay immediately fired her just one week after having fired J for his terrible service. Despite being a member short for the second consecutive time, the blue team rallied and completed service with only three chefs. The red team, on the other hand, struggled throughout on the back of Carol's poor performance on meat, along with Andrea overcooking her John Dory and LA serving cold, lumpy mashed potatoes. With the blue team having finished their service and the red team nowhere near completing theirs, Ramsay lost his patience and shut the red kitchen down.
- Lacey's Firing Note: During the post-service wrap-up, Ramsay addressed the blue team by tossing Lacey's jacket aside before declaring them the decisive victors. He had earlier made Lacey say goodbye to the blue team before she left.
- Winner: The blue team "by a mile", due to their strong teamwork, despite being short-handed, in completing service.
- Nominees for elimination: While everyone (including Carol) agreed that Carol was the worst on dinner service, they conflicted on the second nominee. LA and Carol picked Andrea, but the others decided on LA. Ramsay was upset that they were unable to reach a consensus, and ordered LA, Carol and Andrea to step forward for elimination.
- Elimination: Ramsay sent Carol and Andrea back into line and warned them that they were both on their last chance. LA was eliminated, as Ramsay felt she had been a decent performer during the course of the season but had never truly excelled nor shown any leadership qualities.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: LA was a real workhorse in the kitchen. I kicked her out of Hell's Kitchen because she lacked two crucial skills to be a great chef – leadership and creativity. (As for Lacey, no official reason was given for her departure, but at the start of episode 14, hers and LA's pictures were both burned and their jackets hooked simultaneously.)
- Original airdate: April 2, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 509, 7 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Challenge: The teams create individual dishes, featuring the main ingredient, red king crab; one dish from the team will be presented a specialty crab dish to Chef Ramsay. Andrea's dish failed to meet Chef Ramsay's expectations (partially due to her desire to keep the shell on the plate), while Ben's was much better received but still failed to meet the mark. As a result, Paula and Danny were asked to bring up their dishes. Both their dishes were much better received than Ben and Andrea's dishes and as a result, the blue team one in a very close finish.
- Award / Punishment: The blue team was taken to Santa Monica State Beach, where they spent a day of fun at the beach and ate a lobster lunch at a seafood restaurant. The red team cleaned both of the teams dorms, and cooked all of the red king crabs for the following night's dinner service.
- Service: For this service, the teams were requested to come up with their own menus for the night. Disaster struck through both teams during dinner service; from Ben's slaughtered Filet Mignon steaks, to Carol's undercooked potatoes lead to both teams crumbling under pressure. Ben also served overly salty soup, and later got involved in an argument with Chef Ramsay, as Ben believed that the pommes fondant dish he added to the menu was supposed to made from boiled potatoes, whereas Ramsay (and Scott) told him that the potatoes were meant to be sautéed in butter. One restaurant guest tried taking matters into her own hands by taking her second unseasoned carpaccio dish up to Chef Ramsay, where then Chef Ramsay insults her back to her seat. Tension between Robert and Ben escalated during entrees and desserts, as Ben saw that Robert couldn't keep up with the speed of the kitchen. After Ramsay saw enough misery from both kitchens, he ordered to shut down the kitchens.
- Winner: Although the red vs blue menu ended in disaster, Chef Ramsay decides on the winner based on the total amount of services for each team. The red team was declared the winning team; while their customer satisfaction rating was a relatively mediocre 54%, this was still much better than the 36% that the blue team managed.
- Nominees for elimination: Danny was named Best of the Worst on the blue team and chose Ben for elimination. However, Ramsay felt Robert also had a bad service and put him on the chopping block as well.
- Eliminated: Carol, despite being on the winning team. Like Ben, Carol insisted on putting a potato dish on the menu and was responsible for undercooking it multiple times. However, unlike Ben, Carol appeared to have given up and not fight back to redeem herself. Like Ben, Ramsay claimed Carol was sabotaging her team's efforts to win.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Carol knew she was out of her depth in Hell's Kitchen. I just put her out of her misery.
- Original airdate: April 9, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 510, 6 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- The Black Jackets: Danny from the blue team and Paula from the red team were each told to choose who they thought was the weakest on their team. Paula chose Andrea and Danny chose Ben. Andrea and Ben were called and told to remove their jackets, thinking they were facing elimination, when in fact they were told that everyone would be competing as a single team.
- Challenge: In the first individual challenge, each chef cooked a dish using 14 specific ingredients, including chicken, pasta and wine. While Chef Ramsay considered all dishes to be delicious, he singled out Ben and Danny's dishes, with Ben's being the best. Ben then was told to pick a friend to enjoy the reward. He chose Robert.
- Award / Punishment: Ben takes a trip with Chef Ramsay and Robert to San Francisco, where they dine at the One Market restaurant, at the exclusive chef's table. The others spend the day taking deliveries. Giovanni ended up being fed up with the punishment, after breaking boxes of bottled water, and having to chase a seafood truck for being short two lobster, later to find out that the order was correct after all.
- Service: Giovanni was accused of purposely cooking Ben's winning chicken dish poorly. Giovanni talked back to chef Ramsay. Later, Giovanni placed a hot pan in the refrigerator, to cool it down, only to cause Robert to burn his hand picking it up. Andrea was also thrown out of Hell's Kitchen for constantly not knowing what the orders are, but was brought back in after some encouragement from Jean-Philippe. Robert overcooked scallops and cooked bacon and John Dory in the same pan. Service ended prematurely after Ramsay walked out of the kitchen.
- Winner: Paula was the strongest player of the night for her appetizers, and got the right to choose two players for elimination.
- Nominees for elimination: Paula chose Giovanni and Andrea.
- Elimination: Chef Ramsay ultimately chose Giovanni to leave Hell's Kitchen. While Andrea had arguably been the worst performer on the night, including not being able to recite one of the orders correctly, Ramsay felt that Giovanni's major verbal confrontation between the two of them during the service was unforgivable.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: There was no specific reason given for Giovanni's elimination, but his coat peg and burning photo closing was featured in the recap at the beginning of episode 14.
- Shutdown: At 2:14AM, Chef Ramsay called the remaining chefs to the kitchen, announcing that due to that night's service and his dissatisfaction with the final five, Hell's Kitchen is shutting down.
- Original airdate: April 16, 2009
- Episode recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 511, 5 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Prologue: Ramsay did not permanently shut down Hell's Kitchen, as suggested in the previous episode. Instead, the contestants were flown to the Borgata Hotel and Casino for a multi-day trip to see their potential future place of employment. After touring the hotel, they sat down for dinner with the Borgata Hotel's vice president of cuisine. Robert left the table after a few minutes, complaining of chest pains; he was taken to the hospital for observation and tests.
- Withdrawal: After a few days of waiting Robert returned to Hell's Kitchen. He reported that he has pericarditis and announced his departure from Hell's Kitchen because of his condition. After Robert says his final farewells to the final four, Chef Ramsay remarked that Robert had the possibility to win. "I just want to tell you, that you have been a fantastic competitor. You've had the potential to win this competition. Do not ever, ever forget that." Unlike Ji in Episode 2, Robert had to give back his jacket to Chef Ramsay but did get his picture burned at the end of the episode. (Robert would return as a contestant in the following season. He was eliminated in the 7th episode, though participated in the final service.)
- Challenge: After visiting Borgata each of the final four presented the signature dish that he or she would serve in their restaurant, should he or she win Hell's Kitchen. First up was Danny who had a pan seared sea scallop with a citrus basil champagne sauce and a little bit of crisp slice ginger on top. Chef Ramsay said it didn't look the most creative dish in terms of presentation but it certainly delivered in flavour, it taste quite nice and the scallops was cooked perfectly. Next up was Andrea who had Green tea crusted tuna served with black sesame rice cake and pear kimchi. After tasting it, Chef Ramsay said it was nice, the build up was lovely, she wanted a little bit of everything and there was nothing there that was unwanted from a plate, in terms of harmony it all went very well together and delicious. Next up was Paula who had a smoked salmon ceviche unfortunately cooked a little bit more than she would have liked when she was smoking it. After tasting it, Chef Ramsay said it was not overcooked, it was just seared but it was definitely delicious and the seasoning was absolutely 100% correct and very good. Last up was Ben who had pan roasted tiger prawns served over mango scented turnips basil crushed Yukon gold potatoes. Chef Ramsay said this dish was definitely something he was it, this was pretty. Ben believed people truly eat with their eyes when I sit down to a plate, he wanted then to go wow. After picking up a prawn, Chef Ramsay asked Ben was there a prawn gone which Ben replied it was just for presentation just to show the tail. Chef Ramsay told Ben he wanted the ******* prawn and not the tail which Ben replied he didn't want to put too much on the plate. Chef Ramsay told Ben he cut the ******* prawn, he put the tail on the plate and he leaves the prawn off before saying dear oh dear. Chef Ramsay told Ben he was definitely not safe before commending Danny, Andrea and Paula. Chef Ramsay said it was very difficult to pick a winner out of all three but proclaimed Andrea the winner.
- Award / Punishment: Andrea received one-time immunity from the next elimination. Additionally, unless there was a specific Best of the Best or Best of the Worst after the next service, she would get to decide on the nominees for elimination. No punishment was given. Ben, Danny, and Paula were upset that Andrea, who they constantly believe is outperformed, would last longer than one of them.
- Service: Danny and Paula received only praise from Chef Ramsay, and Danny was eventually sent to help Andrea on fish. However Ben struggled with the garnish to the point where Ramsay sent him out of the kitchen. After a short break, Ben returned and finished with a strong performance. Andrea however failed on the fish station to the point where Ramsay almost took her safe spot away from her. Nonetheless, service was completed.
- Winner: No winners were selected for dinner service. Because Chef Ramsay felt there was no Best of the Worst, Andrea automatically gained the nomination rights from her challenge win.
- Nominees for elimination: Andrea nominated Ben and Paula. However, after hearing from Paula briefly, Ramsay immediately sent her back in line and called Andrea to step forward.
- Elimination: No chef was eliminated after dinner service; Robert's photo was burned at the end of the episode, although his jacket was not placed on the hook.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Chef Ramsay confirmed Andrea's immunity as a man of his word and kept Ben since Andrea had performed so poorly that Ben "never had a chance." He also noted that, had Andrea not won immunity, she would have been eliminated.
- Original airdate: April 23, 2009
- Episode Recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 512, 4 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Challenge: To recreate one of Chef Ramsay's signature dishes based on taste alone. Danny was declared the winner, with Paula as a close second.
- Award / Punishment: Danny went along with Chef Ramsay to go fly in separate biplanes. The other three chefs had to polish all the crystal, shampoo all the carpets and prepare for that night's service.
- Service: To motivate the chefs before service, Ramsay gave each chef a set of his brand of stainless steel cookware in the dorms. Service was smooth for the most part, but Ben had trouble recognizing that Ramsay wanted a salad with nothing else on it, and kept putting croutons in. Ramsay even asked Sous Chef Scott Leibfried if "plain salad" meant something different in the US than in England. Scott assured him it was the same. All of a sudden, a man pulled Jean-Phillipe aside and requested a favor to him that he wanted to propose to his girlfriend. He gave the ring to Jean Phillipe, who then gave the ring to Chef Ramsay. The wedding ring was placed on a dessert with the words "Will you marry me?" written on the plate. A dome was placed over the dessert, and as soon as the dessert was delivered, the man proposed to his girlfriend, who could barely speak. The girl accepted, the restaurant broke out in applause and Ramsay presented the girl with a rose and congratulated the new couple personally. Service ran smoothly until the end when Andrea ran out of wellingtons because she miscounted them. This required Danny and Paula to find more wellingtons in the store room and preparing them from scratch taking an additional 15 minutes.
- Winner: Ramsay was disappointed at the final 10% of service because "in a fine dining restaurant, it's not how we start, it's how we finish". He told the chefs to come up with one nominee for elimination.
- Nominees for elimination: Andrea and Ben; the men nominated Andrea and the women nominated Ben, leaving the vote tied.
- Elimination: Chef Ramsay tells Ben to leave Hell's Kitchen.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Ramsay never gave a specific reason, but before Ben left, Chef gave him some encouraging words and told him that his attitude and hard work in Hell's Kitchen was outstanding, and also told him to keep all of those good qualities. Ben also got his full elimination sequence during the recap episode.
- Original airdate: April 30, 2009
- Episode Recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 513, 3 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Prologue: Previously, Chef Ramsay announced that he would give a surprise to the remaining three contestants. This surprise was a visit from their parents, family members and significant others.
- Challenge: Each chef has 90 minutes to create dishes for each of the 100 diners—all of them Los Angeles' best chefs. Each of the diners will also determine which dish was the best and which was the worst. 76% of the chefs polled determined Danny's to be the worst, while 76% thought Paula's was the best.
- Award / Punishment: Paula gets a special makeover; the following morning, she and Chef Ramsay appear live on KTTV's Good Day L.A.. Andrea and Danny stay behind to thoroughly clean the dining area and do the laundry—as well as watch the Good Day L.A. segment.
- Service: For this service, as with previous seasons, each chef takes turns at the pass, while Scott and Gloria purposely add errors to the dishes for them to spot. Each of them failed to spot the first error, but spotted the second. Paula and Danny each had weak starts in their performance, but improved. Andrea was rather strong during her time at the pass, including spotting various deficiencies and errors left and right—nit-picking to a point that sous chef Scott became extremely annoyed with her (even expressing a desire at one point to "punch her in the face"). Overall, there were no serious errors or returns, and the service was very successful. Chef Ramsay asked what was different about him later that night, and after a couple of panicky responses, Chef Ramsay pointed out that he was smiling for the first time that season. (Not counting, of course, his involvement in the rewards following the challenges.)
- Nominees for elimination: Each contestant chose who should leave Hell's Kitchen. Danny and Paula chose Andrea; Andrea chose Danny. Paula was happy that she had not been selected by her team mates for elimination but also remarked that she therefore would have the deciding vote.
- Elimination: Chef Ramsay told Andrea to leave Hell's Kitchen, leaving Paula and Danny to advance to the final service.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: As with Lacey, Giovanni and Ben, Ramsay gave no reason for eliminating Andrea and praised her tenacity and skill as a chef, and told her that she would do well in her career. Andrea's coat hook and burning picture can be seen in the recap episode even though she did not receive her full elimination sequence after being eliminated in episode 13.
- Original airdate: May 7, 2009
- Episode Recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 514, 2 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Setup: As with previous seasons, Hell's Kitchen was split into two restaurants, with each contestant running their side and deciding the menu and decor. While Danny and Paula are preparing to leave Hell's Kitchen, their relatives will oversee construction—Danny's father and girlfriend for his restaurant; Paula's mother and sister for hers. Danny's restaurant will be called the "Susan Marie" (after his deceased mother), and will feature a seafood-menu and decor. One of Danny's ideas, mounted fish, wasn't well received by designer John Janavs and he feared the restaurant would be more like 'Bob's Bait Shop.' Paula's restaurant is called "Sunergy", whose decor includes candles on the wall; despite Paula insisting on using real candles, the fire marshal said real candles that close to the wall would be a violation of safety code so "electric" candles were used instead.
- Challenge: Danny and Paula were flown back to the Borgata in Atlantic City, where they had 45 minutes to cook three dishes from the menus that they have created, with Borgata executives choosing the best dishes. All of this will be done within view of the Borgata's 500 employees, who will work under the winner. Danny won the challenge 2-1.
- Award: Upon returning to Los Angeles, Danny had the first selection of the six returning contestants, who will be chefs under their command in their restaurants.
- Team selection: Chef Ramsay surprised the final two chefs on "key ingredients" at the table with domes on the top. When the domes are opened, they revealed Andrea, Ben, Carol, Giovanni, LA and Lacey (Robert couldn't return because of his illness, since Lacey was the last person to be eliminated prior to the final eight contestants). Danny chose Ben, Giovanni and Carol; Paula chose Andrea, LA, and was left with Lacey when Danny took Carol.
|Danny||Ben - Giovanni - Carol|
|Paula||Andrea - LA - Lacey|
- Original airdate: May 14, 2009
- Episode Recap: "Hell's Kitchen – Episode 515, Finale: 2 Chefs Compete" (Fox.com)
- Pre-service: Each of the cooks working under Danny or Paula were briefed on what they would be doing for their particular restaurant. The finishing touches were given on the restaurants' decors (with Danny's restaurant being renamed "Velvet Hammer", his nickname from college). Chef Ramsay then tasted each restaurant's sample dishes, giving advice on what to do to make them better.
- Service: Each restaurant served 50 diners, including Danny and Paula's relatives. All customers gave scores on the various aspects on their dining experience, and these were combined with Chef Ramsay's observations in determining the winner. Both Paula and Danny had nervous starts, and each team had significant weak spots. Andrea overcooked the halibut and scallops on Paula's side while Lacey constantly complained. On Danny's side, Giovanni prepared the sauce for monk fish which was too salty and Ben was slow on garnish. Both Danny and Paula were able to rally their teams together to complete service. Although Danny finished service first, Paula did not care, as she was more concerned about the quality of the food rather than the speed at which it was served.
- Deciding the winner: Immediately after the service, Chef Ramsay announced to the cooks that "The winner of Hell's Kitchen... lives in Florida", teasing Danny and Paula, as both came from Florida. Because he felt both services were completed with excellence, he decided to utilize the customer comment cards to come to a decision. After everyone was dismissed, Chef Ramsay summoned Danny and Paula to his office, where he praised both for their hard work, and said that they both will have a wonderful career ahead of them.
- Winner: Chef Ramsay showed Danny and Paula the doors; the one that opened determined the winner. Danny's door opened, signifying him to be the winner of the fifth season of Hell's Kitchen. Paula took her defeat graciously, and was happy that Danny won in honor of his deceased mother. In addition to the money and the position, his picture was mounted on the wall as part of the show's new feature, the "Hell's Kitchen Wall of Fame", which included pictures of past winners.
- Chef Ramsay's reason: Danny won Hell's Kitchen because in a very short period of time, he grew more than any other chef I've ever seen. He now has the talent, the maturity, to become a great head chef. Borgata Resort should consider themselves lucky. I know I would.
Danny worked at Fornaletto for a few months and resigned in August 2009.
Danny later returned as one of the special VIP guests for Hell's Kitchen's "black-tie" 100th dinner service on October 13, 2010.
Robert would return as a contestant the following season, and was the 7th person to be eliminated.
Colleen Cleek made an appearance in the first episode of season 6 and tells to that season's hopefuls on tasting their dishes before serving to the patrons.
Ben returned in season 9 as part of an All-Stars team and competed against that seasons final five chefs at dinner service.
Paula returned in season 10 as part of an All-Stars team and competed against that seasons final six chefs at dinner service.
- Hyman, Vicki (May 14, 2009). Hell's Kitchen' finale recap: Danny Veltri is the winner. The Star-Ledger.